Why Did God Create Us?

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Why Did God Create Us?

James R. Aist

 “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” – The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647)

Jesus is the perfect image and likeness of God the Father, reflecting His glory back to Him perfectly (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). Jesus, however, was not created, having been with the Father, and one with the Father, for all eternity past (John 1: 1-2). God’s creative acts began with the angels, who shouted for joy when the earth was created (Job 38:4-7). Angels, like God, are spirit beings, and they surround the throne of God, constantly worshipping Him and proclaiming His glory (Revelation 5:11-2 and 7:11-12). Next, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it (Genesis 1-2). This was the first ever creation of material, physical objects, including living, biological beings, with mankind being uniquely created in the image and likeness of God.

From this biblical, historical background, we can now consider the important question of why God created mankind. After all, He already had Jesus and the angels reflecting His glory back to Him. The rest of His physical, material creation was already reflecting His glory (Psalm 19:1). Wasn’t that enough, or is The Westminster Shorter Catechism correct in saying that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever”?

The Genesis account of the creation of mankind only tells us that God decided to create mankind; it doesn’t tell us why. What was God’s motive in creating mankind? In other words, what was His end game? To answer that question, we have to search the Scriptures more thoroughly. The first thing that comes to mind is that, until God created mankind, there was none in all of the created, physical universe capable of knowing God and reflecting His glory intentionally. This fact suggests that, perhaps, God created mankind because He wanted a created, physical being who would reflect His glory like no other can: not the angels, because they are spiritual, not physical, beings; and not the rest of creation, because these inanimate objects and living things are not capable of knowing God and reflecting His glory intentionally. Can it be that God created mankind to reflect His glory back to Him in such a new and unique way? Let’s open the Bible and find out:

Created for His glory

Isaiah 43:7 — “…even everyone who is called by My name…I have created him for My glory

Ephesians 1:12 – “…that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, should live for the praise of His glory.”

Ephesians 3:21 – “…to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.”

Declare His Glory

Isaiah 43:21 – “This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.”

1 Chronicles 16:24 –Declare His glory among the nations”

Psalm 29:2 – “Give to the Lord the glory of His name

Psalm 96:3 – “Proclaim His glory among the nations”

Philippians 2:11 – “…every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Exhibit His glory

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Micah 6:8 – “what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?”

As you can see from these Scriptures, we can conclude that God did, in fact, create mankind to declare with our mouths and exhibit with our actions, His glory. And, in doing so, we reflect His glory back to Him in a unique way that pleases Him.

Having this understanding of why God created mankind, we can now contemplate a very important implication of this understanding: namely, that our universal and supreme purpose for existing – our God given destiny — is to glorify God as only we can. The Bible says, “…whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) and “…that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11). All of our good works – e.g., praise, worship, obedience, generosity, compassion, mercy, praying, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making disciples – have one thing in common: they all ultimately reflect and magnify God’s glory. The Bible says that God has prepared – in advance – work for each one of us to do, and that, in doing these things, we are fulfilling the purpose for which God created us (Ephesians 2:10). And, it is within the work that God has prepared for each of us that we can find God’s specific calling to serve and glorify Him in particular ways while we are in the world, such as apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28).

But, what about the unbelievers; does God have a supreme purpose for their existence too? It is my assumption that it was God’s original purpose in creating mankind that He would receive praise and glory from all of them, not just His elect. But, because sin entered the world through Adam’s disobedience, only the chosen ones, those whom He saves, actually give Him praise and glory. The others give praise and glory to anyone or anything except God. And, in doing so, they have, sadly, missed their supreme purpose for existing. Paul even went so far as to strongly imply that God’s purpose for creating unbelievers is to make known the riches of His glory in the abundant mercy extended to those He will save, His elect (Romans 9:22-23).

Finally, when Jesus comes again to renew all things, only His elect will remain on the earth to rule and reign with Him there for eternity. And so, God will accomplish His original purpose, His end game, in creating mankind, as all of His elect will joyfully give to God all the praise and glory due him, forever. “God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3).

(To read other biblical teachings on my website, click HERE.)

What Is Man?

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What Is Man?

James R. Aist

“…what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You attend to him?” (Psalm 8:4)

Isn’t it amazing that the God who is so big that He created everything and rules and reigns over it, is mindful of “little old us” and attends to our every need and concern? Why is God so interested in us? I believe that answer lies in our peculiar nature and purpose and destiny, as God has established them. So, who are we, really, and how do we fit into the larger context of the fullness of God’s creation? Are we just another animal that God created, or are we uniquely special and set apart from the others for special purposes?

Like No Other “Kind”

The Bible says that God made all the animals according to their “kinds.” But, among all of these kinds of animals, we, alone, are the kind that was made in the image and likeness of God himself (Genesis 1:26). In fact, He created us “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5), making us far above the other animals in the hierarchy of God’s animal kingdom. Moreover, Psalm 139:14 declares that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” And it was not until mankind had been created that God looked at all He had created and said “It is very good” (Genesis 1:31). Thus, we are clearly a “kind” set apart from, and far above, all of the other animals. But, how else are we distinct from and superior to all other animals?

Made in The Image of God

Mankind is the only creature that God made in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). What does “Made in The Image of God” mean? “In a word, it means “godly.” God made man a free spiritual being, a responsible moral agent with powers of choice and action, able to commune with Him and respond to Him, and by nature good, truthful, holy and upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29) and wise. Tragically, the moral qualities which belonged to the divine image were lost at the Fall; God’s image in man has been universally defaced, for all of human kind has in one way or another lapsed into ungodliness.” – J.I. Packer in “Knowing God.” This undefiled image of God was possessed by the first humans, Adam and Eve, until they obeyed Satan and disobeyed God (i.e, sinned), and it is restored in all who are born-again by faith and trust in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:18-18).

The Triune Nature of Man

The Bible speaks of God existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also speaks of man as being comprised of three entities: spirit, soul and body. All three are mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:23b, “And I pray to God that your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the true and full nature of man as he was originally created in the Garden of Eden. Man is not complete without all three entities together, and that is the reason why the resurrection of the body is necessary: when God restores all things to their original, created condition, the body must be reunited with the spirit and soul for man to be fully restored to the original condition. In the Bible, the human spirit is often referred to as the heart, or the inner man, and it lives forever. This is the entity that is born anew (from above) upon conversion. The soul of man is comprised of the intellect, the emotions and the will, and it also lives forever. It is renewed after conversion in ongoing processes called sanctification and spiritual formation. The body is the physical entity, is under the direct command and control of the soul and does not live forever. However, its death is not natural, because death separates the body from the soul and spirit. Only the complete man, with spirit, soul and body together, is truly natural. The body of the born-again person will be transformed into an incorruptible, glorified and everlasting body upon resurrection from the dead.

Mental Abilities

While we may be amazed at how intelligent some mere animals seem to be, the fact remains that human beings are endowed with mental abilities that far exceed those of all other animals, including learning, analysis, reasoning, cognition and abstract thinking, among others. So, when God gave us “…dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26), we were well equipped for the task.

Language

Animals possess a number of impressive ways to communicate with one another, yet no other animal has been endowed with anything even close to the breadth, depth and communicative power of human verbal language.

Morality

Among the animals, human beings are uniquely endowed with a sense of right and wrong and the freedom to act on those moral convictions (see, Made in The Image of God, above). And, we are unique among the animals in being accountable to God for our actions, whether they be good or bad. With freedom comes responsibility, but only for mankind.

Only We Can Know God

This is, perhaps, the most important characteristic that sets human beings apart from all the other animals: only we have been created with the ability to truly know God. And it is precisely that ability that defines our true destiny and purpose; namely, to know and be known by God in close fellowship and communion with Him. Of all the animals that God created, it is only we – who are connected with God through faith and trust in Jesus – that He calls “friends” (John 15:15). It is from this knowing of God that our primary purpose for being flows, that is, to worship, praise and glorify our creator, who alone is worthy and deserving of all the credit for all that is good. Therein also lies our true destiny. It is only in a properly subordinate relationship with our Creator that we can know and experience our true purpose, meaning and destiny. And we get to enjoy this relationship forever!

Our True Identity

Next, allow me to share with you a practical and important application of knowing and being known by God in this way. Once we grasp the breadth and length and depth and height and know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:17-19), then we can know, with complete confidence and assurance, that we are deemed of great value and infinite worth in the eyes of our Creator, and that the opinions of mere mortal men to the contrary are no longer even relevant. Then, its goodbye low self-esteem and self condemnation; God says you are “to die for”, and that’s exactly what He did! Loved by God is who we are, it’s our true identity, and nobody can ever take that away from us! (NOTE: if you are sensing that this may be a word for you, then please take a moment or two and reflect on it until it sinks in. It can be both freeing and empowering.)

What Man Is Not?

Finally, it’s also of paramount importance that we keep in mind what man is not. Simply said, man is not God! He is the potter, we are the clay. Man is not to judge the ways of God, as many Christians are quick to do when they find in the Bible something that they find hard to believe about Him. You see, the problem here is that we try to understand God from a human perspective rather than a heavenly perspective, and doing that will, more often than not, lead us to false assumptions about God, such as “That would be cruel and unfair!” The God of the Bible operates in each and every way that the Bible says He does, and it is not ours to pass judgment on those divine operations. “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways!  For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34). And, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). So, man is neither the judge nor the counselor of God, nor is he equal to God. It’s only when we have settled these matters in our hearts and in our minds that we can enter fully into our true destiny and purpose in life as God’s highest and most cherished creation.

Conclusions

Human beings are the only “creatures” that God made in His own image and likeness; we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In fact, we are the only “kind” of animal that can truly know God and purposely give Him glory and praise. That is the primary reason for our existence, and that is our true destiny. God’s opinion of us is that we are so valuable and precious in His sight that He, in the person of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, died in our place so that our sins could be forgiven; God thinks we are “to die for”, and no contrary opinion of us stands before God. That is who we really are. However, man is neither the judge nor the counselor of God, nor is he equal to God. It’s only when we have settled these matters in our hearts and in our minds that we can enter fully into our true destiny and purpose and identity in life as God’s highest and most cherished creation.

(To read more of my biblical articles, click HERE)

Evolution: Perspectives of a Born-again, Biological Scientist

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Evolution: Perspectives of a Born-again, Biological Scientist

James R. Aist

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

Some have wondered how it is that a successful biological research scientist like me could have ever come to be a born-again Christian. The truth is, this question should, in reality, be reversed. I became a born-again Christian at just eight years of age, and it was not until I was about 19 years of age that I became a biological research scientist. My conversion (click HERE) was an amazing, supernatural experience that settled, in my mind and spirit, once and for all, the central question of who Jesus is. And it was with that unshakeable knowledge and understanding that, 11 years later, I began my scientific research career. I knew all along that I was working merely to more fully understand the amazing and exciting world of biology that the God of the universe had so masterfully created. And with every new discovery, I sensed how blessed of God I was to be the first human being to ever know it! I saw my entire academic career through the eyes of a born-again Christian.

How can we really know anything?

Let’s explore how we humans can really know anything at all. Here is what I have come up with: we can know through personal experiences, the “testimony” of others, scientific observation and/or experimentation, and, for the born-again Christian, divine revelation (i.e., the written word of God, dreams, visions, the voice of God, etc.; click HERE for some examples). Of these several ways of knowing something, only divine revelation is, in fact, fully reliable, because it is knowledge obtained from God himself, who knows all things (John 16:30; John 21:17; and 1 John 3:20) and is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). Moreover, “By faith we understand that the universe was framed by the word of God, so that things that are seen were not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Thus, we can know that God, who existed before anything that is material in nature existed, is primary reality, whereas the material world, being created by God, is merely secondary reality. So, when we conduct scientific studies of the material world at any level, we are merely probing into the nature of secondary reality, and the knowledge we discover does not deny, but confirms, the existence of the primary reality (God) who created it (Psalm 19:1).

Evolution at its core

In its very formulation and assumptions, evolution denies the existence and role of intelligent design in the development of the universe, of life and of biological diversity. The Bible, on the other hand, clearly describes the role of intelligent design (God) in the creation of all things (Genesis 1:1-27). Evolution says that diversity came about by random chance without purpose, direction or meaning (no “intelligent design”). The Bible says that diversity came about by the purposeful and intentional creative acts of God, who gave it meaning. Therefore, evolution is not consistent with the God of the Bible, but is diametrically opposed to Him. The ongoing controversy about the age of the earth is not altogether unimportant, but it does not get at the heart of the matter; and that’s why many of my Christian contemporaries are being fooled into believing that God and the theory of evolution are not at odds.

The heart of the matter

It all boils down to this: does the God of the Bible exist? The atheist says “No, God does not exist, and therefore, only the material world is real.” Whereas, the God of the Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1a). And it goes on to explain that “…the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). This is the basic clash of two diametrically opposed world views, theism and atheism. The atheist starts with the basic assumptions that there is no God and that, therefore, the material world could not have been created by an “intelligent designer.” The theists, on the other hand, know that God does exist because He has revealed Himself to them, and that He created the universe and everything that is in it (Hebrews 11:3). And this is the key to understanding why the notion of “theistic evolution” is an oxymoron: if it is truly evolution, then it is atheistic, not theistic.

The body of evidence

What, then, does a born-again Christian do with the enormous body of valid, scientific evidence that is interpreted by evolutionists to be proof positive that this God-denying theory of evolution is no longer a theory, but a fact? Here’s what I do with it. First, I ask myself, does this body of evidence concerning materialistic, secondary reality do anything to deny the existence of the primary reality that gave birth to it? My answer is a resounding “No, it actually confirms the primary reality!” Now, stay with me here. God is no dummy. Don’t you suppose that when He set about creating life and then biological diversity, He would be smart enough to not “reinvent the wheel”, so to speak, every time He wanted to create a new “kind” or a new “species?” Would He not start with a creature He had already made and modify it to make the new one? So then, of course, at the morphological, anatomical, genetic and biochemical levels, the closely “related”, but different, newly created form would have very considerable commonality with the form from which He created it. What I’m saying here is that the same body of evidence that is used to support the theory of evolution can just as easily be seen to support the theory of “intelligent design”, if one does not begin with the assumption that an intelligent designer does not exist. And that brings us right back to the heart of the matter, discussed above. It is not sound, objective, scientific protocol to begin an investigation by eliminating one of two tenable and competing theories based on a mere assumption. That is what we call “junk science”, and it is not really science – the search for truth – at all. The “science” of evolution is a prime example of how a body of valid scientific information can be misused to give the impression that a mere assumption (e.g., that God does not exist) is actually proven fact, the objections of some heavily vested evolutionists notwithstanding.

God, random mutations, natural selection and survival of the fittest

In the previous section, I presented a case for the direct involvement of God in the creation of the spectacular biological diversity we see in the world around us. This case would work well for the scenario in which the earth is only about 6,000 years old, as many born-again Christians believe and a literal reading of the relevant Bible passages would lead one to believe. The God of the Bible could very well have created the universe in just 6 days, as we know days. But, the enormous body of relevant, valid, scientific evidence clearly points to an earth that is a few billion years old, not a few thousand. I do not believe that this body of evidence should be summarily dismissed, because scientific investigation is one of several valid ways to obtain knowledge. So, is there a plausible way to envision the God of the Bible creating biodiversity over millions of years?  The evolutionary theory for biological diversity as we know it involves, at its most fundamental level, random mutation (natural, molecular modification) of genes, a resultant sub-population of organisms carrying mutated genes that are beneficial, and selective survival of the organisms that are carrying the beneficial gene(s) because they are best adapted (most fit) for different climatic conditions that develop naturally from time to time. Over millions of years, such a process, repeated over and over again, is believed to have produced new species and “kinds” (e.g., dogs, cats, horses, fish, reptiles, grass, trees, seaweed, etc.) of animals and plants. It is assumed that this process occurred “naturally”, without the influence of an intelligent designer. But wait a minute, who is it that controls the climatic conditions that drive evolution? The God of the Bible is sovereign over all of His creation (Genesis 1:1-27; Revelation 19:6). It is He who placed the moon and the stars in the heavens and maintains them in their respective orbits (Genesis 1:14). He caused the earth to pause in it’s rotation for a full day, giving the impression that the sun had stood still (Joshua 10:12-13). He commands the wind and the waves, and they obey (Exodus 14:21; Mark 4:39), and He calls forth drought to scorch the land (Haggai 1:11), and it is so. And, it is He who sends the rain as He pleases (Genesis 7:4, 11-12; Matthew 5:45). The relevant conclusion here is that the God of the Bible is sovereign over the so-called “natural” weather and climate changes that evolutionary theory credits with driving the “natural selection” process leading to the appearance of new species and kinds. Thus, by manipulating climate change again and again over millions of years, God could have steered what we refer to as “evolution” in any direction He desired, thus controlling and directing both the extinction of species and kinds and the development of new species and kinds, using the very mechanisms of random mutations, selection and survival of the fittest that are so fundamental to the theory of evolution. This scenario would involve intelligent design from start to finish, and it would look to us just like natural evolution. Thus, the same body of evidence used by evolutionists to prove “natural” evolution, could just as well be seen as validating this theistic mechanism of extinction and biodiversity. I would refer to it simply as “theistic biodiversity.”

Something from nothing…wait, say what?!

In the overall world of material things, there are two claims of the atheist (actually, assumptions) that require far more faith to believe than does the existence of God. First, the atheist must contend that all this material stuff of the universe (e.g., galaxies, stars, planets and moons) came from either nothing at all or a tiny little ball of something (the “big bang” theory). And, if from a little ball of something, then where did this hypothetical little ball come from? The fact is, there is no direct evidence at all that anything has ever come from nothing; the entire material universe in which there is always a cause and an effect for everything that exists (cf., the law of conservation of mass and energy) is proof positive of the foolishness of this claim. And second, the theory that life began by spontaneous generation from (non-living) chemicals is nothing more than unbridled imagination and wishful thinking, and it is likewise without any direct, scientific evidence at all. Both of these preposterous assumptions are made necessary by the unnecessary starting assumption that God does not exist. Biblical theism, on the other hand, solves this problem by concluding that God exists and is the uncaused cause of the entire universe. When God spoke there was, suddenly, time, space and matter (the heavens and the earth), where previously there had been only God (Genesis 1:1). Now that I can believe!

The mouse family who lived in a piano

I close with a simple parable that succinctly portrays what I believe is really going on here:

Once upon a time, there was a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the belief that there was someone who made the music, though invisible to them; above, yet close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see, and yet blessed them so much with the beautiful music.

Then, one day a daring mouse climbed part way up the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found out how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths which trembled and vibrated. They must revise all their old beliefs: none but the most closed-minded could any longer believe in the Great Player.

Later, another mouse explorer carried this materialistic explanation further. Hammers were now the real secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show, once and for all, that they lived in a purely materialistic world, a world that did not need the imaginary Great Player to make the music, because the materialistic world itself could make the music without Him. The Great Player came to be thought of as a myth, and those who believed in Him were thought of as blind fools.

But the Great Player continued to play, and the mouse believers continued to believe.

Now, what is this story really about? It’s about astronomers and astrophysicists who believe that their modern theories and discoveries about the universe prove that the universe caused itself. And, it’s about evolutionary biologists who believe that their modern theories and discoveries about biology prove that life came about by spontaneous generation and that biological diversity came about without design, purpose or meaning.

God continues to sustain his creation, and His believers continue to believe, because God himself has revealed His existence to them. And the God who existed before anything material existed, calls the unbelievers “fools”, because of their unbelief (Psalm 14:1a).

To read a companion article, click HERE.

(For more of my biblical teachings, click HERE)

The Forgotten “WHYs”

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The Forgotten “WHYs”

 James R. Aist

“We know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22)

Why is there rampant evil and suffering in a world created by a sovereign, loving and perfectly moral God? In other words, why do hatred, murder, so-called acts of God (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fire, etc.), lying, stealing, betrayal, pride, greed, poverty, injustice, racism, suffering and political corruption abound, if a good God created the world to be “very good”? Inquiring minds want to know why.

It occurs to me that, as life on this planet becomes seemingly more and more fraught with evil of one kind or another, it is God who is being blamed for these various trials and tribulations. I suppose that is partly due to the fact that the God of the Bible is all-powerful (omnipotent), and could, at least theoretically, put an end to all of it at any time, if only He really wanted to. Although much of human suffering is actually a direct result of human choices and actions, far too few of us are willing to take responsibility for our part in it. It is too convenient to just blame God and acquit ourselves of any wrongdoing. We may ask “Why?”, and then quickly point a finger at God.

I am not claiming to know fully why it is that God allows such evil and suffering to continue in this present age. But the specific questions I want to address here are 1) “Did something happen in the Garden of Eden that changed the dwelling place of man from a utopia to a dangerous, burdensome and painful abode?” and 2) “Who is really behind all of this suffering?” Of course, the answers to these questions are not a mystery to those of us who are familiar with the Word of God (the Holy Bible) and believe what it says. But the younger generations are increasingly looking everywhere except the Bible to find answers to these important questions. And if God even enters their process of searching for answers, it is ultimately to blame God, rather than to seek real answers where they may be found; i.e., in the Bible. So, let’s see if we can shed some fresh light on this question and stop “passing the buck” by blaming God. If you really want to know “why” there is so much evil and suffering in this world, then here are some of the “WHYs.”

The Perfect Beginning

Let’s begin at the beginning. The God of the Bible, the One who created the Universe, is, in fact, morally perfect. And, as one would expect, His finished work of creation was also perfect (complete and without flaw), as attested by His description of it as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The first two human beings, Adam and Eve, were also created as morally perfect creatures. They apparently had a close, personal relationship with their Creator, being accustomed to walking and talking with Him in the cool of the day, as implied in Genesis 3:8-10. They had no knowledge of good or evil, and all was well in the Garden of Eden. But then, something went terribly wrong. To fully understand and comprehend the impact of what was to follow, we must bear in mind that Adam and Eve, as the first human beings, were representative of all humans who followed, including us. As progeny of Adam, we have inherited the kind of world he left for us.    

Remember “The “Fall”!

“Satan lured Adam and Eve to compromise one single act, one slip of holiness, and from there he has brought unspeakable carnage to the human race and to the earth.” – John Eldredge, “The Utter Relief of Holiness”

One day Adam and Eve were persuaded, by the lies of Satan, to disobey God, thus committing what is known as the “original sin.” They were no longer morally perfect, having fallen from their morally perfect condition, and they had to be cast out of the presence of the holy God because of it (Genesis 3:23-24). This changed everything, as Adam and Eve soon learned that there is a big price to be paid for disobeying God. And we are still paying this price today; we have inherited, so to speak, from Adam a “sin nature”, an inborn desire to reject God’s provision and follow our own path in life. That, my friends, provides a basic explanation for what we commonly refer to as “man’s inhumanity to man”, which includes such things as hatred, murder, lying, stealing, betrayal, greed, racism, poverty and injustice.

And there is another dimension to the consequences of the Fall, as eloquently explained by David Limbaugh in “The Emmaus Code”: “…the one thing that best revitalizes my faith during intermittent moments of doubt is, paradoxically, the pervasiveness of evil, suffering, and despair that we see all around us, and the inexplicably twisted values that increasingly define our culture. This unfathomability of the human condition, this perverse moral inversion we witness, this willing abandonment of logic and distortion of the language, cannot possibly be understood, in my view, apart from the Bible. Without the Bible, none of this makes any sense to me, but with it, I see how sin entered the world in the fall and how it has corrupted God’s perfect creation.” So we can see that the inexplicably twisted values, the perverse moral inversion, the willing abandonment of logic and the distortion of the language, which so many of us have run up against in trying to resist the liberalism and progressivism that increasingly define our culture, are also consequences of sin entering the world in the Garden of Eden.

The “Curses”

In response to this original sin, God pronounced curses on the Devil, on Adam and Eve, and on the whole of creation (Genesis 3:14-20). Not only were Adam and Eve (and us, by extension) banished from the presence of God, but Adam would now have to eke out a living by hard labor and the sweat of his brow, and Eve would experience greatly multiplied pain in childbirth and submission to her husband. But, perhaps the most significant curse of all is that Adam and Eve (and, by extension, us) were to suffer both spiritual death (separation from God) and physical death (return to dust, Genesis 3:19).

Even the ground itself was cursed because of Adam’s sin, for from now on it would bring forth thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:17-18) in place of edible food. In this regard, the Apostle Paul had this to add: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now” (Romans 8:20-22). And so here we have the basic explanation for so-called “acts of God” (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, etc.) and, most likely, for political corruption as well: the whole of creation is being subjected to “futility”, to “slavery to corruption”, to “groaning” and to “travailing in pain.” We may not know for sure everything that Paul is referring to here, but we do know for sure that it is all bad and all a result of sin entering the world.

But, there’s even more to it than this, much more.

The Prince

In trying to understand why evil and suffering are so rampant in the world, we mustn’t overlook the one who started all the trouble in the first place: ol’ “slew foot” himself, Satan. When Satan rebelled against God, he was cast down to the earth (Job 1:7 and 2:2, Isaiah 14:13, Luke 10:18 and 1 Peter 5:8). And, as part of the curse on Satan following Adam’s original sin, God said “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring” (Genesis 3:15). This is why the Bible refers to Satan as “the enemy of our souls” (Psalm 143:3). For the time being, he is the Prince of this world (John 14; 30) the Prince of the air of this world (Ephesians 2:2), meaning that he has power and considerable influence over worldly affairs, including the affairs of mankind. Jesus said of him that he comes only to kill, to steal and to destroy (John 10:10). And Peter warned us to “Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Rest assured, then, that the devil, Satan, and his minions, are ultimately behind much, if not most, of “man’s inhumanity to man.” The Apostle Paul put it this way: “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). While man’s sinful nature is clearly at work here, Satan is hard at work also, usually behind the scenes, to encourage, amplify, multiply and reward our sinful deeds.

The Promise

At this point, you may wonder if this morally perfect God will ever set things right and restore His Creation to its original, perfect condition. The answer is, “Yes, He will eventually do just that.” God promised to do this when He said to Satan “…he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15), a clear reference to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the offspring of Eve. When Jesus came the first time as the sacrificial Lamb of God to pay the price (death) for our sins (John 1:29), He set this restoration process in motion. When he comes again, He will complete the restoration by judging all of mankind (Matthew 25:31-46) and rewarding each, even Christians (2 Corinthians 5:10), according to his deeds – whether good or bad – and ushering in a new heaven and a new earth where justice, righteousness and peace will prevail forevermore (Revelation 221:1-8), to the glory of God.

The Waits

“Justice delayed is not justice denied.” – Raymond F. Culpepper

But, you may ask, “If God intends to restore His creation to its original, perfect condition, why is He waiting so long to do it?” There are actually two questions here: 1) “Why did He wait so long to send Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, to pay the price for our sins?”; and 2) “Why is He waiting so long to send Him back as the Lion of Judah to conquer evil and establish His perfect Kingdom here on earth?”

I am not aware that the Bible clearly addresses the first question directly, but it does talk about “the fullness of time” and “the time is fulfilled” in reference to the timing of Jesus’ First Coming (Galatians 4:4-5; Mark 1:14-15; and Ephesians 1:7-10). And, in reference to the timing of His Second Coming, Jesus said “It is not for you to know the times or the dates, which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” So, we can surmise that God, in His sovereignty, set the timing of Jesus First Coming in order to best fulfill His divine plan of salvation. Personally, I am inclined to speculate that God was waiting until His relationship with His chosen people, Israel, had been fully and firmly established and formalized before bringing Jesus onto the scene bodily, so as to fully verify Jesus as the promised Messiah and to facilitate the rapid establishment of the Christian church.

This brings us to the second question: “Why is God waiting so long to send Jesus back as the Lion of Judah to conquer evil and establish His perfect Kingdom here on earth?” This is also a tough question to answer fully. The Apostle Peter, however, offers this explanation: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). But, who is the “everyone” to whom Peter refers here? I believe the Apostle Paul has provided a clue: “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). Taken together, these scriptures seem to imply that God has a particular number of persons in mind to be saved, and He will not complete the restoration until that number of people has been saved. This may be a new teaching to some, and it may seem harsh, but keep in mind that if God does not, at some point in time, close the door to heaven, then the end time events will never be completed, because, for one reason or another, there will always be people who are not yet saved.

Summary

One need only look to the Bible to get a basic understanding of why evil and suffering are so rampant in today’s world. The fall of man, original sin, the sin nature of man, the resultant curses and the Prince of the air of this world (These are the forgotten “WHYs”) have all conspired to put the world in the godless, degenerate and immoral condition it is in. But God is already in the process of restoring the world to its original, good and moral condition through the initial work of Jesus on the earth and the continuing work of His disciples, including you and me. When Jesus comes again and the “full number” of people (as determined by and known only to God) has been saved, He will complete the process.

Are you one of those people God will save? What are you waiting for? Stop running from God, and let Him save you today!

(To read more Bible Teachings by Professor Aist, click HERE.)