Will of God

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The will of God, divine will, or God's plan is the concept of God having a plan for humanity, and desiring to see this plan fulfilled.

General concepts[edit]

  • Divine law - is any law that, according to religious belief, comes directly from the will of God, in contrast to man-made law.
  • Divine will - will of God, in contrast to human will.
  • Divine providence - is God's intervention in the world.
  • Salvation - the concept that claims it is God's will that human beings be saved from death.
  • Plan of salvation, in general Christian concept.
  • Providentialism is a belief that God's will is evident in all occurrences. It can further be described as a belief that the power of God (or Providence) is so complete that humans cannot equal his abilities, or fully understand his plan.
  • Predestination - is the belief that before the creation God was able to determine every possible fate of the universe, and in choosing a specific creation to carry out, determined the fate of the universe throughout all of time and space. In Christianity, those who believe in predestination, such as John Calvin, believe that there is a decree by God that there are certain souls that were previously appointed to salvation, and others that are precluded from this.
  • Eschatology - the future that has been planned by God

Interpretations[edit]

One general monotheistic concept is the Kingdom of God, with God as being a king, and of all "creation" as his kingdom. Within this kingdom, his human children find salvation through accepting and following his will. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." [Galatians 5:22-23]

In Judaism, the will of God is said to be encompassed both in the Ten Commandments and in the Mitzvah (Hebrew: מצווה, "commandment"; plural, mitzvos or mitzvot; from צוה, tzavah, "command") is a word used in Judaism to refer to the 613 commandments given in the Torah and the seven rabbinic commandments instituted later for a total of 620. The Seven Laws of Noah (Sheva mitzvot B'nei Noach), often referred to as the Noahide Laws, are a set of seven moral imperatives that, according to the Talmud, were given by God to Noah as a binding set of laws for all mankind. According to Judaism any non-Jew who lives according to these laws is regarded as a righteous gentile and is assured of a place in the world to come (Olam Haba), the Jewish concept of heaven. There are various Christian views on the old covenant

In Christianity, some assert the Law of Christ, a supercessesionist view that Jesus "commandments" superseded Jewish law. Paul of Tarsus wrote: "To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law." [1Corinthians 9:21] "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law." [Romans 2:14] Leslie Weatherhead says that God's will falls into three distinct categories; intentional, circumstantial, and ultimate. God intends for people to follow his guidelines and do the right thing; God set the laws of physics and chemistry into play, and those circumstances will sometimes cause difficulties. That does not mean we should not struggle against circumstances to create God's ultimate will, a peaceful world dominated by love and compassion.[1]

In Islam, submission and surrender are terms referring to the acceptance of God's will, while Sharia is a concept expressing Islamic jurisprudence, or an Islamic form of religious government, claims to be the more perfect fulfillment of the will of God.

In Sikhism, Hukam is a Punjabi word derived from the Arabic hukm, meaning "command" or "order." In God whose is referred to as Waheguru. It is by the command of Him that we are born and we die. In the Sikh Scripture, the founder of the religion, Guru Nanak says:

O Nanak, by the Hukam of God's Command, we come and go in reincarnation. ((20))

—Japji Sahib Stanza 20

The whole of the Universe is subject to the Hukam of the Creator God. Nothing ever happens without the Will of Him. This is accepted as one of the primary concepts of Sikhism. For the Sikh, the acceptance of His Hukam is a concept that needs to be learnt and understood.

As for Deism, it has been explained:

In general, the deists believed reason to be an innate faculty of all people. Reason, the very image of God in which all humans are created, makes possible knowledge of the will of God. By the exercise of reason, people possess the possibility of adopting a natural religion, that is, a religion grounded in the nature of the universe. At creation, God established this rational order, but although the prime and necessary cause of this order, God had become increasingly remote. The world, nevertheless, continued to function according to the laws that God had established at creation, laws that operate without the need of divine intervention.[2]

A similar formulation would apply to the subtype Pandeism, except that instead of becoming remote, God has become inaccessible and non intervening through its choice to fully become our Universe.

Expressions[edit]

Various religions have common expressions relating to the will of God.

  • "God willing" is an English expression often used to indicate that the speaker hopes that his or her actions are those that are willed by their God (or were originally willed by their God in the creation of the universe), or that it is in accordance with God's will that some desired event comes will come to pass, or that some negative event will not come to pass.
  • "Insha'Allah" - an Arab-Islamic expression meaning "God willing".
  • Deus vult - A Latin-Christian expression meaning "God wills it", canonically expressed at the outset of the first crusade.
  • Masha'Allah, - an Arab-Islamic expression meaning "God has willed it".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leslie D. Weatherhead, The Will of God, Abington Press, Nashville, 1990. ISBN 0-687-45601-0
  2. ^ William Baird, History of New Testament Research: From Deism to Tübingen, page 39, 1992.