Jun 16, 2020
Perfection by will
Question: Why did God create the forbidden fruit?
My thoughts: To create a perfect being with free will.
The dilemma: If God is omniscient yet good and perfect, why did He create the forbidden fruit, knowing that humans could, and maybe would, disobey Him?
- God probably knew that the fall would happen.
- God's omniscience and the doctrine of predestination (e.g., Rom. 8:28, Eph. 1:5, 2 Tim. 1:9)
- A mathematical case: Consider a simple model of free will, where free will implies a non-zero probability of doing anything—in this case, of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- Assume that God wants to give them free will. So there is a non-zero probability of eating from the tree.
- Then, there are two states: (A) in which Adam & Eve did not eat from the tree and (B) in which Adam & Eve ate from the tree, which is the complement of (A).
- In (A), Adam & Eve live forever (since they had not eaten from the tree). If they have free will, then they will eventually eat from the tree. And they did actually eat from the tree. (Gen 3:6)
- Thus, (B) is an absorbing state. That is, given free will, Adam & Eve has to eat from the tree.
- And if they had not eaten from the tree, can anyone say with certainty that they have free will? The question is impossible to answer.
- All things considered, He still put the tree there. So He probably meant to.
- We know that after the fall, humans "have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10). Why then did we have to fall just to be sanctified again? Why not just not put the tree there in the first place?
- Ultimately, it is all for the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) and to reveal His love (1 John 4:9). But is there a more specific answer?
- Perhaps, an answer lies in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
- Brief summary of the parable (Luke 15:11-32): There are two sons and a father. The younger son runs off with his inheritance, squanders it, and comes back to the father, hungry and miserable. The father welcomes the prodigal son and celebrates with a feast, but the older son becomes angry because he had never squandered his inheritance. The father chastises the older son, saying that he should be glad that his younger brother came back.
- A common lesson from the parable is that God is welcoming us to come back to Him.
- But what if the parable is actually showing us two paths of being a son:
- (A): The older son is the Adam & Eve that never ate from the tree.
- In Luke 15:28-29, the older son becomes angry and complains to his father, "Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends."
- The father replies, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours."
- The older son never disobeyed his father; yet, he doesn't realize, nor is grateful for, the fact that his father shared everything with him.
- Maybe if Adam & Eve never ate from the tree, (well first, it's questionable whether they have free will but) they would have been like the older son—always with the father yet never realizing or grateful for all that he is sharing with them.
- (B): The younger son is Adam & Eve that ate from the tree.
- In Luke 15:21, the younger son says, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
- But the father ignores all that and celebrates the return of his son.
- Humans, as descendants of the Adam & Eve that did eat from the tree, have fallen and are "no longer to be called [His sons and daughters]".
- But humans, like the prodigal son, can come back to the father, realizing what had been lost and eternally grateful for what had been restored.
- Now presumably, the son, by his own free will and eternally grateful, is in perfect accordance with his father.
- Doing the impossible: creating a perfect being with free will.
- That seems like a contradiction. How does one create a being that is both perfect and has free will. If it is perfect, then how do you know that it has free will?
- It seems that the way things played out (i.e., the fall and then Jesus' sanctification) is the only way to achieve that sort of impossible and contradictory creation.
- A "perfect being" can be likened to a slave; it is precluded from any wrongdoing. Imagine a robot that follows some simple programming—it is more a slave than an agent with free will. But how can such a being also have free will?
- Exodus 21:4-6 foreshadows this aspect of creation. It says: 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.
- The same can be said of the prodigal son.
- We are still in creation, sort of.
- God technically finished creation in Genesis. But in a sense, maybe we are still in creation.
- See 1 Corinthians 15:45. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
- Jesus is the embodiment of perfection by will. He paved the way from humans to become like Him.
- Ephesians 1:5. he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
- Romans 8:28. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
- Matthew 12:50. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”