Divine Providence, by Emanuel Swedenborg

How can a loving God allow so much evil in the universe?

What is the purpose of all the pain and suffering we humans endure?

Does God have a plan for us?

If you’ve ever wondered how an all-loving and all-wise God could allow so much evil, pain, and suffering in the world, Divine Providence is the book for you. In this spiritual classic, Emanuel Swedenborg digs deep into the mind of God to deliver a message of hope and love for ordinary people struggling along in a world that often seems senseless and hopeless.

Divine Providence
By Emanuel Swedenborg

Divine Providence was originally published in Latin in 1763. I recommend the New Century Edition linked here for the most readable and accurate modern translation. It is also available in a deluxe hardcover edition combined with its companion volume, Divine Love and Wisdom.

To purchase Divine Providence on Amazon, click the cover image above, or any of the title links. To purchase direct from the publisher in various formats, or to download a free PDF or epub version (without the scholarly introduction and notes), click this link.

From the back cover:

This spiritual classic, newly translated into clear modern English, describes in vivid detail the universal spiritual laws that shape the world and our lives.

Divine Providence is one of the major works of the Enlightenment scientist and religious seer Emanuel Swedenborg. It provides a coherent and satisfying solution to what has been called “the problem of evil”: How are God’s goodness and power reconcilable with evil’s presence in the larger world and in the human mind and heart? By tackling an array of issues that commonly undermine belief in God, including war, suffering, and inequality—and by revealing the wise and loving laws that lie hidden behind these seemingly senseless phenomena, Divine Providence aims to restore our faith in the meaningfulness of the world. Despite its universal focus, Divine Providence is also a highly practical book on the personal level, demonstrating how we can put aside negative attitudes and behaviors and grow into positive thought and action. Its insights have had a powerful effect on a wide range of thinkers, including William Blake, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Helen Keller.

George F. Dole has captured Swedenborg’s warm and straightforward prose in a fresh and faithful rendering. An introduction by Gregory R. Johnson and annotations by Dole, Johnson, and other scholars of Swedenborg, supported by several complete indexes, provide today’s readers with wide paths of access to Swedenborg’s remarkable work.

“Written at a time of intense philosophical and theological debate on the nature of God’s governance of the world, Swedenborg’s Divine Providence is in many ways far more original and thought-provoking than anything produced by his contemporaries. . . . George F. Dole’s translation is extremely readable, and Gregory R. Johnson’s authoritative introduction not only explains Swedenborg’s often difficult ideas, but places them in their historical context.”
—Glen Alexander Magee, Ph.D
author, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition

“Swedenborg’s Divine Providence is a challenging essay on the nature of human freedom, a forceful attempt to justify God’s ways to humankind. George Dole’s eloquent new translation and Gregory R. Johnson’s introduction, which places Swedenborg with Kant and Rousseau as one of the essential minds of the Enlightenment, brings an important and much-needed eighteenth-century treasure to a twenty-first-centory world.”
—Gary Lachman
Author, Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius and A Secret History of Consciousness

Translated by George F. Dole and published in 2003
by the Swedenborg Foundation, West Chester, Pennsylvania


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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9 comments on “Divine Providence, by Emanuel Swedenborg
  1. Triam Press says:

    Reblogged this on Triam Press and commented:

  2. RandomGuy says:

    Greetings Lee

    Thank you for the links. I have found the book online (without the scholarly commentary, but it’s not a problem). So far I read a few pages (I didn’t have much free time today), and they are very well written and sound interesting.

    Sincerely Alexnader

    • Lee says:

      Hi Alexander,

      I do hope you’ll find it to be illuminating. If you have any questions as you read, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  3. jonscot springwater says:

    The Swedenborg foundation should allow Google books to provide online downloads of their digitized version of Divine Providence since it is the only online version of Johnson’s preface.

  4. jonscot springwater says:

    The Google DP is read only no copying,and giving handouts of the Preface is helpful to many a inquiry.

    • jonscot springwater says:

      Thought about it, but don’t know who could make such a decision.
      In the interim I copied the preface from the book and made a pdf file from it. But what got to me was the Foundation saying something like they could not digitize the Preface.

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