Permissive Will

Because God is sovereign, nothing happens that is outside his will. But there is a difference between what he causes and what he allows. By the Permissive Will of God things happen which God does not cause, things which are not his will because they are not in accordance with his Law.  It is by God's permissive will that sin is allowed to occur.  God allows man to rebel against him, and he permits people to do such things as lie, steal, etc.

  • Jer. 19:5, "and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind."
  • Luke 8:32, "Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons entreated Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission."
  • Rom. 1:21-23, "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures."

 

See also Decretive Will (what God causes) and Preceptive Will (what God desires for people).

 
 
About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.