Objections to God’s Particular Providence

Some may think that details are not regulated by God. For no one disposes anything in his planning unless he has knowledge thereof. But knowledge of particulars may well seem to be lacking in God, for the reason that particulars are known, not by the intellect, but by the senses. God, who is wholly incorporeal, can have no sense knowledge, but only intellectual knowledge. Consequently details may seem to lie outside the scope of divine providence.

Moreover, details are infinite, and knowledge of infinity is impossible, since the infinite as such is unknown. Therefore details seemingly escape the divine knowledge and providence.

Again, many particulars are contingent. But certain knowledge of such objects is out of the question. Accordingly, since God’s knowledge must be absolutely certain, it seems that details are not known or regulated by God.

Besides, particulars do not all exist simultaneously, for some things decay only to have others take their place. But there can be no knowledge of non-existent things. Hence, if God has knowledge of details, there must be some things which He begins and ceases to know, and this involves the further consequence that He is mutable. Apparently, therefore, He does not know and dispose particulars.


St. Thomas Aquinas. (1265-1274). Compendium Theologiae: Objections to God’s Particular Providence, trans. by Cyril Vollert. St. Louis & London: B. Herder Book Co., 1947

All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

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