Summary: I wish to submit to you that this teaching is doctrinal nonsense, and that there is no such thing as “God’s permissive will”.
When bad things happen – God is not allowing it
The Myth: There is a popular Church teaching that God has two wills, which are:
1. A perfect will – meaning what God actually wants;
2. A permissive will – meaning what God allows even if its not His perfect will;
I wish to submit to you that this teaching is doctrinal nonsense, and that there is no such thing as “God’s permissive will”. Either something is in accordance with God’s will or it is contrary to His will. This false teaching has done incalculable harm to the character of God in the eyes of both Christians and non-Christians alike – because it makes God indirectly responsible, by supposing that He allows them, for every genocide, holocaust, murder, rape and all the other brutal, hateful acts of man.
Isa 54:14-15 (God says) In righteousness (Christ) you will be established…If anyone NIV/NKJV attacks you it will not be My doing…(they) shall fall for your sake.
1 Jo 3:10 …Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God…,
The truth: The reality is that the God of heaven had nothing to do with any of the heinous things that often tragically happen; but the god of this world and the people over whom he has influence had everything to do with those things:
1 Jo 5:19 …The whole world lies under the control of the wicked one (Satan). NIV
2 Cor 4:4 Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe…(even deceiving them over who is responsible for evil) NLT
Joh10:10 The thief (Satan) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy… AMP
Satan was the first being created with a freewill who disobeyed God (Ezek 28:15 and Isa 14:13-14). All spirit beings, Angels and human beings, are created with a freewill and are therefore free, that is, not under God’s control, to either obey or disobey God and His will:
Deut 30:19 (God says) …I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore (you) choose life that both you and your descendants may live;
For God to be in control: In order to change this fundamental reality into one in which God had total control over everything, God would have to do at least two things: First He would have to destroy entirely all those currently created with a freewill, that is, all Angels and all human beings. Secondly He would have to create a class of beings over which He had total control and who therefore had no freewill – in effect robots or zombies. Recog-nizing that such beings would not be capable of love since love requires the existence of a freewill. There is nothing in scripture to indicate God plans or even desires to do this.
God has limited Himself: Therefore God, by the limitation of what He has already set in motion – the creation of freewill beings that have the right to obey or disobey - cannot stop the wrongful acts of those who, in exercise of that right, choose to disobey Him. He is not allowing evil to happen, in the sense of turning a blind eye towards it, but by the constraint of having created a class of freewill beings, because He wanted them to have the capacity to love Him, He cannot now prevent the evil that so many of them choose.
The evidence of Adam: A classic example of where God was unable to prevent a monumental tragedy, due to the limitations He deliberately placed on Himself in creating freewill beings, is found at the beginning of the Bible – the case of the first Adam. God’s only will for Adam, on the negative side, was that he should not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warned him of the awful consequences if he disobeyed God’s clear instruction. Now throughout the Bible God refers to trees as symbols for people or beings. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil refers to Satan. The fruit of that tree are Satan’s words. To eat the fruit is to believe Satan’s words.
If God could have stopped anything, it would have been for His newly created man to fall under the dominion of the traitor Angel from heaven. But just like Lucifer before him, Adam had been irreversibly given by God a freewill, and God could do nothing to stop him exercising that freewill. Eve first, being deceived, and then Adam, knowing what he was doing, chose to believe Satan’s words over God’s words. In that instant they both died to God and Satan became the ruler of this world. Instead of destroying them and all other freewill beings, God immediately set in motion a master plan to redeem mankind from Satan’s dominion. The plan necessitated God coming Himself in the form of a man, Jesus Christ, to atone for man’s sins and to die to his now sin infected human nature.