Did God Make a Mess of Things?

Article for St Catharines Standard newspaper by Peter Youngren.

“Look at the mess the world is in. If there is a God of love he sure didn’t do a very good job”, is a frequent comment. Believers may respond, “Well God gave us a free will, we make our own choices”, and from there the discussion goes back and forth. Consider for a moment, what the world and we, the humans, who inhabit this planet, might be like if we were created without the ability to cause harm, evil and destruction. Who would we be? Would such a world even be possible? Are there limits to the power of an Omnipotent God?

Even God can only do that which is logically possible. The Almighty could not create rectangular circles, make two parallel lines meet, cause one plus one to equal three, or make a person whole-heartedly receive Christ’s salvation against his own will.  What if God had created a world where the human family would not have regressed into a fallen state?

Imagine a world without human potential to cause harm, hurt, to feel hatred, or to cause war or devastation. This would by necessity also be a world without courage or love, and no one would ever need to overcome personal obstacles. There would be no comeback stories, no accounts of people, who conquered in spite of incredible odds, since no one would have ever experienced any setbacks or hurts. This state of “bliss” would remove the need for humility and forgiveness, either received or given, because we would not have the ability to make any mistakes in our relationship with fellow humans. Or at least our mistakes would not hurt others.

There would be no Terry Fox, because there would be no cancer, no Mother Theresa, because the slums of Calcutta would not exist, no Nelson Mandela, because the very idea of separation of the races would never have entered into the human mind. No one would need to lend a helping hand to his neighbor, because no needy neighbor would exist. If God had created a world the evil was not an option, who would we be? It’s hard to answer these and a thousand other follow up questions that could be asked, because we can only think in terms of who we are in the flawed world in which we now live. It hurts our brain to try to think of a world where only bliss and perfection is possible. It would be a world without love, since no one would need to love or be loved – it would all have been pre-arranged.

God could have easily eliminated all pain and suffering, by simply removing our five senses. But what would we be like without those? What about a universe where we would never meet anyone else? That would do it. If the potential for human relationship was removed, we could never harm or be harmed by anyone. Who would we be in such a world?

Could it be that God actually created the most awesome world logically possible, full of His glory, full of positive hope and redemption? Though we start with a fallen imperfect condition where humans have an inherited propensity towards sin, our loving God, who always looks out for the best for His creation, has provided a remedy. God’s plan of redemption puts away the sins of fallen mankind and creates the possibility for everyone to receive new life through the redeemer Jesus Christ.

It makes sense that the potential for both good and evil must exist, especially as none of us would be willing to give up even five percent of our freedom to choose. Since our inherited propensity is to make wrong choices, God’s plan of redemption becomes a sign of a truly loving God.

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