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Eye of providence

The term providence generally denotes a higher power that influences the fate of people and the course of world history . The precise descriptions of Providence include: a. different and sometimes contradicting due to different ideas of God .

Providence in Christianity

Providence (Latin: providentia ) belongs to the omnipotent and omniscient God insofar as he orders the course of world and salvation events and, if necessary, already knows in advance. This can happen in different ways: according to the laws of nature , through miracles , through gracious grace , through cooperation with the free will of creatures endowed with reason, or through the admission of sin , even if this excludes the active cooperation of God.

“In the preaching of Jesus there is a doctrine that embraces the whole of existence and focuses it on the individual: the message of providence. According to this, whatever is and is going on in the world is directed to the salvation of believers through the love, wisdom and power of the Father . "

- Romano Guardini : Prayer School, 1943

The Augustinian doctrine of predestination, or predestination, is about which people are meant to attain eternal life. The predestination of man was at no time part of the Roman Catholic doctrine because predestination ultimately contradicts the free will of man, while providence leaves a lot of room for the free will of man. Since modern times , the Protestant doctrine of justification has taken up this idea.

In relation to events that one experiences as evil , although one submits to God in them, the downright popular concept of the inexplicable counsel for Providence is in use. This also applies in this context to the admission of sin, the human condition , or accidents or deaths.

“The real meaning of Providence is not that man is well in time, but that 'the kingdom of God ' comes and 'his righteousness' is fulfilled; the new creation and man of eternity complete themselves. "

- Romano Guardini : World and Person, 1939

The word is often part of the vocabulary of dictators and revolutionaries who consider themselves a tool of divine providence. For example, there were Nazi leaders who spoke of fate in this context . This idea of ​​belief in fate was condemned by the Catholic Church. She teaches:

““ But everything that he has created, God protects and guides through his providence, 'stretching powerfully from one end to the other and gently arranging everything' [Wis 8: 1]. 'For everything is naked and bare before his eyes' [Heb 4:13], including that which will happen through the free act of creatures. "

Providence in ancient Roman mythology

In Roman mythology , Providentia was the goddess of providence who ruled over the emperor and thus all citizens.

Providence in Islam

Divine Providence is one of the six articles of faith in Islam .

The Arabic word Qadar is usually translated as fate or destiny . Nevertheless, in the opinion of the majority of scholars, humans have free will. He can freely choose whether he decides for or against a life with God . However, this decision has consequences in the hereafter.

According to the Islamic view, God is omnipotent. He is completely independent (cf. Sura 112 : 2). This also gives him the opportunity to see into the future. He already knows that an event will happen before it even happens. When the creation of man began, all future events were already written down in a book. So it says in the Koran:

"No calamity occurs on earth or within yourself without it being in a book before We create it."

- Sura 57 , verse 22.

However, this does not mean that humans do not have free will. If he were not free to decide his fate , a just God would have no way of judging him.

Even so, there must have been events that were predetermined by God. An example of such an event is man's banishment from paradise . So it says with Muslim :

“Abu Hurairah reported that God's Messenger said: There was once a quarrel between Adam and Moses. Moses said to Adam: You are our father. You harmed us and were the reason for our banishment from paradise. Adam said to him: You are Moses. God chose you and wrote the book ( Torah ) for you with His own hand . Nevertheless you blame me for an act that God determined 40 years before my creation. "

- Saheeh Muslim : The Predestination, Book 33, Tradition 6409.

This shows that, according to Islamic belief, important events in human history are already predetermined. In summary, an allegory of Ali , the son of Abu Talib, should be reported here. He compared the human journey through life with the journey of a ship. This ship sails from one place to another, man has no influence on it. This is divine predestination. However, the person can move freely in the ship and thus has free will.

Providence under National Socialism

For Adolf Hitler and the National Socialism he founded and led , the reference to so-called Providence played a central role, both to justify his acts and to evaluate survived assassinations as confirmation by Providence .

See also



Sources and historical overviews

  • Wolfgang Schrage : God's Providence? Speaking of the providentia Dei in antiquity and in the New Testament . Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 2005 ISBN 3-7887-2088-3
  • John Alvis: Divine Purpose and Heroic Response in Homer and Virgil. The Political Plan of Zeus . Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham et al. a. 1995 ISBN 0-8476-8014-2
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca : De providentia = About Providence , in: De otio. Latin / German . Reclam, Stuttgart 1996
  • Ursel Wicke-Reuter: Divine Providence and Human Responsibility in Ben Sira and in the Early Stoa . Supplements to the journal for Old Testament science 298. de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 2000 ISBN 3-11-016863-4
  • Peter Frick: Divine Providence in Philo of Alexandria . TSAJ 77. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1999 ISBN 3-16-147141-5
  • HS Benjamin: Organized Freedom. Liberty and Providence with Origen. Vigiliae Christianae Supplements 28. Brill, Leiden et al. a. 1994 ISBN 90-04-10117-9
  • Hildegard Cancik-Lindemaier : Providence II: Religious History (Greek and Roman) , in: Religion in Past and Present, 4th Edition, Tübingen 2001, Vol. 8, Sp. 1213-1214.
  • Catherine of Siena : God's providence . Ed., Introduced a. trans. by Louise Gnädinger. Piper 527 series: Texts by Christian mystics. Piper, Munich a. a. 1989 ISBN 3-492-10527-0
  • Jörg O. Fichte (Ed.): Providentia - Fatum - Fortuna . The Middle Ages 1.1996.1. Akad.-Verl., Berlin 1996
  • Horton Davies: The Vigilant God. Providence in the Thought of Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Barth . Lang, New York et al. a. 1992
  • Stefan Gnädinger: Providence: A fundamental problem of the philosophy of religion with Johann Gottlieb Fichte . Pontes 14th LIT-Verlag, Münster 2003 ISBN 3-8258-6581-9
  • Johannes Köhler, Providence , in: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy, Basel 2001, Vol. 11, Sp. 1206–1218.
  • Heiko Schulz: eschatological identity. An investigation into the relationship between providence, fate and chance in Sören Kierkegaard . Theological Library Töpelmann 63. de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 1994 ISBN 3-11-014093-4
  • Arnulf von Scheliha, Belief in Divine Providence. An investigation into the sociology of religion, the philosophy of history and the history of theology , Stuttgart 1999
  • Andreas Urs Sommer Creation of meaning through history? On the emergence of a speculative universalistic philosophy of history between Bayle and Kant , Basel: Schwabe 2006, pp. 382-399 (Providence in the philosophy of history) ISBN 3-7965-2214-9
  • William Lane Craig : The Problem of Divine Foreknowledge and Future Contingents from Aristotle to Suarez . Brill's Studies in Intellectual History 7. Brill, Leiden u. a. 1988 ISBN 90-04-08516-5
  • Jacob Viner, The Role of Providence in the Social Order. An Essay in Intellectual History . Jayne Lectures for 1966, Philadelphia 1972.
  • Merk (ed.), The Synod of Dordrecht. 1st edition, Siegen 2019. ISBN 978-3-948475-08-6 .

Current philosophical and theological discussion

  • Theodor Schneider, Lothar Ullrich (ed.): Providence and action of God . Quaestiones disputatae 115. Herder, Freiburg i.Br. u. a. 1988 ISBN 3-451-02115-3
  • John Sanders: The God Who Risks. A Theology of Providence . InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove 1998 ISBN 0-8308-1501-5
  • Richard Swinburne : Providence and the Problem of Evil . Clarendon Press, Oxford et al. a. 1998 ISBN 0-19-823799-5 (analytical philosophy of religion)
  • Arnulf von Scheliha: Belief in divine providence. An examination of the sociology of religion, philosophy of history and the history of theology . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart a. a. 1999 ISBN 3-17-015574-1
  • Richard Kocher: Challenged Providence. The Doctrine of Providence on the horizon of contemporary theology . EOS-Verl., St. Ottilien 2nd edition 1999 ISBN 3-88096-985-X
  • Reinhold Bernhardt: What does “God's action” mean? A reconstruction of the Doctrine of Providence . Gütersloher Verlagshaus Kaiser, Gütersloh 1999 ISBN 3-579-00403-4
  • Hans Christian Schmidbaur: God's action in the world and history. A Trinitarian Theology of Providence . Munich theological studies 2/63. EOS-Verl., St. Ottilien 2003 ISBN 3-8306-7175-X
  • Lehner, Ulrich L., Kant's Concept of Providence and its background in German School Philosophy & Theology (Leiden: 2007) 18
  • Kempf, Larsen: Fate, Providence and Contingency as Political Motives, in: Zeitschrift für Politik No. 1/2012, Munich 2012

Generally understandable

Web links

Wiktionary: Providence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. For the relationship between predestination and providence according to today's Calvinist understanding, see the website of the Calvinist Covenant .
  2. "The inscrutable advice, you know it," in the Brandner Kaspar
  3. With burning concern 11
  4. Providence and Religiosity. Theologian Rainer Bucher analyzes Hitler's understanding of God , Deutschlandfunk , March 10, 2008.