The Attributes of God – Necessary Will and Free Will

Yesterday my family and I continued reading about God’s will in Chapter 13, “The Character of God: ‘Communicable’ Attributes (Part 2),” of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1994), which we’re reading in our after breakfast Bible reading time. The day before we’d read about God’s will in general, and yesterday we read about His necessary will and His free will. Later today we’ll read about His revealed will and His secret will.

God’s necessary will includes everything He must will according to His nature. What does He will necessarily? He wills to be who and what He is. Thus when Moses asked God what he should say if the people of Israel asked what His name was, He replied, “I AM WHO I AM” or “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE” (Exodus 3:14, ESV; all Bible quotations are from the ESV).

God’s free will includes everything He decides to will but has no necessity to will according to His nature. It includes His decisions to create the universe and to redeem a people for Himself out of sinful mankind. Thus He describes His people as those “whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7) and the twenty-four elders whom John saw around His throne say to Him, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

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