Wednesday 16 December 2020

What is the scale of divine providence in 2020?

Providence is a good word for 'destiny' - I prefer it because destiny has connotations of a blueprint or at least of a stepwise plan; which I do not believe captures the way God works. 

By my understanding (and apart from His desire that we should follow Jesus Christ to resurrected eternal life in Heaven, which is a qualitative choice); God does not have predetermined end-points in view, so much as directions. 

In essence, I think God acts like ideal parents of an earthly family. Parents ought not to have plans of exactly where they want their children to end-up; but should be assisting them to develop their divine potentials in Good directions in accordance with their unique nature - starting from whatever situation each child is actually in - and this situation changes every day. 


Heaven is, I believe, a place of Loving Creation, and this is open-ended and eternal; and our own development likewise. So, this is my model for how God's providence works here in mortal life on earth - mutatis mutandis.  

I find is no problem about understanding how God's providence may be active in our own individual lives; and even in family lives (at least, when the family is working as it should be, or some sufficient approximation to that). 

But there is more of a problem thinking about how providence might work for a nation like England, and even more so when it comes to larger units like Mankind - The World. 

However, in principle, it can be imagined that England contains a vast family of The English, who are those who genuinely (in their hearts) regard themselves as such. 

Furthermore, we might extend this to the animals, plants and even the land itself; assuming (as I do) that creation is constituted by Beings, so every entity is actually a Being which is - in some way - alive and conscious. 


So, in considering the 'destiny' of England, and how providence might be-working now; it may be that the landscape and its features might be having a more powerful effect than the actual English people - most of whom are corrupted to the extent of being hostile to England! 

Consider. If the Beings which constitute the landscape, trees, animals etc are considered to be conscious, God's children (of a kind) and to have destinies; then I would guess that these operate on different timescales than with Men. Presumably some have a faster timescale (like most animals?), some slower than Men (like oak and yew trees?), others perhaps almost glacially slow (like mountains, rivers, moorland?). 

If so; some of the really-slow entities might have long term, cumulative effects - acting across human generations. Maybe they are only now beginning to notice, decide and respond to the cataclysm of the Industrial Revolution - from when Englishmen began increasingly to treat the land as dead, indifferent 'matter' - ripe for exploitation and destruction.

Maybe generations of bad, hostile, cruel attitudes communicated by Men to the animals, plants and lanscapes of England are finally leading to some kind of 'reply'? 

Or could there be consequences of whatever relationships these elements and Beings have with God; perhaps they may be working on some kind of compensatory, constructive and corrective action for the Good of England? ...If we would but deign to notice. 


All very fanicful, and I don't claim to have any knowledge of specifics. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that something of this sort is at work; not just in England, but in all natural 'group' entities. 

And I find this way of thinking to be a cause for hope. The are more things in Heaven and Earth than are taken account of by our usual calculations.

Romantic Christians may not be wholly-reliant upon Men as potential allies; which, in the circumstances of 2020, would be a very cheering thought.  


Sean G. said...

Maybe there are Ents out there, biding their time.

lgude said...

Not so fanciful to me. As a Jungian I think of the level you indicate here as the Collective Unconscious, but I am no way arguing for that term - I want to say that I recognise the level you are referring and say that it intensely satisfying to read someone who is feeling clearly that our society is so imbalanced and value inverted that 'the very stones would cry out'. The Brexit/Trump shock of 2016 cracked the foundations of our secular Western Culture at a level far deeper than that culture recognises or is capable of engaging. The image I see reading your post is of the rock filled brook I grew with and I hear the words 'As the deer longs for the water-brooks". Whatever conceptual framework we use to indicate that level, there is no recovery from the current pass without acknowledging and addressing it. I have stopped reading almost everything on the Net, but continue to read you site because it consistently gets underneath the endless distraction and encourages me to do the only thing I can do in the circumstances - dedicate myself to inner prayer and practice. God Bless.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Igude - As I have said before, sometimes (not by any means usually) I feel impelled to write a post, almost against resistance, on the basis that 'someone' among my readership 'needs' (or at least wants) it. This is almost never wrong (so long as I manage to write the post adequately), and is subsequently confirmed either by a comment like yours or else a private e-mail. When I wrote this post I felt I was 'sticking my neck out' a fair bit, allowing myself to think aloud in a way that (obviously) would strike most people as foolish (especially since I did not link to my earlier philosophical rationale for a living universe); but your comment indicates that this was probably one of those impelled posts.