One of the things I really enjoy doing with the ministry the Lord has blessed me with is answering questions of believers and unbelievers alike. The questions people have never cease to amaze me; most I have never even considered myself.
This QFTBOC (Questions from the Body of Christ) series are articles from these questions I have received and will be in a question and response format.
If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.
If I end up using your question, and you would like to have your name and/or place of residence listed on the question in the article, please specify with your submitted question; otherwise, if I use your question, it will be listed as “Anonymous.”
Regardless, I will make every attempt to answer every person’s question(s) in a response to the emails I receive. Depending on volume, it may be a little while until you hear back from me, but my intention is to respond to all inquiries.
Other articles in this series are:
- QFTBOC: Civil Disobedience and Patriotism
- QFTBOC: Memory – Fully Retained or Total Reset?
- QFTBOC: Psalm 91, Protection, & God’s Will
- QFTBOC: God’s Chastisement of His Children
- QFTBOC: What’s Satan’s Problem?
- QFTBOC: Can We Know Another’s Salvation?
- QFTBOC: Childbirth Purification & Christ
- QFTBOC: Biblical Slavery
- QFTBOC: Peter & John at the Palace of the High Priest
- QFTBOC: Living for Christ in a Dark World
- QFTBOC: Family and the Afterlife
- QFTBOC: Judgment and Works
- QFTBOC: Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel
- QFTBOC: Salvation in the Tribulation
- QFTBOC:‘Age of Accountability’
I accepted Christ as my Savior over 60 years ago and have studied the Bible for much of my adult life. Since my youth, I’ve had one unanswered question persist to this day.
Knowing that God is omniscient, He knows all things, including the beginning and end of each individual person He created. This would include knowing from the beginning of creation which of us would accept His gift of eternal life and those who would not. Those who do not have chosen an eternity separated from God and everlasting punishment.
Since God knew this from the beginning, why would He go ahead and create these individuals who would be eternally lost?
There it is, Mark. I look forward to hearing from you.
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Thanks for your email and great question!
To begin with, we should acknowledge that God loves those who will reject Him with the same passion that He loves those who will love Him, and He proved just this on the cross when He died for all.
Because God already knew who would accept and reject Him doesn’t mean He could just go ahead and not create them, as we all are a part of His divine plan, and this plan included a most important aspect of life – that of freewill.
We see this truth in the enemy of our souls – Satan.
If God hadn’t created Satan, then the universal battle between good and evil wouldn’t have existed as we know it now. The fallen angels that followed Satan would seemingly still be in heaven, and they would never have had the opportunity to follow God or follow Satan. This would mean that the angels who would have fallen, if given the choice, would be in heaven, not actually content with their lot in life.
Similarly, the battle between good and evil would necessarily have to exist so that people can either choose God or reject Him. It’s all about free will for the creature: between the choice of loving or hating God and the ultimate battle between good and evil.
Another way of looking at this is, if there wasn’t the knowledge of good and evil, and there wasn’t a battle between the two, then nobody would have come to the Lord out of love but out of necessity and fear of their Creator. It would be akin to your spouse being with you just because there wasn’t any other alternative. There would be no love involved, and this would take away from any joy that would have resulted from that person’s freewill decision to be with you out of love.
Without good and evil, love and rejection – it seems – wouldn’t or couldn’t exist. Therefore, we can conjecture that no one would come to God on their own volition and show not only God but themselves that they truly love their Creator without this opportunity to freely choose. [God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Freewill]
Haven’t you ever wondered why the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was even in the Garden of Eden in the first place? I sure have, and this seems as good of an explanation as any.
Granted, much of this is somewhat speculative, but there’s a lot of logic that we can apply to this overall thought process as well. As with most of the deeply profound elements to God’s overall plans of creation, redemption, and consummation, we should humbly admit that we don’t have nearly all of the answers that we truly desire this side of heaven. But it does seem that we should at least be able to somewhat comprehend basic intuitive understandings of the mysteries of God by observing what we do know through His revealed Word to us.
A Situational Hypothetical
One of the things I attempt for the QFTBOC series is to ask the questioner if my basic response to their question(s) has been helpful and if they have any other questions or need clarification on anything. In our back and forth, D.W. posed the following situational hypothetical. I have received similar hypotheticals many other times in various ways, so this is a rather common point of issue.
D.W.’s Follow-Up Question
Thank you, Mark. I appreciate your thoughtful response. Free will is surely essential if we are to seek and love God.
Also, I know man’s wisdom is foolishness to God, and we now see “through a glass darkly.” Someday we’ll have full understanding.
But…back to the idea of complete foreknowledge. What if a husband and wife knew, with medical and scientific certainty, that genetically they were unable to have a normal child? And if they did, the child would be doomed to a life of deformity and endless pain. They, of course, would act on that foreknowledge and choose not to conceive such a child.
I think an individual, eternally lost and separated from God, is much worse off than that poor child.
This is actually the heart of my question, and maybe there won’t be an answer until we have our glorified bodies and a new mind to understand our Creator.
May God bless you,
You’re so welcome!
Well, your situational hypothetical of parents knowing in advance whether a child will be genetically deformed and miserable seems logical on the surface, but, honestly, I find a few problems with this thought process. You’re not alone in inquiring about this, as I have been offered similar situational hypotheticals before.
Please allow me to explain the errors I perceive in this kind of thinking.
First and foremost, we are not God, so this situational hypothetical is obsolete on this foundational truth alone. We must never compare the attributes and will of God to ourselves. As fallen creatures, we have no justification to ever question the motivations of the Lord and/or derive a sense of understanding from our own experiences with what we may feel or think is to be considered right or wrong.
But with that said, I would suggest that no Christian – even in our finite and sinful state, if we were to truly understand the intrinsic value of life in any human being, no matter the disability and suffering that may take place – would ever consider not allowing that potential life to live.
To drive home this point, I would like to share the following true story as I remember it.
A pastor and his wife discovered while she was pregnant that their daughter had acquired extra sets of chromosomes, which was a certain death sentence for the child. The doctors urged them to abort as it would be a miracle if she survived birth, and if she did survive the birth, she would have much suffering to endure before she died. This, of course, is no option for true Christians who value all human life that is created in the image of God.
The daughter was born and did survive for a number of days – if I remember correctly – and the family suffered together as a family unit, giving it all to God.
The pastor explained that though the experience was heart-wrenching, he and his wife would never have had the experience of not only holding their daughter in their arms but of learning of God’s love and provision in the unique way that they did. What seemed to be a catastrophe with no hope was actually one of the greatest learning experiences anyone could ever have as a child of God.
I had the distinct pleasure of working for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families for close to two decades. I have often said that I learned more from them than they could have ever learned from me. I can also tell you that no one would have changed their circumstances when it came to the love and compassion they experienced within their unique familial situations, as difficult as it often may be.
People are already playing God in this way through genetic testing and destroying the embryo or aborting the child after testing if they don’t like the results they have acquired. I can honestly tell you, from what we know of the Lord, that God wanted all of those children to be born, as they were created in the image of God. And like the pastor and countless parents and families of children with disabilities ever since the fall, God, when He is allowed, always works through these difficult situations for the good of those involved and for His glory. This is what He does.
As you noted, God said, “… my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We should always put these difficult matters into the Lord’s hands and allow Him to work in our lives, as we have no right to challenge and/or question Him and His intentions in regard to His creation. And, as noted at the first, to compare this situational hypothetical to the topic at hand just isn’t wise on our part. God is God, and we are not.
God’s Amazing Love and Grace
But when it comes to our topic, we would do well to have profound praise to the Lord for what He has done, knowing everything that would transpire in His creation. That’s what makes the love of God so amazing when we think on these things. The fact that God obviously knew what it would cost Him, in the sacrifice of His beloved Son, is a thought too great for us to truly consider and to fully comprehend. But God, in His foreknowledge, knew what we would become in Messiah Yeshua because of Jesus Christ’s loving and selfless sacrifice, and He said it was worth it to Him! What love! What grace!
On those who will spend eternity apart from God in the Lake of Fire, they will not have gone into that eternal decision blind and unaware. They know what they are doing, and they would be far happier apart from Him than with Him. We have a hard time understanding this – especially if we gave our lives to Christ at a young age – but it’s the truth. Man is born into sin, and as Christ said, “… this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:19-20).
The truth is, God has done everything He could possibly do to rescue every human being who has ever lived. God left no stone unturned in His plan of salvation and redemption. The destiny of the eternally lost has been decided by them and them alone.
But I do have some closing thoughts on this issue.
Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy
Dr. Baruch Korman of Love Israel had an amazing teaching on Romans 9 recently, where he went through this much-maligned chapter. Calvinists will invariably corrupt Paul’s teachings to promote their heinous view that God picks and chooses who He will save and who He will condemn to hell. [God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Freewill]
Nevertheless, when Paul teaches about the vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath, he asks an interesting question.
“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:22-24).
God’s salvation is available to all, but many have and will reject Him. All of this, prior to creation, was known by God and, most importantly, was used by God for His glory in just the fact that He created anyway. It’s man’s individual response to God’s amazing love and forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ that will dictate whether a person will become a vessel of wrath or a vessel of mercy – an outcome that has always been known by a sovereign and omniscient Creator!
Satan, as God knew he would, rebelled against his Creator, took a third of the angels with him in his rebellion, and tempted Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden, which catapulted mankind into a state of utter despair and unleashed the plan of God to save mankind by Himself.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18).
God is Glorified in the Ungodly
That God would be glorified in the ungodly seems like a paradox at first glance. But it is true! When one considers what God’s Son did for each and every human being – including those who would insolently reject His free gift of salvation which He purchased for them on the cross and hate God with a bitter passion – shows the intense love and sacrifice that God made for all, in spite of our ugliness and unloveliness which all of us possess before salvation.
And when God punishes those who reject His Son and His sacrifice of love and persecutes those who believe in Him, does it not glorify the Lord when He does so for the sake of those who have accepted Him and His love?
“Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-12).
It’s because we see the demise of those who hate God and reject Christ that our love for the Son of God and what He has done for us becomes even more evident and glorious.
But there’s more.
God Works Through the Ungodly on Behalf of His Children
God uses the wicked in this world – those who have utterly rejected Him and hate who He is – to work an amazing work in us.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:12-14).
Our persecution that we experience in this life, from those who have willingly rejected their Creator and would rather live an eternity apart from Him, works righteousness, blessing, and rejoicing in the believer. All of this is something that God could never have accomplished within us had he not created those who would make the individual choice to reject Him and persecute His children in this life.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
The bottom line in all of this is: God loved all of His creation so much that He willingly sent His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the entire world and, in all of this, is honored in spite of the evil and wicked decisions on the part of the lost to remain eternally lost. A decision that is, again, entirely theirs.
“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
All of this is why the Scriptures declare – when taken in their entirety – the eternally lost, by their own choice, were created.
And when it comes to those who have and will come to the Lord through Jesus Christ, we are His children, and God has created us for His glory.
“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7).
In the glorious near future, we will also, along with the 24 Elders, worship the Lord, exclaiming:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
He is worthy, indeed!
My prayer is – when we consider the utter hopelessness of the eternally lost – that this will motivate each and every one of us to be Answering the Call of The Great Commission and giving an answer to every man and woman who so desperately needs Jesus and asks us, “Why Am I Here and What Is It All About?”
Thank you very much, D.W., for this very important question that I’m certain all believers have pondered throughout their lifetimes.
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
➢ Email: email@example.com
➢ If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ and are seeking answers about God, Jesus Christ, the gospel, and salvation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
➢ I am still taking questions for the Questions from the Body of Christ series. If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.
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