Saturday, June 4, 2011


The question of coincidence versus divine intervention is one I find intriguing. Once, in discussing some of the serendipitous events in my life as likely divine interventions, a priest asked me, “Don’t you believe in coincidence?”

“Of course, I believe in coincidence,” I responded, “But when coincidence piles up upon coincidence and all the coincidences have a uniform objective and impeccable timing, I have to ask whether perhaps something other than coincidence is involved.”
Jung, in his book, Synchronicity, describes life as flowing in streams. These streams often bring together events that are not cause-and-effect yet co-occur in meaningful ways even though the likelihood of the co-occurrence is low to nil. Jung defined synchronicity, which he placed on the far end of a cauasality-synchronicty axis, as “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” He attributes such acausal connectivity to a larger framework of human ideas that he labels the collective unconscious.

I do not deny simple coincidence or serendipity. Neither do I deny the more elaborate kind of coincidence subsumed in the concept of synchronicity. However, there are serendipities, coincidences, and synchronicities that seem more readily explained by divine plan or divine intervention because of the need for all the players to be in the right places at the right times either for a one-time event or over a long history. While it may never be possible to win the argument of coincidence versus divine intervention or even to know for certain to which to attribute a specific event, when the timing is absolutely impeccable, I am drawn toward seeing God’s involvement. After all, there is that saying that coincidences are simply those times when God chooses to remain anonymous. As for that “collective unconscious,” it just might have another label: God.

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