God created all things, including us, for Himself and is glorified in His Creation (Romans 11:36). It may be hard to see how Adam and Eve falling into sin could bring glory to God. God is omniscient (Psalm 139:1-6), and He knows the future (Isaiah 46:10).
The Lord was not surprised that Adam and Eve would sin. Adam and Eve falling into sin does not mean that the Lord tempted them to sin (James 1:13), nor that the Lord is the author of sin. The Fall of Adam and Eve served the purpose of the Lord’s plan for Creation and humanity.
How Biblical History Can be Divided
Biblical history can be divided into three main sections: First, paradise (Genesis 1-2), paradise lost (Genesis 3-Revelation 20), and lastly, paradise regained (Revelation 21-22). The largest part of Scripture is from paradise lost to paradise regained. At the center of the story of paradise lost is the Cross and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus planned from the very beginning (Genesis 3:15; Acts 2:23).
The Lord Was Not Surprised by the Fall
The Lord was not surprised by the Fall, for it was foreknown by God just as the cross was foreordained by God. All people will one day glorify the Lord (Psalm 86:8), and it is the purpose of God “to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:10).
The Lord God created the world in which His glory would be manifest in all its fullness. The goal of the Creation was to display the glory of God, which is also the goal of everything He does. The universe was created to showcase the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and the wrath of God is revealed against those who fail to glorify God (Romans 1:18-25).
The Wrath and Mercy of God Display the Glory of God
Without the Fall of Man, there is no way for man to know the glory of God or the grace of God. All of God’s plan, including the Fall, election, redemption, and atonement of humanity, serves the purpose of glorifying God. Adam falling into sin displays the mercy of God by not killing him on the spot.
The grace of God was evident in the covering He provided for the shame of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). The patience of God was on display later as humanity fell deeper and deeper into sin. The justice and wrath of God were demonstrated when the Lord sent the Flood, and the mercy and grace of God displayed when the Lord saved Noah and his family.
The holy wrath and perfect justice of God will be seen in the future when He deals with Satan once and for all (Revelation 20:7-10).
The Glory of God Is Revealed in the Love of God
Knowledge of the love of God comes from the person and saving work of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:9). If the Lord had not created Adam and Eve based on His knowledge of the Fall or if He had made them robots with no free will, there would be no way for man to know the love of God.
The Ultimate Demonstration of the Love of God
The ultimate demonstration of the love of God occurred at the Cross, where the wrath, justice, and mercy of God meet. The righteous judgment of all sin was executed, and the grace of God displayed in Jesus’ words, “Father forgive them” (Luke 23:34). The love and grace of God are manifest in those who are saved (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-10).
The Lord will be glorified as His people worship Him for all eternity. The wicked will also glorify God as the righteousness of God results in the eternal punishment of unrepentant sinners (Philippians 2:11). Without the Fall of Adam and Eve, humanity would never know the justice, grace, mercy, or love of God.
Foreknowledge, Foreordination, and the Freedom of Man
We still need to consider more about this subject, because some people object that the foreknowledge and foreordination of the Fall damaged the freedom of man. The best answer to this question comes from the Westminster Confession of Faith, III. 1:
God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
The Lord used future events in such a way that the freedom and working of second causes (laws of nature) are preserved. Theologians call this concurrence. Concurrence is how the sovereign work of God works with the freedom of humanity’s choices, so their choices always result in the will of God.
Free decisions do not mean that our choices, though, are coerced by outside influences, but means by a complex interaction of wills and choices, the Creator can handle any amount of complexity.
The Lord foresaw the Fall of Adam and Eve and created men and women in His image to bring Him glory. Adam and Eve were given the freedom to make choices but chose to disobey so their choice became how the will of God was carried out and by which His glory will be seen.
Adam and Romans 5:12-21
Romans 5:12-21 is a critical passage in this discussion because it says Adam “was a type of the one to come,” even Jesus Christ (Romans 5:14). Adam’s choices are our choices, which is why every human being shares in the consequences of Adam’s sin. Adam’s transgression is imputed to every human, so God regards everyone guilty.
The righteousness of Christ is imputed to sinners when they believe (2 Corinthians 5:21), and His righteousness is a gift of grace. Genesis 3:14-15 is the first gospel where the Lord promises Eve’s seed will crush Satan, the serpent’s head. Jesus, by His obedience, is that seed; for He crushed Satan, securing our right stand before the Lord (Colossians 2:13-15).
Creation and the Trinity
The Lord did not need to create; He chose to create. The Lord, throughout all time and eternity, enjoyed perfect love and intimate communion with the Trinity: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity enjoyed the perfect relationship and completely fulfilled one another.
He created everything out of nothing to put His glory on display for the delight of created beings made in His image that they might declare the greatness of God.
Genesis declares God’s extraordinary display of the sovereignty of God in speaking Creation into being and in saving it (Genesis 1-3). Moses, in Genesis, records the stunning work of God in Creation, where He created, out of nothing, by speaking it into being. The act of Creation, by the Lord, displays His royal sovereignty.
Creation Demonstrates the Rightful Rule of God
The dazzling display of the sovereignty of God in Creation is a prime example of the Lord’s rightful rule in all matters. Consider the following points as we wrap up this article:
The Lord, who commanded the light to appear on day one of Creation, ordered gospel light to shine in the hearts of sinners at war with Him. He who separated the waters on day two would cause an infinite chasm to separate Himself for sinners.
He who gathered the waters together on day three would gather sinners to Himself through Christ. The Lord, who created the sun, moon, and stars on day four, would impotently create saving faith.
The Lord, who began to create an animal kingdom on day five, would send forth the Son of God and Son of Man the Lamb of God to take away sin.
The Lord, who created Adam and Eve on day six, would soon re-create sinners into His image by free grace performing the second Genesis in the salvation of lost men and women found by a gracious Lord in Jesus.
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Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. He received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOG, Instagram, read more of his writing at Servants of Grace, or sign to receive his newsletter. When Dave isn’t busy with ministry, he loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, reading the latest from Christian publishers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, playing golf, watching movies, sports, and spending time with his family.