“The merely natural person says to himself, “What is Divine providence? Has it any reality, or is it any more than a term used by the common people, having heard it from a priest? Who sees anything of it? Is it not prudence, wisdom, cunning and malice that accomplish everything in the world? All other happenings, then, are they not inevitabilities and consequences? And are not many of them also chance occurrences? Does Divine providence lie hidden within them? How can it be present in scams and swindles? And yet people say that Divine providence is responsible for everything.
“Cause me to see it, therefore, and I will believe it. Can anyone believe in it prior to that?”
So speaks the merely natural person. But the spiritual person speaks otherwise. Because the spiritual person acknowledges God, he also acknowledges Divine providence, and moreover sees it. However, he cannot show it to anyone who thinks only within the realm of nature in terms of nature. For such a one cannot elevate his mind above nature and see in its appearances anything of Divine providence, or form conclusions about it from its laws, which also are laws of Divine wisdom. If he were to clearly see it, therefore, he would introduce nature into it and so not only envelop it in misconceptions but also profane it; and instead of acknowledging it, he would deny it. And one who at heart denies Divine providence, also denies God.
One must judge either that God governs all things, or that nature does. One who judges that God governs all things thinks that they are governed by love itself and wisdom itself, thus by life itself, while one who judges that nature governs all things thinks that they are governed by natural heat and natural light, even though these are in themselves lifeless, being from a lifeless sun. Does not that which is itself alive govern that which is lifeless? Can something that is lifeless govern anything? If you suppose that something lifeless can endow itself with life, you are demented. Life must come from life.”