(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 330

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330. In order that it may be apparent how harmful is the belief in predestination as generally understood, these four propositions must be taken up and established. First: Any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine Love, which is infinite. It has been shown in the treatise, THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, that Jehovah or the Lord is Divine Love, and that the Divine Love is infinite* and the Being (Esse) of all life, and also that man was created in the image according to the likeness of God. Since also everyone is formed in the womb in that image according to that likeness by the Lord, as has also been shown, it follows that the Lord is the heavenly Father of all men, and that men are His spiritual children. So is Jehovah or the Lord called in the Word, and so also are men; and therefore He says:
Call no father (A.V. man) your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, who is in the heavens (A.V. heaven). Matt. xxiii. 9.
By this is meant that He alone is the Father as to life, and that the earthly father is father only as to the covering of life, which is the body. Therefore in heaven no other than the Lord is called Father. That men who do not pervert that life are said to be His sons and to be born of Him is also clear from many passages in the Word.
[2] Hence it may he evident that the Divine Love is in every man, both the wicked and the good; consequently that the Lord who is Divine Love cannot act otherwise than as a father on earth acts towards his children, and infinitely more so, because the Divine Love is infinite; and also that He cannot withdraw from anyone because the life of everyone is derived from Him. He appears to withdraw from the wicked; but it is the wicked who withdraw, while He from love still leads them. Therefore the Lord says:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. ...
What man is there of you, who if his son ask bread will give him a stone? ...
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in the heavens give good things to them that ask Him? Matt. vii. 7-11;
and elsewhere,
He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt. v. 45.
Moreover, it is well known in the Church that the Lord desires the salvation of all, and the death of no one. Hence it may be seen that any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine Love.
[3] Second: Any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine Wisdom, which is infinite. The Divine Love through its Divine Wisdom provides the means by which every man may be saved; and therefore to say that there is any predestination except to heaven is to say that the Divine Love cannot provide the means by which salvation may be effected. Nevertheless, as has been shown above, all have the means, and these are from the Divine Providence, which is infinite. However, there are some who are not saved, because the Divine Love desires that man should feel in himself the happiness and the blessedness of heaven, for otherwise it would not be heaven to him, and this cannot take place unless it appears to man that he thinks and wills from himself. For without this appearance nothing would be appropriated to him nor would he be a man. For this reason there is the Divine Providence, which is of the Divine Wisdom from the Divine Love.
[4] This, however, does not deny the truth that all are predestined to heaven and no one to hell; but it would deny it if the means of salvation were wanting. But it has been shown above that the means of salvation have been provided for everyone, and that heaven is such that all who live well, of whatever religion they may be, have a place there. Man is like the earth which produces fruits of every kind, and it is by virtue of this power that the earth is the earth. The fact that it produces evil fruits does not deny its power to produce good fruits also, but it would if it only had the power to produce evil fruits. Again, man is like an object which variegates in itself the rays of light. If the object only presents colours that are not pleasing, the light is not the cause of this, for its rays may be variegated to produce pleasing colours.
[5] Third: It is a foolish heresy that only those are saved who are born within the Church. Those who are born outside the Church are men as well as those born within it, being of the same heavenly origin, and are equally living and immortal souls. They also have a form of religion from which they acknowledge that there is a God, and that they ought to live well; and he who acknowledges God and lives well becomes spiritual in his own degree and is saved, as was shown above. It is urged that these have not been baptised; but baptism does not save any except those who are spiritually washed, that is, regenerated, for baptism is a sign and a memorial of this.
[6] It is also urged that the Lord is not known to them, and that without the Lord there is no salvation. Salvation, however, does not come to anyone because the Lord is known to him, but because he lives according to the Lord's commandments; and the Lord is known to everyone who acknowledges God, for the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, as He Himself teaches (Matt. xxviii. 18, and elsewhere). Moreover, those who are outside the Church have a clearer idea of God as a Man than Christians have; and those who have the idea of God as a Man and live well are accepted by the Lord. They also acknowledge God as one in Person and in Essence, which Christians do not. They also think of God in their life; for they regard evils as sins against God, and those who do this think of God in their life. Christians derive their precepts of religion from the Word, but few of them draw any precepts of life from it.
[7] Roman Catholics do not read the Word; and Protestants who are in faith separated from charity pay no attention to those things in the Word which relate to life, but only to those which relate to faith: and yet the whole Word is nothing else than the doctrine of life. Christianity prevails only in Europe; Mohammedanism and Gentilism prevail in Asia, the Indies, Africa and America, and the population in these parts of the globe is ten times more numerous than in the Christian part; and in the Christian part there are but few who place religion in the life. What then is more foolish than to believe that only these latter are saved and the former are condemned, and that a man gains heaven by his birth and not by his life? Therefore the Lord says:
I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven:
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out. Matt. viii. 11, 12.
[8] Fourth: It is a cruel heresy that any of the human race are conned by predestination. For it is cruel to believe that the Lord, who is Love itself and Mercy itself, suffers so great a multitude of men to be born for hell, or so many myriads of myriads to be born condemned and doomed, that is, to be born devils and satans; and that He does not from His Divine Wisdom provide that those who live well and acknowledge God should not be cast into everlasting fire and torment. The Lord is ever the Creator and Saviour of all; and He alone leads all and desires the death of no one. It is therefore cruel to believe and think that so great a multitude of nations and peoples under His auspices and oversight should be handed over as prey to the devil by predestination.
* Original Edition has "ille" and not "Ille."


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