On the Will of God

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

Eph. 5:17

“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:”

Acts 13:36

“And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.”

Acts 21:14




Revealed Will
Decrees of God
First Sin
Middle Knowledge



Order of Contents

Articles  18+
Book  1
Euthyphro Dilemma  1
Latin  38





Musculus, Wolfgang – ‘Of the Will of God’  in Common Places of the Christian Religion  (1560), col. 386a-393a  Table of contents

Calvin, John – Book 1, ch. 18, ‘The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed by God…, sections 3-4  in Institutes of the Christian Religion  (trans. Beveridge)  d. 1564

Zanchi, Jerome – ‘Consider the Will of God’  in ‘Observations on the Divine Attributes; Necessary to be Premised in order to our Better Understanding the Doctrine of Predestination’ prefixed to The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination,  trans. Augustus Toplady  (1769), pp. 3-37

Zanchi (1516-1590)

Students of Geneva – Chs. 8, ‘Concerning the Will of God’  in Propositions and Principles of Divinity  (1591)

These were disputations held under the presiding of professors Theodore Beza and Anthony Faius.

Rollock, Robert – A Brief Instruction on the Eternal Approval & Disapproval of the Divine Mind  (1593-1594)  6 pp.  trans. Charles Johnson & Travis Fentiman

This short work of Rollock’s was left untranslated in his two volume Select Works, and, to our knowledge, has not been translated elsewhere.

Rollock, a fountain of reformed theology in Scotland, here treats of the important distinctions to be recognized within God’s decree of predestination, especially as it comes to be variously executed through time in providence.  Of special interest is his formulations relating to what would be later known as the sincere free offer of the Gospel:

“Approval without the decree belongs to all good things with respect to themselves, though they are not at any time realized, of which sort are the conversion, faith, and salvation of reprobates; which God surely approves of simply, but does not decree to come about…  1 Tim. 2:4, ‘Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.’”

Rollock’s early paradigm appears to have been influential through later reformed thought as reflections of it occur in later reformed scholastics, including in the Metaphysical Disquisitions of Samuel Rutherford at the end of his Latin treatise on Providence.  More about that may be explored on our page On God’s Revealed Will.

Dove, John – A Sermon preached at Paul’s Cross, the sixth of February, 1596, In which are discussed these three conclusions. 1. It is not the will of God that all men should be saved. 2. The absolute will of God, and his secret decree from all eternity is the cause why some are predestined to salvation, others to destruction, and not any foresight of faith, or good works in the one, or infidelity, neglect, or contempt in the other. 3 Christ died not effectually for all.  (London, 1597)

Morton, Thomas – pp. 120-134  being mostly Sections 5-6, of Ch. 3, ‘Of the faculties of man’s soul attributed to God’  in A Treatise of the Nature of God  (London, 1599)

Morton (fl. 1596-1599) of Berwick was reformed.



Polyander, Rivet, Walaeus, Thysius – Theses 32 & 34-35  of Synopsis of Purer Theology, ed. van den Belt  Buy  (1625; Leiden, Brill, 2016), vol. 1, pp. 171-175

Preston, John – Use 1, ‘He doth not will any thing, because it is just…’, pp. 143-44 of 8th Sermon, 2nd Attribute of God  in Life Eternal or, A Treatise of the Knowledge of the Divine Essence and Attributes, Delivered in 18 Sermons  (London, 1631)

Rutherford, Samuel – Rutherford’s Examination of Arminianism: The Tables of Contents with Excerpts from Every Chapter, tr. Johnson & Fentiman  (1639-1643; Utrecht, 1668; RBO, 2019), ch. 2, ‘On God’, Heading 5:  On God’s Will & its Execution

18. Whether a distinction between the will of God’s good pleasure [beneplaciti] and his revealed [signi] will is to be admitted?  We affirm with a distinction.

Whether in the calling of all in the visible Church is the intention of God that all and every person obey and be saved.  The Remonstrants affirm; we negate.

Whether because God amiably invites and by supplications solicits, entreats and calls upon reprobates, and as He mourns over them, is grieved by them and laments on account of the disobedient, whether He, therefore, intends the obedience of them?  The Remonstrants affirm; we negate.

19. Whether a distinction of will between effecting and permitting is commendable?  We affirm with a distinction against the Arminians.

26. Whether God wills sin to exist, He permitting it?  We affirm against the Remonstrants.

31. Whether God impels persons to sins which He forbids?  We affirm with a distinction against the Remonstrants.

34. Whether the act and the lawlessness are distinguishable in all sins?  We affirm against the Arminians.

35. Whether sin is opposed to God in its essence?  We deny against the Remonstrants.

Whether because God would predetermine the will to material acts of sin, therefore He is the author of sin?

40. Whether each wicked action, which is from sinning instruments, is done by God as by the principal agent?  We affirm with a distinction against the Remonstrants.

42. Whether that distinction is frivolous by which it is taught that God hates sin, and yet wills its existence?  We deny against the Remonstrants.

45. Whether sin necessarily follows upon God’s giving permission by a logical necessity?  We affirm against the Remonstrants.

Leigh, Edward – pp. 164-166  of ch. 7, ‘Of God’s Understanding that He is Omniscient, & of his Will’  in A System or Body of Divinity  (1654)

Owen, John

ch. 5, ‘Whether the Will and Purpose of God may be Resisted, and He be Frustrate of his Intentions’ of A Display of Arminianism  in Works, 10.43-52

‘The True Nature of Gospel Forgiveness–Its relation to the Goodness, Grace and Will of God…’  in A Practical Exposition Upon Psalm 130, on v. 4, pp. 398-404 in Works, vol. 6

Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James Dennison, Jr., trans. George Musgrave Giger (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1992-97), vol. 1, 3rd Topic, ‘The Will of God’, pp. 218-34

Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology, tr. George M. Giger, ed. James Dennison Jr.  (1679–1685; P&R, 1992), vol. 1, 3rd Topic

11. ‘Is God immutable both in essence and will?  We affirm.’ 204

14. ‘Does God will some things necessarily and others freely?  We affirm.’ 218

15. ‘May the will be properly distinguished into the will of decree and of precept, good purpose (eudokias) and good pleasure (euarestias), signified, secret and revealed?  We affirm.’ 220

16. ‘May the will be properly distinguished into antecedent and consequent, efficacious and inefficacious, conditional and absolute?  We deny.’ 226

17. ‘Can any cause be assigned for the will of God?  We deny.’ 231

18. ‘Is the will of God the primary rule of justice?  We distinguish.’ 232

20. ‘How does the goodness, love, grace and mercy of God differ from each other?’ 241



à Brakel, Wilhelmus – ‘The Will of God’ & ‘Our Conduct & God’s Will’  in Ch. 3, ‘The Essence of God’  in The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 1 trans. Bartel Elshout  Buy  (1700), pp. 112-21

Gastrell, Francis – Part 2, ch. 11, ‘Of the Will of God’  in Book 1, ‘Of the Existence & Attributes of God’  in The Christian Institutes: being a plain and impartial account of the whole faith and duty of a Christian  (1709), pp. 117-120

Gastrell was a reformed Anglican.

Pictet, Benedict – Book 2, ch. 5, ‘Of the Will & Affections of God’  in Christian Theology  (d. 1724), pp. 81-89

Pictet was the Swiss professor of divinity in Geneva after Turretin.  He was the last to hold the orthodox faith there before the rise of the Enlightenment.



Heppe, Heinrich – sections 18-36  in ch. 5, ‘The Attributes of God’  in Reformed Dogmatics, ed. Ernst Bizer (1950; Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2007), pp. 81-99

Hodge, Charles – section 9, ‘The Will of God’  in Part 1, Ch. 5, ‘The Nature & Attributes of God’, Section 9, ‘The Will of God’  in Systematic Theology  (New York, 1884), vol. 1, pp. 402-406



Muller, Richard – Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics  (Baker, 2003), vol. 3

ch. 5, ‘The Attributes of Life, Intellect & Will’, pp. 365-475  ToC
ch. 6, ‘Attributes Relating to the Manifestation & Exercise of the Divine Will’, pp. 476-590  ToC




Muller, Richard – Divine Will & Human Choice: Freedom, Contingency, & Necessity in Early Modern Reformed Thought  Pre  Buy  (2017)  336 pp.  ToC



On the Euthyphro Dilemma

Witsius, Herman – bk. 1, ch. 3, ‘Of the Law or Condition of the Covenant of Works’, sections XVII-XVIII, p. 44  in The Economy of the Covenants...  ed. William Crookshank, in 2 vols. (London, 1837), vol. 1



Latin Articles


Zanchi, Jerome – Book 3, ch. 4, ‘Of the Will of God’  in Of the Nature of God, or of the Divine Attributes, in 5 Books (Heidelberg, 1577), pp. 297-399

Zanchi (1516-1590) was an Italian, protestant Reformation clergyman and educator who influenced the development of Reformed theology during the years following John Calvin’s death.


Table of Contents

Book 3, ch. 4. Of the Will of God  297

I. Whether a Will is Truly & Properly Attributed to God in the Scriptures?  298

II. Whether the Will of God Ought to be Sought into by us & in what way it may able to be known by us?  302

III. Whether it is only one will or whether it may truly be multifold?  And if multifold, in what way multifold?  And further, whether there are many wills?  307

IV. Further, of what is the will of God?  Of good only, or truly also of evils?  And hence whether it is the cause of all things?  317

V. Further, what difference is there between the will by which it wills good things and by which it wills evil things?  We are not able, in fact, to simply exclude the will of God from evil, unless we deny his foreknowledge and omnipotence, and by that his providence and deity.  332

VI. In what way He wills: whether out of necessity or truly in all liberty?  332

VII. Whether those things which He wills, He may establish by necessity so that they may be and may come about?  335

VIII. Whether God may will some new thing, or whether whatever He wills, He may have willed from eternity?  336

IX. Whether the will of God may be impeditively changed, or whether it may be wholly immutable, and hence whether it may always come about?  338

X. Whether the will of God ever conflicts with itself , when He commands something which yet He does not will to come to be, or whether the same may always abide in consistency to Him?  345

XI. Whether a cause to the divine will ought to be inquired into & whether such is able to be?  348

XII. Whether God’s will may always be just & the rule of all justice?  370

XIII. Whether our wills hold in conformity to the divine will, & by what way that may be?  369

XIV. What is it to do the will of God?  371

XV. Whether the will of God may be able to be a will of any created substance, so that the will in Christ, by which God so willed, may have been one and the same with that by which the man so willed?  375

Szegedin Pannonius, Stephan – I, ‘Of God in General’, ‘of the Will of God’  in Common Places of Pure Theology, of God and Man, Explained in Continuous Tables and the Dogma of the Schools Illustrated  (Basil, 1585/88/93), pp. 23-24  The whole work is in the form of outlines.

Szegedin (1515-1572) also was known as Stephan Kis and was a reformed, Swiss theologian.

Polanus, Amanus

‘The Will of God’  in An Enchiridion of Theological Common Places, Things, Examples, & Sacred Phrases Collected out of the Thesaurus of Augustine Marlorat, the Storehouse of Christoph Obenheim & Isaac L. Feguernikino Ungaro, 5th edition  (Basil, no date)  Other editions were published in 1589 & 1596.

Marlorat was reformed; Obenheim was Lutheran; Fegyvernek was Hungarian and reformed.

“The will of God is that none should perish: Eze. 18:23; Jn. 6:39; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9.”

‘The Will of God’  in The Partitions of Theology Framed according to a Natural Orderly Method (Basil, 1590; Geneva, 1623), pp. 7-10

Book 2, ch. 19, ‘Of the Will of God Generally’  in A System of Theology  (Hanau, 1609; 1615), 1.1024-1034

Polanus (1561-1610)

Snecanus, Gellius – ‘Of the Will of God’  in A Methodical Description, or Fundamental, Principal Common Places, or the Dogmas of Scripture Concerning the Knowledge of God & Man, which is Threefold in this State of Life  (Harlemum, 1591), pp. 185-266

Snecanus (c.1540-1596) was a German, reformed theologian.

Beumler, Marcus – Theses on the Will of God under Christ  (Zurich: 1599)

Beumler (1555-1611) was a reformed professor of Greek, Catechesis & Old Testament at Zurich.



Martin, Matthew – Notes on Book 1, ch. 9, ‘Of the Will’  in Summary Heads of Christian Doctrine, which Contains a Brief, Clear, Popular and Precise Explication of the Apostles’ Creed, the Decalogue, the Lord’s Prayer, the Institution of Ecclesiastical Discipline, the Sacraments of Baptism & the Supper, even a Method of Systematic Theology  (Heborne, 1603), pp. 237-49

Martin was a German reformed theologian.

Tilen, Daniel – Chs. 14-15, ‘Of the Various Names of the Divine Will’  in An Ordered Arrangement of Theological Disputations held in the Academy of Sedan, vol. 1 (1607, 1611), pp. 109-21

Tilen  (1563-1633) was a French, reformed theologian.

Polanus, Amandus – Book 2, ch. 19, ‘Of the Will of God in General’  in A System of Theology  (Hanau, 1609; 1615), 1.1024-1034

Alsted, Johann Heinrich – Ch. 2, ‘God’, ‘The Will of God’  in A Lexicon of Theology, in which the Terms of Holy Theology are Clearly Explained in a series of Common Places  (Prostat, 1612), pp. 61-62

Thysius, Sr., Antoine – Theses 32-36  in The Sixth of the Theological Disputations, On the Nature of God & the Divine Attributes  (Leiden, 1620)

Thysius (1565–1640) was a Dutch, reformed theologian and professor at the University of Harderwijk and the University of Leiden, known for his being one of the four professors who oversaw the disputations published in A Synopsis of Pure Theology.

Thysius in thesis 34 gives a foundation in the eternal will of God (in God Himself) to the ‘Approving’ Will, and sets it as logically prior to his efficient and permitting will decreeing all that comes to pass.

Scharp, John – Ch. 3, ‘Of God’, Section 5, ‘Rules on the Attributes of God’, ‘Of the Will of God’  in A Course of Theology, in which all the dogmas and controversies of faith agitated in this generation between us and Papists are handled one by one and the arguments of Bellarmine are responded to, vol. 1 (Geneva, 1620), cols. 197-200

Sharp (1572-1648) was also influential in France.  Even though this work is against the Papists, Sharp handles most of the topics of theology in systematic order.

Diodati, Giovanni – Theses 26-29  in A Theological Disputation On God  (Geneva, 1625)

Diodati (1576-1649) was a Genevan-born Italian, reformed theologian and translator. He was the first translator of the Bible into Italian from Hebrew and Greek sources.

Crocius, Ludwig – Book 3, ch. 16, ‘Of the Will of God’  in A System of Sacred Theology  (Bremen, 1636), pp. 584-609

Crocius (1586-1655) was a German reformed theologian.

Rutherford, Samuel

An Examination of Arminianism  (1639-1643; Utrecht, 1668)  The sections with an * have been translated into English above.

Ch. 2, ‘On God’, Heading 5:  On God’s Will and its Execution

13. Whether whatsoever is in God, so far as it is, such as decrees, willings and actions, be God?  We affirm against the Remonstrants. 169

14. Whether in God there is an antecedent and consequent will, according to the Arminian sense?  We deny against the Arminians. 170

15. Whether to take pity and do good is essential to God, and even necessary, as much as for the sun to give light?   We deny against Jackson and the Anabaptists. 174

16. Whether God punishes men unwillingly?  We deny against the Remonstrants. 175

16. [sic] Whether God is immutable?  We affirm against the Arminians.  175

17. Whether there is a primary intention in God which sometimes fails, with a secondary intention following it?  We deny against the Arminians.  179

* 18. Whether a distinction between the will of God’s good pleasure [beneplaciti] and his revealed [signi] will is to be admitted?  We affirm with a distinction.  181

* Whether in the calling of all in the visible Church is the intention of God that all and every person obey and be saved.  The Remonstrants affirm; we negate.  183

* Whether because God amiably invites and by supplications solicits, entreats and calls upon reprobates, and as He mourns over them, is grieved by them and laments on account of the disobedient, whether He, therefore, intends the obedience of them?  The Remonstrants affirm; we negate.  183

* 19. Whether a distinction of will between effecting and permitting is commendable?  We affirm with a distinction against the Arminians.  184

20. Whether God indeed absolutely decreed all contingencies from all eternity?  We affirm against the Remonstrants.  185

21. Whether the conditional decree of the Arminians suffices to save God’s providence of future contingencies?  We deny against them.  191

22. Whether fortune reigns according to the Arminians?  We affirm against them.  193

23. Whether the dominion of his providence in free acts, according to the view of the Jesuits and Arminians, consists with God?  We deny against them.  196

24. Whether such a dominion consists with God as that He be able to effect things so that a free act be rather than not be, according to the Scriptures?  We affirm against the Remonstrants and Jesuits.  197

25. Whether God’s dominion requires that all free acts of creatures be principally and determinately from Himself?  We affirm against the Remonstrants and Jesuits.  200

* 26. Whether God wills sin to exist, He permitting it?  We affirm against the Remonstrants.  203

27. Whether God wills sin as it is a penalty for sinning?  We affirm against the Remonstrants and Jesuits.   210

28. Whether sin is a penalty for sin?  We affirm against the Remonstrants.  211

29. Whether God is a bare permitter, and an accidental cause of hardening?  We deny against the Remonstrants.  213

30. Whether there are other evil acts of the hardened which do not increase their damnation?   We deny against the Remonstrants.  214

* 31. Whether God impels persons to sins which He forbids?  We affirm with a distinction against the Remonstrants.  216

32. Whether God absolutely foreordained the sufferings in the death of Christ, but not really the unjust actions?  We deny against the Remonstrants. 216

33. Whether God forbids acts [considered materially in themselves], or rather the malice of an act, in his law?  We deny the former; we affirm the latter against the Remonstrants.  218

* 34. Whether the act and the lawlessness are distinguishable in all sins?  We affirm against the Arminians.  219

* 35. Whether sin is opposed to God in its essence?  We deny against the Remonstrants.  220

36. Whether God concurs with material acts of sin by a universal, indifferent, and determinate concurrence through secondary causes?  We deny against the Jesuits and Remonstrants. 221

* Whether because God would predetermine the will to material acts of sin, therefore He is the author of sin?  224

37. Whether an obligation as first cause excuses God so that an evil action be not imputed to Him, even though He gives a general concurrence to it? We deny against the Jesuits and Arminians.  224

38. Whether God’s good pleasure is the first cause of all moral goodness in creatures?  We affirm against the Remonstrants.  226

39. Whether God’s predetermination is the fate of the Stoics?  We deny against the Remonstrants.  227

* 40. Whether each wicked action, which is from sinning instruments, is done by God as by the principal agent?  We affirm with a distinction against the Remonstrants.  230

41. Whether our people are Libertines in this doctrine?  We deny against the Remonstrants. 231

* 42. Whether that distinction is frivolous by which it is taught that God hates sin, and yet wills its existence?  We deny against the Remonstrants.  233

43. Whether all acts of good and evil are particularized and determined by God even as far as the numerical singleness and unity of acts [generally]?  We affirm against the Jesuits and Arminians.  234

44. Whether [God’s] permission is a bare, non-efficient one, and a dereliction of will, the nature of it being indifferent?  We deny against the Jesuits and Arminians.  235

Whether the permission of sin works only by persuasion?  So says Arminius; we deny.  236

* 45. Whether sin necessarily follows upon God’s giving permission by a logical necessity?  We affirm against the Remonstrants.  236

A Scholastic Disputation on Divine Providence   (Edinburgh, 1649)

2 – What is the permissive nature of the will of GOD, and of the will of sign and the will of good pleasure: the Arminian Remonstrants are invoked for their part.  3

6 – Concerning the nature of permission  67

7 – Seven questions that are to be urged concerning permission:

Q. 1 – Whether permission is merely non-violentation or non-necessitation of will; as the Jesuits Penotto, Pesantius & Ruiz and the Arminians would have it?

Q. 2 – Whether permission and hindrance of sin are accomplished with God by way of persuasion?  73

8 – Q. 3 – Whether sin still necessarily follows from the ordained permission of God by necessity of consequence, even though not by causal obligation.  80

9 – Q. 4 – Whether permission of sin is absolutely dependent on the free good pleasure of God, or whether it arises conditionally for the determination of a created will that is alleging said permission?  Gabriele Penotto, Diego Ruiz de Montoya, Theodorus Smising, Jacob Arminius, and others are invoked for their part.  86  [The remaining three questions are discussed in this same place.]

10 – Whether that which is to be admitted is some Christian concept of fate?  99

11 – The opinion of Englishman Thomas Jackson concerning fate and necessity is examined.  118

16 – Whether Evangelicals [the Reformed] rightly prove from the Scriptures that GOD, Himself permitting, wills sin to occur. The passage Genesis 45, regarding the selling of Joseph into slavery, is judged and vindicated.  189

17 – Whether, from other Scriptures, Evangelicals rightly prove that God, Himself permitting, wills sin to occur? The passage Acts 2:23 & 4:27, regarding Christ having been crucified from the definite council and foreknowledge of God, is judged and vindicated.  199

18 – Whether, supposing that Gof had stored up the damned unto the day of destruction and had permissively ordained them unto sin, it would then follow that God would be the Author of sin? The passage Prov. 16:4 (“The LORD hath made all things for himself…”) is judged and vindicated. Likewise the passage Rom. 9:17 (“Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up…”). Also, the passage 1 Pet. 2:8 is judged and vindicated.  Bellarmino, Ruiz, Louis le Mairat (1577-1664), Arubal, Fasolus, and the Arminians are invoked in parts.  211

19 – Whether God therefore is the agent principally, when Devils and damned persons sin, so that He is nevertheless free from every fault of sin, yet they the instruments of sin are tainted with the entire charge? 247

20 – Whether sin is the penalty of sin?  Whether God wills sin insofar as it is the penalty of sin?  Bellarmino, Diego Ruiz, Leonardus Lessius, Gabriele Penotto, Louis le Mairat, Philipe de Gemache, and also the Arminians are invoked in parts.  261

21 – That God does not harden men by bare permission. Regarding the method of hardening, the Jesuits and Arminians are invoked in parts.  287

22 – Whether the free Good Pleasure of God is the first Principle of every moral virtue in created beings?  312

23 – It is proven by other arguments that God wills sin to take place, Himself permitting.  356

24 – The same thing is proven by other arguments.  358

Metaphysical Inquiries

8 – Whether God exercises providence in all things by necessity of nature or by freedom?  561

9 – Whether God’s free good pleasure is the cause of beings, of gradations of being, and of particular forms in natural things, moral things, supernatural things, and artificial things?  563

10 – Whether the Creator is able to inflict injury to the creature,and what right God has in the creatures?  573

To what extent justice belongs to God essentially, and what follows. 584

Whether the decree of God removes ability from a secondary cause? 586

By what power may something result unto illustrating the glory of God out of sin?  590

Whether a creature may be able to work without a first cause concurring?  592

Whether God ought to be said to move the sun to illumination if He be not the author of that illumination, according as it is from the sun?  596

Whether Adam sinned freely because he sinned by the remote predeterminate motion of God?  597

Whether or not that subtraction [of grace], preceding the sin, was the punishment of sin?  I respond negatively.  597

In what way, therefore, was Adam able to will if he had so willed to stand?  597

Whether there is such a thing as a contingent future and what it is? from an anonymous debater.  597

Whether orderliness, in itself, unto good, may come by sin, or whether it comes truly by accident?  604

Whether the Will of Sign is the Will of God improperly and metonymically?  [Yes; Rutherford explains that the Approving will that lies behind it in God is properly called his will, though the communication directing that to the creature, by creaturely signs and commands, is not properly God’s will as God has not willed it to be in the event.]  605

A thing that is to be future, of what does it consist of from eternity?  605

It is said, no?  Therefore, the future is in no way real.  606

Whether the future was from eternity from a second cause, or whether from the first cause?  607

Whether the act, or whether truly the lawlessness or malice of the act may be formally prohibited?  608

Whether God properly dispensed with the law when He commanded Abraham to slay his only begotten son?  It is minimally true.  610

Whether God certainly has a positive dominion and rule in non-entities never created?  It is most certain.  610

Whether the active hardening of God is formally a positive act?  & whether it is an immanent or transient act?  611

Whether the will of sign & the permitting will may coincide?  611


Concerning the conflict in God’s will as it is falsely imputed to our side.  613

Concerning the will of approval and the will of good pleasure, a debater is examined who says that God wills every possibility.  615

The Permitting Will of God does not have a purely negative being about sin  619


Maccovius, Johannes – in A Theological Collection of all that which is Extant, including Theological Theses through Common Places in the Academy of Franeker  (Franeker, 1641)

First Part:  a Collection

1. Of Predestination  1

1. God does not will for all & every person to be saved  1
2. Of the Will of Sign  4
3. Of the Conditional Will of God  8
4. Whether there may be granted in God to be an antecedent & consequent will?  11
5. Of the Effective & Approving Will, so far  13
6-7. Of the Permissive & Effective Will  15
8. No Ineffectual Will of God  22

Another Part: Theological Theses through Common Places

Part 1, ch. 26. Of the Will of God  118

Maccovius (1588-1644)

Trigland, Sr., Jacob – Theological Disputation on the Will of God  (??, 1651)

Maresius, Samuel – ch. 21, ‘Of the Will of God’ & ch. 32, ‘Of the Decrees of God’  in Book 1, ‘Of God & his Attributes’  in The Hydra of Socinianism Expunged, vol. 1  (Groningen, 1651), pp. 203-219 & 604-688

Chamier, Daniel

A Body of Theology, or Theological Common Places  (Geneva, 1653), Book 3

ch. 11, Will of God, pp. 92-93
ch. 12, The Efficacious Will of God, pp. 93-96

Chamier (1564–1621)

du Molin, Peter – chs. 10-11, ‘Of the Will of God’  in Molin, Cappel, Ramburtio, Maresio, Colvino, Le Blanc, Le Vasseur, Alpaeo – A Collection of the Theological Disputations held at Various Times in the Academy of Sedan, vol. 1  (Geneva, 1661), pp. 102-116

Du Moulin (1568-1658) was a Huguenot minister in France who also resided in England for some years.

Amyraut, Moses – Disputation 8, ‘Theological Theses on the Will of God’  in Cappel, Louis; Moses Amyraut & Joshua La Place, An Arrangement of the Theological Theses Disputed at various times in the Academy of Salmur, vol. 1  (2nd ed. Saumur, 1664-5), Part 4, pp. 105-116

Amyraut (1596–1664)

Cocceius, Johannes – Sections 22-76  of ch. 10, ‘Of the Communicable Attributes of God’  in A Sum of Theology Rehearsed out of the Scriptures  (Geneva, 1665), pp. 145-55

Cocceius  (1603-69)

Burman, Francis – Book 1, Locus 2, ‘of God’, ch. 22, ‘On the Will of God’  in A Synopsis of Theology, and especially of the Economy of the Covenant of God, from the beginning of ages to the consummation of all things, vol. 1  (Utrecht, 1671), pp. 120-26

Burman (1628-79) was a Dutch, reformed theologian.

Wyss, David – Theses 21-27  in A Theological Disputation on the Divine Attributes, in General & in Specific  (1676)

Wyss (1632-1700) was a reformed professor of philosophy, Hebrew, theology and catechetical theology at Bern, Switzerland.

Braun, Johannes – Part 2, Locus 2, Ch. 3, ‘Of the Knowledge [Scientia] & Will of God’  in The Doctrine of the Covenants, or A System of Didactic and Elenctic Theology  (Amsterdam, 1691), pp. 72-81

Braun (1628-1708) was a Dutch reformed theologian.



Van Til, Salomon – Book 1, Part 1, ch. 1, section 4, D. ‘Of the Will of God’  in A Compendium of Both Natural and Revealed Theology  (Leiden, 1704; 1719), pp. 44-50

Van Til (1643-1713) was a theologian of the Dutch Reformed Church and a leading theological thinker of the post-Cocceius era.

Roy, Albert – Theological Exercise 24, which is of the Will of God  (Bern, 1717)

Roy (1663-1733) was a reformed, professor of Hebrew, Catechesis and theology at Lausanne, Switzerland.

Holtzfus, Barthold

A Theological Tract on God, Attributes and the Divine Decrees, Three Academic Dissertations  (1707)

ch. 8, Of the Will of God & of the Distinctions of the Divine Will, p. 106 ff.

ch. 12, Of the Actions & Decrees of God, p. 181 ff.

Holtzfus (1659-1717) was a reformed professor of philosophy and theology at Frankfurt.

Andala, Ruard – ch. 8, ‘Of the Will of God’ & ch. 9, ‘Of the Liberty of the Divine Will, even of Spontaneity & Indifference’  in A System of Theological-Physical Metaphysics, containing a Compendium of Natural Theology: a Paraphrase of the Principles of the Philosophy of Renee Descartes; & also a set of Seven Philosophical Dissertations  (Franeker, 1711), pp. 82-90

Andala (1665-1727) was a professor of philosophy and theology at Franeker.

Vitringa, Sr., Campegius  d. 1722

The Doctrine of the Christian Religion, Summarily Described through Aphorisms

Vol. 1  (Leiden, 1702), does not have footnotes with sources

Theses 47-71, pp. 37-43

Vol. 2  (Leiden, 1769)

‘An Analysis of ch. 5’ & ch. 5, ‘of the Counsel of the Divine Will’, pp. 1-66  This is wholly about the decrees of God.

Vitringa, Sr. (1659-1722) was a professor in Franeker and a Hebraist.  “…Vitringa…  maintained a fairly centrist Reformed position…  Vitringa and De Moor serve as codifiers and bibliographers of the earlier tradition, the former from a federalist, the latter from a nonfederalist perspective.”

“Admirable text-book, full of quotations.” – Howard Malcom

van Mastricht, Petrus – Book 2, ch. 15, ‘Of the Will & Affections of God, Ps. 115:3’  in Theoretical & Practical Theology  (Utrecht, 1724), pp. 157-70

Van Mastricht (1630-1706)

Stapfer, Johann

Ch. 3, section IV, ‘Of the Will & Power of God’  in Institutes of Universal Polemical Theology, Ordered in a Scientific Arrangement, vol. 1  (Zurich, 1756), pp. 90-104

5th Analysis, ‘Of the Intellect & Will of God, Jn. 4:24’  in Theology Analyzed, vol. 1  (Bern, 1761), pp. 28-34

Stapfer (1708-1775) was a professor of theology at Bern. He was influenced by the philosophical rationalism of Christian Wolff, though, by him “the orthodox reformed tradition was continued with little overt alteration of the doctrinal loci and their basic definitions.” – Richard Muller

De Moor, Bernard

A Continuous Commentary on John Marck’s Compendium of Didactic and Elenctic Christian Theology  (Leiden, 1761-71)

vol. 1

pp. 574-579 of ch. 4, ‘Of God, with respect to his Names, Essence & Attributes’, section 16

vol. 2

ch. 7. Of the Predestination of Men to Salvation or Damnation, pp. 1-117

De Moor (1709-1780)



Latin Books


Bradwardine, Thomas – Of the Cause of God, Against Pelagius, & of the Power of Causes…  in 3 Books  (London, 1618)

Bradwardine (c.1290-1349) was an English clerical scholar and theologian, known as Doctor Profundus.  He was a favorite of Rutherford.  For an English survey of this book, see Gordon Leff, Bradwardine & the Pelagians (Cambrdge Studies in Medieval Life & Thought, New Series, vol. 5) (rep. 2008; Cambridge, 1957).



Rutherford, Samuel – Apologetic Exercises for Divine Grace  (Amsterdam, 1636; 1651)

Table of Contents

Exercise 1 – Of the Divine Decrees and the Agreeable Union of Divine Will with Human Liberty   1

1 – Of the Nature of Human Liberty   1
2 – Of the Eternity and Immutability of God’s Decrees, and
.           so far as Justification goes, in what way that which is
.           an Immanent Act in God may be Bound in Time, even
.           we are Justified by Faith    18
3 – Whether Contingencies are Subject to God’s Absolute
.          Decree, and in what way God’s Conditional, Disjunctive
.          and Congruent Decrees are Overthrown    68
4 – Contrary to Suarez, Vasquez, Molina, Lessius and
.          Fonseca, and above all Contrary to Jacob Arminius,
.          this is Explained by the Union of Contingency and
.          the Absolute Decree   105
5 – Contrary to the Same Jesuits and Arminians, the New
.          Fiction of a Middle or Conditional Knowledge of God is
.          Overthrown   187

Exercise 2 – Of Notions of the Divine Will   213

1 – Of God’s Revealed Will [Will of Sign] and His Decretive
.          Will [Will of Good-Pleasure]  213
2 – Arminius’ Argument: “That which everyone is bound
.          to believe is true […Therefore Christ is the Redeemer
.          of all], etc.” is Refuted.  Likewise, it is contended, contrary
.          to the Arminians, that God cannot disagree with His own
.          Purposes.  238
3 – Of the Antecedent and Consequent Will of God   323

Exercise 3 – Of the Temporal Actions of God in Human Liberty   363

1 – Whether  Free Will is Determined by God; whether Morally
.          or by the way of Physics, First Considered in Natural
.          Actions, and then of Gracious Actions   363
2 – Of the Efficacy of Grace, contrary to the Jesuits and
.          Arminians   395
3 – The Jesuits’ and Arminians’ Arguments against the
.          Predeterminate Efficacy of Grace are Countered   477
4 – The Monstrous Fiction of Congruent Calling is Rejected,
.          contrary to Suarez, Pedro da Fonseca and Bellarmine   502

Trigland, Sr., Jacob – Meditations of Jacob Trigland on Various Opinions on the Will of God & Universal Grace, where is yet something of Middle Knowledge  (Leiden, 1642)

Strang, John – Of the Will & Actions of God about Sin, in 4 Books: the Judgment of the Reformed Churches, especially of Scotland, humbly offered & most willingly submitted  (Amsterdam, 1657)



Hottinger, Johann Jacob – On Predestination & the Grace of God unto Salvation…  Two Historical-Dogmatic Exercises are appended on 1. the Antecedent & Consequent Will of God, & 2. the Sufficient & Efficacious Grace of God  (Zurich, 1727)  Table of Contents  Most of the work is on the history of these doctrines.

Hottinger (1652-1735) was a reformed, Swiss theologian, a professor of theology at Zurich, and the son of J. H. Hottinger (1620-1667).




“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

1 Jn. 2:17




Related Pages

Of God & his Attributes