Are there three wills in God?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Beoga, Mar 3, 2007.

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  1. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    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)?
  2. polemic_turtle

    polemic_turtle Puritan Board Freshman

    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?
  3. VanVos

    VanVos Puritan Board Sophomore

    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.
  4. Machaira

    Machaira Puritan Board Freshman

    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.
  5. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  6. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    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: Mar 3, 2007
  7. polemic_turtle

    polemic_turtle Puritan Board Freshman

    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!
  8. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor

    Ooh, well said, David. That sort of thing is exactly what I and some of my more evangelical friends need and needed to hear.
  9. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    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?
  10. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor

    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.
  11. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    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....) :D
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