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Thread: Why Did God Even Bother?

  1. #1
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    Why Did God Even Bother?

    In a men’s group this week, a good question came up during the discussion. “If God already knew that Adam and Eve were going to fall, why did God go forward with his decision to create mankind?”

    I helped with giving an answer to this question, although it was a short answer at the time. I have been reflecting on this question all week, so it is my hope that this detailed answer is easy to follow. This is a very deep question, and my answer to it is the best that I have to offer. Hopefully I answer the question properly, but if I don’t feel free to chime in or add your two cents.

    The overarching theme of the bible is a) Paradise b) Paradise lost c) Paradise regained. At the center of these themes is the cross of Jesus Christ. God knew and ordained that Jesus would go to the cross and die so that many would be saved (Matthew 28:20). This was God’s will that Jesus would be the way for eternal life even before to the foundations of the world was formed.

    4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. Ephesians 1:4–5 (ESV)

    So if God knew about the fall of mankind and is in total control of the situation, since He is indeed God, why would he bother with the paradise lost section? Why not just go from paradise to paradise regained? We could have then simply skipped all of this messy stuff called life and Jesus therefore would not have had to come to Earth, to die for us as an atonement for our sins.

    We however, forget one thing. God is God. He is indeed the one in perfect control. He knows what is best for us. He is the Author of this story we call mankind, so He is the one who gets to decide the different chapters of the book. God’s purpose for creating this world was to have all of His glory in full display. The part involving the fall from God, redemption through Jesus Christ, and wrath to those who deny Him are all a part of this glory.

    The ultimate exhibition of His glory was at the cross where His mercy, justice, and wrath come to the forefront. The judgment of all sin was placed at the cross, and God’s grace was on display in pouring His wrath for sin on His Son instead of on us. God’s love and grace are on display in those whom He has saved. In the end, God will be glorified as His people worship Him for all eternity with the angels, and the wicked will also glorify God as His justice and righteousness will finally be vindicated by the eternal punishment of all unrepentant sinners. None of this could have come to pass without the fall of Adam and Eve.

    So in short, this life is not really about us, but it is about Him.

    Original Post: http://cmnahrwold.wordpress.com/2011...d-even-bother/

  2. #2

    Difficult subject matter to be sure.

    The overarching question is typically summed up as “Why did God allow evil?” Whereas the freewill fall of Adam and Eve is a subcategory to that question. We know that suffering is the fruit of evil, therefore closely related as one in the same. In reflection of that topic, I did write an overview about “Why does God allow Suffering” in 2010 here: http://www.discerningtruth.org/showt...ight=Suffering which follows along with your topic.

    I have read numerous dissertations on this subject, and there have been written books untold on the topic. It becomes clear that no one has an answer, only long discourses with hypothetical guesses.

  3. #3
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    I heard an outstanding answer to this the other day on the radio. God's perfect wisdom demonstrates that there is much more beauty in redemption as compared to perfectly created robots who are forced to love. We as human beings can relate to God in this way. Who do we usually root for? The underdog! Why do we love to hear stories about people who have triumphed over adversity or disability. God sees such beauty in such a story of the redemption of His people. Such an awesome story that God wrote!!!!

  4. #4

    Did God Predestine Our Fall

    Not sure I follow comments, whereas it is somewhat vague. Are you saying the radio teacher was saying God created mankind with the predestined knowledge we would sin, so that He could provide redemption to lift up the fallen? In a sense, allow us to trip so that He could get the glory out of showing compassion for the underdog? From a practical perspective, that would make God a sadist, as is the position of some atheists. Maybe I am not understanding what the radio commentator actually said?

    God did create us with free will so that we would not be robots, and with that free will Adam and Eve chose to unveil good from evil, corrupting our innocence by a defiant choice. The resulting plan of redemption is a mercy causation of humankinds free will choice to violate our innocence, not a preemptive intent. Otherwise we could be saying God knowingly authored evil. What we can be sure of, however, is the fact that God is never the originator or author of evil. It would be contrary to his whole nature and being as consistently revealed in Scripture. Evil is not a substance (Augustine), it is rather the lack of good or evil is privation; in this sense blindness of sight (Thomas Aquinas)... a void if you will, a spiritual separation from light. Why did God ever allow "evil" in the first place? Evil stemmed from Satan and his rebellion, he seduced humankind through the first Adam into death, the second Adam was our propreciation unto life.

    A question might be asked, “Did God know Satan would rebel and Adam and Eve would sin?” Scripture states beyond a doubt that God’s omniscient knowledge is infinite and that He knows everything that has happened in the past, is happening now, and will happen in the future. Then “Why did God create Satan and Adam and Eve knowing ahead of time they were going to sin?” Of course, the Bible does not provide comprehensive answers to this long pondered question. The best explanation is God ordains future events in such a way that our freedom and the working of secondary causes (e.g., laws of nature) are preserved. Theologians call this “Concurrence” and I have seen it calledCompatibilism too. God’s sovereign will flows concurrently with our free choices in such a way that our free choices always result in the carrying out of God’s will. Meaning, even though the fall was foreknown and foreordained, our freedom in making choices is not violated because our free choices are the means by which God’s will is carried out. Another way explained, God's predetermination and meticulous providence is "compatible" with voluntary choice.

    Of course, you can see the cycle that is launched from this premise? Like the dichotomy paradox under Zeno's Paradoxes, infinite gate of cycled returns to a point without a conclusion. Theologians have long ago decided, man does not have the insight of God and cannot have the answer to these type of questions, whereas they are outside our ability to comprehend. We can toss some tidy theological concepts out, but it is a bean toss at best

  5. #5
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    Quote: "Are you saying God created mankind with the predestined knowledge he would sin, so that He could provide redemption to lift up the fallen?"

    Yes, this is what I am saying. God in his infinite wisdom and forknowledge, knew that man would indeed sin, but God knew that He would redeem them. If it was not God's plan to redeem them then he would not have created mankind to begin with. God knew that Satan would rebel in the Heavens and later suduced mankind into sinning, but God created him anway. If God wanted a perfect world free from sin, He would have created such a world free from sin and free from Satan, but God saw the beauty in redemption as the perfect way to demonstrate all of His glorious attributes including being a just God and a merciful God. If God would have created the world without the potential to sin, then he would not have been able to demonstrate His full glory.

  6. #6

    John MacArthur's Antecedents

    I think I recognized the radio commentator thoughts as John MacArthur's antecedents to the problem of evil. I had to dig for it, but found what I think you listened too. If not this sermon, it was certainly drawn from the same thought. I found the same comments in his 2000 sermon "The Origin of Evil." MacArthur is answering a different question than what "free will" allows for as an answer. Free will explains how sin entered the world or what allowed for sin's entrance. But MacArthur is asking for what good purpose (since everything God ordains is good, Romans 8:28) does evil's presence have?

    I do think Adam and Eve would have known God in an "incomplete" way. I say this because no person can know God fully (1 Corinthians 13:12). That too would include his purpose, wisdom or eternal comprehensions. Adam and Eve knew God intimately in their virtuous and innocent state. So too upon resurrection, we will know God truly (1 John 3:2). But one major joy in heaven is our ever-increasing comprehension of His glory; this would have been the same for Adam and Eve--to grow from sinless innocence into sinless maturity but not divine fullness. I do think MacArthur is onto something when he says we can now and forever contemplate the character of God even more fully because a God of wrath and grace has been on display, neither of which would have been displayed without evil in the world. I think this reasoning makes sense in light of 1 Peter 1:12, where the angels long to dwell on the Gospel. They will never understand God's grace as well as fallen man can.

    As a whole, God does not "need" to do anything. But it is in His character and for our good that He chooses to reveal His glory. The arrival of sin, the atonement for sin, and the final eradication of sin display the Glory of God for His good and ours. Don’t get me wrong; free will certainly applies and some of his other work mentions free will with regard to the Fall, but MacArthur is trying to make a defense for a good, wise and powerful God allowing for (and knowing full well the outcome of) a fallen world.

    As I mentioned before, a person can only speculate, even MacArthur said his best explainations were scholary guesses. Understanding God's mysterious, unfolding plan is always difficult. Students of the Scripture have always tried to weave together various verses and aspects of God's character together to answer deep, profound questions. Fumbling at best, some things are simply too profound to grasp. It would be proud and presumptuous for any teacher to say they have finally been given the enlightenment as to why God would allow sin after genuinely Godly men for centuries have come to the position that they cannot fathom the answer due to the mysteries inherit to the question.

    As quoted above, Paul stated, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." Barnes Commentary handles this passage with great detail. "Darkly (ἐν αἰνίγματι en ainigmati). The word means a riddle; an enigma; then an obscure intimation. In a riddle a statement is made with some resemblance to the truth; a puzzling question is proposed, and the solution is left to conjecture. Hence, it means, as here, obscurely, darkly, imperfectly. Little is known; much is left to conjecture; a very accurate account of most of that which passes for knowledge. Compared with heaven, our knowledge here much resembles the obscure intimations in an enigma compared with clear statement and manifest truth."

  7. #7
    Christ's Bride Johanna's Avatar
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    Chris, isn't a little bit presumptuous to claim to know God's mind and the purposes of His actions? "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD." As a rule of thumb, unless something is clearly stated in the Scriptures, we should consider the mysteries of God as such, don’t you think?

    For instance, you say "If God would have created the world without the potential to sin, then he would not have been able to demonstrate His full glory." but I think God in all his majesty does not need to prove Himself as Steven mentioned above, or show any more glory to mankind than what He showed by creating the world and humankind itself! Humanity was in close contact with its Creator and was supposed to enjoy creation and pass this knowledge on to one another, generation after generation, for ages to come. What is more glorious than that? And yet the biblical account says 'because' He loved us, He gave his Only Son… Scriptures don't say 'in order to achieve some goal for Himself' but to show how much He loved us! Additionally, claiming to know that God the Father purposely allowed Satan and sin to rule over the world “in order to achieve his goals” is to reduce Him to a super hero... but we know He doesn't need manipulation tactics or human tricks like we are used to seeing in our power struggles, to be God!

    What I think is theologically troubling in the thoughts you shared that “could” lead to something heinously insinuating about God. If we decide that God the Father knew Satan would deceive us and allowed this, then our philosophy can be molded to believe being sinful is not our fault. After all, it’s God's fault in the first place! Or as some atheist state "If there is a God, He is ultimately responsible for sin since he gave man the ability to commit it." Which has been referenced as saying “if you move away from a warm fire on a cold winter's night, it's the fire's fault that you get cold.”

    This is problematic for a couple reasons, because a) Conviction of sin is pivotal for understanding the good news of Christ and ultimately the Father’s heart, and b) Claiming no responsibility for our sin condition will ultimately nurture and grow our pride which is the very essence from which Satan thrives. We ought to be reminded permanently (the Scriptures do this) that our wrong and sinful choices reap negative consequences and that there is no way around that. We cannot say we are suffering because it is God's strategy to allow these hardships for growth, when we have made sinful choices that result in the hardships. Finally, this kind of thinking ultimately changes the purpose of the Gospel, from compassion for His created to a cold strategy with manipulation tactics.

    "As I live", says the Lord, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?" This passage shows me a God who is not the kind of father that trips his own daughter in order for her to cry out for help, right? So no, God the Father does not need human strategies to achieve his purpose. Sin was not God’s purpose but a freewill choice; redemption came as an solution to restore the created back to the Creator.

  8. #8
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    The original question of this blog post is this:If God already knew that Adam and Eve were going to fall, why did God go forward with his decision to create mankind?”

    We are not really talking about "Did God create evil?", and I am not sure how things got diverted to this question.

    To put it simply, God chose to go ahead with creation, in my opinion because He thought it was worth it. This post is purely speculative since I do not have the mind of Christ. I write such things not pretending to have the answer to all questions, but because it is very fascinating for me and I enjoy thinking about such deep topics.

    God does not have to prove himself to anyone, but it is scriptural to say that the Lord's glory is manifested throughout mankind:
    It is in the thunderstorm ( Job 37:22 ; Psalm 29:4 ) and more commonly in the events and institutions surrounding the exodus from Egypt. Thus, God's glory is seen in the plagues and other miracles ( Num 14:22 ), in the cloudy pillar ( Exod 16:10 ), in the theophany at Mount Sinai ( Exod 24:17 ; Deut 5:24 ), in the tabernacle ( Exod 29:43 ; 40:34-35 ; Num 14:10 ; Numbers 16:19 Numbers 16:42 ; 20:6 ), in the fire initiating the sacrificial system ( Lev 9:23 ), and in the ark of the covenant ( 1 Sam 4:21-22 ) and the temple of Solomon ( 1 Kings 8:11 ; 2 Chron 7:1-3 ). Its presence is anticipated in the restored Zion ( Psalm 102:15-16 ; Isa 60:19 ; Zech 2:5 ), is actualized at the birth of Christ ( Luke 2:9 ), and will be further accomplished in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:11 Revelation 21:23 ).

    No Steve this was not the MacArthur hour. Not sure what the guys name was but he was a theologian talking on the Chris Fabry show on Moody radio. I really liked what he had to say so I will try to find a recording of the show to share.

    So Jo are you stating that God did not realize that Satan would become the great deceiver prior to creating Him? How can this be if God knows all? If God did not have a per-ordained plan for the use of evil than why did God allow Satan up into Heaven to hear his proposal for Job. God allows evil for the purpose of redemption in my opinion.

    Here is the radio show link: http://www.moodyradio.org/radioplaye...e=97712&hour=2

    Start listening around the 37:30 minute mark

    The two people on the show were Dr. Michael Rydelnik and Dr. Michael Vanlaningham

  9. #9
    The whole discussion ultimately hinges on the question: “Did or Why did God create evil?” In order to address a question such as, “If God already knew that Adam and Eve were going to fall, why did God go forward with his decision to create mankind?,” it requires grasping the foundational aspects first. Within the context of the process of elimination, a person can't possibly move to peripheral thought of creation and the fall under the influence of evil without comprehending the essential tenants of Good versus Evil. Would be like trying to understand the purpose of the alternator without knowing what the engine does. Therefore, it is extremely relevant to look at the whole instead of only the part.

    On your #3 and #5 posts above, you did not include any statement suggesting your comments were opinion or speculation, but they are delivered dogmatially as axioms of fact, as if they were the final revelation regarding the reason for evil. Therefore any reader would be persuaded to think your understanding was now considered complete without any diversion of doubt.

    Yes, I agree with your paste of Scriptures references, that the Lord's glory is manifested throughout mankind and his history.

    Thanks for sharing the source link of the program. I will have to give it a listen Grace and Peace!

  10. #10
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    I did not clarify that this was my opinion, because i thought this was implied. You summed it up well in your post 2. "It becomes clear that no one has an answer, only long discourses with hypothetical guesses." Nonetheless, I will be careful to do this next time.

    Not really seeing your point about the fundamentals of good verses evil and how this relates to the topic at hand. To me it is clear to see that one can have a conversation about alternators while assuming that people have a general understanding in regards to engines. Answers about engines does not provide adequate information when someone wants the specifics about alternators. But to summarize, it is my opinion that God did not create evil, but instead He offered free will with the potential for humans to chose evil. And to summarize the topic at hand, it is my opinion that God decided to go forth with His creation because He knew that having the redeemed in His new Heaven would be well worth the agony of this fallen world.

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