The question we received was “why did God create a world He knew would turn against Him in sin?”
Let’s begin by noting that God did not create a world that turned against Him. He created a world that was perfect (Gen 1:31), but, yes, God did know that it would not remain that way. It was the man and woman that God created who disobeyed Him and changed everything. With that understanding, let’s answer the question, why did God create man knowing that man would sin?
There’s a good answer to this question, but first, let’s remember why God created the earth and everything in it.
Revelation 4:11 … thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
God created a perfect earth with a beautiful garden and living creatures, and He could have stopped there and not made man. That certainly would have magnified His creative nature throughout the universe and brought glory to His name and pleased Him. However, God desired to make man and the Bible tells us that He had very specific purposes in doing so.
Creation of Man
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God created man in His image to be His steward on the earth with dominion over all living creatures. This would glorify the name of the Lord and reflect His image.
Isaiah 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
The Purpose of Man
Man was created for God’s glory (Isa 43:7) and for His pleasure (Rev 4:11). That was true for Adam and Eve, and it is true for all mankind throughout all of history. Our purpose in life is to please God by living in a way that honors and glorifies Him, by being His steward and His ambassador on earth, and by living in right relationship with Him. Borrowing from the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
So how do we bring pleasure and glory to God? The answer is, we honor and glorify God’s name and He is pleased when we worship Him, praise His works, obey His commands, love and serve Him and our neighbors, preach His truths, tell of His love and saving grace, etc. [Not an inclusive list. There are many more ways.],
God Knew That Man Would Sin
Back to our question. Why did God create man knowing He would sin, knowing he would dishonor Him by disobedience? This begs other questions: Why did God create man with the ability to sin, and why did He create a forbidden fruit tree?
Certainly, God could have created the Garden without the forbidden tree and its fruit. But then man would not have had a choice to obey or disobey. For obedience to exist, and thereby love and honor to be demonstrated, there had to be the alternate choice of disobedience.
God was overwhelmingly gracious to Adam and Eve, giving them abundant vegetation from which to eat.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Wanting man to love Him by choice, God gave them the ability to obey and to demonstrate their love for Him. He gave them a choice by creating two specific trees, one which bore fruit that was permissible for them to eat and another with forbidden fruit.
Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Choosing to Love
By creating the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and forbidding Adam and Eve to eat from it, God gave them a choice to be obedient and to love, honor, and obey Him. He also gave them a motivation to be obedient. God clearly told of the consequence of disobedience. It would be death.
Sadly, by disobeying God’s command, by partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam chose to put himself and his desires above God and in doing so He dishonored his Creator. At that moment his love for God was replaced by his lust of desire for that which God had forbidden.
We’ve established that God created Adam with a free will — the ability to chose to love, honor, and obey Him, but that doesn’t entirely answer our question of why God would create man knowing that man would sin.
While we cannot speak with certainty for God, we are able to reason that even in man’s sin, God is exalted and magnified.
- God did not create man out of a need for fellowship. God is, and always has been, complete and satisfied in Himself, the Triune Godhead. His triune nature provides a fellowship of perfect unity, perfect love, among Father, Son and Spirt, and His perfection is magnified in the presence of the heavenly host who praise His name continually.
- God did not create man out of a need to manifest His creative nature. The Seraphim and Cherubim were created by Him; the earth, the heavens, and the stars He also made. Through the universe and in the heavenly realm, His creative nature was magnified.
- God did not create man out of a need to manifest His almighty power and His majesty above all. Nor did He need to manifest His attributes of love, eternality, faithfulness, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, transcendence, sovereignty, righteousness, and all other attributes. God is all these things in His being and, again, His being was already manifest in the heavenly realm.
God is Magnified and Glorified
Remember that God created man for His pleasure and His glory. Because He created man in His image it is reasonable to say that, as image bearers of God, man was created to magnify God throughout all creation and all time.
Man was created to live and love like God. And even in man’s sin, God is magnified and glorified.
When Adam sinned, God could have killed him immediately for his disobedience. Instead, God manifested His amazing mercy in not doing so. Then God’s amazing grace, His unbounded love, and His redemptive plan were manifested when He promised to send a Saviour who would come and rescue fallen man and restore man’s image to one of triune nature as God had intended.
In addition to God’s mercy and grace given to man, we also see the Lord magnified in His omniscience and omnipresence. God’s purpose and plan in creating and redeeming man was from before time began — from eternity past.
- God knew that in creating man, man would sin.
- God knew that He would judge man’s sin and impose the penalty of death upon him and curse the earth.
- God knew that He would restore all things to His perfect plan, for His glory, His pleasure, and man’s good.
In the fall of man, God is magnified throughout all creation and time in ways that would not have been possible if man had not been given free will and not had the choice to love, honor and obey. Oh, what a powerful and mighty God we have. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, and Restorer. There is none like Him.
The simple answer to the questions, “Why did God create a world He knew would turn against Him?” “Why did God create man knowing he would sin?”
Because God had a purpose and plan, from eternity past, to manifest and magnify His great mercy and His amazing grace by restoring fallen man’s relationship with Him. In doing so, God demonstrated His unbounded, unconditional, unfailing love for His creation. A love that He offers to all people at all times. A love that will forever magnify His Name throughout all eternity. And one day, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord of all. (Isa 45:23-24, Rom 14:11, Phil 2:10)
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty,
dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
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