How can God have a plan?


#1

It seems odd to me that God who is all wise, all knowing, all powerful, infinite, etc. could conceivably create an evolving, full of imperfections, universe. Some say He has a plan. And how can he have a plan? A plan involves a series of time events leading up to a result. God operates outside time. Thus a God plan seems to be a contradiction.


#2

What’s your plan for the world? How would you order the world? What would the outcome be at the end?


#3

This brings up the ultimate mystery and Paradox of Fate versus free will. Tomorrow is promised to no one so all you can do is be kind and good to others.


#4

How can God have a plan? Because he is all knowing. Even though we have free will, he knows what we will eventually choose. Not sure what you mean about God operating outside time. he works in his time.


#5

Are you saying God ought to operate with our human thoughts and emotions?


#6

What’s wrong with evolving?


#7

He did not create an evolving, full of imperfections, universe.

God created a perfect world wherein His creation could come to know and ultimately commune with Him. It is His creation, mankind, given the capacity to know and act with a free will, who messed up.

Some say He has a plan in the sense that there is a final cause to His creation. Such a plan would involve a series of time events leading up to the result, which is love and justice because, while. God is outside time, bringing all into existence, from beginning to end, within His eternal Now, He reaches out into His creation, as we see in His encounter with Cain, warning him about the threat of sin, and in the emptying of the Son, who became man, died and was resurrected.

A God plan might be described perhaps as a paradox arising from our understanding as temporal beings, although rooted in the eternal, only in a finite sense. God is in and overarches everything, as Creator, omnipotent in a universe that contains beings with free will.


#8

It isn’t full of imperfections. Everything is the way that it is for a reason and purpose.


#9

Doesn’t the fact that the great majority of his living animals can only survive by the violent killing of other animals for food. I’d call that a definite design imperfection. Or better still, evidence for no intelligent design.


#10

That’s a typical memorized answer from someone who agrees, creation is full of imperfections, but can’t explain why. Did you ever speculate on the possible reasons or purposes?


#11

That’s our anthropomorphic way of describing God. God is reason-able to the limitations of our reason, which theology would call “Logos”. God’s Logos is Christ. God reveals himself to the fullest extent in Christ, and Christ reveals the Father. So yea, “plans” is the best way human thought and language can describe God’s desire for us to love him.
But the word is not very satisfying, as it should be.


#12

God’s above time, as He is with all of creation; time is part of the plan. Time allows change. For man that means that time allows us to grow in justice or perfection, nearer to God.

302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created “in a state of journeying” ( in statu viae ) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call “divine providence” the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well”. For “all are open and laid bare to his eyes”, even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.

1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.

1732 As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil , and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.


#13

God does work in time, but God also exists outside of time. Our past, present, and future are all before God who has no beginning or end.

In the mystery of the incarnation, God stepped into time, so to speak.


#14

Over billions of years we’ve gone to particles and rocks floating in space to you and me here and now.
How does that NOT take planning?


#15

It definitely indicates order and reason. Planning is a linear time thing, so that’s harder to ascribe to God.
It’s not like “one day” God decided (notice the tense) to do this and that. God transcends time. It’s impossible for human beings to describe and think like God, so we stumble around with words.
I’m glad I can’t capture God with my own mind and words, that would not be a good thing.


#16

When we say God’s plan we are talking from a human perspective. From God’s perspective it wouldn’t be. God is indeed outside time.


#17

God has an intellectual nature, i.e, he has infinite knowledge. It is of the nature of a being that possesses knowledge and has an intellectual nature to know and have a plan of what it is going to make or build. For example, a human builder forms the idea of the house in his mind and even draws out blueprints for the house before forming that house in matter. Analogously, from all eternity, God formed in his intellect the idea, the plan, or the form of the universe he was going to create at the appointed time as it were in his eternity that he had decided upon from all eternity.


#18

In old war movies 2 people had to turn individual keys to launch a missile.

They both know the same thing at the same time and turn the keys together.
God knows every temporal event always in eternity, not just when we see that it happens in an individual and sequential moment in time.

But he knows himself as one of the key turners, always knows this, and he knows a person on Earth as the other key turner, such as Moses talking to pharaoh and suddenly the people are delivered out of Egypt - God knows eternally that when Moses talks to Pharaoh, Pharaoh releases the people, and when Moses 4000 years ago temporally knew what God knows and did finally speak to Pharaoh in time, this temporal moment was when the people were released from Egypt.

We are turning one key when we pray in obedience to God’s command to pray to him just as Moses obeyed God and went to pharaoh.
God always works with ‘two key’ causation never alone because he is outside of time and he works with us to work in time so that we know temporarily what he knows eternally and then it is done. The word “cooperation” (Co-Operation) is not a coincidence in Catholic Theology and Doctrine. Everything done in contingent temporal creation is done by a dual causation, a dual agency; nothing temporal is done by God alone in creation.

God’s plan is the Eternal Vision of everything in it’s perfection and everything operating in its being, but not in an isolated knowing. In everything he knows, he knows a temporal creature knowing it with him, temporarily. He knows it eternally and when they know it together, then it is dually caused. (Understand this, that a creature does some sort of mechanical labor in causation rather than simple knowing, and is a kind of proximate cause where is God is the principal agent).

John Martin


#19

God created the world and saw that it was good, but not perfected. What the Church states, from the Catechism, on Providence:

302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created “in a state of journeying” (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call “divine providence” the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well”. For “all are open and laid bare to his eyes”, even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.161

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175

161 Vatican Council I, Dei Filius 1: DS 3003; cf. Wis 8:1; Heb 4:13.
174 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I,25,6.
175 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, SCG III,71.


#20

So intelligent design doesn’t work because we have carnivores and herbivores? Everything serves a function, there is nothing bad about one animal consuming another. It is the most natural cycle and works amazingly well otherwise we wouldn’t be having these things, sounds like some vegetarian hogwash than a genuine example.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.