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An Imperfect Planet
Publish date: Apr 17, 2013
Summary: If God made everything so good, why are there so many problems? Are thorns and weeds evolved adaptations or changes in Creation?
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A Good God and a Broken World?
The existence of evil in a world created by a God of light and love is one of the principle dichotomies that cause many to reject God. This issue plagued Darwin, and he once wrote a letter to his friend Dr. Asa Gray regarding this matter:
I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see so plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence for design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.i
Darwin also wrote this in 1844 in his initial draft of The Origin of Species:
It is derogatory that the Creator of countless Universes should have made by individual acts of His will the myriads of creeping parasites and worms, which since the earliest dawn of life have swarmed over the land and in the depths of the ocean.ii
Charles Darwin was swayed to reject the hand of God in nature and to accept the naturalistic approach, but his conclusions were based on the assumption that the present interactions in nature have existed since life began. This idea of uniformitarianism is not necessarily true.
We must look at the evidence. Does it point to decay—with elements of perfection and design serving as reminders of a once-perfect situation—or does the evidence point to past imperfection with progress toward perfection?
A study of the Creation account in Genesis will help us understand how a good God can be present in an evil world.
An Imperfect Planet
According to Scripture, sin entered the world and changed the order of nature. For example, the serpent was cursed and forced to move on its belly. The relationship between man and woman was also changed through the entrance of sin. The ground was cursed and Adam would have to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.
This means that the provision of the necessities of life was to become his burden in the transformed world.
Eve, on the other hand, would find the raising of God-honoring children a task that would require concerted effort, patience, and many tears. Eve did not receive the lesser role in this new situation, for raising children with right characters is the noblest of all tasks.
Human and animal diets were also affected by this new order of nature. Plants of the field were added to the human diet, and the animals must have also undergone dramatic changes in diet as well. Both animals and humans were affected by this change of circumstances, but evil increased in the world until God flooded the whole earth to wipe out all those who did not follow Him.
Prior to the Flood, the animal world had already changed to such an extent that animals had been classified into clean and unclean categories. The Flood brought about a further radical change as God added flesh to the already-changed human diet (Genesis 9:3).
God created a perfect world that was to be ruled and enjoyed by humans. This world has been marred by sin, but God has provided Christ as a solution to repurchase us, his lost possession. In these times death is all around us, but the Bible shows that death is an enemy—an intruder on Earth that someday Christ will conquer forever.
The next article, Evidence for Design, discusses further evidence that God designed the world and everything in it.
i. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and selected letters (New York: Dover Publications, 1958).
ii. Charles Darwin, “The Essay of 1844” in Darwin for today: the essence of his works (New York: The Viking Press, 1963).
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