A correspondant wrote:
It seems as though you are suggesting that God created the earth and
man with the “intent” of sin entering. If this is so – if God
created the earth with the anticipation of sin – in a way looking
forward to the eventual struggle between life and death that all
mankind will undergo – it seems much like the person who sits back
and watches a boxing match just to see (and enjoy) the pain that will
be afflicted. Like the drivers on the freeway who causes a long back
up because he is so morbidly interested in the accident that he is
passing by – wanting to see the carnage, the blood, the potential
loss of life.
God created the heavens and the earth. Nothing exists that He did not create. He says,
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Clearly evil occurs because the sovereign God purposed it, created its instruments, and permits it. Likewise, the plan of salvation that presupposes sin was set as a done deal before God laid the first brick in His creation. Note:
1 Peter 1:18 knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things…19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:
20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world
Peter says that the blood of Christ as a redemption for sin was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Likewise, John says Jesus’ sacrifice was not only known, but purposed. Jesus was a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). Clearly, it was God’s plan that Christ would come and die, and just as clearly God foresaw sin arising before He created the world. Since God created the world knowing that Christ must surely come and die, He created the world with that purpose in mind. Obviously, if Jesus was slain in God’s plan before the world, the presence of sin is no accident. If God planned to send Jesus before the foundation of the world, it was obviously God’s plan for sin to occur; otherwise, there would be no need of a Savior.
Why would God create a world that He knew was going to fall into sin, indeed, that He intended to fall into sin or He would not have purposed the solution for sin before He created it? Clearly no purpose of God’s can be thwarted, so He must have had a good reason for doing such a thing. Why would He create a world that would surely fall? He must have intended for it to fall. Why would He intend for it to fall? Well, what is the chief accomplishment of this present creation? God provided an eternal solution for sin in Christ. Why did God need a solution for sin? Because He wanted creatures that would serve Him of their own love and free will and not because they had no other choice. If God created beings with free will they could choose to say, “No!” and, it is certain that in eternity some would choose to disobey God. We know the Devil sinned of himself. Adam also chose to sin in a pristine environment. These cases show that God was wise in planning for sin. In eternity, some beloved creature would eventually disobey, and then what would God do? God’s justice and holiness would demand banishment and eternal punishment for such a creature, and God would lose His creation. With no eternal solution for sin, free will would eventually damage God’s creation and render it vain.
To handle the problem of free will, God elected to create a two-tiered approach to His creation. He would have a temporary creation where He would create a solution for sin, and He would afterwards start over with a permanent creation after He had in hand an eternal remedy for sin and free will. This present order is a sort of gestation period for God’s creation before it brings forth the new creation that will last for ever.
God promises that He is going to create a new heavens and a new earth (Isa 65:17, 66:22, II Pet 3:13), and He describes that creation as one of eternal growth and peace (Isa 9:7, 11:6, 65:25). If God can create such an idyllic creation, why didn’t He do it to start with, since He obviously knew what was coming before it happened? If His first attempt at an idyllic world failed miserably as it must have if this world was intended to be idyllic, why do we think His next attempt will be more successful? It is much more reasonable to believe that God had a reason and purpose for putting us through this misery, and He did. He needed us to provide a wicked place where His sacrifice for sin could be offered. An idyllic world would never have murdered an innocent man, but a world like ours would, and that, as bizarre as it sounds, is what God needed to complete His creation. He needed a wicked world that would kill His Son so there could be an eternal remedy for sin. That is why God put us through this, and that is why Jesus said, “It is finished” when He died. Christ’s death in this wicked incubator world provided the capstone for God’s creation. It was unfinished until Jesus died as an eternal remedy for sin.
You may be thinking, well, this is fine and dandy for God, but He sure put us through a lot of misery to get what He wanted. The Hebrew writer deals with this question to some extent in Heb 12:9. He says that we have had fathers of our flesh that chastened us for their good pleasure, but God chastens us for our own benefit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. There could not be a creation of free will without God doing what He is doing. As a result, we could not exist and could not be with God and partake of His holiness if He was not doing what He is doing, even though it costs us. Paul says what we suffer is nothing compared to what we will gain (II Cor 4:17). It is like childbirth. The woman suffers for a few hours, but when the baby is born, she immediately forgets her pain for the joy of the new life she has borne (Jn 16:21) and gains thereafter for a lifetime. We suffer for a little while (I Pet 5:10), but we reap eternally (Mt 5:11-12). God makes up to us eternally for what He makes us suffer now, and all things will eventually work together for good to them that love God (Rom 8:28), even sin and death. Sin made the sacrifice of God possible, and thereby made it possible for us creatures to enjoy the holiness of God and life eternal. Death frees us from this painful world to go be with God.
The alternative to this present world and the evil in it being according to God’s plan is a God who can’t control what He has created and one that cannot be depended upon to keep His promises. A wise God that is planning for our eternal welfare is the kind of God that the Bible portrays. His amazing wisdom is clearly seen in that He is a totally good and holy God who can create and control evil and manipulate it as a tool to accomplish eternal good and still not thereby compromise His truth, holiness and justice.