"Several Understandings of the Will of God"

There is a big misconception floating around that "Thy will be done" can only mean that God has a detailed plan for your life, which is happening as we speak, over which you have no control. This concept of the will of God follows a concept of God as omnipotent and omniscient. This approach can lead to a belief that everything that happens in the universe was preplanned by God in detail: the good, the bad and the ugly. This theology would say that there is a godly reason for all events if only you can discern it. You think you have the freedom to make decisions about life, but in fact you do not.

This is a viable theological concept, based on legitimate assumptions about the nature of God. However, it is by no means the only way to understand the will of God. There is a range or spectrum of understandings of the will of God. This understanding of the detailed plan is at one end of the spectrum.

At the other end is the idea that God created the universe like a watchmaker creates a watch. God made every delicate part, put the parts together, wound the watch, and now simply sits back and lets it run by itself, without godly intervention. This is the understanding of the Deists, who include in their historical numbers Thomas Jefferson.

In between these two extremes are a finite number of other understandings of the will of God. One is that God has a script written for your life, which, if followed exactly as written, provides you with a wonderful, heavenly existence. Your life is not predetermined, but God has a detailed script which you can choose to follow, or reject. The ideal in this understanding is for you to have the same will for your life as God has for your life: an overlay. When your will overlays God's will, life is wonderful. Otherwise, life isn't so good.

Another understanding is that God's will is what God wishes for you. Just as a loving parent does not intrude or interfere with the life decisions of an adult son or daughter, so God provides complete freedom to God's children. The radical love of God is made known to you as the radical freedom to choose your life. God rejoices when you rejoice because of good decisions you have made. God is sad when you are hurt because of bad decisions you have made. God wishes everything good for you and desires that you be fully human. God does not micromanage but does supply you with the great intangible gifts, like love and peace and understanding and patience, which you can choose and use and live a heavenly existence.

What you believe about the nature of God and what you believe about the will of God should match. If they do not, there is work to be done. And, there are options.

For further information, contact Dr. Ray Dykes, 405-728-2844 or e-mail.