Does it appear selfish for God to have put man and Satan on the same planet simply to have beings capable of choosing to worship Him when He knew how much suffering setting it up this way would cause?

One Christian's Opinion

As a Christian, I can safely say that it does indeed seem strange, perhaps even selfish, for God to have allowed this situation to occur.

On the other hand, I also choose to believe that God knows the details far better than I ever will. I choose to trust that He does indeed love each and every one of us, and wishes that no one spend eternity outside of His presence. I choose to trust, therefore, that there is a purpose to having Satan around, to giving us the power and responsibility to choose of our own free will between life with Him and life without Him, and to have the pain and suffering that result from the whole situation. I do not understand it, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

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Answer

This is a question that requires a rather lengthy answer to really answer it correctly. Please bear with me as I try to give this question the dignified answer that it truly deserves. I recommend that you read the creation account in Genesis chapter 1-3.

The Bible is clear in it's description of how things were set up, and intended to be by God. After each creative work, the Bible tells us that God pronounced each thing as "good." Good, from God's standpoint is perfect, flawless. This even included the creation of man. The Bible further states that God "blessed them." Notice this at Genesis 1:28," Further, God blessed them and God said to them: �Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth."

The command was for them to be fruitful, and have earthly creation in subjection to them. To be fruitful would mean that their efforts and work would be fulfilling and happy. The subjection that they would have from the earth's creation would be a beneficial arrangement. In fact, the two, being perfect, would never have to die. There was only one test that God did place them under, and that was the test of obedience. The account tells us that of all the thousands of varieties of fruit that they could eat, only one special tree could they not eat from. The only mention of death for them was if they ate of that one tree in the middle of the garden. The Bible does not tell us what kind of tree, or what kind of fruit it was. Reasonably, it was probably a one of a kind fruit, that doesn't even exist anymore. But that isn't what is important. What is important is what that tree represented. It represented God's right to rule. To illustrate: suppose you have a valuable item proudly diplayed on your mantle. You tell your child not to touch it. But then whenever your back is turned, that child does exactly what you have told them not to do, aren't they challenging your authority? You see, that is what that represented God's authority and mankind's submission to it.

But what happened? One of God's own spirit creatures desired to have worship for himself. He allowed that desire to well up in him, until he took action. The Bible tells us what happened. In Genesis chapter 3, we read of this angelic son of God's deceptive ploy he launched on Eve. Using a serpent, like ventrilquist, he spoke to her, and decieved her into disobeying God. In turn, Adam also joined in the rebellion. This angel thus became known as Satan (which means slanderer) the Devil (which means opposer).

What does all that have to do with the question and us today? When Adam and Eve joined Satan in the rebellion, they did a couple of things. First, they challenged God's authority. In essence they said, we want to rule ourselves and decide for ourselves what is good and bad. So the issue that was raised in the Garden of Eden was, does God have the right to rule over his creation, and would man actually be better off ruling himself?

The second thing they did was alienate themseves from the creator. Since they were now sinners, having willfully sinned against God, they lost their perfection. They were now imperfect, and that is all they could pass on to their offspring, imperfection.

The very first prophecy (history written in advance) in the Bible is at Genesis 3:15. This prophecy tells how God immediately set in motion a plan to undo all the effects of this rebellion. Why was a plan needed? Couldn't God have just destroyed the three rebels and started over? Yes, God has the power to do that, but he has the wisdom not to. Why? Because his display of power in that way would not have settled the issue of soverienty that was raised. Satan did not challenge God's power. He challenged God's right to rule. There were also millions of angels that were looking on. This issue needed an answer. Only time would answer this issue.

What was the plan set in motion according to Genesis 3:15? It was none other than a seed, that is Jesus Christ that would eventually crush Satan in the head, that is destroy him in due time. But only after Jesus himself received a "heel wound," that is provide a ransom sacrifice that would pay for what Adam lost, perfect human life. You see, God has a law, an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for life, and like for like. When Adam lost his perfect life, and all future life prospects, that scales of justice were thrown out of balance. Jesus provided the corresponding value of his perfect life willing to God when he returned to heaven and presented the value of it to God, thus balancing the scales of justice. The fact that God himself provided this ransom does not diminish it's value; in fact it is a reassurance that God does care for us, and wants to rescue mankind from their condition.

We are in the mess we are in today, not because God set it up that way. The rebels in the Garden of Eden made it that way. But these conditions we see around us are only temporary. The Bible tells us that whatever God purposes will happen, no matter what (Isaiah 55:11). In the beginning God's purpose was to have humans living forever on earth in paradise conditions. That is going to happen. No puny creatures, inferior to God, can permanently stop that from happening. Why has it been so long? Because time was needed to allow Satan to prove his challenge. God's soverienty had to be upheld. According to Bible prophecy we are deep in what the Bible calls the "last days." ( 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Matthew 24:3-14) The last days of this system of things. Jesus taught us to pray for God's Kingdom at Matthew 6:9,10. That kingdom is a real government with Jesus as it's king. That kingdom will bring real changes to the earth's scene very soon (Daniel 2:44). It will also bring relief for mankind from the problems we now face (Revelation 21:4,5, Isaiah 2:4, Psalms 37:10,11,29; 72:12-14, John 5:28,29, and many more).

Someone may object and say, that if God wants to fix all this mess, why did he wait so long, or why is he so slow? Why does God allow so much time to pass before destroying the wicked?

2 Pet. 3:9 says: �Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.�

Mark 13:10: �In all the nations the good news has to be preached first.�

Matt. 25:31, 32,�46: �When the Son of man [Jesus Christ] arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And these [who fail to recognize Christ�s spiritual brothers as representatives of the King himself] will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.� So does God not want anyone to be destroyed, but he wants plenty of time for people to gain salvation. Also we have to look at things from his viewpoint. The Bible says that a thousand years to us, is but a day to God. So while we have had over 6000 years of human suffering, it has been a very short time to the king of eternity.

But God has the power and wisdom to undo all the ill effects of the rebellion, and he will. Very soon. According to Bible prophecy, we are very near to the time that he will take action.

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Answer

"Does it appear selfish for God to have put man and Satan on the same planet simply to have beings capable of choosing to worship Him when He knew how much suffering setting it up this way would cause?"

No, it is not selfish. Love is meaningless without choice.

Understand the Issues

God originally "set up" a peaceful arrangement for mankind. Satan was the first rebel in the universe who selfishly sought the worship that rightfully belongs to God. He cleverly induced the first human pair, Adam and Eve to selfishly pursue a course of independence from God. Their selfish act of disobedience resulted in the loss of perfect human life for them and all their offspring.

Thus the earth has been the scene of the great issue of God's universal soveriegnty. 6000 plus years of mankind's governments have proven that man is unable to govern himself as the Bible states at Jeremiah 10:23. God has not been selfish, but rather has given mankind the greatest gift of all, the ransom sacrifice of his own son as shown at John 3:16.

The suffering that has resulted in this time has been a result of man's dominating man to his own injury (Ecclesiates 8:9) and the influence of Satan and his demons whom Jesus called the "ruler of this world". (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11)

This issue of universal soveriegnty would not go away once Satan rebelled. Even the angels are involved. To wipe out Satan or send him elsewhere in avoidance of the issue would leave the question unanswered as to who rightfully deserves to be worshipped and whose way of doing things is best for all.

Only time could have answered the question and also proven that Satan's taunt that man only worships God for what he can gain is a lie. The good news is that soon the time will be over. God will have established for all time his soveriegnty. The Kingdom Jesus preached will undue all the suffering, end all wickedness of Satan's sick world, and restore peace and perfect human life. Then forever more no rebellion will be tolerated as no one will ever suffer again because of the selfish acts of others.

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Answer

Not selfish, but SMART.

How else can you appreciate God if there's no Evil?

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new answer

To understand one's self begins with the pairs of opposites. It was necessary for us to have choice which dictates what we will experience and therefore have a way to learn.

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this subject has been bothering me from ever since i was a child, i keep wondering how god puts up with hearing men planning to rape, murder, steal, go to war and the tons of other ruthless things that men do?? and then it occurred to me maybe we are his entertainment u know his big screen tv with pure action movies all day. but seriously their is a problem with god or the king james version, the bible said that god repented that he had made men. now surely with him being omnipotent omniscient and omnipresent he knows all things, so its safe to say he knew men would become wicked. next thing after he decided to send the flood when the waters dried up and bodies started to smell he complained how he couldnt take the scent of the bones???? didnt he know this?? or his he going through a learning process with each new thing that he does?. the other thing couldnt he find something else to do with the devil? why does he feel the need to show off? he is already the most powerful entity in the entire universe, so why does he feel the need to have beef with the devil? the devil cant be gods enemy!!! no time at all!! gods enemy would have to come from another god who created another universe somewhere out there. so why is such a big deal being made over his own puny creation? people are afraid to say it but all this fiasco is gods own fault not any of us here on earth! we were not present when he couldnt control the devil and end up having to fight with him. so with everything going on on earth the devil isnt to be blamed only, as far as i can see it was poor housekeeping and bad management that led to the devil stepping out of line and causing widespread destruction and famine and pestilence for us here on earth, this problem should have been fixed without having to drag us into it. if we were create perfect in his own image and he felt good about us then he doesnt need to test us we are perfect. and how did the devil manage to get jealous of god? where did that come from? is it that he wasnt made perfect after all? lets face it he must have been defective or god didnt do a good job. so i dont get the casting him down here and then saying woe be unto us part? what did we do to deserve this? isnt that wicked man?. god made it clear that he is a no respector of persons so that in itself tells me alot, next up when jesus walked the earth he is always stressing that we shouldnt believe everything we hear and see in that if someone came and said to me jesus is there! or god is here! we should be doubtful of that info and question it and not just take it as is, so why is it that when thomas didnt believe that he rose from the dead just because his associates said so and demanded solid proof he was treated like a non believer in christ? and u want to tell me that there isnt a book of thomas just like mathew, mark, luke etc. god had to shorten the days and we can see it and some of us know why its because according to the bible "satan would decieve the very elect themselves" so in other words satan is extremely powerful so much so that god had to do something else or else no one at all would see the light of day as far as heaven is concerned. and rightly so too the only thing lucifer cant do is blow breathe so other than that he is a mathematician he is a biologist he is a scientist he is a physicist an astronomer u name it. so tell me well thinking people what chance u think we stand against such an emmensely well educated spiritual being? and i learned also my way that its only through hard work that i would ever achieve anything so guess what, anything i want i work towards it and i get it and i prefer this to praying because i have yet to receive a single thing that i ever prayed for. something is wrong the truth is being obscured and hidden from us and i believe that we are going to have real serious problems because of this, like thomas im being doubtful regardless of the consequences i dont trust the teachings i received as a child and i dont trust the book they taught me from i got baptized in a methodist church so i still like to think that im a christian im just really confused right now.

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I think of good and evil as being choices. Without choice we simply "are" - like rocks - acted upon rather than acting.

By permitting Satan to offer the possibility of rebellion and rejection of the truth, God also permitted his children to choose obedience and acceptance of the truth - to make a choice to be good or to be evil. A baby cannot be good or evil because it has no understanding and no ability to choose. We can choose - and because of the Atonement, the price for temporarily choosing evil has been paid by the Savior upon condition of repentance - confessing the evil we have done, turning to Him, asking for forgiveness, forsaking the sin, and never returning to it. And repeating the process if we stumble. Thus we can progress. Without choice we would be stagnant. Of course with choice we can also persist in choosing evil and reject the opportunity to grow and thus cut ourselves off from what we could have been with His help.