Divine Providence

I see that Aberdeen University is having a conference on Divine Providence. The aim seems to be to revive it.

At least that shows an acknowledgement that belief in it is, (thank God), dying at the moment.

Divine Providence is a doctrine that most Christians think they are supposed to agree with. The idea is that God is in control of human experience in some way. Wikipedia defines it thus: “Divine Providence is the sovereignty, superintendence, or agency of God over events in people’s lives and throughout history.”

It makes no sense to me in most of the ways in which people try to explain it. It seems to me very much as though God is not in control of the nations, natural events and individuals in the world. The only explanation of Divine Providence that I’ve been unable to dismiss in recent years is that in Jung and the Christian Way by Christopher Bryant. His argument is that if God is within us, then so is Providence.

Fr Gadgetvicar’s sign blew over the other day – see his post and picture. Classical belief in Divine Providence suggests that this is either an act of Divine Disapproval (surely not) or that it is God telling St Silas that they need a new sign in order to convert more people.

I think it was a gust of wind myself.


  1. Now you see, if I were a member of St Silas’, I might have a third option in mind…

    Surely Aberdeen has a right to believe in Providence, given that the theological climate (not to mention the TISEC curriculum) has worked to much in their favour of late.

  2. GadgetVicar says

    Er….the title of the post was a wee joke at our own expense – we’ve been talking for a long time about replacing the sign, and have procrastinated….and the post is about a sign, hence ‘It’s a sign!’. A so-called ‘act of God’ has now forced our hand. We’ll be getting a shiny new sign.

    Now if that gets blown over………..?

    Come on, surely you would expect St Silas’ folk to believe that God would show his disapproval of us with at least a thunderbolt or something?

    What third option do you have in mind, Kimberly?

  3. kelvin says

    Oh, don’t worry, I saw the exclamation mark. I knew you were joking.

    There’s a frightening number of people involved in all kinds of religion who really do believe in acts of God happening like that.

    I’ve no doubt where any thunderbolts are likely to land – the largest spire in the locality.

    It took about eight years for St Mary’s to install a new noticeboard. I fear it is sometimes easier to build a new building than to replace a church noticeboard.

  4. I’ll leave interpretation open, GadgetVicar. So much more chance for dialogue that way.

  5. Zebadee says


    What about the lightning strike on York Minster some years ago?

    I seem to remember the provost had some interesting comments to make on that incident

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