Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Last Note on Providence

What comes out of our previous discussions of divine providence is that (according to Rambam and Ramban) God does not always actively make a good or bad thing happen to us. Sometimes, it is a product of the natural general providence. However, this does not take away from the fact that God did allow this to occur. If an event could not fit in with the divine plan for the world, it would be stopped before it occurred.

Therefore, when evil befalls us, we can use it as an impetus from God to mend our ways and repent. By allowing this event, God has given us a doorway through which to move towards greater spiritual growth. We may find a specific action on our part that this event corresponds to, and treat it as individual providence, or we may not, and simply treat is as falling under the rubric of general providence. The same can be said for good events that befall us.

We can find comfort and solace in the fact that no evil could befall us, even through general providence, if it could not be reconciled with the ultimate designs of God for the course of world events. God may allow evil to occur, even when it goes against His will, but he would not allow it to occur if it would derail the ultimate plan.

And so, the destruction of the Temples, the crusades, the Holocaust, and on an individual level, even the loss of a cherished infant, are certainly not the way God may have wanted the world to act. However, his very allowance of these events testifies to their being compatible with ultimate redemption and meaning in life.