I was recently posed with the question by a bit of a deep thinker that I’ve had opportunity to have long discussions with. The question was: Is God actually perfect, or did he make a mistake by giving us all that free will?
On the surface, claiming that God is not perfect is a big statement. And it bothered me a lot. It kept me awake that night, and many nights that followed.
So, if the Bible is right about Him, God is Love. It’s a mega-part of His make-up, part of His DNA, if you will. It’s in His nature to love. I believe that’s why He created humankind. He made this beautiful planet; sea, sky, land and all the marvellous creatures on it.
But a God of Love needed someone to love and share it with. So He created beings in His own likeness – His own likeness, so that He could relate to these beings. We have the emotional and spiritual DNA of our Creator, so that we can relate to Him, walk with Him in the garden of life, and share with Him, talk with Him, laugh and cry with Him.
But He was faced with a decision, and in this decision lies the future and fate of humankind: To give free will, or to withhold it.
He could have withheld this gift, protected us from ourselves, and we’d have been blissfully unaware. But had we not been given free will, would that not have meant that the ‘love relationship’ between God and mankind was superficial? If we had no choice but to walk with Him, then we’d essentially have been forced into loving God… and is that genuine love? It would have been shallow and meaningless to a God who IS Love.
We would merely be His pets.
The alternative was to take the risk and give us the choice, and our decision to love God in return, our decision to walk with Him and commune with Him would be an authentic love, a very special and deeply real connection between Creator and the beings that He created in His own likeness.
God chose the latter. Was it a mistake? So this is where one might speculate that perhaps God is not quite perfect, and this one act was His great, cosmic boo-boo.
Maybe… here’s what I’d like to believe…
God is omniscient – knowing all, past, present and future.
I believe that God knew we’d stuff things up. I believe He knew everything that would unfold, and is yet to unfold, until the very end of the universe as we know it. He knew that humanity would turn on Him, eat the forbidden fruit, and fall into what we’ve given the name, ‘sin’.
But the God of Love wanted to share authentic, real Love with His creation, and He knew that He could redeem us. Nothing is impossible for God. So He chose Love. He chose our imperfection, for the sake of Love.
Because Love forgives, Love sees past the mess, and it redeems. He sacrificed His own divine requirements for perfection and purity, and chose Love and Grace over justice. He chose this before we were even created.
When we look at the world, we see the mess through human eyes and think God must have made a mistake, with all this horror. I think God is much bigger, ‘His ways are higher than our ways’, and He has had a plan all along. (even if that seems cruel to those of us trudging through this mess)
So instead of concluding that God is not perfect, I would simply conclude that God is Perfect in His Love.
And His plan for us? I still believe that Jesus is the Son of God, God’s very form on the earth, and that His death and resurrection brought about an eternity-shattering shift, a leap towards the restoration of God’s ‘kingdom’ on earth. I still believe that having Jesus in my life has an impact on my own life and who I am, right now – I’ve seen it, I know it.
In light of all this, I am finding it difficult to comprehend the longstanding belief that Christians are going to heaven (what, 30% of our current population, a lot less if you look at the last few thousand years, and what of all those generations before Christ?) and the rest are all on a slippery road to imminent and very permanent hell.
I just can’t fathom that a God who chose Love and Grace over justice at the very dawn of our existence would change His mind (His very nature) when eternity comes to pass.
That’s a whole other can of worms, and I doubt we’ll ever have the answers, here on earth within our human minds. But I can hope within my heart, for all humanity’s sake, and ask His forgiveness for that which I don’t understand.
I think He’s ok with that – He is the God of Love.