Providence

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PROVIDENCE

I. CONFUSED THINKING ABOUT THE DOINGS OF GOD

1. Sometimes we must share the family discipline.

“We are all a part of the family of God, and we must therefore sometimes share in the family discipline. Many of the acts of God which so disturb and confuse us are the result of the decisions and final rulings of all-wisdom, empowering the Conjoint Actor to execute the choosing of the infallible will of the infinite mind, to enforce the decisions of the personality of perfection, whose survey, vision, and solicitude embrace the highest and eternal welfare of all his vast and far-flung creation.” (48.1) 3:2.9

2. Why we so misunderstand God’s doings.

“Thus it is that your detached, sectional, finite, gross, and highly materialistic viewpoint and the limitations inherent in the nature of your being constitute such a handicap that you are unable to see, comprehend, or know the wisdom and kindness of many of the divine acts which to you seem fraught with such crushing cruelty, and which seem to be characterized by such utter indifference to the comfort and welfare, to the planetary happiness and personal prosperity, of your fellow creatures. It is because of the limits of human vision, it is because of your circumscribed understanding and finite comprehension, that you misunderstand the motives, and pervert the purposes, of God. But many things occur on the evolutionary worlds which are not the personal doings of the Universal Father.” (48.2) 3:2.10

3. The nature of genuine providence.

“For ages the inhabitants of Urantia have misunderstood the providence of God. There is a providence of divine outworking on your world, but it is not the childish, arbitrary, and material ministry many mortals have conceived it to be. The providence of God consists in the interlocking activities of the celestial beings and the divine spirits who, in accordance with cosmic law, unceasingly labor for the honor of God and for the spiritual advancement of his universe children.” (54.4) 4:1.1

4. The concept of progressive providence.

“Can you not advance in your concept of God’s dealing with man to that level where you recognize that the watchword of the universe is progress? Through long ages the human race has struggled to reach its present position. Throughout all these millenniums Providence has been working out the plan of progressive evolution. The two thoughts are not opposed in practice, only in man’s mistaken concepts. Divine providence is never arrayed in opposition to true human progress, either temporal or spiritual. Providence is always consistent with the unchanging and perfect nature of the supreme Lawmaker.” (54.5) 4:1.2

II. PROVIDENCE THE DOMAIN OF THE CONJOINT ACTOR
AND SUPREME BEING

1. The domain of Conjoint Actor and Supreme Being.

“While you envisage the Father as an original creator and the Son as a spiritual administrator, you should think of the Third Source and Center as a universal co-ordinator, a minister of unlimited co-operation. The Conjoint Actor is the correlator of all actual reality; he is the Deity repository of the Father’s thought and the Son’s word and in action is eternally regardful of the material absoluteness of the central Isle. The Paradise Trinity has ordained the universal order of progress, and the providence of God is the domain of the Conjoint Creator and the evolving Supreme Being. No actual or actualizing reality can escape eventual relationship with the Third Source and Center.” (99.2) 9:1.3

2. How Moses regarded Providence.

“Moses was a believer in Providence; he had become thoroughly tainted with the doctrines of Egypt concerning the supernatural control of the Nile and the other elements of nature. He had a great vision of God, but he was thoroughly sincere when he taught the Hebrews that, if they would obey God, ‘He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will multiply the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land—the corn, wine, oil, and your flocks. You shall be prospered above all people, and the Lord your God will take away from you all sickness and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt upon you.’ He even said: ‘Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth.’ ‘You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. You shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.’” (1058.2) 96:5.4 Deut 7:12-15.

III. FUNCTIONS OF PROVIDENCE

1. Man does have relative powers of choice.

“Providence does not mean that God has decided all things for us and in advance. God loves us too much to do that, for that would be nothing short of cosmic tyranny. Man does have relative powers of choice. Neither is the divine love that shortsighted affection which-would pamper and spoil the children of men.” (1304.3) 118:10.1

2. Providence is a function.

“The Gods have attributes but the Trinity has functions, and like the Trinity, providence is a function, the composite of the other-than-personal overcontrol of the universe of universes, extending from the evolutionary levels of the Sevenfold synthesizing in the power of the Almighty on up through the transcendental realms of the Ultimacy of Deity.” (1304.6) 118:10.4

3. Providence functions with regard to totals.

“God loves each creature as a child, and that love overshadows each creature throughout all time and eternity. Providence functions with regard to the total and deals with the function of any creature as such function is related to the total. Providential intervention with regard to any being is indicative of the importance of the function of that being as concerns the evolutionary growth of some total; such total may be the total race, the total nation, the total planet, or even a higher total. It is the importance of the function of the creature that occasions providential intervention, not the importance of the creature as a person.” (1304.7) 118:10.5

4. Our mistaken ideas about providence.

“Nevertheless, the Father as a person may at any time interpose a fatherly hand in the stream of cosmic events all in accordance with the will of God and in consonance with the wisdom of God and as motivated by the love of God.

“But what man calls providence is all too often the product of his own imagination, the fortuitous juxtaposition of the circumstances of chance. There is, however, a real and emerging providence in the finite realm of universe existence, a true and actualizing correlation of the energies of space, the motions of time, the thoughts of intellect, the ideals of character, the desires of spiritual natures, and the purposive volitional acts of evolving personalities. The circumstances of the material realms find final finite integration in the interlocking presences of the Supreme and the Ultimate.” (1305.1) 118:10.6

5. How easy to misunderstand providence.

“Some of the amazingly fortuitous conditions occasionally prevailing on the evolutionary worlds may be due to the gradually emerging presence of the Supreme, the foretasting of his future universe activities. Most of what a mortal would call providential is not; his judgment of such matters is very handicapped by lack of farsighted vision into the true meanings of the circumstances of life. Much of what a mortal would call good luck might really be bad luck; the smile of fortune that bestows unearned leisure and undeserved wealth may be the greatest of human afflictions; the apparent cruelty of a perverse fate that heaps tribulation upon some suffering mortal may in reality be the tempering fire that is transmuting the soft iron of immature personality into the tempered steel of real character.” (1305.4) 118:10.9

6. Providence of the overcontrol of Supremacy.

“There is a providence in the evolving universes, and it can be discovered by creatures to just the extent that they have attained capacity to perceive the purpose of the evolving universes. Complete capacity to discern universe purposes equals the evolutionary completion of the creature and may otherwise be expressed as the attainment of the Supreme within the limits of the present state of the incomplete universes.

“The love of the Father operates directly in the heart of the individual, independent of the actions or reactions of all other individuals; the relationship is personal—man and God. The impersonal presence of Deity (Almighty Supreme and Paradise Trinity) manifests regard for the whole, not for the part. The providence of the overcontrol of Supremacy becomes increasingly apparent as the successive parts of the universe progress in the attainment of finite destinies.”  (1305.5) 118:10.10

7. In the age of light and life providence becomes actual.

“On a planet of this advanced order, providence has become an actuality, the circumstances of life are correlated, but this is not only because man has come to dominate the material problems of his world; it is also because he has begun to live according to the trend of the universes; he is following the pathway of Supremacy to the attainment of the Universal Father.” (1306.5) 118:10.16

8. As of now, providence can only be partial.

“The kingdom of God is in the hearts of men, and when this kingdom becomes actual in the heart of every individual on a world, then God’s rule has become actual on that planet; and this is the attained sovereignty of the Supreme Being.

“To realize providence in time, man must accomplish the task of achieving perfection. But man can even now foretaste this providence in its eternity meanings as he ponders the universe fact that all things, be they good or evil, work together for the advancement of God-knowing mortals in their quest for the Father of all.” (1306.6) 118:10.17

9. Spiritual insight detects providence.

“Providence becomes increasingly discernible as men reach upward from the material to the spiritual. The attainment of completed spiritual insight enables the ascending personality to detect harmony in what was thereto- fore chaos. Even morontia mota represents a real advance in this direction.” (1306.8) 118:10.19

10. Providence and the incomplete Supreme.

“Providence is in part the overcontrol of the incomplete Supreme manifested in the incomplete universes, and it must therefore ever be:

“1. Partial—due to the incompleteness of the actualization of the Supreme Being, and

“2. Unpredictable—due to the fluctuations in creature attitude, which ever varies from level to level, thus causing apparently variable reciprocal response in the Supreme.” (1307.1) 118:10.20

11. What providence really means.

“When men pray for providential intervention in the circumstances of life, many times the answer to their prayer is their own changed attitudes toward life. But providence is not whimsical, neither is it fantastic nor magical. It is the slow and sure emergence of the mighty sovereign of the finite universes, whose majestic presence the evolving creatures occasionally detect in their universe progressions. Providence is the sure and certain march of the galaxies of space and the personalities of time toward the goals of eternity, first in the Supreme, then in the Ultimate, and perhaps in the Absolute. And in infinity we believe there is the same providence, and this is the will, the actions, the purpose of the Paradise Trinity thus motivating the cosmic panorama of universes upon universes.” (1307.4) 118:10.23

12. When providence becomes actual.

“As the systems, constellations, universes, and superuniverses become settled in light and life, the Supreme increasingly emerges as the meaningful correlator of all that is transpiring, while the Ultimate gradually emerges as the transcendental unifier of all things.” (1305.6) 118:10.11

IV. JESUS AND THE MYSTERIOUS DISPENSATION OF PROVIDENCE

“As Jesus mingled with the people, they found him entirely free from the superstitions of that day. He was free from religious prejudices; he was never intolerant. He had nothing in his heart resembling social antagonism. While he complied with the good in the religion of his fathers, he did not hesitate to disregard man-made traditions of superstition and bondage. He dared to teach that catastrophes of nature, accidents of time, and other calamitous happenings are not visitations of divine judgments or mysterious dispensations of Providence. He denounced slavish devotion to meaningless ceremonials and exposed the fallacy of materialistic worship. He boldly proclaimed man’s spiritual freedom and dared to teach that mortals of the flesh are indeed and in truth sons of the living God.” (1671.5) 149:2.10

THE BIBLE ON PROVIDENCE

I. PROVIDENCE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

While the word Providence does not appear in the Old Testament, the idea prevails throughout these writings as the concept of the “chosen people.”

“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Gen 50:20.

“I will set apart the land of Goshen...so that no swarms of flies shall be there.” Ex 8:22.

“I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians.” Ex 15:26.

“And in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.” Hag 2:9.

“Look to Abraham...for when he was but one...I blessed him and made him many.” Isa 51:2.

“But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.” Mal 4:2.

II. PROVIDENCE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

In the New Testament the word Providence occurs once—in the King James Version—Acts 24:2. “Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence.” (In the Revised Version Providence is rendered “provision.”)

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matt 6:26.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will.” Matt 10:29.

“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working still, and I am working.’” John 5:17.

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28.

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