Why would God create the world knowing that people would sin?

God created the world out of His perfect goodness for no other purpose than His glory. That sin would arise did not take God by surprise, God - who knows all things before they come to pass 1 - had even the effects of sin as part of His perfect plan. One believer explained it well, many centuries ago:

We most wholesomely confess what we most rightly believe, that God, the Lord of all things who created all things 'very good,' foreknew that evil would arise out of this good; and he also knew that it was more to the glory of his omnipotent goodness to bring good out of evil than not to permit evil to be at all. (Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion 27, circa 421 A.D.)

It is because every single thing on and in this earth is for the Glory of God alone that angelic beings, witnessed by the prophet Isaiah, can stand forever in the presence of God, crying out:

Isaiah 6:3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (NIV)

The whole earth is full of His glory.2 It all exists and happens for no other purpose than the glory of God. The most important thing to God is this; His glory.

Isaiah 42:8a "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another... (NIV)

Isaiah 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. (NIV)

Psalms 104:31 Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; Let the Lord be glad in His works; (NASU)

Psalms 115:1-3 Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. 2 Why do the nations say, "Where is their God?" 3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. (NIV, see also Isaiah 46:10 in end note 1)

Not only did God create it for His glory, He allows it to continue - for a time - in this state of sin, again all for His glory.

Romans 9:22-24 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? (NIV)

Habakkuk 2:13-14 Has not the Lord Almighty determined that the people's labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing? 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (NIV)

To God be the Glory!

End Notes

1. Some verses showing God knows what will happen, even as He has revealed a portion to us before it takes place:

Isaiah 42:9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." (NIV)

Isaiah 48:5 Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.' (NIV)

Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. (NIV)

This last verse explains why God knows what will happen; it is all part of His perfect plan and purpose which no one can circumvent.

This is why God can and does use everything and every event, both those perceived by us to be good and bad, to bring about good for His children.

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASU)

Written by Brent MacDonald of Lion Tracks Ministries. (c) 2010
Duplication permitted as long as the source is cited.