The “Hidden Will” of The Father Concerning Predestination

“Before men are born their lot is assigned to each by the secret will of God.”
– John Calvin, Commentary on Romans, commentary on Romans 9:14.

Read first: “The Trinity Logically Explained“.

To understand the colours added to the verses, you just have to know that Luther and Calvin believed (We will show that they believed so in a moment) that God the Father’s hidden will was different than God the Son’s revealed will. Although I believe they each have a unique will (I believe the Son chose from eternity’s past to be subbordonate in function, but not in divinity to the Father.) but my purpose in this article is to show that they do not have 2 contradicting wills (3, if you count the Spirit in there) but that they have 3 wills which work together in holy, perfect unity, so that we can speak of 1 will concerning the salvation of men, so that we can say that the will of the Father = the will of the Son in that He wants all men to be saved. (Read 1 Timothy 2:4)
This colour
will be used to indicate the will of the Father.
This colour will be used to indicate the will of the Son.

(I am aware of the fact that there are differences in thought between Luther and Calvin and Luther’s single predestination and Calvin’s double predestination. But for simplicity’s sake, I put both men and both theories of predestination in one group, in a simple study on the biblical validity of their claims.)

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”
– Maarten Luther (This quote is taken from the conclusion of his speech at the diet of Worms. Source: Martin Brecht. Martin Luther. tr. James L. Schaaf, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985–93, 1:460.

He does not will the death of a sinner-that is, in His Word;
but He wills it by His inscrutable will.
– Maarten Luther, The Bondage of The Will

All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned.”
– Maarten Luther, Biblical Doctrines

“Before men are born their lot is assigned to each by the secret will of God.”
– John Calvin, Commentary on Romans, commentary on Romans 9:14

JohnCalvinGod preordained, for his own glory* and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation.”
– Jean Cauvin (John Calvin), Institutes of The Christian Faith

Now, the highest degree of faith is to believe that He is merciful, though He saves so few and damns so many; to believe that He is just, though of His own will He makes us perforce proper subjects for damnation, and seems (in Erasmus words) “to delight in the torments of poor wretches and to be a fitter object for hate than for love.” If I could by any means understand how this same God, who makes such a show of wrath and unrighteousness, can yet be merciful and just, there would be no need for faith. But as it is, the impossibility of understanding makes room for the exercise of faith …
Maarten Luther, The Bondage of The Will

Not so fast Luther and Calvin… The last quote has always been a typical strategy of the gnostics… Don’t think, just accept what we say, because otherwise we might lose our honour from men… You said sola scriptura? I’m gonna give you some sola scriptura! 😛 We shall see if you are correct in your assumptions on the hidden will of the Father…

“Test everything. Keep what is good
– Apostle Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:21; ERV)

Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. So why do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

– Jesus Christ (John 14:9; NCV)

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared* Him.”
– John 1:18 (ASV)
(* exēgeomai; 2 Possible translations according to Strong’s Concordance are: explained & unfold – in a sense, think of the word exegesis).

Conclusion: They have the same will.

As we have seen in the post about the Trinity), God although 3 different Persons has 1 will. So let’s check out will of the Father (highly likely the Father in these passages) in the Old Testament:

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, * I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
– Ezekiel 33:11 (KJV) (= approximately Ezekiel 18:23,32. See also lamentations 3:33)

(Apocrypha: Orthodox Christians can also read Wisdom 1:13 – depending on the individual’s acceptance of the Greek or the Jewish canon. I, for one, stick to the 66 Books of the Jewish canon.)

New Testament (Jesus, the Son speaking): “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
– Matthew 23:37 (ESV)

Luther’s conclusion [typical of gnostics in my opinion]: “Here, God Incarnate says: ‘I would, and thou wouldst not.’ God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer, and offer to all men, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit He offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God’s secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing and offering. . . .It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.”
– Maarten Luther, The Bondage of The Will

Conclusion: The most logical interpretation is that this verse indicates that the will to save them was clearly and surely present in the Person of Jesus. Jesus was truly lamenting over the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (something that works better with Open Theism, than with Calvinism, were such a tought is seen as a heresy, although it is biblical.
Think about this: one of the greatest heresies, in the litteral sense of the word, is Calvinism.
(Besides, the same verse was used by Irenaeus against gnostic heretics with similar ideas as John Calvin.
Source: Irenaeus, Against Heresies, XXXVII, Book 4, Chapter 37.)

Luther and Calvin were wrong in their philosophical, gnostic and unbiblical separation. The Father was not unwilling to give those souls to the Son, or their eternal unity of the will and therefore the Holy Trinity would fall apart, and we would not be able to speak about one God anymore but about 3 gods fighting each other’s wills.  Erasmus expressed that he could hardly believe that they (actually Luther) still believed in the same Trinity as he believes in. (source?) The problem is not the wil of God, (For the issue of hardening, read this post). The problem is the people. They are not willing to repent. This is proven in, for example, Isaiah 65:2 (ESV):
I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;

“I and the Father are one”
– Jesus Christ (John 10:30, ESV)

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared* Him.”
– John 1:18 (ASV)
(* exēgeomai; 2 Possible translations according to Strong’s Concordance are: explained & unfold – in a sense, think of the word exegesis).

Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.
So why do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

– Jesus Christ (John 14:9; NCV)

Conclusion: Ok, Luther, you might be right in that there is a “Hidden God” (The Father), in John 1:18. But we can clearly see that they have the same will, since Jesus Christ has explained/unfolded the will of the Father.

I spoke openly to the world. And in secret I have said nothing.”
– Jesus Christ (John 18:20b; NKJV, emphasis mine)

Amos declared the same:
Whatever the Lord God plans to do,
He tells his servants, the prophets.”
– Amos 3:7 (CEV, emphasis mine)

Paul declared the same:
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
– Apostle Paul (Acts 2:27-30; KJV, emphasis mine)

“The Lord is not slow in regard to the promise, as certain count slowness, but is long-suffering to us, not counselling any to be lost but all to pass on to reformation.”
– 2 Peter 3:9 (YLT, emphasis mine)

Conclusion: Paul also declared/unfolded the will of God, after His Master Jesus Christ.

“For I came down from heaven,
not to do Mine own will,
but the will of Him that sent Me.”
– John 6:38 (KJV, emphasis mine)

Conclusion: Again we see that Jesus revealed that God will of the Father!
Their will is to save each and every single one of the wicked, through their repentance and trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour!

As seen in all the previous… The problem is the people, not some sort of secret will of God, with no Scriptural support.


In the words of Leighton Flowers:

 Source: “Calvinism Debate Video: Romans 9, James White vs. Leighton Flowers” (youtube: Leighton Flowers)

John Sanders remarked:

Source: “Debate: Does God Know the Future? (White vs Sanders)” by Alpha & Omega Ministries (youtube).

“The idea that God makes all events happen, or that he has all events in his control, is clearly unbiblical. When people sin, they are creating events God never willed or desired. God will judge every event, and as the Governor of the universe, he will punish and reward those events according to his justice. But to define “sovereignty” such that it includes the idea that no event happens which God did not intend, is to ignore the plain teaching of the Scriptures that sin is never a part of the will of God.”
– Michael Saia, Does God Know The Future?, p124

“The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17, KJV, emphasis mine)

We have seen that throughout the Scriptures, we may repeatedly look upon the testimonies of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Actually we should say:” the testimony (singlular) of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That they have one united Will has been proven throughout the Bible. They are of one accord. This is most clearly seen in the words of Jesus Christ:

My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish his work. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (KJV, John 4:34b; John 6:38,40).

This is of course talking about His merciful loving sacrifice given for all (John 1:29*), so that whoever puts his/her trust in Him (John 3:16), will** be saved! 🙂

* Click here to read on the false doctrine of “Limited Atonement“.
** Of course one must endure. Read my post on Conditional Security, if you would like to have more information on that topic.



“Salvationists object to the view that Christ by His sacrifice made Salvation possible or certain to a chosen portion only of the human race, leaving the remainder outside the possibility of that Salvation. This doctrine is generally described by the terms “election” and “reprobation,” and is more commonly known as Calvinism.  It sets forth the belief that one portion of mankind is elected by God to Everlasting Life, and the remaining portion reprobated to everlasting death.

This doctrine is condemned by Salvationists on various grounds:

[1] It is in opposition to the emphatic declarations of the Bible that Christ died for all men.  “For the Grace of God that bringeth Salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2: 11).  And again: “That He by the Grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9).

It is in opposition to what we know of the nature of God, as set forth in the Scriptures.  He is described in the Bible as a just and benevolent Being, which this doctrine seems most emphatically to deny.

It is in opposition to our natural sense of justice. That multitudes of human beings should be appointed to suffer everlasting death, independently of any choice or action of their own, is revolting to our conceptions of right and wrong, to say nothing about our natural sympathies with suffering.”

Source: William Booth, The Atonement of Jesus Christ. (added numbers between brackets “[]”)



This brief piece assumes the reader is familiar with the Calvinistic “two-wills-in-God” theory, prevalent among most Calvinists, and most famously promoted by John Piper. (link/link) Simply stated, this theory holds that God has a decretal will, as well as a wishful-thinking will. The decretal will is the will by which all things are and will be manifested by divine necessity. The wishful-thinking will is what God wishes could be true, but will not be true, because He will not bring about such.

So, for example, when encountering a text which explicitly states that God desires, θέλει, or wills the salvation of all, that they would all come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4), this “will” is interpreted, conveniently, as the wishful-thinking will. God wills, wishes, that all people could be saved. But He has not deterministically willedthat all be saved. Though this post is by no means exhaustive, I think there is enough here to challenge the scholar, informing him or her of the degree to which the burden of proof most often proffered for the theory remains inadequate and, hence, unconvincing.

Calvinists are quite universally agreed that God is angry at sinners. From Calvin to Gomarus to Edwards to Piper we have discovered that this God is an angry God. Arminius, in his Analysis of Romans 9, longs to understand “the proper cause of the Divine anger.”1 For supralapsarian Calvinists like John Calvin, Theodore Beza, Francis Gomarus, and John Piper, Arminius wonders what possible reason they can grant to warrant God’s anger since God, according to their own theology, decreed from eternity past that sinners sin. With such an assumption, “God cannot rightfully be angry with a man for sin; nay, nor can the man commit sin.” Arminius explains:

I say this for the sake of those who suppose that God can with good reason be angry with transgressors of the law, even though they could not have obeyed it by the act itself, on account of the decree intervening [that they not obey it]: but they are much mistaken. For an action of this sort, which is unavoidable on account of the determination of some decree, does not deserve the name of “sin.”2

In other words, if God has decreed a person not obey His law, and God is supposedly good, righteous and holy, then a person’s disobedience of God’s law, on account of God decreeing it, must not be named “sin,” no matter what one desires to name it. But if someone disobeys God’s law, being not decreed to that action but of one’s own free will, then “it is apparent with whom God can rightfully be angry.”3

Regarding a supralapsarian framework — i.e., that God first decreed to unconditionally elect and to reprobate or to eternally condemn, and then decreed to create human beings in order to fulfill the prior decrees — the question begging to be asked is, Why is God angry? For God to decree to eternally condemn, in an abstract sense, and then decree to create human beings to eternally condemn paints a portrait of the character of God as angry without cause. From eternity past, in His righteous, holy, and loving relationship within the Trinity, what cause might God have to be angry? Logically prior to His decree to create human beings to eternally condemn He decreed to eternally condemn. Why?

Calvinists often use St Paul’s statement in a decontextualized sense by way of response: “Who has resisted God’s will?” (Rom. 9:19) One might snidely reply: Which will? The decretal will or the wishful-thinking will? The most obvious choice is the former: the decretal will. Arminius responds: “But omnipotence,” most evidently manifested in the Calvinistically-theoretical decretal will, “does not always accompany God’s will in whatever way considered. For God wills that His law should be performed by all; which is not done.”4 At this juncture the Calvinist will retort: “But the ‘will’ purporting that His law should be performed by all is God’s wishful-thinking will.”

That is a convenient reply but, I think, a rather unwarranted one. Where in Scripture are we taught to view God’s will in two entirely different manners: one decretal, by which He brings about all that He in some sense causes to be, and another one that He wishes to be done but will not come to fruition? Arminius responds:

But it does not thence follow that there are two wills in God, contrary to each other; the one willing that His law be performed by all; the other, that it be not performed: for so it would not be wonderful that the law is not performed by many, when this will armed with omnipotence hinders the other from being done.5

But the response from the Calvinist is knotty on this count: “But when some men endeavor to explain how it can be that those wills are not contrary to each other, they say that God’s will may be considered in a twofold light — as it is hidden,” or secret, and “as it is revealed — that the revealed will is respecting those things which God likes or dislikes; the hidden, concerning those things which He simply and absolutely wills to be done or not to be done.”6 For Arminius, and all other non-Calvinists, this theory is rubbish.

Worse than rubbish, however, this theory is deceptive in nature, an attribute quite unbecoming of a God of holiness, righteousness, integrity and truth. In actuality, the so-called two-wills theory perpetuates an Achilles heel, inherent within its own framework.If the decretal or hidden will is that will by which God “absolutely wills [all events] to be done or not to be done,” in meticulous, deterministic fashion, then the revealed will is not a will at all, at least, not in a proper sense. The alleged revealed will is no higher concept than wishful-thinking: it is entirely benign. The revealed so-called will is not a will at all, as it is in no sense whatsoever causal in nature, as is, allegedly, the hidden will.Moreover, as Arminius dismantles this inept and God’s-character-assassinating theory, the entire concept can be disputed by emphasizing “whether a hidden will can be maintained in God, by which He may will to be done or not to be done what His revealed will wills not to be done or to be done.”7 He notes that some Calvinists attempt to wiggle out of this logical necessity using varying means:

And it is wonderful [or something of a wonder to behold] in what labyrinths [think, philosophical and theological gymnastics] they involve themselves, blinded either by unskillfulness or by prejudice, or rather by both. But to those who rightly consider the matter it will be evident that the will of God is one and the same in itself, distinct only in its objects.8

What confliction must the Trinity experience in “willing” what actually occurs in the universe and yet “willing” that events could be different than what the Trinity has “willed” to occur. What inner turmoil must involve God’s very being — having decreed or, rather, having “willed” from eternity past all that shall, by absolute, divine necessity happen, yet also be “willing” that another reality could exist.This confliction can be termed in the following manner (and this is my impression of John Piper’s explanation of this text): “Oh how I ‘will,’ according to my benignrevealed will, that all could be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4 RWT, Revealed Will Translation); but, in reality, God allegedly and secretly claims: “I have ‘willed,’ according to my hidden or secret causal will, that the unconditionally elect will be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4 HWT, Hidden Will Translation) The concept of two-wills in God is an abuse of the Text; it is eisegesis; it is poor scholarship. The theory is a poor attempt at explaining how God can will one reality while, at the same time, exhaustively decreeing and bringing about another reality — which, we believe, undermines the integrity of our most holy and righteous God.To this notion Arminius argues that this brand of Calvinism performs “the greatest injustice to God, and will contradict clear Scripture.”9 His conclusion regarding the supralapsarian Calvinism of Calvin, Beza, Gomarus and Piper is “absurd” and a “sinister interpretation”10 of St Paul, especially concerning Romans 9. This result comes not at the price of undermining or demeaning Calvinists but of preserving the just character of God. When God is angry at sinners, He is angry not from eternity past but in the moment, because of what a sinner has freely done.11Arminius reminds us of the apostle’s words, that, God “endured with much patiencethe objects of wrath.” (Rom. 9:22, emphasis added) Thus the “mode of hardening” a sinner “is by patience and gentleness, not the omnipotent action of a will which cannot be resisted.”12 So, he concludes, “it is one thing for God to use the act of an omnipotent will to effect hardening, and another to determine by that will that He will harden vessels of wrath.”13 (emphasis added) The two-wills-in-God theory would have us believe in a conflicted God rather than a harmonious unity in the being of the Trinity.
1 Jacob Arminius, “Analysis of Romans 9,” in The Works of Arminius, the London edition, three volumes, trans. James and William Nichols (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996), 3:504.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid., 3:504-05.
5 Ibid., 3:505.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid., 3:514.
10 Ibid.
11 Ibid., 3:518. “For He is not angry with them except when they have already become vessels of wrath; nor, when they by their own deserts are fitted for destruction, does He, as is His right, immediately execute His wrath to their destruction, but bears with them long with great long-suffering and patience, inviting them to penitence, and awaiting their repentance. But when, with a hard heart and one untouched with repentance, they despise that patience and long-suffering of God, it is not wonderful [i.e., it is no wonder] that even the most merciful goodness of God cannot restrain itself from the introduction of anger, lest, whilst demanding everywhere that its own highest dues should be rendered to it by justice, it should seem willing to allow no place at all to justice itself.”
12 Ibid. 3:517.
13 Ibid
Source: William birch, “Arminius Rejects The Two-Wills-In-God Theory: God in Confliction.


“If God is love (1 John 4:7) but intended Christ’s atoning death to be the propitiation for only certain people so only they have any chance of being saved, then ‘love’ has no intelligible meaning when referring to God. All Christians agree that God is love. But believers in limited atonement must interpret God’s love as somehow compatible with God unconditionally selecting some people to eternal torment in hell when He could save them (because election to salvation and thus salvation itself is unconditional).”
― Roger E. Olson.

“There is not a certain group that is predestined for hell and they can’t do anything about it. How then would God be just? Knowing God’s nature, and that he IS love, I simply cannot believe that and believe it to be a completely false teaching.”
― Lisa Bedrick, On Calvinism.

‘Though the Calvinists of Arminius’s era reject his doctrine of conditional election, which is presupposed by faith in Christ Jesus, this does not deter him from defending what he believes is clearly taught in Scripture. In his Apology (Defense), he argues that faith in Jesus Christ — agreeing with the charge brought against him — actually is “a condition prescribed and required by God, to be performed by those who shall obtain His salvation,” citing, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever doesn’t believe in the Son won’t see life, but the angry judgment of God remains on them.” (John 3:36 CEB) This is the consensus of early Church orthodoxy from the beginning.
Giving further defense, Arminius writes: “The propositions contained in this passage cannot be resolved into any other than this brief one, which is likewise used in the Scripture, ‘Believe, and thou shalt be saved:’ In which the word ‘believe’ has the force of a demand or requirement; and the phrase ‘thou shalt be saved’ has that of a [persuasion], by means of a good that is promised.” For Arminius and the Remonstrants, this truth is “so clear and perspicuous [i.e., easy to understand] that the denial of it would be a proof of great perversity or of extreme unskillfulness,” which is quite telling for the Calvinists who deny the claim.’
– Will Birch, “Who Saves Whom? Does Faith in Christ Save Anyone?” (williambirch).

I wouldn’t go that far as to say that Calvinists are not saved but I believe that in the other things he does a good job explaining the fallacy of Fatalist Calvinism:

A video against the idea that one cannot reject the will of God:

One last thing I would like to note on Fatalist Calvinism (only this final part of the blog is on that specific type of Calvinism):

If God was absolutely sovereign, in the Calvinist re-definition of the word, then there was no sin because sin is rebellion against the law of God (1 John 3:4 and Joshua 1:18) and therefore against God Himself. The word “rebellion” (and the word “justice”) would lose its meaning since there would be no real rebellion, as all rebellion would be just as it pleased God. As Clark H. Pinnock said:

“It is surely not possible to believe that God secretly planned our rebelling against him. Certainly our rebellion is proof that our actions are not determined but significantly free.”
– Clark H. Pinnock, God Limits His Knowledge, p 149 (emphasis mine)

‘“The Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves” Luke 7:30. The word “purpose” here actually means “plan,” as opposed to desire (the usual word for “will”), which means people resist God’s plan for their lives, and not just his wishes.’
– Michael Saia, Does God Know The Future?, p124 (emphasis mine)

On the idea that God has 2 wills (one that wants to save all, another that wants to save only the elect), the following video is very thorough:

Some additional funny memes:

Source: Richard Coords

Source: Terence Jones

Source: unknown

Source: unknown

Source: Terence Jones

Additional video by Gordon C. Olson, which speaks loud and clear:

Source: my youtube channel (check for primary source and more videos by Gordon C. Olson)

Some might find this funny:

 Source: Kevin Jackson (youtube)

And this:

Source: TheLutheranSatire (youtube)

Read also: “Romans 9

Read also: “An Open View on Hell

Read also: “Limited Atonement

Read also: “The Hardening of The Heart Explained

Picture Maarten Luther taken from historiek
Picture John Calvin taken from calvinquotes
Picture William Birch taken from jacobarminius

Picture Roger Olson taken from baylor
Picture Lisa Bedrick taken from orangecountyangel


2 thoughts on “The “Hidden Will” of The Father Concerning Predestination

    1. Darwinian macro-evolution also never stopped “scientists” in their tracks. But I think a big part of your comment holds valuable information. You went from Evangelical Protestant / Calvinism to?


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