Many people ask why man exists. But there’s a more fundamental question: assuming there’s a God, was it right for him to create man?
According to the Bible, there’s a place of eternal punishment for all who do not accept Christ’s work as payment for their sins.
But didn’t an all-knowing God, before lifting the first atom of dust to create Adam, know that many of Adam’s kind would not accept Christ?
Think of it this way. A man lines up a hundred children and asks them to cross a field strewn with landmines.
The man knows some kids will make it. He knows many will not.
Does this storyline describe God’s creative act?
You could argue it does. Billions have died chasing after false religions, or being indoctrinated from childhood with wrong beliefs. What chance did they ever have?
Many people have lived through the hell of abuse, rape, government oppression, genocide. Then, according to the Bible, they went to hell forever because they had not accepted Christ’s sacrifice for their imperfection.
This is a hard topic, and honestly, one that many Christians don’t want to face. But it’s one we must face head on. The issue is central to worship. How could we worship a being when we wouldn’t so much as tolerate a person who would do the things I just described?
Christ on the Cross: Sorry, Not the Complete Answer.
Most Christians would answer the question this way: “God sent his Son to pay for imperfection, so we could make it to heaven.” I understand that. But to answer the question fully I must bring up another side of that argument.
What right did God have to create man in the first place? They were not given a choice to exist. Yet they suffer the earthly consequences of sin, and potentially eternal consequences too.
God provided a fire escape but also the potential for fire.
Was it “good” or “right” for God to have created man in the first place?
Here’s How I Think God Answered the Question
I was wrestling with this very question for weeks. I couldn’t come up with a good answer.
But I also knew that God was able to answer any question I throw at him. He’s not afraid of any question. There’s no “gotcha” questions with God.
So an answer is what he gave me.
I’m a casual runner and love to run in new places. I was visiting a small town, so one morning I ran and thought about this problem.
I got to the top of this really steep hill that overlooked the town. It was a beautiful morning. Sun shining, wheat fields flowing on the hills above.
I looked down on all the buildings, roads, little cars with little people in them. Just going about their day. I was just sick thinking about them. Many had not accepted God’s provision for sin. Maybe they did not understand the epic consequences of not doing so, had not heard, or flat out rejected it.
I was even madder at God and asked again — how could you create these people when many wouldn’t take your free ticket to heaven?
So God answered my question, in typical God style. Out of nowhere, attacking the heart of the issue, in a way I could not have manufactured.
My wife and I were staying with close family friends who have younger kids than ours. I joked to my wife that we needed another one since ours were ages 7 and 9. I was thinking, yeah that might be kind of nice to have a little kid again.
Then a phrase hit me that really shook me to the core.
God said in an almost audible voice:
“How dare you have kids.”
I knew in an instant it was an answer to my questions whether it was right for God to create man. I didn’t fully understand the point yet, but I knew it was a response.
I’ve always heard that God gave mankind the ability to have kids to help us understand his role as heavenly father. I understood it, but it became a little more real at that moment.
I had to unpack this statement. Where was God going with this? He was not saying I was wrong to have kids. Rather, it was deliberate sarcasm and overstatement to make a point.
I rolled the statement around and around in my mind over the coming days. I slowly began to get it. I could apply my questions about God’s right to create man to my own reality.
At some point I decided to marry and have a family. Yet, I did not give my kids a choice to exist. Worse yet, I knew my future kids were guaranteed pain sometime in their lives. From breaking their arm to getting divorced, I knew that every type of pain was possible and unavoidable.
But I chose to have kids anyway. Ouch.
Suddenly God had turned the accusing finger back from whence it came.
A One-Word Justification for Creating Mankind
Now I had a question to answer. How dare I have kids. What right did I have?
It’s a one-word answer I didn’t expect: Love.
When I had kids it was to have something to love. Someone with whom to share everything. Someone to teach and guide and watch grow.
When I made the decision to have kids, my foreknowledge of inevitable pain didn’t make it on the list of pros and cons. There was no list. And if there were a list, it was a list of one item: 1) Love.
It was love that brought God to the decision to create man. It wasn’t about whether it was right or wrong, fair or unjust. Nor did it have to do with what he did or didn’t know. Whatever factors he considered when deciding to “have kids”, he decided love was worth the risk.
Some would describe this as reckless love and I guess that’s a good way of thinking about it. God’s love was so strong, and his desire to have deep relationship with man so intense, that nothing else mattered.
We have witnessed this type of love even as people. Brothers donate bone marrow for cancer treatment despite great pain; mothers starve so their kids can eat. Somehow we inherited this reckless love.
Love’s audacity shows up in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Jesus-followers in a city called Corinth. He says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Whatever God did or didn’t know about man’s fate, love trumped every other consideration.
It was simply inevitable that God’s love had to result in the creation of a being made in his image. Whatever happened after that, love was worth it.
What About Those Who Don’t Accept a Ticket to Heaven?
This answer won’t satisfy everyone. After all, people still end up in hell and that seems unfair.
But remember: God did not escape the consequences of love unscathed. He’s a victim of his own gamble.
Again, Paul describes God’s love when he says “God shows his love for us in that while we were rejecting him, he offered himself up to die, just for a chance at reconnecting with us.”
Once the untouchable God, he gave up his invincibility to let the ones he created brutalize him beyond recognition. He will forever bear the scars of human hate. The book of Revelation describes the end of times when mankind will look upon the scars of the One they struck.
It gets worse. He has to say goodbye to some of his kids forever. That probably hurts more than seeing your closest friend or family member killed in front of your eyes.
He was the biggest loser in love’s gamble.
So I don’t diminish human suffering on Earth or in an eternal hell. Both are unfair. But there is no experience beyond God’s suffering. His pain is greater. That’s not fair either.
Was Love Worth It?
So, was God right to create man? Was potential love worth the risk?
I won’t answer for you. But please leave your comments. I’d like to hear your answer to the question, “Was it right for God to create man?”