We are now 2 weeks in to this 4 part story of how the universe works: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. We have seen that ‘before the beginning’ God was present and fully, relationally satisfied. He had no needs. He wasn’t sitting around saying I’m lonely or I’m bored so I guess I’ll create the universe. He didn’t need us, but He wanted to be with us.
We also saw that God can create something out of nothing. And he can bring order to chaos. These are incredible strengths. They are the kinds of things that get us interested in God. We look at what feels empty. We see our chaos. And we wonder, could anyone do something about this? This creation story tells us that God can and that He did. That’s good news.
I got a really thoughtful question by email this week: Why did God create in the first place when He knew how messed up it would all become? Why would He put the wheels in motion in the first place? If God was self-sufficient, complete, & not in need of anything…
It’s a GREAT question. If God didn’t need anything. If God is omniscient and knew before He created that it would all become ruined, why would He do it? It raises these additional questions– Is God really omniscient? Maybe He didn’t know that humanity would ruin His good creation. Is God guilty of malpractice? If He knew that creation would turn out like this, is God irresponsible for bringing it in to existence. I would love your thoughts and I would love to hear the other questions that come up for you when you read these questions.
Here’s my take: The foundational premise is that all of creation was pronounced ‘good’ at Genesis 2.3 Everything was good. And by Genesis 3:24, when humanity is banned from the garden of Eden, everything has been ruined. There is a brokenness between people, brokenness between people and God, brokenness with the land, brokenness with our work, brokenness in families. Everything is ruined.
I don’t believe that God is surprised by the goodness or the fact that it is ruined. He knew that both would happen. He ‘put the wheels in motion’ and did it anyway because God wants to be known. He is relationally complete and satisfied in His companionship and glory between Father, Son, and Spirit. But He put the universe in place because He wanted the glory and joy that He experiences within Himself to be experienced by humanity. He created as a gift to the created.
Now here’s the kicker– God was willing to make something that would become ruined because God knew that when He intervened to fix it, humanity would get to see a part of His character that they would not have seen if everything had not been ruined. God had to rescue us and we got to see a part of him that wasn’t evident in just His creative power. Because the goodness of creation was ruined, God got to reveal His grace. He got to show off His mercy. Those characteristics are not ‘knowable’ without an event that requires them. Humanity’s disobedience and destruction of all that was good, provided an opportunity for us to know grace and mercy. And get this… and that is good.
Suffering is not outside of God’s good plan. If we were created to know God first and foremost, the suffering we experience as part of God’s ruined creation is a vehicle for us knowing His grace, mercy, provision, sustaining power, and perseverance.
I still ask– why did you do it THIS way, God. Couldn’t there have been an easier way to reveal yourself and to allow us to know you? I ask it on those days when I see the ways I have ruined His good creation and on those days when I am suffering because of how His good creation was ruined and on those days when I long for my friends, family, and the nations of the world to not have so many painful consequences of God’s good creation being ruined.
Then I am reminded…
Rev. 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…