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God's Will
Question from Lilia Bodino on 7/14/2002:

Hello Fr Echert: Would you please give examples of God's active will and examples of God's passive or permissive will. Exodus 33:19 would that be the permissive will of God on predestination?

I would very much like to know more about God's active and permissive will. Could you possibly suggest some books that you remember? I pray God be with you and the troops out there in the vast expanse of the near east. Thanks much and God keep in His care

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 7/14/2002:

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. The passive will of God regards what God will allow or tolerate what is less than good or perfect, for instance, the act of disobedience on the part of Adam and Eve. Why the passive will? Because God endowed created persons--angelic and human--with free will, and in order to allow the exercise of that free will, even for evil, it means that God allows what He Himself would never do, namely, anthing less than what is good and perfect. But ultimately, God makes evil an occasion for an even greater good, so His permissive will is not without merit. In the case of the sin of Adam and Eve, the greater good has been the Incarnation of God as man, which likely would not have happened, had we never sinned against God. Every time God tolerates sin or imperfection, it is by His permissive will. Not that God loves sin or imperfection, but He loves us, and will work with us--up to a point--to rise from sin to redemption, and from evil to good. Calvin and some others fail to understand permissive will, and fall into the trap of assigning all causes to God. Ultimately, it makes God the author of evil, which cannot be.

Thanks, Lilia

Father Echert

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