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A Helping Hand vs. Divine Intervention

Updated on March 17, 2020
Luke Holm profile image

Luke Holm earned bachelor degrees in English and Philosophy from NIU. He is a middle school teacher and a creative writer.


In a previous hub, The Meaning of Maya, I describe an interaction with a homeless woman. As I sought to help her in her predicament, I realized that nothing I did could do would actually help her life overall. My fix was temporary, and was immediately followed by some other tragedy.

This got me wondering if fate is set or if we can change the circumstances of reality. Are humans able to change the fate of the world around them, or is this a task limited to a higher power?

Do you believe God has intervened in human affairs?

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Destruction of the Tower of Babel


Divine Intervention

Divine intervention refers to God's direct involvement with human affairs in our 3rd dimensional reality. Somehow, God permeates the layers of existence to make a radical change in our world. God can cause something to happen or prevent something from happening.

While many religious wars are waged in the name of God, and many human actions have been enacted with the "helping hand of God," I imagine divine intervention to be more epic than the could-be miracles and agendas people claim come from God.

For me, divine intervention is one of two things. One way to view divine intervention is to think of God as always intervening in human affairs; since the beginning of creation and all the way until the end of existence. A more radical view of divine intervention is God directly intervening, in some supernatural way, like reigning down fire and brimstone from the sky (not to be mistaken for meteors and comets).

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah


Examples of Divine Intervention in the Old Testament

There are several examples of divine intervention in the Bible, mostly residing in the Old Testament. Being part of the Old Testament, the God likely intervening would be called Yahweh, or YHWH, the all-powerful God of the Jews.

Plagues Against Egypt

One well-known instance of divine intervention is found in the Biblical book of "Exodus." In the story, a prophet named Moses demands that the Pharaoh of Egypt free the Jewish slaves in in custody. Despite Moses' warning of the impending wrath of God, the Pharaoh denied his request. He brought out his own sorcerers, showing that Egypt too had gods and magic that could likely contend with anything Moses brought forth.

After several requests for the Pharaoh to free the slaves, Egypt eventually fell prey to ten destructive plagues. The plagues ranged from the Nile turning to blood, to swarms of locusts ravishing the land, to disease, and eventually the Angel of Death slaughtering all of the Egyptian's first born sons (including the Pharaoh's).

The Tower of Babel

Another story of direct intervention is commonly called the story of The Tower of Babel. The story is likely a tale that speaks of a great diaspora among human languages. In brief, the story details a time when humanity all spoke a single language. Working together, humans believed they could create a tower that reached to the heavens, hoping to walk into Heaven in human form. God grew angry at these people and destroyed the tower. God cursed the people to speak different languages so they could no longer work together, thus they babbled.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Another extreme example of God intervening in human affairs is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the book of "Genesis," two neighboring cities called Sodom and Gomorrah were deemed by God to be filthy, sinful places. God sent the prophet Abraham to try to find at least 50 righteous people within the city walls. If such a feat could be accomplished, God would spare the cities his wrath. Abraham struggled with his search, asking God to lower the number in increments of 10, eventually asking to only find 10 righteous people. He could not.

What God did find was that Abraham's nephew, Lot, and his family were righteous in their own right. God allowed Lot's family to leave the city, but commanded them not to look back on the holy retribution. As the family fled from the cities' walls, God rained down fire and brimstone from the sky, devastating the cities and every inhabitant. Lot's wife did not obey God. She looked back and turned to salt for disobeying the command.

Jesus Walks on Water


Examples of Divine Intervention in the New Testament

While examples of divine intervention in the Old Testament are not limited to aforementioned list, it is also extremely interesting to think about divine intervention in the New Testament. The reason divine intervention in the New Testament is so intriguing is because the intervention does not come for the all-powerful YHWH, but rather from God's son, Jesus Christ.

Are the miracles of Jesus Christ examples of divine intervention? If Jesus is one with God, then it would certainly seem that Jesus, just walking upon the earth, is an example of God intervening in human affairs the moment Jesus was born.

Jesus Heals the Sick

Several examples of Jesus changing the a person's fate is found in the New Testament. In Judaistic traditions of ancient Rome, it was against God's law to work on the day of the Sabbath. Jesus often got reprimanded for teaching or performing miracles on this holy day. In many instances, Jesus broke the Jewish tradition of resting on the Sabbath, choosing to heal the sick, both directly and indirectly. Jesus healed people with all sorts of ailments, ranging from leprosy to blindness. Without Christ, these people would have died from their ailments.

Jesus Calms the Sea

In another story of miraculous intervention by Jesus, he is out on the sea fishing with his disciples. In the story, Jesus fell asleep and a storm approached the boat. As the waves grew and the rains began to flood the boat, the disciples become alarmed and woke Jesus up. They cried out, "Lord, can you not see the terrible storm we are stuck in? We will certainly be capsized and drown!"

Jesus responded as calm as ever that he was master over all the forces of nature. With his divine command, he calmed the sea and saved the day.

Jesus Raises the Dead

One of Jesus' most incredible miracles was his ability to raise people (and himself) from the dead. In one story, Jesus is out in the country, preaching the Gospel. He gets word that his friend, Lazarus has fallen deathly ill. The message was brought to Jesus in hopes that he would come to Lazarus' aid and heal him before he passed away. Jesus chose to wait.

Eventually, Lazarus dies and everyone is mad at Jesus for letting his friend die. Days later, Jesus goes to Lazarus' tomb and commands the man to rise from the dead. On command, Lazarus emerges from the tomb, completely alive and well. Jesus uses the miracle to show the power of believing in God and many believe this act was the climax of John's "Book of Signs".

Did God Use Jesus Like He Did Other Humans?

Were Jesus' miracles signs of divine intervention or was Jesus just a "puppet" for God's hand, like the rest of creation? Jesus certainly had an enormous impact upon the earth (more than any other historical figure to date). However, it sometimes seemed like even Jesus didn't fully control his life. Rather, his fate was in God's hands.

One example of Jesus questioning God's control was on the even before he was crucified. He hiked up a mountain to be alone in the Garden of Gethsemane. The story goes that Jesus needed to pray to his Father, God, about his impending death. He knew that dying on the cross was the only way to save humanity, but was hesitant to accept this as his fate.

Jesus was so wracked with nerves that began to sweat blood. His anguish was not without reason, as crucifixion is supposed to be one of the most painful and exhausting ways to die. Jesus begged God for another path, another way to save humanity, but the message was clear. He had to die to purge Man's sins. It was the only way, meaning that even Jesus was under the control of God, the master of fate and time.


How Does God Intervene?

I wonder, is God working on a linear timeline like humans, or has God already experienced everything? If God has already experienced everything, like someone replaying a video game or rewatching a movie, can there be divine intervention? If there was divine intervention, then the intervention would be on a linear dimension, rather than an omniscient dimension.

Perhaps that is what Jesus Christ represents: God coming into our reality and experiencing the linear timeline. Does Jesus indicate that God must descend dimensions in order to impact human affairs? Or can God intervene in our reality from an omniscient dimension as well? How does divine intervention work?

Does God Make Mistakes?

Does God make mistakes? I often ponder this question. If God doesn't make mistakes, then it is likely that he intended for humans to digress into such a deplorable state of existence. He essentially allowed Adam and Eve to be tempted by the Serpent, Lucifer. On the other hand, if he does make mistakes, then maybe he never intended for Lucifer to betray him at the dawn of creation.

Many believe that God is omniscient, all-knowing, and therefore cannot make a mistake. If this is the case, then God already knew that creating Lucifer would result in the fall of humanity. All the darkness we currently have in the world would, therefore, not be without meaning.

Are Humans a Sign of Divine Intervention?

If God created us, and God knows everything that has, does, and will happen, then God knows how every action and choice weaves together into the fabric of existence. If God is perfect and can only create perfection, then I assume there are no mistaken threads sewn into our lives.

If God created me, are my action's actually from God? Are my actions God's actions? Is choice just an illusion? I wonder if everything I do is part of God's ultimate plan.

If everything I do is part of God's plan, then I can't actually make a mistake. All good I've done is as equally important as all the wrong. Everything happens for a reason, then; God's plan unfolding.

In the following story, I play "God" with a tiny inchworm. I only wanted to help, but ended up doing more harm than good. This story is what prompted my original question. After my interaction with the inchworm, I began wondering whether my actions were a sign of human intervention, or whether they were of divine intervention.

In either case, it is clear from my story (and from Jesus' in the Garden) that divine intervention takes a toll on our reality. Whether we fully understand the plan or not, we perceive time from al linear perspective. Humans have absolutely no clue how their actions will affect the future. As far as we know, everything is a sign of divine intervention (or not).


A Slow, Soft Inchworm

A slow, soft inchworm rapped on my driver-side window while I sat at a stoplight earlier this afternoon. Nearly a millimeter long, it's fluorescent lime-green body begged me to allow him inside, so that I may save him from impending highway hell. Filled with a sense of the divine, I realized that its life was in my hands.

I decided to have mercy and rolled down my window to allow this innocent fellow into my car. My heart warmed as he inched his way toward the interior of my vehicle. At one point he stopped and looked up at me, as if with a smile, to thank me for my kindness. I could see his tiny pinpoint eyes and gave him a little wink.

The green light was fast approaching, so I mentally willed my new friend to hurry and make his way to safety. When he approached the gap of the rolled down window, I realized that he was too small to make it across the black plastic slit between the outer and inner part of the window. Feeling generous and extremely gentle, I went to help him across, intending to free him on a juicy leaf in my back yard once I returned home.

Reaching out as carefully I could, I missed picking him up and accidentally knocked him into the deep, dark chasm where my window lay concealed, forever losing my freeway friend. I thought that maybe, if I rolled up the window, he would be sitting on top of it, safe and sound like a king conquering a new land. He wasn't. The light turned green and I was forced to drive away.

Not one car around me sensed this great loss. Not one person could imagine my sorrow. I wondered if this is how God feels every time divine intervention takes a turn for the worst. Would this inchworm have lived if I had decided to leave it alone? These thoughts and feelings of loneliness filled my mind as I raced away from this morbid scene forever.


What If We Are God?

What if I'm God and I've forgotten who I am?

We're probably not God. However, the Bible says we were made in God's image. If God's plan is perfect, and we are perfectly tuned instruments in that plan, then does that mean that we, also, can't make mistakes? Since we are limited to our personal perspectives, it is difficult to tell how our actions reverberate throughout the rest of time and creation.

Does everything happen for a reason? Some believe this may be so. From a linear perspective, it's difficult to tell how each and every moment is going to turn out. I suppose this is why we are told to trust God. Can you let go and believe everything will work out as it should? You may not have a choice.

In the end, I wonder: Is a helping hand a sign of divine intervention? We may never know for sure.

Does everything happen for a reason?

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© 2017 JourneyHolm


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