What I’m about to write is not well thought out yet so take it as such. Any questions or comments to help me explore further are more than welcome. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of belief in divine providence and intervention.
One position holds that nature takes it course to do its thing and human beings do their thing. God doesn’t intervene for the most part with miraculous changes in nature or interference in human choice. It is only the rare occasion when God intervenes for an exceptional individual or for some special purpose.
At the other extreme is the position that every single situation is infused with divine intervention. Every single moment of life is miraculous. God intervenes very selectively and not as a constant.
What impact does this belief have on a person? What difference does one’s view on divine providence have on how one experiences life?
Before thinking about this I questioned whether it is even interesting to me. What do I care whether God is directly sending this situation my way or whether nature is running its course as God programmed it to do and therefore God is only the indirect cause of this happening? Why should the consideration of God’s involvement matter to me?
After all, how much can we know about God’s relationship towards us anyway? The logotherapeutic perspective posits that as far as responsibility is concerned it isn’t even relevant to ask whether or not a person believes in God. – Reality demands a response from him! What does this situation require from me? What does it call upon me to do or what attitude ought I take towards what is happening? If the situation itself demands a response, what difference does it make if God is sending the situation directly or indirectly and whether it’s a natural or miraculous occurrence? Every moment has a unique meaning in any case! The values waiting to be fulfilled by me are the same values whether I believe this experience is providential or not. In light of the focus on human response-ability the differences between even extreme positions seem to fall away.
I concluded that a perspective on God’s involvement does matter because the human view of things influences human behavior.
My tentative thought is this: What we call belief in divine providence is not actually belief in divine providence. It is possible to say that God intervenes in every moment of life without actually deep-down believing it. It’s also possible to say that God does not directly intervene without actually deep-down believing that God even cares what’s going on here. Maybe the first thing that needs to be explored is how the distorted views on divine providence impact human behavior and not how the actual true belief in divine providence impacts behavior.