Thursday, December 28, 2017

God's "secret" will

It is the secret will which really embodies what God wants to have happen in the universe. If one knew that God's revealed will conflicted with His secret will, wouldn't it be better to obey the more fundamental will which actually expressed the divine sovereignty? Katherin A. Rogers, "Does God Cause Sin?: Anselm of Canterbury Versus Jonathan Edwards on Human Freedom and Divine Sovereignty," Faith and Philosophy 20/3 (2003), 375.

i) Freewill theists act as though a "secret" divine will has sinister connotations. Yet that's hardly exclusive to Calvinism. In the varieties of freewill theism, God has a secret will inasmuch as he has countless specific intentions that he never discloses to humans. 

ii) It's not a choice between obedience to his secret will or obedience to his revealed will, for it's impossible to disobey God's secret will (i.e. what God has predestined). It's not like an agent can obey God's secret will rather than his revealed will–as if the alternative is to obey his revealed will rather than his secret will. Whether or not he obeys God's revealed will, he is bound to obey God's secret will.

iii) If someone disobeys God's revealed will, that's because God "secretly" willed them to disobey his revealed will. Although obedience to God's secret will often conflicts with obedience to God's revealed will, obedience or disobedience to God's revealed will never conflicts with God's secret will, in any particular case. For there are many situations in which God's plan is realized through disobedience to his revealed will. Conversely, there are many situations in which God's plan is realized through obedience to his revealed will. Both obedience and disobedience to his revealed will are instrumental to the furtherance his eternal plan. Obedience and disobedience have different results. God intends the respective results in each case, as they drive the plot to its appointed ends. So her objection is a false dichotomy. 

iv) We're not dealing with two different wills. That's just a confusing linguistic convention. The distinction, or contrast, is between what God has predestined and what God has commanded or forbidden. 

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