Wednesday 23 October 2013

My views on divine providence


I do have views on what I understand to be 'God's plan' or 'God's hopes' about the nature and role of some churches and nations - but there is no possibility of persuading other people of the correctness of my beliefs, and it would be dangerous to try.

So I will not argue or defend these views - nor will I respond to challenges or requests to do so; I merely state them.

For what they are worth; I believe that the way God works in history is to support the best possibilities as they emerge through human choices; but people often, usually, choose wickedness,  - later if not sooner - often encouraged by demonic influences - and therefore these plans and hopes get sabotaged and new ones must be launched.


I presume that the focus of world Christianity was the Roman Empire and its continuation in Constantinople then Moscow - but that God foresaw how this was crumbling towards destruction (which actually happened, from evil choices encouraged by demonic influences, in 1917).

I believe God also supported the best manifestations of the Western breakaway churches, including the (many) good features of the Reformation; and including the early Church of England translations of scriptures (to form a basis for English-speaking Christians).

I also believe that God enabled and has sustained the Mormon church - and its 'timing' to emerge as so many other Christian churches in the West are corrupting, crumbling and dying.


The focus of Christianity has roots, but also has moved around the world; the Holy Ghost being most active at one place at one time, and another place at another time - especially in relation to anything which is or may become a Christian empire.

In this sense I think it likely that the USA both has been, and was meant to become, the focus of world Christianity - at least since the apostasy and de facto secularization (and then decline) of the British Empire.

This kind of thing has various indices - but missionary activity is one of them. Britain was the main source of missionaries until this 'role' was taken over by the US - and Britain has been a major recipient of missionary activity since the mid-20th century.

But of course, the nation of the USA has not lived-up-to these hopes (although until recent decades there was hope that it might) and has now become (and is becoming ever more so) via the mass media perhaps the most significant anti-Christian influence in the world.


So I am sure that there is divine providence, but not destiny, nor fate - Men may sabotage almost anything Good, if and when they choose evil; they may also repent (since evil cannot be complete, and in Men there is always an incorrupt residue, a fragment of Goodness, that cannot be obliterated).

While I am not sure I understand providence, neither am I convinced that other people understand it better than me - especially when such people clearly display hard-heartedness, lust for destruction and domination, and hatred when discussing these matters (as do so many supposedly orthodox or traditional 'Christian' bloggers and commenters!).

I am also sure that we each need to do our best to understand the broad workings of providence - to feel the movement and direction of the Holy Ghost - by the discernment of the heart; especially so as to avoid inadvertently sabotaging providence by fighting against God's actual energies, plans and hopes.



Rich said...

Thanks for this, Bruce. Very thoughtful and helpful.

Nicholas Fulford said...

If God be God then none can stand against him.

If this is not true, then God is not God, for God is necessarily greater than all else.

In the first case, do not worry as divine providence cannot be at risk, and if the latter then there is no point in worrying about the providence of a God that is not God.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NF - God is necessarily greater than all else, but that does not of course mean that none can stand against Him! Christianity is about many billions of souls - from Satan onward to almost everybody now alive - standing against God.

Providence is what God want, and is working towards - but the free will of other agents (at least) stands between the one and the other - in fact is is the free will of agents which God primarily hopes to induce to choose well - just as a parent will hope for the love of their children - but cannot coerce it.

In addition, I hold to the Mormon view of God as constrained by matter, laws of nature, linear sequential time etc - God being within the universe (not vice versa) - so providence can only work within this context.

But even without that, the reality of free will in Angels and Men is enough to make my point.