Does God’s will always come to pass? (written by Judena Klebs)
I recently wrote an essay called “Is God responsible for our suffering?” which considers whether everything that happens is because God either causes it or allows it. The question which may be asked is “If God is sovereign doesn’t this mean that everything that happens is God’s will?”
First, what does “sovereign” actually mean? One of the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sovereign) defines sovereign as “One that exercises supreme authority within a limited sphere.”
It is true that God is the ultimate authority and power in the universe but if one believes that He gave free will to His creatures, then He must have chosen to limit His own power to share it with others.
Throughout my life I have heard the slogan “God has everything under control.” Does God control everything? Even the evil done by people? Does God cause or ignore the terrible things that take place on the earth? If God is in control, that would make Him either evil Himself, or just indifferent to those who are suffering in various ways all over the world.
At some later time, I want to explore more about accidents, sickness, and natural disasters. I want to consider if they are ever God’s will. But for now, I want to explain one of the main areas where God is accused of having His will done: People’s choices. What does the Bible say about this?
2 Peter 3:9 says that “He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Genesis 6:5,6 tells us that God saw the great wickedness on the earth and regretted that He had created people and that He was “grieved at His heart.”
Jeremiah 19:5 says that people were sacrificing their children as burnt offerings to the god, Baal, and that He, the true God, never told them to do such a thing, neither had it “even entered His mind.”
Abuse and neglect are not God’s will. Murder, theft, adultery, false witness, coveting, worshipping other gods, dishonoring parents,etc. are all condemned in the Ten Commandments(Exodus 20), so it cannot be God’s will that any of these things take place.
In Matthew 6:10, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” We would not need to pray this if His will were already being done on the earth.
God’s sovereignty does not prove that His will is always done. Angels and people have free will. This means that Satan’s choices were not God’s will and that many people’s choices to harm themselves or others in any way cannot be God’s will.
“Calvinism” believes that people don’t have free will but that God “predestines” some to be saved and to go to Heaven, while others are created for destruction and to go to Hell.
There are many things I could say about this theology, even showing a better way to interpret the verses in the Bible which are used in order to prove this doctrine. But a whole new essay would need to be written to cover this, so for now, let me just say to whoever believes that God’s will always comes to pass that it must be “God’s sovereign will” for me to disagree with you!