By Mike Johnson
God is often blamed for things He did not orchestrate. When terrorists attacked the US, some said it was God’s will. When people are confronted with temptation, some believe God is managing it. Some whoface terrible situations in life, like death, disease, and disability, hold God accountable for what they are suffering. These things are within the will of God but they are not His desired will.
This is a hard pill to swallow for many people. How can something be within God’s will but not within His desire? The answer lies in understanding one very important concept—the free will of mankind.
When God created the universe and placed mankind in the Garden of Eden, He gave them these instructions, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
These instructions prove that mankind was given something that separated them from the animals. They were given free will. They were given the opportunity to eat freely of every tree in the garden. They were,also, charged not to eat the fruit of one tree.
The free will of man altered the original will of God. He placed them in the garden to prepare for a heavenly home. The taking of Enoch and Elijah without having to go through death may indicate God’s originalplan for the garden. It is possible that He intended mankind to live in the garden until they were ready to be plucked like ripened fruit by the Lord Himself and taken into their heavenly home.
Sin, however, changed the course by which God’s ultimate will for all mankind—a heavenly home—would be gained. We live in a world that is operating under the circumstantial will of God. The circumstances in the world have been changed with the sin of mankind. However, the ultimate will of God has not been changed or altered. We simply must get to that final home through the altered circumstances of sin in the world.
It is, therefore, necessary to understand what is meant by the statement, “So and so is the will of God.” All things are within the will of God in that they exist and He has not stopped them. However, He is not directly responsible for evil in the world. That is Satan’s area. Let’s give him the proper credit.
- Mike Johnson; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com