Ask Anything: Does God Get What God Wants?

Another excellent response from Laura Brasov. 

Q: Does God get what God wants?

A: This question is a difficult one to unravel; it is phrased as a question desiring a “yes” or “no” response.  If “yes” is the right response then, since we know that God is full of love and desires everyone to come to come to saving faith with him, how do we then balance the reality that many don’t choose to look to God for salvation? If “yes”, then how do we justify sin and evil in the world?  If “yes”, would there even be a need for heaven or hell?

Yet if “no” is the right answer to this question, how do we then balance God’s omnipotence (the fact that he is all powerful) with the truth of the mankind’s situation where some find salvation in Him while others do not?  How do we reconcile the fact that an omnipotent God (who could easily gain anything He wanted) created you and I with free will – the ability to make our own choices – that might lead to choices that He grieves over? Does this mean that God is not powerful “enough”?

Essentially, the question “Does God get what God wants” is not logically coherent.  I wonder if the fundamental flaw in this question is applying the structure of “want” to an omnipotence – it ends up being an anthropomorphism (ascribing human characteristics to a deity).  “Want” is translated as a verb (thank you, Google!) meaning to “have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for” or “lack or be short of something desirable or essential.”  Is it possible to balance an all-powerful God with someone who  cannot “possess” something? Or is an omnipotent God consistent with someone who “lacks” something in addition?

In conclusion – while we work to reframe the question – perhaps a truer response is both a “yes” AND “no” response to the original question of whether or not God gets what He wants.  Trying to wrap our limited, human brains around an infinite, omnipotent God is fraught with circular thinking!

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