The common view of the multiplicity of wills of God (revealed and secret) has several flaws. Namely it seeks to resolve the apparent paradox posed by the view of God’s sovereignty wherein God MUST get his way without fail (and his way is the only way any situation or event may come about) and the view that man possesses responsibility and therefore the power of limited free choice.
So when we read about events such as God repenting for creating man or for saving Israel we are forced to call into question the initial presupposed definition of sovereignty (as stated above and affirmed throughout Calvinistic literature). However, rather than reject this view of sovereignty God’s will is seen as divided and hierarchical such that God MUST (by necessity) have a “hidden” will that can somehow freely subvert and even contradict his revealed will.
We can see this further when Jesus tells us to love our enemies. This seems to stand in stark contrast to the late Calvinistic notion that God gleefully damns sinners to hell “for his glory” even though he (limited atonement) never died for them in the first place. This can only be resolved by positing a hidden or secret will that freely contradicts the revealed will (Scripture).
After many long hours of studying this whole view of God’s will as being multiplied beyond a single unified will that is revealed in part, I am forced to wonder whether this whole “secret will of God” is not, in the end, much different than the hidden knowledge the Gnostic were so infatuated with.
In summation; I find the attempt to resolve the apparent conflict between the Calvinistic understanding of sovereignty (as God being the sole causal agent in the universe) and man’s responsibility before him (which, itself, requires a limited view of freedom that causal determinism explicitly prohibits) by way of hidden or secret wills to be insufficient at best and downright subversive (intentional or not) at worst.
For more information about the problems posed by dividing God’s will up, see: