Ancient Christian Riddle Solved
Riddle: Why did God create man knowing we would sin, fall from grace, and beget great evil upon the world?
Answer: God didn’t create man to be eternally perfect. Read Isaiah 43:7; God created man to give glory to God. We can do that without being perfect.
The answer doesn’t make much sense but it’s Biblical. Our imperfect species seems to be giving zero glory to God. Given our wars, greed and injustice toward our brethren we appear to be more of an affront to God than a giver of glory. If God really created us to give him glory then it appears God failed and is therefore not Godly. Or, we could be missing something.
It helps if we look beyond the current events of our lifetimes, remembering that God exists outside our understanding of time. Our species has a long past and an even longer future to consider. The creation of man didn’t begin in our lifetimes and it has not yet ended. We are a socially and morally evolving species. And despite the cynicism we have about ourselves we are moving closer to what God desires and thereby giving him glory.
In ancient Rome, it was legal for the father of a newborn infant to leave the child abandoned to die in the outside elements. This usually happened if the child was deformed, sickly or the father decided another mouth to feed was just too expensive. Child abandonment still occurs in our modern era but in the less morally evolved days of the past, it was acceptable and legal.
It was also acceptable that a person be horrifically executed for merely disagreeing with the governing policy of his king. Beating up your wife was legal. War was noble. Slavery was normal. Disease and poverty rarely inspired compassion or assistance because they were assumed to be a result of sinful behaviour. The further back in time we look, the less morality we see. The people of the good old days were not moral by modern standards. They were cruel, selfish and brutish. They were not the people you’d want for a next door neighbor.
We have evolved since those days, and will continue to evolve because our creation is not yet finished. Our creation includes an internal creation of moral values and by our understanding of time this is a long, slow process. God does not exist within our understanding of time however. God exists in his own eternity and from that perspective, the creation of man is barely begun.
How does that explain why God created a species knowing they would sin and beget evil?
It doesn’t. It only explains that despite ourselves we are gradually beginning to give glory to God, in keeping with Isaiah 43:7. We do this by choosing to become more moral species. We give glory to God by gravitating to the ways of God. We were created in a sinless state but not designed to necessarily remain that way forever. The idea that we were intended to remain perfect forever is a mistake. The option of sin was left as a free choice.
But why? God could have created us without free will so that we’d never sin. That way we could have been giving more glory to God from the very beginning.
That would have been fake glory because our morality would have been automated and unthinking. Giving glory to God by thinking and behaving in a more Godly way has to be a free and intelligent choice. If it’s pre-programmed into our brains, it’s not giving real glory. It’s just being a robot. That’s why a choice of sin had to be an option.
So God created us to fall?
No God created us to give him glory through free choice. The fall of man wasn’t necessary for that to happen. If we had chosen not to sin, we’d have been giving glory to God by choosing at the outset to follow his ways. Unfortunately we chose to sin but we still give glory to God by realizing our mistake and returning to his ways. There was no reason for God to create us to fall because we would choose to give glory to him either way.
Then God is a vain glory seeker who uses our suffering to force us into acknowledging his greatness.
No, this is when it’s time to look at the big picture. God is our parent and the creation and moral evolution of the our species is our birth and upbringing. Good and moral parents who raise their kids to follow that path aren’t doing so out of vanity. They’re doing that out of love, so their kids will become good and moral adults. God wants a good and moral universe, run by a good and moral species which chooses to be that way. We cannot choose to be good without rejecting the bad and we cannot intelligently reject the bad without experiencing it first. The fall of man showed us the bad. We are now moving toward the good by intelligent choice, albeit in a two steps forward, one step backward kind of way. We are slowly but surely stumbling our way into the Kingdom of God.
So when will all the pain and suffering finally be done with forevermore?
Nobody really knows although a lot of people who consider themselves end times experts think they do.. The kingdom of God is here right now but not in all it's magnificent fullness. It’s growing though, because we are making more more Godly choices. Suffering will end with the fullness of God's Kingdom on earth. We play a part in that by welcoming or rejecting the Kingdom through our moral behaviour. God doesn’t force his Kingdom on us but as we continue to evolve into the greater ways of God we become more welcoming of his Kingdom. As that happens God’s Spirit fills the earth more and more. Ultimately the Kingdom of God will reside with us in complete fullness. This is when suffering will end. The timing of all this up to us. God will be with us in fullness when we are fully ready.
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