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Thread: Are there three wills in God?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Are there three wills in God?

    I was wondering if you thought that there were three wills of God? I affirm that God has a Decretive Will and a Preceptive Will, however, I was wondering if there was a third will. The reason I was wondering this was because I was thinking about the "callings" of people's lives. This would be a will, like God's Preceptive Will, that does not always come to past. For example, God calls me to be a missionary to China, and I disobey and I never go. Of course it was a part of God's Decretive Will that I don't go, but would this be part of His Preceptive Will or would it be a part of a different Will.
    Thoughts (if this made any sense whatsoever)?
    Brian Vandenburg
    Member of Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Vancouver, WA
    "The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God."-Westminster Confession of Faith

  2. #2
    I've never heard of an additional will, so I wouldn't reckon there'd be one. I think that a calling in life is either preceptive and decretal or preceptive only. If you have a duty and you do it, it was in both wills. If you didn't, it was only preceptive and you're held responsible for that disobedience. Would this break down if you tried to stretch it fit everything?
    Tyler Upchurch
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    Grace Chapel Primitive Baptist Church
    Mason, TN
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    587
    I believe It's better to speak of God's will as one Eph 1:11. So a third will would be out of the question in my thinking. I think the "third will" can be seen as a subdivision of the God's Decretive will, just as the preceptive will is.
    Rev Jonathan James Goundry
    *Calvinist @ Heart
    Missionary with International Christian Institute www.iciministry.org
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    www.vanvos.blogspot.com
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  4. #4
    Some people toy with the idea that along with a decretive and preceptive will, God also has a "will of desire" as in, "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." I think they misunderstand what Peter was saying there. I don't buy it.
    [B]Jim Polk
    Former/resigned Ruling Elder, Pilgrim Church, PCA
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[/B]

    [B][I]Jud 1:3 . . .contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.[/I][/B]

    [B][I]God does whatever is right . . . right is whatever God does.[/I][/B]

  5. C. Matthew McMahon, Ph.D., Th.D.
    John 5:39, "...search the Scriptures..."
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    "Man fell, standing by himself; but the Godhead now stably supports him, and leads him by God to God. And because of this union with an infinite essence, the actions and passions of the manhood so united are of an infinite value. They are able to satisfy for an infinite number of sinners and sins. They are able to satisfy an infinite justice, and procure an infinite love." ​Francis Rous, The Art of Happiness

    "When God is served in holiness, then shall he be enjoyed in happiness." Francis Rous, The Art of Happiness

    I desire that we consider the increase of Arminianism and Error that makes the grace of God look after the will of men. [It] makes the sheep to keep the shepherd, and makes a mortal seed an immortal God. I desire that we may look into the belly and bowels of this Trojan Horse to see if there is any man in it, ready to open the gate of Romish tyranny, and Spanish monarchy. For Arminianism is the span of a papist, and if there comes the warmth of favor, you shall see him turn into one of those frogs that arise out of the bottomless pit. And if you mark it well, you shall see an Arminian reaching one hand to a papist, a papist to a Jesuit, a Jesuit to the Pope, and the other to the King of Spain. And these men having kindled fire in our neighbor-countries, now they brought some of it over here, to set on flame this kingdom also. Yes, let us consider and search whether these are not the men that break in on the goods, and liberties of the Commonwealth. For by this means they may make way for the taking away of our Religion, (A Religious and Worthy Speech Spoken by Mr. Francis Rous in Parliament (London, 1641)).

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by VanVos View Post
    I believe It's better to speak of God's will as one Eph 1:11. So a third will would be out of the question in my thinking. I think the "third will" can be seen as a subdivision of the God's Decretive will, just as the preceptive will is.
    Jonathan, I agree. God has one will. Anything beyond that one will is really man's attempt to understand the intricacies of God's will.
    Bill Brown
    Member Grace Baptist Church of Odenton
    Attending Faith Baptist Church of Orlando, FL


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  7. #7
    What everyone has said so far seems pretty good to me, but I just wanted to add one thing.

    It seems like there's a false premise here, namely that God "calls" us (tells us He wants us to do something) in certain extra-biblical ways and we can disobey, thereby falling into sin. How would you know that God wants you to go to China in the first place? That's not in the bible. All of our moral obligation is in scripture, not in subjective instructions that we perceive God to be giving us.
    Last edited by Davidius; 03-03-2007 at 07:36 PM.
    Davidius
    Husband of Emily
    Member of All Saints Anglican Church - Chapel Hill (AMiA / Anglican Church of North America)
    Student: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, German and Classics

  8. #8
    Forgive me, I knew the two ways in which we speak of God's will are only because of our human limitations. Thanks for reminding me!
    Tyler Upchurch
    Talkative Fellow
    Grace Chapel Primitive Baptist Church
    Mason, TN
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaCalvinist View Post
    What everyone has said so far seems pretty good to me, but I just wanted to add one thing.

    It seems like there's a false premise here, namely that God "calls" us (tells us He wants us to do something) in certain extra-biblical ways and we can disobey, thereby falling into sin. How would you know that God wants you to go to China in the first place? That's not in the bible. All of our moral obligation is in scripture, not in subjective instructions that we perceive God to be giving us.
    Ooh, well said, David. That sort of thing is exactly what I and some of my more evangelical friends need and needed to hear.
    Scott - Dallas, Texas - Faith OPC

    "It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do." - Edmund Burke

  10. Then what do we make of the individual who believes God is leading them to the mission field? The pastorate? A sales career? Bus driver? Unless God's word says do or don't, is there any way of knowing His will?
    Bill Brown
    Member Grace Baptist Church of Odenton
    Attending Faith Baptist Church of Orlando, FL


    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  11. #11
    I would say wisdom gleaned from prayer and the Scriptures, as well as observing the particular outworkings of Providence in our lives, would be the most indicative things to evaluate.
    Scott - Dallas, Texas - Faith OPC

    "It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do." - Edmund Burke

  12. #12
    One will, but our subdivisions are based on our understanding.

    Ultimately, it all falls under His will of decree.

    His secret counsel and decrees which He makes known in human history as it unfolds, His revealed will given in His laws and commands and His will of desire (as in Ezekiel 18, desiring rather, that man turn from sin and live instead of continue in sin and die) - He obviously desires something else more than for all men to be saved - and that is (Romans 9) some to be saved and some to be damned.

    (one day I will write a book called The Complex Emotional Life of God....)
    KG
    Theologically Correct dot Com
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