Before the Foundation of the World

Before the world ever came into existence, the Lord had purposed just exactly how His creation would exist. He knew where to place the Earth to provide a perfect place in the universe for life, and understood the intricate designs necessary to make His creation bountiful and good. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Finally he created man. He gave them dominion over his creation, that man should wisely use its bounty for his benefit. He gave them a mind to think, to judge, and to understand His will for them. In their hearts he put eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and in their perfection He designed them for that eternal purpose (Genesis 2:17).  

Man was not created to die. The Lord told His people, Israel, that He had no pleasure in the death of one who dies, “therefore, turn and live.” (Ezekiel 18:32) Why would He create man to do something which causes Him no pleasure? Instead, He created man perfect. They were able to walk with Him in close communication. They could enjoy the fruit of a beautiful garden without the toil and labor that accompanies a garden today. Yet, according to God's good pleasure in creating man, He desired that man voluntarily serve Him. Therefore, He gave man the ability to contradict His will.

 

Adam and Eve chose to sin, leaving them completely separated from God. Romans 5:12 tells us that since the time of Adam, all men have made that same choice. All men have sinned, and now receive the consequence of that sin: death. All men were, therefore, completely separated from God, having no hope to be joined with Him again.

 

God knew this would happen. Unlike man, God is not limited by a mind that only sees the present and remembers the past. God also can foresee the future, and arrange the future to fulfill His will. Consider the flood as an example. In Genesis 6:6 we see that the Lord is sorry He made man, and is grieved in His heart. From our previous discussion, we know this was not the Lord's will. However, I Peter 3:20-21 explains that just as Noah and his family were saved through water, so also we are saved through water in baptism. As Noah answered God affirmatively with a good conscience in building the ark, so we answer Him with a good conscience in immersion. The flood was no accident. It was no flippant response from an angry God. It was fashioned and foreordained to fulfill God's eternal purpose.

 

We should not wonder, then, why God created man if He knew man would contradict His will. God made provision for man's sin before the foundation of the world. I Peter 1:20 states, “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” God knew that at a certain time man would choose to transgress His will, only the perfect and precious blood of His Son, Christ Jesus, would be able to pay the price for that transgression. He used the events of history to further fulfill His eternal plan: that the perfectly appointed time should come for His Son to manifest Himself on this earth (Mark 1:15).

 

God did not have to rethink man's existence, as though He had not realized the consequences of giving man free will to sin. His creation was not an accident. God purposed it by His merciful nature (Ephesians 2:4-5), designed it perfectly before time began (Titus 1:2), and manifested it at the appointed time (Titus 1:3).

 

Even actions contrary to His will fulfilled His eternal purpose. Man tried so hard to prevent God, but all the actions of their futile mind furthered His plan. Herod tried to kill Jesus (Matthew 2), only to provide fulfillment of prophecy. The Jews eventually succeeded in killing Him, only to accomplish the task He set out to fulfill: pay the price for man's sin (I Peter 1:18-19).

 

Only God, whose thoughts and ways are far above our thoughts and ways, could fashion a plan so perfect in detail. Praise be to Him that His ways are past finding out. May we consider just how perfect God's purpose for man is, and strive to please Him. Not trying to improve or modify His plan, as though we understood better than He, but coming to Him with a contrite heart, willing to yield, and ready to listen.

 

Ephesians 3:8-12

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

 

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever, Amen.