It is impossible to believe that God’s Providence is fallible or dependent on temporal events

It is inconceivable to think that God’s Providence is faulty or contingent on time; but, foresight, if it is to be genuinely knowledge, appears to require occurrences and deeds that render God’s reward and punishment hideous. Boethius could find no solace in any consoling belief in predestination, and he found little solace in the Augustinian solution, which subordinated human free choice to God’s will. He continues to argue this point until he is able to provide evidence for his conviction in human freedom that is both sufficient and compatible with moral responsibility.

“A detailed theodicy developed in the Platonic spirit” is how one reviewer described the book. Plato’s Gorgias serves as the foundation for the first section, which discusses the virtues and vices, rewards and punishments, and the notion that criminals need to be treated as ill persons. The second section takes Philosophy to a new level in response to Boethius’s doubts about the nature of God’s dominion over the cosmos.

Socratic discourse and rhetorical embellishment come to an end in chapter 6, along with Boethius’s reliance on Plato and the progression to a higher level of argument. This higher level involves the exposition of the two aspects of history: Providence, which is God’s simple, unchanging plan, and Fate, which is God’s ever-changing distribution of all the events God has planned in his simplicity throughout time. Boethius seems to have combined two ideas: the concept of a flexible Fate governing and revolving everything, which he read about in the fifth-century Neoplatonist Proclus’ treatise On Providence and Fat; and the concept of God as the “still point of the turning world,” which he found in Plotinus’ philosophy and which was already mentioned at the end of Book III chapter 12.

The two concepts work perfectly together. Plotinus describes God as the hinge of things, or Providence, the source of Boethius’s freedom and consolation. Proclus and Plotinus both believe that the more the soul frees itself from corporeal things, and thus from Fate, 36 the closer it approaches the stability and simplicity of the place of rest at the center. This is a magnificent illustration of what H. R. Patch refers to as Boethius’s “inspired eclecticism,” or his ability to skillfully combine information from several sources to create a fresh, cohesive whole.

The poetry that follows rejoices in verse over the truth that was just declared—that is, God’s kind rule over the globe. This is because the idea of divine peace provides an answer to the question of why evil exists in the world. This theme appears in several poems that address the question of how the universe is made and provide a largely Platonic solution. Boethius first commends God for his rule over the cosmos in Book I, Poem 5, but he also questions why this authority is not involved in human matters and why men are at the mercy of fate. He ends with a petition that appears to be a reflection of the Lord’s petition, “Thy will be done in earth as in heaven.”

Then, Philosophy extols the virtues of love’s ability to uphold harmony and avert disaster in the natural world in the final poem of Book II. In her response to Boethius, she makes it clear that God is in charge of human affairs as well, stating that love unites people, blesses marriage, and strengthens friendships. However, she also suggests that man has the ability to reject this love and cut himself off from the larger scheme of things. In this sense, a perverted love led Boethius astray; nonetheless, there is a suggestion that love will ultimately reunite him with his rightful home.

Boethius first commends God for his rule over the cosmos in Book, It is impossible to believe that God’s Providence is fallible or dependent on temporal events

‘With oppressive hand she moves the turning wheel, Like flows in a deceptive sound cleared forward and backward: Her savage will has recently removed once unfortunate rulers While trustless still, from low she lifts a vanquished head; No cries of wretchedness she hears, no tears she regards, In any case, steely hearted giggles at moans her deeds have wrung. Such is the game she plays, thus she tests her solidarity; Of strong power she makes march when a brief time Sees joy from complete devastation develop.’

The subject of God’s rule and dominion over the cosmos is continued in Book III poetry 9 and is now fully explored in Book IV poem 6. Like the other two poems in the set, this one opens with a description of the love-induced eternal serenity in the skies. Philosophy continues with the concord of the elements, of the seasons, and of birth and death, which includes humans, echoing Book III poem 9 and the Timaeus. It links human events to the cosmic power of love. This brings her to the source of this love, who uses the Neoplatonists’ triple movement—moving away from God, turning, and returning to Him—to stabilize the universe.

Commentators on Boethius have noted a shift from purely philosophical expression toward something more akin to the writing of Christian authors like Pseudo-Dionysius and St. Augustine, due to his emphasis on peace and love. “The tone and color of these poems harmonize with the author’s Christian faith.”

Whether this is the case or if this is merely the philosophical articulation of a concept that dates back to the Love of Empedocles, these 39 meters had a significant impact on subsequent thought; they contain Dante’s ideas as well as the foundation for Chaucer’s admirable theory of love found in Troilus and Criseyd.

Book IV’s last poem is a hymn of encouragement, honoring the heroes Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Hercules as models of success and motivators for completing the last leg of the journey to divinity. Naturally, the topic of fate and providence brings up the Fifth Book. The first chapter of the response to Boethius’s question affirms the rule of the chain of causes and refutes the presence of chance.

The idea of fate, providence, and auxiliary causes originates with Plato; nonetheless, philosophy here use an Aristotelian example to deepen the study of contingency into absolute and incidental causes. The Platonic idea of freedom is put forth in the second chapter: the greater one’s portion of the divine, the greater their degree of freedom. However, Boethius faces further challenges due to the claim that Providence already knows the particular soul’s choice, highlighting the seeming contradiction between divine foresight and free will.