God’s Project

"Left foot" via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0.I first encountered the term “God’s project” in an essay by Joseph Tetlow, SJ. I think it’s an idea worth considering further. Looking at the world as God’s project has some powerful implications. For example:

1. It emphasizes the radical human freedom with which God has created us, and the passion God brings to persuading us to help God create a kingdom of goodness, truth, and beauty.

2. It allows us to see human evil as getting in the way, but not abolishing the project. Grace is still everywhere—”God in all things“—and this is why even amidst horrible evil there can still be profound grace. God is still laboring at the project even when people abandon it; God is still passionately calling new laborers to the vineyard.

3. It allows us to see why “where sin increases, grace abounds all the more” (cf. Romans 5:20). We lose sight of the grand design of the project and focus narrowly on something limited, something which appears good for a moment but is not ordered toward the project.

4. It helps us understand what prayer is all about: the practice of discerning the project in all its intricate dimensions, and aligning our desires with God’s desires.

5. It helps us see our very selves as part of that project, and others as well.

6. It reminds us that the project is at once about the “now”—every hair on my head—and the “forever”—the whole of human history, cosmic history, and eternity.

7. It is a reminder that our halting attempts at love are “practice,” and that as we become more adept at love we contribute more and more to the unfolding of the project, increasingly awed by the way God uses our small selves to paint and sculpt the world with great beauty.

Image: “Left foot” via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0.

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Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon is the author of a number of books, including The Ignatian Workout and Living Against the Grain, and teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Boston College.


  1. Thank you for sharing this powerful reflection on “God’s Project”. To knowingly be a part of His project is a gift. I just heard the words as I was creating something tonight. “God project” as I googled I am seeing others that have known about this for sometime. God’s Project is growing in real time during this worldwide pandemic. May more hear and come back to til the garden.

  2. I read the same essay by Joseph Tetlow years ago when it was recommended to me by my spiritual director, Wilkie Au. The difference between a plan and a project made me see everything differently. I think of a plan like architectural blue prints and a project like a garden. You can allow and encourage your children to participate in the garden much more freely than you can permit to work on a construction site.

  3. Thank you for sharing your reflection on “God’s Project”. To knowingly be a part of His project is a gift. All of creation has the same Maker – a Maker who gives Life to all. Please, Lord, help us to share as You share and to live as You live. With gratitude, please help us, your creation, to be aware of your Presence in all of creation. Ad majorem Dei gloriam, let us love one another, as God loves, us, His creation – “Love’s Project”.
    Thank you for being a part of His Project. Blessings upon you, our brothers, our sisters and our common home – “God’s Project”.

  4. Thank you, Tim, for this powerful article and reminder—there’s a “gift” in everything, if we but pause: to feel, to see, to appreciate our own gradual becoming, others’ and all of creation . Oh, the “groaning”!!

    • Oh yes indeed, Pam. I’ve used this idea with my students, who tend to enjoy its very positive focus of building a life in cooperation with God, and working with God to foster greater love and justice.


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