Was Sin Part of God’s Original Plan?
The predetermined plan of God, by definition, was formulated before the foundation of the world (Acts 2:23). Theologians refer to the time before time as, “eternity past.” Therefore, what was, and is, and is to come is brought forth by God’s eternal decree.
There is a notion among men that God’s plan had an original intent, but then something ruined God’s plan. Thus, they suggest to us a need for a Plan B. Plan A was thwarted, and so Plan B became necessary. The juggernaut in Plan A, they tell us, was sin.
Was sin part of God’s original plan? Or was sin the juggernaut causing God to create a secondary plan? If sin was part of God’s original plan, does that make God the author of sin? Is God responsible for sin? These questions hold the key to whether there is one plan of God or two.
If God has two plans, we must suppose the first plan failed, and the second plan is the successful correction. We are now faced with another problem. Can God’s plan fail? This would ascribe failure to the Almighty and infinitely wise Creator of all things. That is, of course, unless God created one plan to fail and one plan to succeed. This is a bit irrational because who plans to fail? Sinners fail, but they do not plan for it. Surely, God did not plan to fail.
Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4). It is crime of angels and humanity against a holy God. For this reason, God cannot be the responsible party, regarding sin. Clearly, sin and evil have entered the world. God did not create these atrocious thoughts, words and deeds performed by corrupted human beings.
God is perfect. He reveals His perfections through His words and works. Everything God does must conform to this attribute. In other words, God can do no wrong. For this reason, it is impossible for God to fail.
God cannot fail. God cannot be responsible for sin. Sin has clearly entered the world; therefore, we must conclude sin was part of God’s original plan. There is no Plan B because God is perfect and it is impossible for Plan A, the only plan of God, to fail.
Having concluded sin to be part of God’s original and only plan, we wish to explore the ramifications of why God included sin in His perfect plan. Let us consider a few things.
First, God does all things for His own glory. Does sin bring glory to God? Yes, sin provides the avenue with which God displays His justice. God is just, but we would not know this if sin was not in God’s plan. Justice is seen when God reveals His Law. God’s Law tells us what sin is in general. It also lists specific sins. Sin is a crime. Justice is God’s proper handling of crime. When God judges sin, He demonstrates He is not unjust. If God were unjust, He would not be good. Therefore, God’s proper handling of sin, through just judgment, also shows us God’s goodness.
Second, God shows us love through the inclusion of sin in His only and original plan. Sin separates man from God. When justice is fully meted out, sinners are justly punished for their crimes against the Eternal One. The Bible clearly teaches a literal, eternal place of punishment. Sin leads to death, and death leads to judgment, and judgment leads to hell and the lake of fire. This is the eternal home of those separated from God by their crimes. This is God’s justice system, revealed because of sin.
Love manifests in God’s remedy for sin. God sent His only begotten and eternal Son into the world to save sinners. His eternal perfection was maintained impeccable despite being in a world of sin. His impeccable life is what made His sacrifice for sins effectual. Jesus Christ became enfleshed and offered Himself to God as the perfect sacrifice. Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Sin in the plan, brought forth a redemptive atonement, motivated by the love of God in Christ Jesus. Sin was necessary for sacrificial love to be known (Rom 5:9).
Third, sin has provided a way for God to display His mercy. We have seen God’s glory in His just judgment of sinners. We have seen His sacrificial love in Christ coming to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21; Eph 5:25). Now we consider how sin has provided the means for which we can see mercy.
Mercy is an act of God (Rom 9:15, 18). It is made possible by legal satisfaction. God’s Law was satisfied by God’s just judgment and punishment of sin. God could not have mercy on sinners if this satisfaction had not occurred. Still, God is not obligated to have mercy, even when it is legal for Him to do so. God says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” Thus, we learn, God’s mercy is God’s choice to not give ungodly sinners what we deserve. It is important for us to see this is God’s free will. God demonstrates His mercy by actually having mercy on sinners, upon whom He freely sets His love (Dt 10:15). It is God’s choice to redeem who He wills to redeem (Jn 1:13; Rom 11:5).
Fourth, sin provides a way for us to see God’s distinction in everything He displays in His plan. When Adam sinned, there was already a Savior in heaven, the eternal Son of God (Rev 5:6, 12). This, too, proves God’s plan included sin and did not fail.
God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth (Gen 1–2). God shows us the variation levels of glory by the things He has made. One star has a level of glory. Another star has a measure of glory beyond the other. In the realm of salvation, which God has revealed is more excellent than even Creation, there are distinctions.
The first distinction is the fact that some people are saved by God and other people are not. This clearly seen in Romans 9:22–23. Some people were created for glory and some people were created for destruction. Despite the fact this is clearly stated in Scripture, it is highly offensive to people who do not believe the Bible is the Word of God. The whole argument of Romans 9 is the freedom of God’s sovereign will and selection. God can do with His creation whatever He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6).
By design, God permitted Adam to choose sin. He permitted Satan, more wise and more powerful than man, to overthrow Adam and usurp his dominion over the earth. Here is the means to display God’s glorious redemption of His chosen people. Jesus Christ came to save His people (Mt 1:21). These people belong to the Father from before the foundation of the world, when He chose them for salvation (2 Thess 2:13) and wrote their names in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8; 17:8). All that the Father gives to the Son will come to Him (Jn 6:37). They receive salvation exactly as it was planned by God (Jn 1:12–13).
So, we have seen the wisdom of sin in the story of God. There is only one story, and sin is a vital part of God’s story. Without it, we would not know anything of God’s just judgment. We would not know anything of God’s redemptive love. We would not understand God’s mercy toward ungodly sinners. Without sin, we would not have knowledge of God’s design for the creation of two groups of people, whose distinction allows us to see even more of God’s attributes on display for His glory.
In conclusion, we must encourage all to search the Scriptures and find these vital doctrines and realize we know them only through God’s revelation. As we consider the parts in light of the whole, it is crucial for us to get them right. Distorted doctrine is no help to anyone. We speak what we believe, but what we believe must be the truth. This truth, as it pertains to sin and salvation, can only be found in the Bible. The Bible must be believed. The Lord grants His own faith to believe (Phil 1:29), in the measure of His choosing (Rom 12:3).
Finally, despite the fact we have seen the importance of sin, we do not glorify sin in any way. Sin is an abomination. It is an affront to the Holy One. It is the cause for Jesus’ blood to have been shed. It is the means for which death entered the world. It is the means for men to enter eternal, fiery hell. Sin is serious. It is never to be celebrated in any form. Just because sin abounds, and the grace of God abounds with it toward the saints, does not give us any license to keep on sinning. Christians must fight sin until the day we die. We do this because it was and is God’s one and only predetermined plan.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 3, 2021