A Question I Was Asked:

What is God's "Decretive Will"?

What is God's "Decretive Will"? I have heard the expression recently but it confuses me. Can you help?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay. Some theologians (such as John Frame) have used the term "God's preceptive will," and compared it with 'God's decretive will.' In God's 'decretive will,' He plans and ordains certain things to occur, and they will occur - written that way from eternity. "Decretive" here comes from decree, this is about what God decrees. In God's 'preceptive will,' however, He allows certain things to occur which - in an ideal situation - He would not have allowed. Such things would obviously include the Fall of Man, sin, rebellion, divorce, wars and sickness. Such things were not in His decretive will, but He does permit them, mainly because of the mistakes of men and women. So these matters are in the area of God's 'preceptive will,' God allows certain things in order that human beings upon this planet can learn certain lessons.

Examples of God's 'Decretive Will'

The days of Creation, day and night, the seasons, the creation of animals, then the creation of men and women in God's very image. The calling of Abraham and of Israel, also the plan of God, including salvation through Christ, this too must be included here because of such Scriptures as 1 Peter 1:20-21 and Revelation 13:8b. In short, man's falling into sin was allowed for, with a remedy provided, from the foundation of the world.

Robin A. Brace. July 26th, 2016.