Does God Have A Will?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We are diving into the ocean of truth here. Keep an eye on this site as hopefully we will see some expansion of Deeper Waters in the not-too-distant future. For now, we’re going to continue the path that we’ve been on. We’re going through the Summa Theologica now of Thomas Aquinas with the goal of being getting a more thorough understanding of the doctrine of God. For those who do not own a copy, you can read it at We’re starting tonight looking at the Will of God and we’re going to be asking tonight if God has a Will.

To begin with, this is not speaking about God’s will for our lives in that way. We’ve already done a short series on that. It is also not speaking about moral will at this point, although I do believe each of those could be included in some way. For now, the will has more to do with desire. Does God have desire?

Desires are meant towards end. God has no end however. Things that have ends are objects created for a purpose. You and I were created to glorify God. Angels were created for the same purpose. That we have an end does not mean that end will be fulfilled always, but we do have one.

God’s end however is himself. He was not created, but he is his own good and desire. What does God desire more than anything else? It’s not us. It’s himself. For Aquinas, when the will has that which it desires, then it can rest in the happiness of what it has.

We know this to be true for ourselves. If you are married, you should not be looking at other people of the opposite sex for sexual fulfillment. If you are hungry and eat something, generally, you have your appetite fulfilled and you can rest in that fulfillment. If you have had a hot day and you get a cold drink, you are fulfilled in that.

God has a will however because will is related to the intellect. God is his own intellect and he desires that which is the greatest good, which is of course himself. The desire is related to that which is intelligible. This is different from the appetitive sense, which even the animals have. Now appetite is a function of our will, but our will is not limited to that. We desire truth and goodness, something that the animals do not desire.

What we can take from this at this point is that we do not change the life of God. We do not make him happier by worshipping nor do we make him sad when we don’t. He has all he desires within himself. He wishes to share that love, but he will not suffer if we do not return the favor. In fact, we can only gain by receiving the love he has for us. The one who thinks he hurts God by shunning him only hurts himself.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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