Why does God make us like this — so we will sin?

Monday Musings for December 07, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

God could have saved himself a lot of trouble. All he had to do was create us so we could not sin. If he did, though, our “choice” to follow him — and/or be good citizens of both kingdoms — would be a sham. God would have “put one over on us!” ... so to speak.

But why would he have done this? If we are not able to truly choose to love and follow him — and “true” choice can only occur in a world where we can also truly reject him — then he would have put one over on himself.

Here’s why: God does not need to prove anything to himself… I mean… God knows he can make things. The Creation is for us — and it does two things: it provides the physical environment for our flourishing, and it sits as a testimony — a “revelation,” if you will — to God’s power and deity (Romans 1:18-20).

It does the latter so powerfully that we call the physical creation God’s “general” revelation, and to complete a well-known dichotomy, we call the Bible God’s “special” revelation… although we sometimes call it his “written” revelation, too. Either will work.

But the fact that God made the universe for us is only part of the answer to why God made the universe — or as G.W. Leibnitz (and some others) asked three centuries ago — before we consider the physical universe, why did God make anything at all?

Now, there is more than one way to approach this question. Being “people,” it’s natural to approach it with a “What’s in it for us?” attitude. But we address the issue more directly when we ask, “What’s in it for God?” … and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that, if God had no “reason” to make the universe, then we wouldn’t be here talking about it!

One of the problems with this line of questioning is that the Bible gives us some data about this topic, but it doesn’t answer the question outright. As such, it’s up to us to build the doctrines — and here’s mine: Why did God create the universe? For his own glory!

But… but… but — as I stated above — God already knows that he can build things... so where does the glory come in? The glory comes from us. What this means is, without us in the equation, the universe would be purposeless... and if you are ever in a funk because you feel like your life doesn’t amount to anything, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

Perhaps this is why our Reformed brethren answered the “What’s in it for God” question with humankind rather than God in focus. In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1 asks, what is the chief end of man? It answers, man’s chief end is to glorify God (Psalms 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31; Revelation 4:11) and to enjoy him forever (Psalms 16:5-11; 73:24–28; 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; Revelation 21:3-4).

I am not a Reformed Christian, but I agree wholeheartedly with that answer. The cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God are based on what Christians understand is the purpose of the universe. By way of contrast, atheists — but especially the ones who are reductionists (a.k.a. physicalists) — insist that the universe has no purpose.

I like our answer better, of course — but it makes sense that I would; I have the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), and he guides me to all truth. The thing is, atheists can have the Spirit, too! They just need to get out of their own way (John 3:3; 3:16; 6:44).

(Click here to read the article referenced above. For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)