After listening to this and learning more about the will of God I'd like to ask the above question.

The active will of God regards what is in perfect accord with the perfect goodness and the order established by God. For instance, the active will of God would be that Adam and Eve remain perfectly obedient to Him, and never have sinned. source

Now we can say everyone was born not in a way God has intended. We can see this clearly in remarried couples. God didn't want them to get divorced and re-marry and have kids in different marriages. And we can basically always find something with everyone's life and come to a conclusion that our lives aren't the result of his perfect will. According to his perfect will we were meant to live in paradise and be children of who knows what parents or even if we were meant to exist(but let's say yes)... But instead, we live in a sinful world and born to a *family God has never intended but he allowed it through his permissive will. *by this I mean if things would go according to his perfect will our parents might have never met or whatever...

So my question is: Are we(humans in current state) according to the Catholic interpretation the result of God's permissive will rather than his perfect will? Is the world running only on God's permissive will since we don't live in paradise and that was his original plan? God only allows things to happen instead of willing them actively since his original plan was abolished by Adam and Eve.

  • That video to which you link claims "God did not will that Jesus die!"; this is false. "God the Father delivered up Christ to the Passion:" «by His eternal will He preordained Christ's Passion for the deliverance of the human race, according to the words of Isaias (53:6): "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all"; and again (Is. 53:10): "The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity."»
    – Geremia
    Apr 5, 2018 at 0:16
  • @Geremia, was God's original plan to will that Jesus die? If yes then it was also his plan to will Adam and Eve to sin which would mean to will evil. But God doesn't will evil, he allows it and that's how his permissive will differs from his perfect will.
    – Grasper
    Apr 6, 2018 at 11:29
  • God's will is immutable. He doesn't change His mind/plans.
    – Geremia
    Apr 6, 2018 at 18:13

2 Answers 2


God is the only necessarily existing being, as St. Thomas Aquinas shows in his third proof for the existence of God (Summa Theologica I q. 2 a. 3 c.; cf. ch. 3, § "The Third Way" of Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide):

…not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. … we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, … This all men speak of as God.

All creatures are a product of God's free will (Summa Theologica I q. 19 a. 4 "Whether the will of God is the cause of things?" c.):

We must hold that the will of God is the cause of things; and that He acts by the will, and not, as some have supposed, by a necessity of His nature.

Nothing necessitates or forces God to create the angels, universe, animals, souls, humans, or any other creature. Therefore, we are all accidents; our being/existence is not necessary.

Regarding what you call "permissive will" and "perfect will",* there is only one will in God; He is supremely simple. The will of God is always fulfilled, but a distinction must be made—between absolute necessity and conditional (ex suppositione or "suppositional") necessity—when addressing the question of "Whether whatever God wills He wills necessarily?":

There are two ways in which a thing is said to be necessary, namely, absolutely, and by supposition. We judge a thing to be absolutely necessary from the relation of the terms, as when the predicate forms part of the definition of the subject: thus it is absolutely necessary that man is an animal. It is the same when the subject forms part of the notion of the predicate; thus it is absolutely necessary that a number must be odd or even. In this way it is not necessary that Socrates sits: wherefore it is not necessary absolutely, though it may be so by supposition; for, granted that he is sitting, he must necessarily sit, as long as he is sitting. Accordingly as to things willed by God, we must observe that He wills something of absolute necessity: but this is not true of all that He wills. For the divine will has a necessary relation to the divine goodness, since that is its proper object. Hence God wills His own goodness necessarily, even as we will our own happiness necessarily, and as any other faculty has necessary relation to its proper and principal object, for instance the sight to color, since it tends to it by its own nature. But God wills things apart from Himself in so far as they are ordered to His own goodness as their end. Now in willing an end we do not necessarily will things that conduce to it, unless they are such that the end cannot be attained without them; as, we will to take food to preserve life, or to take ship in order to cross the sea. But we do not necessarily will things without which the end is attainable, such as a horse for a journey which we can take on foot, for we can make the journey without one. The same applies to other means. Hence, since the goodness of God is perfect, and can exist without other things inasmuch as no perfection can accrue to Him from them, it follows that His willing things apart from Himself is not absolutely necessary. Yet it can be necessary by supposition, for supposing that He wills a thing, then He is unable not to will it, as His will cannot change.

cf. Charles De Koninck's "The Problem of Indeterminism" (also on PDF pp. 366ff. of this) and "Reflections on the Problem of Indeterminism" (ibid. pp. 412ff.)

In other words: God wills that some causes produce their intended effects only some of the time. This is not always due to a defect in the cause but can be due to a defect in the effect (ibid. ad 4):

that God does not necessarily will some of the things that He wills, does not result from defect in the divine will, but from a defect belonging to the nature of the thing willed, namely, that the perfect goodness of God can be without it; and such defect accompanies all created good.

For another treatment of the question, see St. Thomas's Summa contra Gentiles I cap. 81 "That God Does not Will Other Things in a Necessary Way".

*St. Thomas nowhere uses the term "perfect will", but he does distinguish between "five expressions of will—namely, prohibition, precept, counsel, operation, and permission" (Summa Theologica I q. 19 a. 12).

  • We won't get too far with Thomas. He never makes sense in his writings. So when someone quotes Thomas the discussion is over because nobody really understands it.
    – Grasper
    Apr 5, 2018 at 12:07
  • @Grasper St. Thomas begins with true principles and does not contradict himself. What of what St. Thomas wrote don't you understand?
    – Geremia
    Apr 5, 2018 at 16:21
  • for example: "that God does not necessarily will some of the things that He wills" total contradiction, lol. Can you at least explain your last quote in normal English?
    – Grasper
    Apr 5, 2018 at 17:07
  • 2
    @Grasper Not until you clearly define what "permissive will" is.
    – Geremia
    Apr 6, 2018 at 18:14
  • 1
    @Grasper What you say reminds me of St. Alphonsus's short work Uniformity with God's Will.
    – Geremia
    Apr 7, 2018 at 2:46

This question assumes we have freewill which God allows or, permits. Here is an alternative narrative: Q. Who made death? A. God is responsible for death existing because He made that which made death. Q.Who made Satan? A. God made all things. John 1v3. Q.Does Satan sustain his own existence? A. God sustains all. Heb 1v3. Q.Who sustains Satan's motives and actions? A.God sustains all. Q. Does God sustain evil? A. God sustains all. Q.Is it evil to sustain evil? A. God is holy. Rev 4v8. God has a holy motive for sustaining the existence of evil.

Q. What is God's holy motive for sustaining disobedience to His Law? A. That His creation should not have the honour of obeying God's Law, but that Jesus His Son might have this honour. " I have come to fulfil the Law". Mat 5v17 Q. How did Jesus fulfil the Law? By submitting to be sent by His Father to be the Saviour of the world.1 John 4v14. Q. Can we obey the Law? A. Dead men cannot obey the Law -but-It is no longer I that liveth but Christ that liveth in me. Gal 2v20. Q. What does God permit? A. God permits nothing but has created the illusion that we are first causes and that suggestions as to what may or may not occur in His creation can absolutely originate in us. However, God is the only Alpha/first cause. We are not autonomous. God decides when His Law is to be kept, and when His Law is to be broken. He decides which of these is appropriate in any given circumstances that in all things [inc' life and death] He might be preeminent.Col 1v18.

  • Is this mostly copied from a catechism? If so, please give the reference
    – Peter Turner
    Jul 27, 2018 at 14:57
  • @Peter Turner. This is not at all copied from a catechism. I thought Q. and A. helped focus my logic.
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 27, 2018 at 16:13
  • OK, pure logic is not an acceptable answer on this site, like it might be in real life, you ought to try to prove that this is in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church through documented evidence.
    – Peter Turner
    Jul 27, 2018 at 16:20
  • @Peter Turner. Would the Bible plus logic be an acceptable basis if one was merely defining "permissive will"?
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 27, 2018 at 16:47
  • 1
    not for this question, see: christianity.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/692/… if it were asking for a Biblical Basis, it would be OK, but since it's clearly asking for a doctrinal answer, it's not. St. Thomas Aquinas is doing what you're doing (applying reason to scripture), but even St. Thomas quoted Aristotle.
    – Peter Turner
    Jul 27, 2018 at 17:22

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