Did God’s Creation Cease to Be GOOD?

Author and Pastor Wayne Grudem stated:

“God created the entire universe out of nothing; it was originally very good; and He created it to glorify Himself

In principle I can’t agree more, however the word “originally”  bugs me.  Are we to suppose that it is no longer very good?  Many would say that the world ceased to be very good when man introduced sin into the equation and so men, not God are responsible for the world no longer being very good.  This is certainly a plausable and streight forward explanation (though I question a sovereign God in this) and I realize that an accurate presentation of the gospel relies upon people realizing that the world is outside of God’s intended plan for humanity, but is this what God intended when He uttered those words in the Beginning?

A quick exegesis of Grudem’s actual quote shows a logical contradiction within it.  Grudem himself states the very accurate purpose for God creating man.  He created man to “glorify Himself”. Man was created for no other purpose than the glory of God! However, Grudem would never state that God is no longer able to glorify Himself because man fell even though this is the logical response to his quote.  So God’s glorification is not dependent upon man acting obediently.  His glory is more apparent because of our lack of obedience.  Roman’s 9 states:

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

It seems that God was well aware of man’s fall prior to creation and, as Romans 9 makes clear, He chooses some for glory and others for destruction.  He does so that we can truly understand His attributes of mercy, justice, love, etc.  Had man not fallen, we would not have an accurate picture of who God is.  When God utters the words, “Very Good” He does so with a complete picture of humanity and within these circumstances, He chose to create and use the rebellion of His creation to give us a more complete picture of Himself so that we might better glorify Him.  When we see the fall of man and state that the world is no longer “very good”, we do so from an anthropocentric (human) prescriptive.  When God uttered those words, He did so with His complete knowledge of how to maximize His glory.

A logical jump from my argument is to blame God for the creation of sin and thus making Him to blame for our behavior.  I caution you from making this jump.  First and foremost, shifting the responsibility of sin to God creates a mish-mash of theology.  We, humanity, are held accountable for our actions and we are punished by our sin.  Even though man was given a fallen nature after the fall of Adam and Eve, we are individually punished (apart from Christ) for our individual sin.  Just because God chooses to act on behalf of some does not obligate Him to act on behalf of everyone.  God needn’t do anything to “predestine” some for destruction. thinking otherwise creates a heresy called equal ultimacy or double predestination.   Our nature is all it takes for us to face the final judgement.  Because God calls some for glory and not others does not mean that God authored sin.  In fact, God did not author sin or goodness, goodness is God’s very nature and just as we cannot act outside of our nature (or it would cease to be our nature) so too God cannot act outside of His.  God simply has to give us an understanding of His attributes, His nature, for us to understand how separated we are from Him and that perfection is not attainable apart from Christ.  God need not author sin in order to use it for His glory.  In fact my argument is that God is dependent upon sin to display His glory to creatures with a sin nature.  It is a necessary contrast.  Keep in mind, He has no obligation to display His glory, nor did He have obligation to create at all, but He did create and He uses the fall of man to create a perfect situation where He displays His glory completely.  This is why He uttered the word “It is very good” and why we can rest assured that though man is sinful, God remains Holy and He is still in control for His creation.  The world remains “very good.” from God’s perspective because His sovereign plan will come to pass Independent of us.

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  1. Follow up question:

    I am not trying to make dogma here, just reflecting in a question that I can certainly use feedback on:

    Human nature is to do that which is opposed to what we are told not to do.  God told Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil yet Adam did the opposite.  Is not this tendency a product of the fall?  If that’s the case, how did Adam have the tendency to rebel?  Does this mean that God gave us a sin nature so that we could not act in a different way?  If that’s the case, did God not create humans with the desire to disobey prior to them actually disobeying yet God uttered “it is very good”.  This has ramifications on God’s desire for humanity as well as His decree.  It would show His desire to have sin for some unapparent reason.

    Again I have no answers to these questions and I see the ramifications of this position.

    • September 14th, 2014

    Fantastic site you have here but I was curious about if you
    knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get responses from
    other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

    • The problem with forums are they tend to be ignorance aggregators where anyone with a keyboard becomes a theologian and few have the ability to discern reality from deception. Your IP Address says you are in Austin, TX. If that’s correct, I would suggest finding a healthy body of believers in Austin. Christianity is a religion steeped in community and a forum does not replace the need for the local church. Start there if you haven’t already 🙂

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