By: Dn Ng Zhiwen
If God knew that this world was going to be so wretched and sinful, why did He create it in the first place?
I have been posed this question a number of times in the past. The recent (and ongoing) disaster in Japan have very likely stirred up such a wondering in many minds too. If I recall correctly, so too did the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. No doubt, anyone who has gone through personal tragedy, or been deeply troubled by what he sees around him or read in the newspapers might have pondered the same.
God, why did You let this happen?
Now, to be clear, I do not mean that we ask God why such and such an event had happened. I mean that we ask Him why He created the universe in the first place, knowing that it would involve pain, sin, and suffering. Couldn’t He have created a perfect world where it would be impossible to sin? Furthermore, if we would grant that this pain, sin and suffering was not “caused by God”, but could be attributable to man – indeed, wasn’t death brought into this world by Adam? (1 Corinthians 15:21-22) – why did God allow this to happen?
Since we are on the subject of Adam, we might also ask why must the sin and suffering that we experience be traced back to Adam? I mean, we didn’t sin in the Garden of Eden, why then must we suffer the consequences of another person’s folly?
These are hard questions aren’t they? I have no doubt that whatever I write will be of little comfort to those who are right now experiencing personal tragedy. People who are going through a tough time may benefit more from a hug and a sympathetic look than analytical philosophy. I am not here seeking to comfort those who are sorrowing. What I write may not even satisfy those who are genuinely seeking answers to these deep questions. I figure any writer must prepare himself for that, and he must always be ready to stand corrected if he is wrong. However, insofar as someone out there might possibly be blessed by a discussion, and I pray that the Spirit be my Muse, here goes…
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Why did He do it?
It can be likened to a child creating a lego set, or a potter with his pot. Whose interest takes precedence? the child or the lego set? The potter or the pot? The Creator or the creature?
Much as we would desire to be the center of our own universe (we often act like we are), and seek to be gods in our own image, we would lose the point of it all. If we acknowledge that there is a Creator God, and yet seek to be in the center of our own universe, then we are deceiving ourselves and being unrealistic.
Therefore, first and foremost, God created the heavens and the earth for purposes that satisfy Himself. In fact, one would say it was for the praise of His glory, according to the pleasure of His good will.
What then about us? What good was it for us to be created?
The short answer to this question is that it will depend on what you believe about God.
If you believe that God is not good, you might think that you’ve got no shortage of evidence to support that. Accounts of death and destruction are plenty. All of life would be meaningless too.
However, if you believe that God is good, you must also believe that, in spite of all the death and destruction about us, the follies of human weakness and the chaos of a corrupt and broken world, there is more to life than what you see with your eyes. More than that, we must believe that God desires our good, and that He holds out a real promise of it, good that outweighs all the bad in this world, that is offered to all of us – A promise that will be fulfilled. This is why Paul could write that he considers the suffering of this “present time” nothing compared to the glory which shall be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)
to be continued…