The Laws of the Divine Providence
Introduction: The First Three Chapters
- Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
- For whoever will save his soul shall lose it, but whoever shall lose his soul for My sake shall find it.
- For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, but cast away his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
From Divine Providence
THE LORD’S DIVINE PROVIDENCE, IN EVERYTHING THAT IT DOES, REGARDS THE INFINITE AND THE ETERNAL.
DP 46. It is known in the Christian world that God is Infinite and Eternal.... From this it follows that, as God is Infinite and Eternal, nothing but what is Infinite and Eternal can be predicated of God.... God, because He is Infinite... is Love itself and Wisdom itself, or is Good itself and Truth itself, and thus is the Self—indeed is Man Himself. Such ideas also are present when it is said that the Infinite is the All, and that Infinite Wisdom is Omniscience, and that Infinite Power is Omnipotence.
 Yet these ideas fall into haziness of thought, and from being incomprehensible perhaps meet with denial. This happens unless those things which thought derives from nature are withdrawn from the idea, especially what it derives from the two things proper to nature, space and time, for these cannot but limit ideas and cause abstract ideas to be as nothing. However, if those things can be withdrawn in man as they are in an angel, then the Infinite may be comprehended by means of the ideas just mentioned above. Hence also it may be comprehended that man is because he was created by the Infinite God who is the All....
DP 46:3. From what has been shown in the treatise The Divine Love and Wisdom, it is clear that the Divine Essence is Love and Wisdom (n. 28-39); that the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom are Substance itself and Form itself, and consequently the Self-subsisting and the one only subsisting Essence (n. 40-46); and that God created the universe and all things in it from Himself and not from nothing (n. 282-284). From this it follows that every created thing, and especially man, and the love and wisdom in him, are something and are not merely ideas of being. For unless God were Infinite there would be no finite; and unless the Infinite were the All there would not be anything; and unless God had created all things from Himself there would be nothing. In a word, We are because God is.
DP 47. The Divine Providence is the subject now being discussed, and it is to be shown here that in everything it does it regards the infinite and the eternal. As this cannot be clearly set forth except in an orderly way, the order will be as follows:
- The Infinite in itself and the Eternal in itself is the same as the Divine.
- The Infinite and Eternal in itself cannot but regard what is infinite [and eternal] from itself in finite things.
- The Divine Providence in everything it does regards what is infinite and eternal from itself, especially in saving the human race.
- An image of the Infinite and Eternal is presented in an angelic heaven from a saved human race.
- The inmost of the Divine Providence is to regard what is infinite and eternal in forming the angelic heaven, in order that it may be before the Lord as one man, the image of Himself.
Questions and Comments
- DP 46 says that we cannot comprehend the Infinite with our finite minds, and yet we can by abstract ideas, such as that He is Love itself and Wisdom itself, and even Man Himself, the One who is truly Human. Does it make sense to you to think of the Lord as being Love itself: the very essence of love and the source of love to all in the universe?
- How can we withdraw a bit from ideas of space and time? If we think of God as Man in natural terms, we wonder how tall He is, how much He weighs, the color of His eyes, and so forth. Then we can’t see how He can be omnipotent and omniscient. How do we overcome this limitation?
- In what ways can we too look to what is infinite and eternal, not just to worldly and bodily goals and pleasures?