The Laws of the Divine Providence
Providence is not evident, but man should acknowledge it.
The wind blows where it will, and thou hearest the sound of it, but thou knowest not whence it comes or whither it goes; so is everyone who is born of the spirit.
DP 180. II. IF A MAN CLEARLY SAW THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE , HE WOULD INTERPOSE IN THE ORDER AND TENOR OF ITS COURSE, AND WOULD PERVERT AND DESTROY THAT ORDER.
DP 180:2. First: There is such a connection between external and internal things that they make one in every operation. This will be illustrated here by examples taken from several parts of the human body.
DP 180:3. Take some common sheath in the body, the pleura for example which is the common sheath of the chest, or of the heart and lungs, and... consult anatomists. You will learn that this common sheath... by continu- ations from itself becoming finer and finer, enters into the innermost parts of the lungs, even into the tiniest bronchial branches and into the very minute sacs which are the beginnings of the lungs; not to mention its subsequent progress through the trachea to the larynx towards the tongue. From these things it is clear that there is a continuous connection between the outermost things and the inmost.... This is the reason that, when this outermost sheath, the pleura, becomes congested or inflamed or ulcerated, the lungs labor from their inmost parts; and if the disease grows worse, all action of the lungs ceases and the man dies.
DP 180:5. ...Now since man is associated with the Lord in certain external operations, and since no one is ever deprived of the liberty of acting according to reason, it follows that the Lord can only act in internals as He acts together with man in externals. Therefore, if man does not shun and turn away from evils as sins, the external of his thought and will and at the same time the internal become vitiated and are destroyed, comparatively as... [with] pleurisy, which causes the death of the body.
DP 180:6. Second: If man were at the same time in internals he would pervert and destroy the whole order and tenor of the Divine Providence.
DP 180:7. If man knew how the stomach digests, how the surrounding viscera absorb their own portion, work upon the blood, and distribute it for all the needs of life, and if he had the disposing of these as he has of external things, such as eating and drinking, would he not pervert and destroy them all? When he is unable to dispose the external, which appears to be a single thing, without destroying it by extravagance and intemperance, what would he do if he had the disposition of the internals, which are infinite in number? Therefore man’s internals, lest he should enter into them by the exercise of his will and gain control of them, are entirely removed from the scope of the will, with the exception of the muscles which constitute the covering; and, moreover, it is not known how these act; it is only known that they do act.
DP 181. It is the same in the spiritual things of the mind as it is in the natural things of the body, because all things of the mind correspond to all things of the body....
DP 181:2. ...Consequently, as man disposes the externals so the Lord disposes the internals; and this He does in one way if man, of himself, disposes the externals, and in another way if he disposes the externals from the Lord and at the same time as of himself.
Questions and Comments
- “The wind blows where it will....” We have a very hard time accurately forecasting the weather beyond one or two days. How much less can we forecast the movements of the Holy Spirit in our lives, bringing us the breath of life!
- In lots of ways, the Heavenly Doctrine presents a holistic picture of creation and Divine Providence, with everything interconnected and interdependent, like one great ecosystem. Have you ever noticed examples in human life where either trouble or success in one area triggers trouble or success in another, seemingly unrelated area?
- Divine Providence 180 mentions other parts of the body too, including “the interiors of the organs of generation for propagating, the interiors of the womb for perfecting the embryo.” It certainly seems that as we learn more, we “in innumerable ways pervert and destroy in them the order of the course of the Divine Providence” in relation to these organs in some areas, though in other applications, health sciences certainly help people.
- How can we improve in disposing the externals of our life “from the Lord and at the same time as of self” ?