Yesterday was Easter and it got me thinking. Why would God create humans if He knew that we would sin and He would have to kill Jesus to save us?
That is one of many questions and considerations about salvation that is simply mind boggling. Jesus death and God’s whole plan for salvation raises MANY profound questions, and AMAZING considerations. I’ll list a few that I think about and then offer some thoughts but it would take shelves of books to really dig into any single one of these:
God created humans knowing they would sin; God created humans knowing He would have to sacrifice His Son to save them; In reality, God created humans knowing that God would have kill Himself to save us; God and Jesus are one, but somehow God forsook Himself (Jesus) when God (Jesus) died on the Cross; Jesus was fully God and one with God while being fully human and experiencing life, pain, suffering, joy violence and temptation fully, as a human; We turned our backs on God and He killed Himself so that He wouldn’t have to kill us; We are incapable of choosing God on our own, so God draws us to Him, and orchestrates/empowers our ability to choose/accept His free gift of eternal life. Total sovereignty that includes genuine choice at the human level is truly mind boggling.
Have you ever really stopped and thought about what salvation means? Have you ever sat in amazement at “the deal” God offers?
We sin; We turn our back on God; We are evil; We would never choose God; We are prideful; We are rightfully condemned to hell; We would never be able to live a Godly life; We could never be like Jesus.
So what does God do?
God wants to save us (1Thess 5:9); God goes to extraordinary unbelievable lengths to get us to turn to Him (Gal 1:4); God predestined our holiness (Eph 1:4); God draws us to Him and providentially arranges for us to be able to see Him and choose Him (John 6:44); God recreates our spirit and makes us new (Titus 3:5); God offers us the free gift of eternal life (John 11:25); God indwells us with Holy Spirit so we can have a Guide, Comforter, Teacher and Intercessor (1John 4:13); God preserves us, seals us, guarantees us, and secures our salvation (John 10:28; 2Cor 1:22; Titus 3:5); God orchestrates, ordains, designs and oversees every day, every step and every moment of our life in such a way that we can become more and more like Jesus every day (Psalms 3:8; 2Tim 1:9)
See how amazing salvation really is?
We can’t earn it; We don’t deserve it; We can’t understand why God would do it given what we do to Him
He earned it for us; He gives us what we don’t deserve (mercy, grace, eternal life) while taking what we do deserve on Himself (death, punishment); Even through the process of living our life after salvation, God forgives us and patiently teaches, corrects, guides and cares for us.
While there is much of the SPECIFIC reason that God does not choose to reveal to us at this point, I do believe there are principles and known attributes of God that allow us to begin to get a grasp on the “why?” of some of the most perplexing questions like “why did God create us if He knew we would sin and Jesus would have to die?”
We can be sure, even if we don’t understand it all, that everything IS EXACTLY PERFECT in the overall design of humanity because God is perfect. That doesn’t mean that death, evil and suffering are perfect. It means that God in His infinite wisdom knew just how/what/when/where/why things had to happen in order for His overall WILL to be accomplished, and for things to turn out perfectly.
As humans, we simply cannot fathom the details, variables and unique make up of billions upon billions upon billions of human lives. God can not only see each life in minute detail, He can see the infinite mesh of how they all interconnect and affect humanity as a whole. God knew that they way things have “gone down” from Eden to the Second Coming were EXACTLY the perfect plan… because God can do nothing less than be perfect.
God is Personal
Why did God create humans and angels? One reason is for relationship. God is a personal God of relationship who wants not only to love, but to be loved. To love, a creature must have the opportunity to love, and the genuine choice to love or not to love. Else, love is not real. If there is not a real choice NOT to love, there is no real choice to love, from a human perspective.
When God considered His desire for a love relationship (to receive love, and to give it), He knew that it came with the reality that some would choose to reject the relationship.
(Note for my Calvinist brethren: here we come to a point that will either send you packing, or keep you thinking. I agree that God is sovereign. Man can do nothing to cause, procure or secure his salvation. It is all God. And yet, in God’s sovereignty, it is abundantly clear from both Scripture and the human experience, that God lays the responsbility of CHOICE on man, bringing him to a point where each person must – within the framework of his human reality and the manifestation of his conscience and life – make a choice to be his own god [pride, my way, self] or to lay down “self” and submit in obedience to God’s way [faith, repentance, obedience]. No matter what theological terms it is couched in, FROM THE HUMAN PERSPECTIVE, we choose, or reject, God. We love Him, or choose to love ourselves. This is what makes love genuine. This is what makes relationships real. I realize there are deep theological concepts, doctrines and principles by which it can be explained that via the sovereignty of God, salvation is ALL GOD, and man is simply the benefactor of God’s providence and love; but for the sake of this HUMAN LEVEL discussion, the CHOICE to obey God or reject Him, is a REAL human consideration, and one that makes the reality of a genuine love relationship real.)
God’s love meant that God would still want those who reject HIm to be able to return to Him. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus was the perfect plan to keep in place His perfect love relationship while allowing sinful creatures to be justly reunited with Him.
I’m often amused (in a sad way) that people say “it’s unfair that God would send a person to hell for all eternity”, or “a loving God would never send a person to hell”. Well, guess what? First, God doesn’t send anyone to hell. He simply pronounces the penalty for a persons OWN CHOICE to reject God and choose hell. That’s like blaming the Judge for sentencing the murderer to death. “I can’t believe that nice Judge would sentence that man to die for raping and killing that little girl”. God doesn’t send anyone to hell. People choose hell by rejecting God. God is simply being the good and proper Judge by imposing the correct sentence.
Second, the whole idea that “a loving God would never send a person to hell” IGNORES WHAT GOD HAS DONE TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM GOING TO HELL. God offers eternal to anyone who will receive it on His terms. He punished His own Son, who never committed a sin, so that your penalty would be paid. God is patient and over the course of someone’s life, tirelessly knocks at the door of their heart and offers them forgiveness and eternal life. Millions of God’s children have sacrificed and died to make known the way of salvation. Countless spiritual battles are fought to try and bring each and every person to salvation. No person can stand in front of God and say “unfair!”
How foolish to say “SEND” concering hell, when the real word is “CHOOSE”. We choose hell. God doesn’t “send” people there in that sense. Only after they have rejected and rejected and rejected every attempt God makes, including the death of His own Son, does God finally say “have it your way” and “send” you to hell.
God is glorified by what He does. He is glorified through the fruition of His will. He is glorified by the Kingship and dominion of His son. He is glorified by what Jesus has done, and the preeminence of Christ. He is glorified through salvation. He is glorified through worship, praise and obedience. God’s glory is perfect and excellent. The story and process of salvation serve to bring the greatest glory to God and His Son.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (NKJV)
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God created humans knowing they would sin and then He punished Himself to pay our penalty for that sin, so that God could have the love relationship with us (receiving love and giving love) that so characterizes our personal God.
How He could do this, I don’t know. How He could kill Himself, I don’t know. How He could forsake Himself, I don’t know. How He could die and be resurrected, and yet never cease to exist, I don’t know. How He could be totally sovereign in our salvation, and yet give us choice, I don’t know.
But I know it’s true. And Easter is a good time to remind us all of these incredible, amazing, awesome, confounding and eternal truths.
- Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, (NKJV)
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, (NKJV)
- 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (NKJV)
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)
- 2 Corinthians 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (NKJV)
Readers, what are some of the mind boggling questions and thoughts you have like those we’ve talked about today? Share them with all the readers on the message boards. Go here….