Is The Will Of God The Cause Of Things?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the Ocean of Truth. I’ve had an odd day and I just ask everyone keep praying for me. I’m realizing more areas to work on and my tendency is unfortunately to focus on the negative. God’s making me a better man though with a great instrument to do that with. For now, let’s focus on our study of the doctrine of God. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica has been our guide and we’ll be continuing our study on the will of God. You can read the Summa for yourself online for free at For now, let’s get to the question.

Tonight, we’re asking if the will of God is the cause of things. An important distinction needs to be made at the start. By things, Aquinas means substances I believe. I do not think Aquinas is saying that God is the cause of every action or event. Now he would believe that God allows every action or event, but God is not the cause of evil for instance, especially since evil isn’t a substance.

We have seen that God does not have to will anything outside of himself. He needs only will himself and he is complete in himself. However, his will flows out of his goodness and is an act of intellect. There must be an intellect before there is action as action seeks to reach an end.

This is also a challenge to our naturalistic way of thinking that tries to deny God. In this, there is no purpose. Things act, but ultimately, there is no reason why they act. The gazelle might seek to survive so it can reproduce, but there is no ultimate meaning for its reproducing. Even if it passes on fitter genes, so what? In the end, all dies in a cold death. There is no true progress for there is nothing for us to progress to.

God is also not determined by anything outside himself. He does not act out of necessity but out of the desire of his goodness and this is done through the will acting through the means of his intellect. Since the will is the one that acts through the intellect to produce things, then the will is the cause of those things.

Further, Aquinas tells us that results are produced insofar as they pre-exist in an agent. The classic example is that a painting is produced insofar as it pre-exists in the mind of the painter. In God, all things pre-exist in him. Since they pre-exist in the intellect, the way they come out is through the working of the will. If that is the case, then the will of God is the cause of things.

Thus, we conclude in agreement with Thomas that the will of God is the cause of things. How this relates to the problem of evil and the free-will of man will be discussed later on, but all substances that exist exist because it is the will of God that they exist.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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