From prudence to providence and back again
Keywords:prudence, providence, creature, good, freedom
The notions of prudence and providence, which in common usage today seem distant, share a common origin in Latin, referring to “looking ahead”. Providential is that which contributes to someone’s good. But what good is it? It would be wrong to see providence as divine intervention that gives what is needed. The creature receives this from God from the beginning. However, it is necessary to consider the different levels of being, from the inanimate world to the human being and beyond, because providence is really about the personal individual. In the human being, providence becomes prudence, through which man “exercises providence for himself and others” through his reason and freedom. God intervenes only when human freedom itself renders man incapable of achieving his good: in sin. Providence is thus transformed into an economy of salvation.