What do theologians mean by the providence of God?

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Very simply, the providence of God means that God is not just omnipresent. He is omnipresent and up to something. The doctrine of providence is the idea that God is at work in history in ways that are… in subtle ways. So, you have the sense… You know, one of the major devices in theater is the idea of Deus ex machina, the idea that things are going along in logical mechanistic fashion, and then there's a huge plot twist at the end where the gods intervene and bring the story to an unexpected resolution. Well, the whole point of the doctrine of providence is that God is never "ex machina." He is never absent from events. Events are always happening in his presence and under his hand, under his guidance

Answer by Dr. Carey Vinzant