All of us take it that God made this universe perfect. “Behold it is very good.” God must be incapable of making anything imperfect. Here is the problem – Why didn’t God leave well enough alone? None of us would go so far as to say, “Why did God make sin?” And yet we say, “Why did God let it happen?” We say, “God allowed it.” Whether he commanded, or planned it, it is not just a theological thing; we must think over this meaning. It involves our will. If it isn’t our responsibility we can say, “Well, we can’t help it. God is responsible.” That is why we have to answer this question to see if God is responsible or not. When we say “Why didn’t God leave well enough alone,” we think that Adam was apparently perfect, but he wasn’t. For example, a pediatrician would say about one of the babies in the nursery, “This baby is perfect,” and not one of the parents would say, “I hope this child stays this way.” This is a relative thing. They wouldn’t want that baby to stay a perfect 2 months old, but would want it to become a perfect 4 month old, etc.
Adam was spiritually a child. If you will permit an illustration: Our high school and local colleges recently had their examinations, and they aren’t particularly pleasant for the student or for the teacher. It means a lot of extra work for both the teacher and pupil. Why do it then? It is by means of these tests and examinations that they grow and learn more — so it is by means of the possibility of failure that Adam would grow and become a man. I think every one of us feels that a person who has resisted temptation is a better man thereafter. I don’t know whether one can logically speak of more perfection, but Adam would have become more perfect if he succeeded in this temptation. If he had not sinned he would have been confirmed in holiness. Even the least thought of evil would not have entered his mind, just as the Lord Jesus while he was here on earth – like the angels, who are finite creatures, are incapable of the least sin, they would have worked out their claim to heaven, eternal salvation.
We often speak of paradise as a picture of heaven, but that is just what it is; a picture. Heaven would have been a step ahead. They would have gained glory. That is what God arranged. Adam and Even were completely capable of that. They could have said to Satan, “Get thee behind me,” as Christ had done. Let us not blame God for what he is not responsible.
That is all good and nice, but you are just talking, “Might have been.” “Why didn’t God make it so that they couldn’t have sinned?” If God had done that there would not have been free choice, and man would have been merely a puppet in God’s hands. The very fact that man did not do what God wanted him to do shows how free and independent he was. Otherwise God would be like a ventriloquist. An English writer says that sin or failure in the garden of Eden is the risk God ran in order that God could make a creature like himself, self reliant. The problem of free will as over against predestination comes in here, and the answer is that man is free. The Bible says that deliberately, lest some people escape their responsibility. The fact is that there isn’t a soul here that doesn’t act deliberately.
It is true that God knew that man would disobey, and allow me to say, that God planned it that way, but God planned beyond that too, that out of this tragedy would come something better. The Chicago fire long ago was a blessing because it was through this that better and stronger buildings were built, etc. Out of the fall came a saved saint, which is an advantage. If the first Adam hadn’t fallen, Jesus would have never come. We wouldn’t know anything about the wonderful attributes of Jesus. We wouldn’t know that we are on a higher level then Adam and Even were in Paradise. We have eternal life in our hearts.