Much of the present controversy is concerning the will of God. The chief question touches on the connection between the will of God and the will of man. What is the relation between these? What is the order in which they stand to one another? Which is first?
There is no dispute to the existence of these two separate wills. There is a will in God, and there is also a will in man.
Nothing in the universe takes place without the will of God. This is admitted. But it is asked, is this will first in everything? Nothing that is good can exist which God did not will to be, and nothing that is evil can exist which God did not will to allow.
The will of God goes before all other wills; it does not depend on them, but they depend on it. Its movements regulate them. The "I will" of Jehovah is the spring and origin of all that is done throughout the universe, great and small. It was this "I will" that brought angels into being and still sustains them.
It was this "I will" that was the origin of salvation to a lost world. It was this "I will" that provided a Redeemer and accomplished redemption. It was this "I will" that begins, carries on and ends salvation in each soul that is redeemed. It is this "I will" that opens the blind eyes and unstops the deaf ear. It was this "I will" that awakens the slumberer and raises the dead.
I do not mean that, merely generally speaking, God has declared His will concerning these things, that each individual conversion (nay, each movement that forms part of it), originates in His supreme "I will."
When Jesus healed the leper, He said, "I will, be thou clean." So when a soul is converted, so there is the same distinct and special forth putting of the Divine will "I will, be converted."
Everything that can be called good in man, or in the universe, originates in the "I will" of Jehovah.