Why did an omniscient God create humankind knowing that people, in every generation, would reject him?

The honest answer to this question is, we don't know—at least not in a cocksure, foolproof way that takes the risk out of faith and the mystery out of revelation. The Bible says that "the secret things belong to the Lord our God" (Deut. 29:29, NIV). And yet this is a natural and reasonable question to ask. We can say four things in response:

First, everything God does, by either explicit decree or permission, has an ultimate beneficial purpose. This includes the fact of hell and God's judgment against rebellious sinners, as well as the blessings of heaven and salvation in Christ. Love and holiness are both essential attributes of God, and they are not in competition with one another. As with Job, in the face of suffering and mystery we are tempted to accuse God of wrongdoing and put him in the dock. But God's answer to Job reaches us as well: "Would you condemn me to justify yourself?" (Job 40:8).

Second, this question assumes that human beings are victims caught in the vise of an inexorable fate. But the Bible teaches that God in his goodness has created a world of moral order, one in which men and women are free moral agents. By creating Adam and Eve in his image and likeness, God gave them a quality of relationship with him that no other creature has. God's creative act was so great that he trusted them with freedom. Unfortunately, freedom includes the freedom to turn away from God, and that is what Adam and Eve did. The fact that God knew beforehand what they would do in no way abrogated their capacity to act and do as they chose. God condemns no one unjustly. God is the judge ...

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