Why Would God Allow This World to be Broken?
In an earlier chapter, we discussed the idea of bad things happening. Some see a distinction between humans and the world. This question may be phrased more like, “If God made everything, why would he allow us to … ” or “ … why would he let the world be like this.”
I actually see less distinction in this than some, but there are insights Christianity can offer. God made this wold perfectly. When he formed it, it was all good (Genesis 1). The fall of humanity brought about the fall of the world as well (Genesis 3).
So one would think, why would God let this happen? I actually have a mentor, teacher, and parental perspective. Parents, when you watch your children, do you follow them around with a pillow to make sure they don’t fall? When you buy them an X-Box or other expensive or fragile toy, do you sit there and watch them play to be sure they don’t break it? Teachers, do you constantly stand over the shoulder of your students and tell them what to do as they need to do it?
Sure, teachers, you teach. You show them the way. You explain what they need to do, but any teacher who gives homework can’t possibly answer yes to the question above. At some point, you leave the student alone to see if learning has occurred. Neither can any teacher who has ever administered a test ever say yes to the question above. Part of being in one of the roles listed above means eventually leaving the person alone and letting them make mistakes.
Why do we think God should do something even our own mortal minds knows we must eventually stop doing?
The truth is, God gave us a perfect world, and one rule, one symbolic rule of obedience to follow. Humanity chose disobedience (Romans 5:12-21, compare Genesis Chapter 3). Our action brought consequence.
My thought (and I’ve spoken frequently on how I’m not an expert) is that those consequences themselves are an opportunity. Think about it. Parents, when your child has done something irresponsible in the best of circumstances, didn’t you eventually have to give them your trust in even the lest ideal circumstances? In a perfect world, with one, and only one, rule to follow, humanity still messed that up.
In a broken world, God gave us several covenants (Mosaic to name one, see Exodus 19), which eventually led to the New Covenant in Christ. But now, in this broken world, we have endless ways in which we can glorify God, which is what we were made to do. In a world full of sin, pain, and harsh environments, each time we choose to put our faith in Christ and do as he would have us do, we glorify him and bear fruit of our salvation, not as a work of justification, but as evidence of the gift of salvation through faith we have already been given through Christ (Romans).
This all builds to a much more interesting question. If God wanted us to be obedient beings who never turned from him, why didn’t he make us incapable of such? Why not make us essentially robots who couldn’t deny him and couldn’t fall to temptation? Now that’s a really great question, and it’s one I don’t necessarily have a Biblical answer for.
I do, however, have a thought to consider. If I make a robot, I know it will do as I’ve designed it because the programming prevents it. But that robot is heartless. It doesn’t do what I say because it loves me; it does what I say because it can’t do anything else.
My sons could easily do whatever I tell them. Observably, this world might think me a great parent, but am I? Stay with me here. My sons can have a number of reasons to do what I say. They could do it out of resentment, a sense of obligation, fear, or love. Some parents don’t even care why a kid goes to bed on time or does his homework after school. Isn’t that dangerous? If we don’t speak to the motivations of our children, how do we know their hearts are true? Can’t any one, no matter how horrible, act contrary to their personality for a time? So I want my children to do what they do out of love. I’ll deal with fear of the Lord in another chapter, but our first commandment is to love God with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of our strength and all of our souls (Deuteronomy 6:5, cross-reference Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27)
We can’t love if we aren’t given hearts. Robotic slaves who are only capable of doing what they’re programmed to do is something man as a species has already proven they can do, but only an all-powerful God, can make man, who has a heart born of evil, and change that heart, in this broken world we live in, and lead it to Himself. That glorifies Him.
For our panel: If God wanted us to be obedient beings who never turned from him, why didn’t he make us incapable of such? Why is the world broken? If we couldn’t obey God’s one rule in a perfect place, why give us many rules in a broken world? What are things Christians can do to remain strong in a world this broken? Do our hearts matter if we’re doing the right things? Could we or should we try to fix this world? If so, how?