“Live in faith and hope, even if it is in the darkness, because in this darkness God protects the soul. Take care of God, for you are His and He will not forget you. Do not think that He leaves you alone, because that oppresses Him.” Saint John of the Cross
One does not need to put in much effort to find pain and suffering in this world. War, crime and hate are everywhere. This is not to mention natural disasters and disease. In light of this imbalance, a believer may be forgiven for asking why God did not make a better world?
It is, of course, a difficult question and requires knowledge that we cannot have in order to know the mind of God. However, it is a question worth pondering and which I will enjoy in this paper.
Even the most ardent optimist would not suggest that the world we live in is perfect. However, the existence of an entire world or paradise is exactly what the Bible describes as the environment in which God placed the first humans.
In a sense, the Garden of Eden (whether literal or symbolic) provides an earthly representation of Heaven. In Heaven, Adam and Eve had a good relationship with God. The effect of this right relationship with God was that humans are immortal and their desires are properly arranged. Humans are made perfect and placed in a perfect world.
Now, for anything to be perfect, it has to be properly arranged. In the context of Genesis, the correct order means that nature was obedient to humans and that humans were obedient to God. This correct arrangement was lost when man fell. This disturbance caused by original sin is not limited to man’s relationship with God. It also cut the right order between nature and humans. The natural world is no longer compatible with humans (Genesis 3:19). Indeed, the expulsion from the Garden of Eden symbolizes not only the loss of human perfection, but also the disorder of all nature. We are born into this troubled world.
Despite the chaos and turmoil we see daily, the universe we live in retains some evidence of the perfection that God intended.
We live in a supernatural world that should not exist. According to Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, the odds of a random universe arising are “one part 10 to the 10th to the power of 123, that is, one followed by 10 to the power of 123 zeros.” Suffice it to say that it is mathematically impossible for the universe to come into being by a random process.
in addition toAnd Two eminent scholarsAnd Fred Hoyle and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe calculates the possibilities of life forming through natural processes. They estimated that there was less chance of 10,000 to 40,000 forces that could have been generated by some random process.
Inside the universe, there is evidence of design. For example, ripples in the universe from the original Big Bang event could be detected in one part in 100,000. If this factor were a little smaller, the universe would only exist as a collection of gas – no planets, no life. If this factor were just a little bigger, then the universe would only consist of large black holes. Obviously, no life would be possible in such a universe.
All this science (which I apologize for) indicates not only that the universe is not random, it also indicates that the universe is designed in a way that supports life.
It is not only science but also our humanity that proposes the concept of perfection. From the heart of Jesus banquets in the temple, to Gandhi’s hunger strikes and Martin Luther King’s marches, we starve after justice, after love, after God. We will return after the memory of heaven.
This memory of a perfect world remains even as we live in a broken world.
What is the cause of the current defect?
It is accurate and appropriate to attribute much, if not all, of the world’s faults to original sin. It is also accurate and appropriate to attribute original sin to man’s capacity for free will.
However, the existence of free will does not seem to leave God in a quandary. If free will leads humans to disobey God – which is what sin means – then God’s omniscience means that God knows that humans will disobey Him. While any effort to answer this question requires little speculation, being in the image of God appears to be, among other things, a moral agent. Ethics entails free will because human beings cannot be responsible for their actions without the ability to choose.
The conclusion that can be drawn is that God values the good of free will above the potential evil it might cause. Yet the human condition is still in its fallen state, one from which we cannot extricate ourselves. We need rescue.
God’s New Plan
Fortunately, God is not satisfied with allowing us to remain in our unfortunate state. He, out of love, provided a way out. This exit is beautifully mentioned in 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 eternal life.” Through Christ the path to Paradise remains open. While we may not experience the perfect world that God intended in this life, we do have hope for that perfect world in the next life.
The answer to whether God can make a better world seems to be that God made a better world. It is humans’ ability to free will that leads to sin, which has done untold damage to this whole world. Despite this, the desire for complete love, complete justice and complete immortality remains. Although we are fallen creatures, we have a primitive memory of Paradise. We are hungry for that paradise. We are hungry for God.