God’s Creation and Sin

(Jason Taylor) #1

Why did God create beings that He knew would sin? If sin separates us from God, why would He make something that He knew would be cast away? I understand and, more importantly, personally accept that Jesus is the bridge between sinners and God, but just curious about the original sin and His reasons for it.

My Question: Why did God create the world
(Timothy Loraditch) #2

@jctteacher We know that God has a plan from the beginning of time. We also know that He has a specific plan for each of our lives, and that those who will not be saved still fill a place in God’s plan. All of this He does for us that He might complete His work in us and glorify His name in all the earth.

Romans 9:22-24 "What if God, intending to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the vessels of His wrath, prepared for destruction? What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the vessels of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory— including us, whom He has called not only from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles

(SeanO) #3

@jctteacher While we cannot fully know why God created us, here are some Biblical reasons and a thread you might enjoy reading where folks discuss this question.

  • to be stewards over creation
  • to be His chosen people and testimony to the nations
  • that we might bring Him glory and praise
  • that He might delight in us and we in Him
  • to know Him and be known by Him

Regarding the reality that we would sin and the world would be broken, what God has in store for us in the New Creation is so far beyond what we suffer here that it is worth it:

Romans 8:18 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Hebrews 12:2 - fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Regarding unbelievers who choose to reject God, you may find the following thread helpful.

Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

(Carla) #4

Blessings!!! I heard a very interesting lecture by Tony Evans, about one of the reasons we were created:”to show Satan that the lesser under God’s authority (man) can triumph over a more powerful being (devil, lowercase on purpose)
Tony goes back to the beginning of creation, and explains masterfully where everything started, and why there is such enmity between the devil and mankind.
I really enjoyed it.

(Elizabeth Hall) #5

I am not very knowlageable about Chrisitanity yet but I hope it is okay if I add to the discussion.

God made us knowing we would go against Him because He wanted to give us free will. Free will gives us the option to choose between following God or going against Him. God did not want empty minded robots that had no choice but to worship Him. ( At least that’s what I think? ) I believe that God did not purposely make us sinful, we became evil ourselves because we chose to go against our creator. Honestly if Adam and Eve didn’t rebel against God then eventually one of their children would have…I feel like if I was in the Garden of Eden I would have probably gone against God too before Jesus changed me. Free will is a blessing from God and yet we tend to abuse it and do wrong things that God does not like and that’s what makes us sinners? I think?

If I’m totally off on this please let me know, as I have a LOT to learn about God and the Bible.

(Jack Johnson) #6

In the beginning was God. He created man in his own imagine, sinless and blameless,
He created the bird’s of the air, fish of the sea,and animals, in the end he created man,
The one thing in which man was a standout of his creation is the gift of free will.
If we go to a circus we see a lion the ringmaster makes the lion do as he wishes with that whip of his, why a lion has no free will to choose right from wrong.
But man has that free will.
In which we choose to disobey God and do our own way.
That’s how sin entered the world.
Still now, God in his grace and mercy sent his son Jesus Christ to redeem us back to him through the cross.
Now once again same as Adam and Eve we have a choice today, to accept him or reject.

(Kathleen) #7

Hi, all! @jctteacher, what a MASSIVE question. I not only hear this question a lot in the environments I inhabit (esp. from atheists), but I also continually wrestle with the very same question! For me, it exposes the deep mystery of how God’s omnipotence (His all-powerfulness), omniscience (His all-knowingness), perfect love, and justice all exist together without contradiction.

A very familiar line of questioning seems to go a bit like this…

“I hear a lot about the Christian God being a God of supreme power and wisdom, love and justice. In my understanding of love, it is NOT loving to essentially set someone up for failure. In God’s all-knowingness, he knew that there would be rebellion, separation, suffering and those who would choose destruction (as @tfloraditch points out in Romans 9). How on earth is this loving or just? Please explain this to me!”

In such a small space, I don’t think we can, however, it’s worth beginning to unpick some of the larger threads here…

  1. Why did God create anything at all?
    In my own mind, it seems that the starting point is why God even bothered to create this world in the first place, which takes us to this somewhat difficult-to-articulate concept of ‘God’s glory’. The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it this way…

It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible… [chapter 4.1]

I have a good bit more study to do on what exactly this means and what it looks like in real life today, but I have understood God’s glory to be inseparable from humanity’s ‘good’. That is, you cannot have one without the other. Humanity’s good does not take away from God’s glory, nor does God’s glory come at the expense of humanity’s good. At the base of my understanding is the idea that this world was created as an overflow of the shared love that the Trinity, and, as such, the intention is that we (and the rest of creation) would share in that eternal love…where both God’s glory and our good are perfectly intertwined.

  1. Why did God create things that have agency?
    People will differ on what humanity’s good actually looks like, so this will probably end up carrying you into another conversation, which will, no doubt, at some point touch on ‘free’ will or agency. A couple other people have already pointed out (thanks, @Zenshii and @Jack_Johnson!). What I am often told (and believe!) is that without agency (choice), love cannot exist. So for humanity to be able to share in the love of the Trinity, we need to ability to consent or reject.

  2. Why did God, with full knowledge that our agency would be our downfall, still create us?
    I am running into more and more people who do not view God giving His creatures agency (freedom to choose) as a particularly loving thing to do. This could be because there exists in a number of cultures (particularly Western culture!) a view that suffering is always bad, therefore, if one has knowledge of suffering there is moral obligation to not only relieve it, but to stop it. By not stopping the suffering in this world (as God has both the knowledge of and power to do), God is seen as a perpetrator.

Still I think the best place to land is that all, even humanity’s fall, is somehow for God’s glory and our good…even if I don’t know how this can be. @carlaospina threw in an interesting interpretation from Tony Evans; maybe that’s an aspect of it, but what I see most is the need for us to be ready to challenge the assumptions of good and bad that others hold as well as be ready to articulate our own.

@jctteacher, do you have a place where you usually start with this kind of question? How does it sit with you?

(Jason Taylor) #8

It sits well and I thoroughly enjoy this dialogue. We sharpen each other and it warms my soul. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to shed light on this question.

(Daren) #9

I lost my faith after 9/11/2001, but it was the creation story that sealed the deal. Why would God place man in the context of his downfall (the trees were in the middle of the garden) and then curse man for what God knew was inevitable? I concluded there must not be a God or he must not be powerful or loving, so I exclaimed, “How dare you!” to a non-existent God and I went about in the darkness that this created. I wondered how I could speak of purpose or hope to my three young boys. Then God showed me that the Genesis 2 narrative is not the picture of perfection but of immaturity and incompleteness. We are being made in the image of God just as my infant carried many of my physical characteristics but would eventually carry my character and dominion only as he matured. This is the context of Hebrews 2, “we do not yet see everything in subjection to them (man), but we do see Jesus”. It is also the context of Hebrews 4 which recognizes that we are still waiting on that seventh day rest. It is the context of I Corinthians 15:45ff, “Thus it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.” Notice that this natural man is such before he sinned.
The earliest Christian writers understood man and woman in the garden as infants in mind, not knowing good and evil. They understood the discernment of good and evil as a sign of maturity (Heb 5:14). They objected to the Platonic “fall” language. When Origin began to incorporate this language into our understanding, he was censured by Jerome and his translator, Rufinus. The early church was known for defending the goodness of creation. God is over life and death. He gives life and takes it away. This is not the work of some lesser demiurge (aka Satan).
Now I understand the Biblical narrative from Genesis 2 to Revelation 22 as fulfilling what was spoken in Genesis 1. God’s interactions with mankind parallel the various stages of parenting that I experience with my child… the catering stage of infancy, the controlling stage of the toddler years, the coaching stage of elementary where things are black and white, the consulting years of adolescence where laws become more abstract and consequences are more natural, and finally the caring years of adulthood when the child has become like the parent.
Obviously, I could say a lot more, but this might start some digging.

(Kyle Spencer) #10

I want to piggy-back on your statement regarding free-will. If God had not allowed us the choice to sin he also would not have allowed us the choice to worship, to love, to serve, to create, to fellowship, etc. You cannot have one without the other and still possess free will. To steal a quotation from Milton’s Paradise Lost, “But God left free the will; for what obeys / Reason, is free; and Reason he made right.” Our ability to reason and determine for ourselves what we should or should not do is a gift, not a curse. Although that ability inevitably left us to fail, God showed mercy and gifted us a path back while still leaving our free-will intact.