Let’s remember that created a world that was perfect (Gen 1:31), and a man who was sinless. But it’s true, God did know that it would not remain that way. Both the man and woman that God created disobeyed Him and changed everything. With that understanding, let’s answer the 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, a beautiful garden, and living creatures. 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. 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 love Him and depend on Him and when we demonstrate that by worshipping Him, praising His works, obeying His commands, serving Him and our neighbors, preaching His truths, telling of His love and saving grace, etc.
Yes, 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 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 a free will choice to obey.
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 obey or to disobey. He also gave them a motivation to obey by telling of the consequence of disobedience. It would be death.
Sadly, by disobeying God’s command and partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam chose to put himself and his desires above God. In doing so He dishonored his Creator. At that moment his love for God was replaced by his lust and desire for that which God had forbidden and Adam plunged the world into sin. And God knew he would do it, so back to the question “why God would create man knowing that man would sin?”
While we cannot speak with certainty because God does not explicitly answer this, I suggest that even in man’s sin, God is exalted.
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 in all time by reflecting God’s attributes. Man was created to live and love like God.
But Adam sinned, and God could have killed him immediately for his disobedience. Instead, God manifested His amazing mercy in not killing Adam. Without sin, there would have been no need for mercy. So God created man knowing he would sin and know He would pour out His mercy for all creation to behold. Additionally, God poured out His grace as never before by promising a Rescuer who would save man from his sin and restore him to right relationship with his God.
In addition to God’s mercy and grace given to man, we also see the Lord magnified in His omniscience and omnipresence by the creation of man. 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 have mercy and not kill man but would send Jesus to 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 man knowing he would sin?”
Because God had a purpose and plan, from eternity past, to manifest and magnify His great mercy by forgiving man’s sin and His amazing grace by sending Jesus to restore 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.