How do you respond to Ephesians 1:11?

“In Christ we have obtained an inheritance, having…been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will.”

This text has frequently been used to support the view that all things happen in accordance with God’s counsel and will. But this reads too much into the text. This passage says that all that God accomplishes is “according to his counsel and will,” not that all that takes place is God’s accomplishment in accordance with his counsel and will.

Scripture is clear that much of what takes place in this world is not God’s will. God detests sin and the gratuitous suffering it produces. But in all things — including evil things — God is at work to further his sovereign purpose as much as possible. Whatever God accomplishes is consistent with “his counsel and will” which Paul specifies as centering on acquiring a people for himself who “have obtained an inheritance…in Christ.”

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