permissive will

At various times I have heard talk about God’s “permissive will”.

While a case can be made that God is absolutely sovereign (and He is) and He owns and is completely in control of everything (and He is), some folks go to an extreme is saying that “well, since God permitted it to happen, it must have been His will…”.  They even use this as an excuse for them to fulfill the lusts of the flesh…

The truth is, that just because something happens, it doesn’t mean that God permitted it.

For example, if my son goes out and steals something or commits some other crime, it does not mean that I as his parent permitted it.  In fact, I have forbidden that he engage in such activities, and I will hold him accountable for the consequences of such behavior.

The only way I could have been said to have “permitted” his behavior was that I permitted him out of the house.  The alternative was for me to keep in locked up in his room.

Mankind has a tendency to commit sin.  When man sins, it does not mean that God has permitted it.  In fact, God has forbidden it and levies consequences, judgement, and accountability when we do sin.  The fact that none of us escape His accountability is evidence of His sovereignty over all.  The alternative would be that God turn us into mindless robots without free will or keep us locked up in padded rooms by ourselves.

Our having free will comes with it the responsibility for our own behaviors.  Our having free will does not make God any less sovereign or in charge of everything.  In God’s sovereignty, He gave us a free will, and it magnifies God’s ability to accomplish His Will in coordination with (often in spite of) our free will.

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