Last week, in het Reformatorisch Dagblad (a Christian, daily newspaper in Holland) was published an article written by Dr. J. Hoek, in which he discussed the following question:
At the falling into sin, did man, who was created good by God, voluntarily choose to do evil? If man, redeemed by Christ, when living on the new earth, again has a free will, does that mean there can occur a new falling into sin?
Dr. Hoek is evidently somewhat embarrassed with this issue and that is already apparent from the beginning of his reply.
The question “unde malum?” (where does evil come from?), Herman Bavinck calls it, “the greatest riddle of life and the heaviest cross of the mind.” How can there be sin if a good God has created everything? After all, there are no flaws in His work of creation, are there? What place has sin in God’s plan? It goes too far to say that God has decided for sin to be present.
With these words, Dr. Hoek immediately makes a wrong start. To call the origin of evil “the greatest riddle of life and the heaviest cross of the mind”, he ignores what God Himself, by mouth of Isaiah, has solemnly declared:
"That they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is a limit apart from Me. I am Yahweh Elohim, and there is none else. Former of light and Creator of darkness, Maker of good and Creator of evil. I, Yahweh Elohim, made all of these things".
Isaiah 45:6,7 (CLV)
“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1John 1:5), but nevertheless, He creates the darkness. God is good, Yes, but notwithstanding, He declares that He is the Creator of evil. How is that possible? The answer is perhaps emotionally heavy to digest, but for the mind it is extremely easy. Listen to the unambiguous words of Solomon:
"Yahweh has made everything for its own pertinent end, Yea even the wicked for the day of evil."
Everything has a purpose, even evil. Why? To make the good visible! The first chapters of the Bible have already shown that knowledge of good is not available, by itself. The tree which God had placed in the midst of the garden was not for nothing called, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” By eating the forbidden fruit, indeed, man gained the knowledge of evil, yes, … but also of the good – even primarily so! How would man come to know of God’s love, grace and mercy, if there was no sin? Professor Hoek believes that it goes too far to say that God has decided for sin to be present, but Scripture reveals it, nevertheless. After Paul has extensively narrated about the unsearchable ways of God in history and where they eventually lead to, he then exclaims:
"For GOD LOCKS UP ALL together in stubbornness, that He should be MERCIFUL to ALL (…)
Seeing that OUT OF HIM and THROUGH HIM and FOR HIM is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!"
Every man is a sinner (missing his purpose) and a mortal, already from his first breath, long before he is able to make a choice. God has locked up all of mankind “in stubborn unbelief” (like fish caught in a net; Luke.5:6). All people are constituted sinners, Paul wrote:
"For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many (i.e., “all mankind” of verse 18) were CONSTITUTED sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be CONSTITUTED just."
Sin is not “a flaw in the weaving”, but design! The evil in the world is not a choice of the creature, but is part of the plan of the Creator.
"For to vanity was the creation subjected, not voluntarily, but because of Him Who subjects it, in expectation…"
The theologian Hoek, denies the great plan and thus sinks into the quagmire of his own reasoning. For example, read this passage from his article:
If Adam in paradise, had had no free will, he would not have sinned. That he would sin, was not at all obvious, it was just extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, the possibility that he would sin could not automatically be ruled out. Unfortunately, this possibility became a reality.
One has to rub his eyes when reading such statements! That Adam would sin in the garden, Mr. Hoek calls “extremely unlikely”, but “unfortunately this possibility became a reality.” According to Hoek, God allowed Himself to be surprised, because the scenario of the offense was, admittedly, not entirely ruled out (?), but “was not at all obvious.” If it were true what Hoek, here, asserts, we cannot at all depend on God. Then we do not anymore speak about GOD, but merely about a little god, a loser. The very idea that God did not know, in advance, what would happen! Was God, perhaps, not all-knowing, just at this crucial moment? And God would not have known “what we were made of” and that man, at the very first temptation, would fail?! “It was just very unlikely” that this would happen, believes Hoek, and it was certainly not God’s plan. Well, how promising this is for the future… For if God in the past, nota bene, was not in control of His creation, who can guarantee us a hopeful future? Besides, even this hopeful future, Hoek does not see, because he assumes an endless hell for many of God’s (supposedly…) beloved creatures. This presentation, dear reader, is downright DRAMA! Does this honor the God of whom we sing that He holds the whole world in His hand?!?
Is this the Evangel?!? What a contrast between the fog of such theologizing and the crystal clear statements of Scripture!
Translation: Peter Feddema