3. Suffering is not the will of God.
-“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way.” –Gen. 1:31(NLT) If He wanted it there, He would have put it there in the beginning.
Once again, I see his point, but his logic is off. It makes sense at first, but how disastrous would this be if carried to its logical ends? So much was not here at this “excellent” (or “very good” as most translations say) state, the most important being Jesus. This creates a problem for Slye’s view. This makes Jesus’ death an after thought or plan B. Ephesians 1 tells us that God chose and predestined us for adoption before the foundation of the world. This means God at least knew (if not purposed) that we would be found at some point alienated from his family and in need of adoption. Also, we see in 1 Corinthians 2:7 that the Gospel is “a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” God decreed the Gospel before he created all things. The word for “decreed” in the Greek “proorizo” literally means to set limits to beforehand, predestine, determine beforehand, or ordain. God did all this to the “Gospel.” So what is the Gospel? It is not, “God created all things good and that was it.” That was not the plan. Before God created, the secret wisdom he set forth to reveal and get glory from was not a creation that was “excellent” and stayed that way. I would go far enough to say that he never intended on his creation to stay “very good.” He intended the Gospel to be put into action, so he might be glorified in it. So once more, what is the Gospel? It is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16), the justifying of all peoples through the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:8), and the repentance of sinners (Matthew 4:17, 23). This plan God intended all along before he created that “very good” world was the wisdom of saving fallen men and women that they might be freed from their bondage to sin and suffering to glorify and enjoy God for all time. The Fall of Man was intended from the beginning, as part of God’s master plan, the Gospel. That glorious Gospel that would have been unnecessary if sin had not entered this “very good” world.
But why would God do this? This is difficult, but I think there are hints in the Bible. In Luke 15:7, Jesus says, “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” In Revelation, God is worshipped for being the lamb that was slain that saved from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Here’s the key to this whole thing, I think: as Luke shows, there is something that brings more glory, joy, and worship to God about something that was good falling and Him redeeming it than if it had never fallen at all. Think about it: if the Fall had never happened, God would never be worshipped as Savior and Redeemer, as He desires to be. I hope this helps some.
I hate leaving this post here. I know it seems all I’ve done is taken the discussion too far to the other side of the spectrum and presented an image of a cold, unfeeling, unloving God who is not worth of our worship. I must tell you now this is not the case! This God is infinitely beautiful, glorious, loving, satisfying, and worth all praise and adoration, you must know that. I just hate I have not the room in this post to show how this all fits together. I intend to do this at the end of these three posts, to wrap up all I’ve said and root it and found it in the beautiful Gospel. If you can’t wait, and still have questions, feel free to drop me a line or read my previous blog posts on this topic (part 1 and part 2) for a full treatment there.
I hope this has been edifying, and expect many more updates, much more frequently. Have a wonderful and glorious day.