When a tragedy happens (such as a murder), I have often heard Christians (including some Catholics) assure people by saying, with regards to the dead, it was “God’s will.”
I am a little confused by this statement.
A murder is, by definition, sinful. And a sin, as far as I know is, by definition, a violation of God’s will.
So how could God will something that is, by definition, a violation of His own will?
Further, how does this jive with free will?
A related, but different question. I have also heard that God does not will all that occurs, because men have free will and He respects that.
However, these people will say that while God does not will everything that happens (especially sin), he does “use” everything (even sin) to “achieve His plan.”
Even this statement is rather confusing to me. For the phrase “plan” indicates that someone:
- Has a goal.
- Is taking active steps to realize that goal.
So, the problematic part of this for me is #2. If He is merely allowing everyone to follow their own free will, then He would seem to have no plan. But if He does have a plan, and is taking steps to achieve that plan, how could He do so without actually doing something? And how could that something not interfere with free will?
In other words, how can one play a game of chess without moving a piece?
Thank you for your consideration.