This is not a new question to the generations of today. This has been asked all across time, but it is important that we know the answer. Many people have had their faith challenged by this somewhat daunting question. God is amazing, sinless, perfection, sovereign, creator of everything. Mankind is evil, depraved, corrupt, faulty, destroyer of all that is good. Did God somehow mess up His design?
Strangely, there is not a well crafted argument to this question from the Bible. It’s almost as if the early church never even questioned the fact that God is good and creation is flawed. The Apostle Paul never addressed why God created the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden. So how can we find any answers?
Theology is not always cut and dry. You can’t splice up a single verse of the Bible and walk away with a complete, working theology. True doctrines are developed from a broader breadth of the Scriptures. The doctrines of man and sin come into adherence of a healthy perspective of the doctrine of God.
God is Sovereign, Holy, and Good
A quick overview of the Bible will be enough to conclude that God is Sovereign, Holy, and Good. Nothing the Father does ever gets past His meticulous hand and nothing He does can be considered evil or bad. The God of the Bible is different than any other religious book which depicts powerful deities with flaws modeled after mankind. In this way, the view of a flawed deity is easy to associate with a flawed society. But modeling gods after our human restrictions is not very hopeful. We can be thankful that our God is sovereign above His creation.
Because we start with the character of God, we are left wondering about our experiences. It can seem that God is distant from us or that He is unjust in what He allows to happen in the world. While the topic of, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” will be addressed next week, it ought to be pointed out that we should start with the character of God before we look at the situation of man.
Man is Fallible, Depraved, and Evil
A thorough reading of Scripture clearly points out that man is sinful, depraved, and incapable of doing anything good without the power of God. But this wasn’t always the case. When God created Adam and Eve in the garden in His own image, they were perfect, without sin, and holy before God. Like the angels which God also created, they were given a choice. When Lucifer led the rebellion, Satan and all the demons were cast out of heaven while those who did not follow the angel of light were reserved by God (2 Peter 2:4). When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they were tempted by the devil, but God did not reserve the same fate for them that He did for the fallen angels. Adam was offered redemption. No other created being was ever offered the same clemency.
A Better Standing Than the Angels
The Apostle Peter tells us that our standing in Christ leaves the angles baffled.
“It was revealed to them (the prophets) that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” I Peter 1:12 esv
Before Adam sinned he was perfect, equal with the angels. After he sinned he was flawed. When he repented he became redeemed. As a redeemed individual he was made a child of God, an heir with Christ. The latter position is far greater than the former. Where we used to be equal with the angles, we are now seen through the eyes of God as He sees His Son.
So, while God allowed sin, it still turns out for our good. Oh, how great are the wisdom and ways of God.
The Real Question
What people are actually asking about when they say, “Why did God allow sin?” is really a debate between God’s sovereignty and human will. While I cannot create a comprehensible argument (the Bible just doesn’t reveal everything there is to know about God), I can assure you that both of these are true. God is sovereign, as I mentioned before, but in His great wisdom He saw fit to design us after His own image with intellect, emotion, and will.
So, while questions are welcomed, answers are not always cut and dry. We will have to accept some things about the nature of God by faith.