Does God have to Allow Things to Happen?

Does God have to allow sickness or natural disasters to take place? Does He control things like that? I was brought up to believe that God didn’t have anything to do with that stuff. The Baptist church I was attending said that He did in fact either have to initiate or allow things to happen. Since I’m becoming Catholic, I want to know what the Church teaches.

Thanks and God Bless! :slight_smile:

It must be that God allows such things in a general sense, since He is omnipotent and could prevent them if He so willed.

We generally don’t believe that He inflicts such things on specific people deliberately, for example as punishment. While the Scriptures portray Him as doing so on rare occasions, more often they emphasize (such as in the cases of Job, the man born blind, and those in Jesus’ day on whom a tower collapsed) that such things should not be mistaken for the direct intervention of God to make some kind of moral point.

We do not absolutely know why God permits such things, and the fact that he does has led some to deny that He could be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. In the wake of Jesus’ great sacrifice, however, even such seemingly pointless suffering can be accepted and offered up in union with Jesus’ sufferings for the ultimate salvation of the world. That is not to say that suffering itself is good or to be embraced, but merely that Christians who find that they must suffer now have a way to invest that unfortunate experience with purpose.


Your question concerns the Active and Passive will of God.

God can make things happen but God can also allow things to happen. Miracles are God’s Active will-the laws of nature are suspended.

So…God is Omnipotent but He is also Omniscient. Not one leaf falls to the ground without Him willing or allowing it.

Hi Gregorian,

Out of an infinite number of possible worlds, God chose this one, knowing exactly what would happen. In that sense, you can say that God willed everything to happen as it does. They do not necessarily please us, but we have limited intelligence and God is infinite lntelligence. So we have to accept that what happens is necessarily for the best.

As for the evil done by men, God wills it in the sense described above, but he wanted us to have free will so that we can love Him and love our neigbor. There is no love without free will, since love to be true has to be freely given. A world where there is love is a world that is built on the model of the Holy Trinity.


Yes, part of the problem is our limited knowledge and intelligence. Only God can knows what all of the consequences an action will have for the next 100 or 1000 years. Yes, God tells us in the Bible that we are to treat everyone in a way that is for there best interest. That is what the Greek word “agape” means in the original Greek text of the New Testament and is the word that is usually translated as “love” in the English translation.

To agape God or our brothers and sister we must be able to make a free choice to do that. If we are not able to choose “no” then if we choose “yes”, it was not a free choice and is not agape or true love.

We can be comforted by the fact that God only allows those things to happen to us that are for our ultimate benefit. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said Jesus said both that God cared for the birds of the air even though they don’t work and also that no sparrow falls from the sky without the Father’s Will. In that same sermon when Jesus said that “even the hairs on our head are numbered”, I thought that God knew and cared about how many hairs were on our head and that when we lost one God knew we had one less. Recently I realized that isn’t what it says. “even the hairs on your head are numbered” means that each hair has it’s own number! There is hair #1, #2, etc. Wow!

lastly, there is the scripture written by St. Paul in 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Thanks be to God that God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and loves us all with a love that is so great that the human mind cannot even begin to comprehend it. Bless all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

God doesn’t have** to do** anything. What He does comes from His Love and His divine free will.

There is a wonderful little book, now available to read on line, that discusses these matters:
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

Based on the facts that God is all-knowing and all-loving we know that:


Nothing happens in the the universe without God willing and allowing it.  This statement must he taken absolutely of everything with the exception of sin.  'Nothing occurs by chance in the whole course of our lives' is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, 'and God intervenes everywhere.'

That is one way in which we can find joy even in misery – knowing that whatever happens always is for the good of our immortal souls. God sees ‘the big picture’ and knows that some apparent suffering in nature, far removed from our daily lives, is all part of His plan for the creation He loves so much.

Trouble is, our human brains can’t begin to comprehend this. When we try, especially apart from God, we end up accusing Love itself of evil. As you know, these false ideas are everywhere on popular media, especially on the internet.

Absolutely. God either has to allow these things to happen or He has no control over them. But God is omnipotent. Therefore, God must have control over them. Thus, God must simply allow them to happen.

Don’t forget to factor in the “Ruler of this World”, who, as his name implies, is the ruler of this world. Not God, but antithesis of God. Nothing bad comes from, or is permitted by, God. God is love God is not a jerk. Would a loving Father “permit” his children to be abused, killed, mocked, scorn, suffer and die? No.

The Ruler of this World, Satan, however, is a total jerk. That is pretty obvious from the way the world is.

But God, through the message of Jesus, is hard at work to defeat the Devil, and to free us from his dominion, this World. The war still rages on.

Partially true Qoeleth, but do not forget that God knows far more than we can imagine and that He is always in control of all things. He will only permit things to happen that are for our ultimate benefit, no matter how it appears to us. He will not allow Satan to get away with anything that does not leave us with the opportunity to get to heaven.


God indeed is not and cannot he the author of sin. But it must he remembered that in every sin there are two parts to be distinguished, one natural and the other moral. Thus, in the action of the man you think you have a grievance against there is, for example, the movement of the arm that strikes you or the tongue that offends you, and the movement of the will that turns aside from right reason and the law of God. The physical action of the arm or the tongue, like all natural things, is quite good in itself and there is nothing to prevent its being produced with and by God’s cooperation. What is evil, what God could not cooperate with, is the sinful intention which the will of man contributes to the act.
When a man walks with a crippled leg the movement he makes comes both from the soul and the leg, but the defect which causes him to walk badly is only in the leg. In the same way all evil actions must be attributed to God and to man in so far as they are natural, physical acts, but they can be attributed only to the will of man in so far as they are sinful and blameworthy.

[RIGHT]-Trustful Surrender to
Divine Providence[/RIGHT]

Partially true Qoeleth, but do not forget that God knows far more than we can imagine and that He is always in control of all things. He will only permit things to happen that are for our ultimate benefit, no matter how it appears to us. He will not allow Satan to get away with anything that does not leave us with the opportunity to get to heaven.

Like the narrator in War of the Worlds said, “No man’s life or death is without purpose.”

Theresa has just survived a great test and talks to her husband.
“… I got mad with God. I asked him what the point of this was.”
“What did he say?”
“He said, ‘Look what you’ve done. You can do anything. Don’t let people down.’”

Theresa has learned what she is capable of doing, and she goes on to help many people.

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