Why did God Create a World that He Knew was Going to Go Wrong eventually?

Written By Leslie Koh

After spending a number of years in the media, Leslie finally decided to move from working with bad news to good news. He believes in the power of words (especially when they’re funny). He works as an editor in Our Daily Bread Ministries.


This introduction that you’re reading now is really my third. Twice, I wrote a few paragraphs, only to remove them after finding that they were going nowhere.

Despite having spent a couple of hours coming up with the first two versions, it wasn’t really difficult to click on “delete”. I mean, why continue something that is flawed?

Which makes me wonder, why didn’t God do the same thing with creation? When God created the heavens, the earth and everything else, it was all perfect. Seven times, Genesis 1 observes that God saw that “it was good”. Then everything went wrong (thanks, Adam and Eve), and here we are, living in a far-from-perfect world that is pretty much destined for destruction.

Now we know God is omniscient ie. He is all-seeing and all-knowing, of everything as well as of what will happen in the past, present, and future. That means He would surely have known that Adam and Eve would, at some point, decide to disobey Him. He would have known that this sin would condemn not just the duo, but succeeding generations of mankind, along with the earth.

So why didn’t He “delete” the earth and start all over again? After all, another six days’ work wouldn’t have been too difficult, would it? Of course, you could argue that knowing man, Creation 2.0 would probably have gone down the same route, anyway. So the question is, why did God bother at all? Why create a world that He knew was going to go wrong eventually?

First, a disclaimer…

I’m not going to pretend that this is an insightful question of mine; it’s probably one of the most-often asked questions among Christians. And I’m not going to give the impression that it led me to study the Bible carefully and come up with biblically, logically and theologically sound explanations. To be honest, all I did was to read a bit to see what has been discussed about this question, and to try to re-frame it so I could understand it better myself.

I also wasn’t looking for a watertight answer that even the staunchest atheist or strongest cynic couldn’t refute. (So, yes, please feel free to disagree.) No, I was just looking for some possible answers—a new perspective, if you will, on the question. After all, the Bible doesn’t say explicitly why God decided to continue putting up with the flawed humans that were corrupting His creation, or why He created the world even though He knew it would go wrong.

Before going into why God decided to proceed with Creation, however, I figured that it would help to narrow the scope of the discussion by considering (and dismissing) several alternative options to explain what happened. As a believer, I kept to the basic assumption that God is good and that He is perfect.


So what happened? Three options

One, God made creation perfect, but somehow it went wrong, and He had to get His Son to do a quick rescue job. On the surface, this might seem plausible. Genesis 1 doesn’t tell us that God anticipated any problems; you can even imagine Him nodding satisfactorily at the end of each of the first six days, saying, “That’s good”, then sighing sadly days later when Adam and Eve take those fatal bites into the forbidden fruit.

But to say that creation didn’t quite turn out as expected suggests that God had lost control of His product. Keeping the assumption that God is sovereign, all-powerful and all-knowing, I felt I had to dismiss this option. If God wasn’t in full control . . . then everything I believe would come apart. Next!


Two, God made creation such that this would happen, so He could send His Son to earth to show His glory. This idea might seem to fit in with why God made creation (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”— Psalm 19:1). It suggests that like a director of a dramatic movie, God somehow arranged it all such that man would sin, and He would send His Son down to show His mercy and love.

Except that . . . this would be tantamount to saying that God created sin; that He made everything good, then deliberately arranged for things to fall apart, just so that He could show His mercy and grace. And that would make God seem a little manipulative. The Bible, however, makes it clear that God is good (Psalm 107:1, 1 Timothy 4:4, James 1:17), so let’s dismiss this option too.


Three, God made creation knowing that it would rebel against Him one day—but He made it anyway. This third option keeps to the assumption that God is good and perfect; it’s like having a good parent who raises a child perfectly, only to see this child become a rebel. Of course, this option leads us back to the original question: Since God knew that the world would turn against Him, why did He bother creating it?


You could have endless discussions (and arguments) over this, and it would be hard to come to a definitive conclusion that would be acceptable to most. But a little reading threw up the following three points which I felt appealed to my sense of logic and reasonable-ness, and most importantly, were also consistent with what we know about God. They aren’t necessarily answers to the difficult question; I saw them more as perspectives that helped me address the question. You be the judge.


  1. Because it shows God’s glory, love, mercy, and grace.

This sounds a bit like option 2 above, but with one difference: God didn’t make the Fall of Man happen (because that would suggest He made man sin), though He knew it would. But He allowed to happen so that we could see His glory and experience His grace and mercy. The Bible tells us that God’s ultimate purpose in everything is to have Christ the Son rule over everything, so that the Father is glorified. “With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:8-10).

It would be hard to fully define what God’s glory means, but it includes His greatness and all His attributes, such as holiness, justice, love, mercy, and grace—all of which were manifested through the story of Creation. Through the creation of the world, we see God’s greatness and power. Through His judgment of sin, we see His justice and holiness. And through Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, we see the Father’s love, mercy, and grace.

So you could say that allowing mankind to make that choice to obey or rebel against Him served God’s purpose. Of course, that might beg the questions: Could God’s glory have been manifested if He had not allowed the world to rebel against Him? Couldn’t He have been glorified in another way? In other words, did God need the world to fall to show His glory?

Well, I believe this question is too hypothetical to come up with a satisfactory answer. We could become indignant and demand to know why God didn’t show His glory another way. But we’d also have to remember that He didn’t make man sin; it was Adam and Eve who chose to disobey God themselves. And because of it, and what happened later, we got to see and understand God’s holiness and justice, and experience His love and grace.


  1. Because He wants a relationship with us.

If you think about it, God really didn’t have to create the world—or us. As a self-sufficient and complete God, He doesn’t need a world to support Him, nor anyone to keep Him in power. He isn’t even lonely; the Holy Trinity is, after all, made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Yet God made man because He wanted to have a relationship with us. He could have stopped at creating the universe, the earth, the plants, and the animals (and have a two-day weekend), but He went on to the sixth day to make man. How is man different? We are created “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27) ie. unlike His other creations, we have some of His attributes. That enables us to relate to Him in a way that other creations can’t. God doesn’t need us to keep Him company, but He wants to enjoy our company. In Genesis 1:31, after making man, God noted that “it was very good”—the previous days, it was merely “good”.

Why did God create the world even though He knew it would go south? Because He desired a loving relationship with man, and was ready to be patient, forgiving, and merciful when man failed. Compare that to a couple who have a child. They already have each other for company, but they desire the companionship of an addition to the family. And even though they know that this child will be naughty, flawed, and rebellious, the hope of the joy that this child brings is worth the heartbreak and the pain.

Of course, here’s where we could ask: So why didn’t God create human beings that couldn’t sin? Why did He give them the choice?


  1. Because free will is needed for love

Why does a couple choose to have a child and not a robot? Easy—the robot won’t love back. A relationship is meaningful not only when it’s two-way, but also when either party chooses to stay in it. Love cannot be forced or controlled; otherwise it’s no better than slavery or forced loyalty.

Why was the father of the prodigal son in the well-known parable so overjoyed to see his son return (Luke 15:11-24)? Because the son had, of his own accord, chosen to repent and to return to his father. The latter had not forced nor bribed his son to come back; that was what made the young man’s repentance and love even more valuable to the father.

That’s why God calls us His children, and not His servants. If He had made man such that we had no choice but to obey Him, our “love” and “loyalty” would not mean much to Him. No, He wanted us to decide for ourselves if we wanted to love Him back. So He made us with a free will, the ability to choose whether to follow His instructions or not.

That may also explain why God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) in the Garden of Eden in the first place. That’s one question I always had—why did God have to plant it there? Was He not tempting Adam and Eve? Did He not know they would eat from the very tree they weren’t supposed to? Some Bible teachers have posited that the tree represented the choice that God was giving to the first couple. It was as if He was telling them, “In case you complain that you have no choice but to obey Me, here’s an option you can take. I’m making it clear that you’re not to take it, but the decision is still yours.” The tree of knowledge of good and evil was thus a test.

(If we argue that God was being unfair in putting this temptation in the Garden, consider this thought: There must have been thousands (maybe even more) of fruit trees that Adam and Eve could eat from, but they had to eat from the one forbidden one.)

Christian writer Max Lucado, in his book In the Eye of the Storm, paints a beautiful portrait of the day God made man. He imagines God putting a “seed of choice” into a lump of clay that he will soon bring to life. A watching angel asks if this is wise, and God answers by showing the angel a glimpse of a future in which man will rebel and forget his Maker.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to not plant the seed? Wouldn’t it be easier to not give the choice?” the angel then asks. “It would,” God replies. “But to remove the choice is to remove the love.”

It Comes Down to Trusting in God’s Character

If you’re still not entirely convinced, I don’t blame you. It can be hard to wrap our heads around an issue that packs so many apparent contradictions in logic and invites even more “what-ifs”. Every answer is likely to lead to 10 other questions. After all, we’re talking about an issue that is beyond human comprehension.

Some would quote Deuteronomy 29:29—“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law”—to stress that it’s simply impossible to understand some of God’s actions and decisions. But I believe that these three perspectives do offer some measure of logic to understand why God still proceeded with Creation despite knowing what would happen. They may not link up like a mathematical equation, but they help us to see that what God did was entirely consistent with His purpose and character.

I suppose it’s a bit like trying to get to grips with a decision that a good friend has made, but which you simply don’t understand (say, like him taking an unusual job). You may not be fully convinced—at least for now—that he did the right thing, but what you can do is try to see the situation from his point of view and understand what prompted him to make his choice. And if you know him well, you will trust that the choice he made is consistent with his character, and that he knows what he’s doing.

In the case of Creation, it may come down to simply accepting that God’s action comes from His attributes of being good, loving, and perfect. Those are the assumptions I made in the beginning, and they are the same ones I continue to hold on to, no matter how humanly “illogical” some of His actions seem to be.

In an article on Apologetics Press, Christian apologist Kyle Butt sums up such debates rather nicely. There is no possible way, he notes, for our finite human minds to fully understand why God created humans. He concludes: “God’s attributes of omniscience, impartiality, and love provide the basis to conclude that only He would be in a position to determine which world would be the very best. When understood properly, the Bible presents a completely consistent picture of God’s moral perfection in regard to His choice to create humans.”

15 replies
    • Leslie
      Leslie says:

      Thanks Ashley! It’s an interesting topic and a lot has been written and said on it. Keep reading!

  1. Heather Watkins
    Heather Watkins says:

    If only I had read this a few days ago. Was talking to a non believer & she asked questions along those lines.

  2. Krista
    Krista says:

    I have pondered this a lot and have come to the conclusion that the end result must justify everything. The problem arises when we lack faith to really trust that God’s plan is the best through times when it does not appear so. The Lord is good…he will make a complete end of the adversaries…trouble will not rise up a second time. Nahum 1:7-9 Another problem is that we imagine him in our image when he is not and so fail to comprehend and trust him. There is a verse God is not a man that he should lie, also For no word from God will ever fail Luke 1:37. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. Ecclesiastes 11:5 The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promises as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all would reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

  3. Patricia Smith
    Patricia Smith says:

    None of these ‘answers’ help to explain why God allows the terrible suffering of the innocents, especially children, babies and animals who have never sinned and do not deserve such pain. Are we meant to take the story of Adam, Eve and the Serpent literally? Why should the innocents suffer just because God wanted human company and glory to praise him? Did God create his beings with the ability to feel pain, if so then this was his plan. The cries of the innocents in torment rise up to God from this earth, millions every day. This is not a Heavenly and loving Father, he should be weeping his heart out to see the results of his work!

    • Avian
      Avian says:

      Hi – i just wanted to say that you have a good point and yes this is terrible. But if you have one bad day and 364 good ones you will say you have had a good year. The same will apply with eternity. We are not God and just because we cant comprehend it doesnt mean its not exactly how it is supposed to be. Life may not appear as fair but God will make right all things…”the last will be first”. Pain may be terrible but in the scheme of eternity and no time existing this will be the “vapour” he describes.

  4. kizzy
    kizzy says:

    After reading this I was thinking he had to make us imperfect to make us perfect in the end….but what baffles me is the fact that we were given a free will but still could get sent to hell if our choice displeases God, that I don’t not understand cause that’s like giving someone the ability to make choices and in the end they still pay for it so still it’s either we serve him or don’t and go to hell…..we are still restricted with or without a free will….please reply let me know your views on this.

    • Isaiah
      Isaiah says:

      The problem with most people’s perceptions is the idea that we have free will. Once you throw that out the picture becomes a little more clear. When Jesus says you did not choose Me but I chose you does not state free will or free choice. I challenge you with this, did Judas have a choice to not betray Jesus? Remember it was prophesied over 1000 years in advance.
      As scary as it may seem this is why it’s important to have and build a strong relationship with Him. The writer’s option 2 is spot on. Where the writer fails is the idea that God did not create sin, He created all things and everything He created is good. We can not see the end picture but all the twist and turns in life are truly perfect and good. He will be glorified in a tremendous way. People see suffering and sadness as being bad but we dont know where it leads next. We say its unfair but do not know His blueprints. God can not sin and nothing He does or creates is less than perfect. Who gave God His law and commands that if He breaks it, He has done evil. Our failure as people is our perception of creating Him in our image instead of the correct way which is in His inage.

  5. Charles Zhang
    Charles Zhang says:

    Here’s my understanding of this age-old question, which differs from the “free will” explanation:
    First, it is more likely that only through the falling experience, man will be able to tell good from evil, thus gaining knowledge and wisdom, and fulfilling God’s commandment to Adam “…the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Imagine that Adam and Eve had never disobeyed God’s commandment, we as humankind would have been lived without knowledge of good and evil, thus without knowing evil, pain, suffering and death, nor thankfulness to God the Creator. So man’s falling in God’s plan is first to give him knowledge and wisdom, just as God has said ( so we understand what is meant by God in saying “My word will not return to me void”) .
    Second, through the falling experience, we have come to know that while God is being the all-loving and compassionate, He also sets rules that cannot be ignored or disobeyed, and man as created beings must honor the rules and commandments set by his creator or otherwise it will lead to infinite sufferings and death—-“for the LORD Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth”, and God is a “great and awesome God”.
    Third, God is loving and compassionate to his creation in the sense that while He allowed all this to happen, He has also prepared a salvation plan for the fallen man at the beginning—-through the atonement of sins by Jesus Christ, when this world as we know it has come to an end, everything will be restored and all sorrows will be turned to joy, and of course, those who reject God’s salvation and continue to disobey him will be forever lost.
    In taking this perspective, what we ought to remember is that, as God is not bound by space and time, the entire history of mankind since Adam’s fall may only be a few days, or just a few seconds.

  6. Erik
    Erik says:

    First of all, two choices: obedience or rebellion, does not equal free will. Secondly, the angels have free will, and the Bible clearly tells us how that turned out. Finally, it takes a ton of faith, faith I don’t have, to believe a good and perfect God brings glory to his name by creating on 2 occasions sentient beings that would rebell against him and thereby incur his eternal wrath. If he is truly willing that none should parish, then he could have done it: heaven or ceasing to exist. Yet in his “goodness” he made the choice between eternal glory or eternal agony. This is not a god of love.

  7. Patricia Smith
    Patricia Smith says:

    I wrote a post above about the suffering of the innocents, including Jesus who was a human sacrifice for our sins. As I approach my 71st year on this planet I have thought a great deal about the pain and suffering we see every day and try as hard as I can, I cannot reconcile this with a loving Father, no matter how many glorious, eternal, futures we may imagine God has promised us. I still have my faith and that is the hardest part, if I stopped believing it would be so much easier to bear. No one said it would be easy, I know, faith is a long and difficult road to travel. But every time I think I have it sorted in my mind, I see another picture of a crying, stick thin starving child and it all comes flooding back. It’s all so sad…….

    • Mary Casey
      Mary Casey says:

      Likewise, I’m 68. Don’t give up. The assumption that God knows all is false. God knows “all possibilities”, but not which one man will choose. God “repented” that he ever made man, so I don’t think he knew beforehand what choices man would make. And remember, so much of God’s statements begin with “if you will…..then I will….” implying God doesn’t know what will be chosen. Again, God knows all possibilities, but not the possibility man will choose. So, so much “religious lingo” just doesn’t hold up. p.s. And free will is not needed to “prove” love. Love is not a choice; like the children you mentioned, when you have the Spirit of Love (God is a Spirit and God is Love), then you love simply because you love; not because you chose to love. The Tree was NOT there as a “test”. In the author’s example, he implies parents “choose’ to love their child….no a parent just loves. There is so much wrong with this article, especially #3. The best comment is the one which stated he should just say he doesn’t know.

  8. Brandon
    Brandon says:

    The author of this article has done a wonderful job at providing helpful insight to those, unbeliever or believer, who may struggle with this question. I do not want to pretend that I can even scratch the surface in answering this question. I do want to give my insight though as Satan can use this very question as a means to cause doubt about Gods goodness and the necessity of a Savior. Here’s my thoughts. I was created by a perfect God who cannot lie. I must hold to that truth. He also is love. He is perfect. The question that is posed, why did God do this or that? is the same question that Satan posed to Adam and Eve in the garden. God told them what the outcome would be if they chose not to obey. Love and obedience go hand in hand. They knew the outcome before they disobeyed as do we. Instead of destroying Adam and Eve, God had mercy on them. Sure, life was a little harder. Sin, imperfection, leads to death. God would not be God if He didn’t punish sin. He could have destroyed Adam and Eve on the spot. God didn’t want to do that because He loves them. All God ever wanted us to do is trust and obey Him. That’s what I want my children to do. Why? Because through the grace of God, His goodness, His Love, because I was created in His image, I want what’s best for my kids. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve discovered evil, against Gods desire for them. Did he have the foreknowledge that this would happen. Of course. He didn’t go into creating the world blindly. He has made every provision for us to know Him. Adam and Eves sin separates them from God, but God gave them coverings for that. He does the same for us through the blood of Jesus Christ. Mans problem, due to knowing right and wrong, the effects of sin, his sinful nature, is that He does not want accountability for His actions. We have to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, the perfect lamb of God, to have our sins washed away and Christ puts His desire in our hearts. The question is, do you want to know your Creator, are you willing to trust the One who does not lie? Will you let pride get in the way of saying you aren’t perfect and need a Savior. Jesus is the answer for a broken world. God does not and did not want us separated from Him. It is His will that none should perish. Jesus is the answer. Submitting to Him is submitting to God, for Christ is God. Christ died for our mistakes. Satan knew what He was doing when He revolted against God. He knew the consequence. I will never understand why He thought He could dethrone God. I do not believe that God created sin. God is the total opposite of sin. He knows not sin. Angels obviously have the choice to be obedient. Pride entered Satans heart and he plotted against God. We don’t know all the details, but God wants us to trust Him, Satan wants us to doubt and give up. Trust Christ. For the questions about suffering. God does not want suffering. It is an effect of sin. People aren’t always sick because they sin. For example. My mom has breast cancer. God did not give it to her. She didn’t do anything sinful directly to cause this to happen. However, we have harmful things in our food and environment that alters our cells. Why do we have harmful things in our environment? Well, we put harmful things in our food and products to make things less expensive, to preserve things longer, which leads to more profit for manufacturers. Just a thought. Money is the root of all evil, right? The Bible says that it rains on the just and the unjust. We live in a fallen world and Christians and non-Christians both feel the effects. God has mercy on all of us, but the Christian can claim the promiseChrist gave us that He would never put more on us then we can beat, if they have a relationship with Him. Remember, to the believer, we have hope that this is not our final resting place. Keep your eyes on Christ. He is your source. If you haven’t asked Him to be your Savior, please do so. If the devil is trying to get you to doubt God with this very question, trust God, resist the devil and he will flee. Do not let Satan’s lies deceive you.


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