IN THE BEGINNING God created the world in such a way that all creations would have contact with one another constantly so that His glory may be seen through them. A tree cannot grow to bear fruits solely by sowing, but with the co-operation of the combining factors of the earth’s greatest: light, water and air to photosynthesize its food for a healthy growth, therefore it fulfills its goodness. Same with man whom created in the lover’s image was made to have a direct and constant contact with love. So that being and remaining in that love, he may become like unto that which is loved — reflect that image of God his creator; God, being perfect goodness.
Genesis chapter 1 and 2 recorded that God after seeing all that He had made it pleased Him for it was good. Thus, God created and since He is perfect goodness, His creations were perfectly crafted.
Goodness breeds Love, Truth, Life, Joy, and Happiness…all of whose perfection comes from God. And if that be so, whence came Hatred, Lie, Death, Sorrow, and Sadness? If God who is Love willed to love, who willed to hate? If God’s divine plan was to communicate that love to all His creations so that all remained in it, how does suffering fit into this divine map?
It is true that God is all Loving and therefore perfect goodness, and that indeed if all He willed was His Love then it is right to think and say that not an atom of evil should be found in His creation. The question of evil is rightfully asked since it goes contrary to what the Holy Book and the Church teaches us about this all loving Father and Creator. When God created it is good to note first of all why He ever chose to create; and having thought of that, the question of what He had been doing before creation occupies the mind. The answer to this question was perfectly given by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.
In His book titled ‘The Divine Romance’, Fulton Sheen says of this: “Away back in the agelessness of eternity, in that day that had neither beginning nor end, God was enjoying infinite communion with Truth and Love in the amiable society of the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Wanting nothing for His perfection, desiring nothing for His happiness, needing nothing for the replenishing of His life, there was no need for God ever to go outside of Himself. If, therefore, He ever chose to create a world, it must have been not on account of need, nor duty, nor constraint, but only on account of love
Why then did God create a world? God created the world for something like the same reason that we find it hard to keep a secret! Good things are hard to keep. The rose is good, and tells its secret in perfume. The sun is good, and tells its secret in light and heat. Man is good, and tells the secret of his goodness in the language of thought. But God is infinitely good and therefore infinitely loving. Why therefore could not He by a free impulsion of His love let love overflow and bring new worlds into being? God could not keep, as it were, the secret of His love, and the telling of it was CREATION.”
So when we read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we know that it is only because God so loved that He ever chose to create, and that before creation He was perfectly happy and only willed to share, and that sharing begot creating. He made man, and only man did He make in His very Image; this, being that He wanted man to reflect in somewhat of His Image — Love. It is also good to note that asides from that love, two things in man though inferior, gave him that godlike image: his Soul (being that it never would die), and his freewill (being that he is his own master). Having this tri-une: Love, his Soul, and his Freewill also reflecting the Trinity: Love, Life, and Truth, God placed man in the beautiful garden of Eden to enjoy perfect happiness.
Now as it were, it was man’s duty to seek God as he was made only for Him. And that this perfect happiness could only be maintained if man remained in God’s love; to remain in God’s love was to obey his commands and that was the turning point in the creation story. In the book of Genesis chapter 2: 15-17, it was there that God gave His first commandment with a consequence leaving man with his first of many tests. A mathematics teacher before an exam teaches his student the RULE OF BOD-MAS so that in solving, that student doesn’t need the teacher as a guide anymore but a set of instructions to follow. But if in writing that exam and the student neglect to use the BOD-MAS RULE, he shall fail in the solution. His failure did not come as a result of the difficulty of the question but rather of a bad retentive memory; the teaching isn’t very hard, it’s only a lazy student’s complaint.
Before Adam sinned he knew not what evil was for he only had the love of God in him. But that goodness could easily turn bad if he, if I should say, neglects God’s love in search for happiness elsewhere. This being that man was made for his Creator and can never be happy without Him. As St Augustine would say, “Our hearts are restless O Lord until they rest in Thee.” But for the first man Adam, that first command was to be a twofold test to his nature (love and freewill). The first tested man’s capacity of returning that love which was given him through obedience (to be found in the second sentence. Gen 2:17 ‘do not eat’); 1 Samuel 15:22 ‘To obey is better than sacrifice.’ The second tested man’s freewill to either accept God’s command on the basis of being that God the creator gave a law, or to reject and follow his will which is strengthened by a thought of the mind being that he is his own master; (Gen 2:16 ‘of every tree in the paradise thou shall eat.’ to be found in the first sentence)
Now the serpent as we know is very cunning, he came and he tempted Eve. Note that it was to Adam this command was given as God had not yet created Eve from Adam’s rib (Gen 2:16-23), we can say that Adam would have passed such important message to her. Eve fell to the temptation based on her freewill to Adam’s warning. Adam on the other hand knowing that Eve had failed him fell to temptation on his love for God thereby also failing his Creator. This act of disobedience by our first parents Adam and Eve was justly punished. They had fallen from love and their goodness became bad. They sought happiness in the lie of the Devil and rejected perfect truth from their all loving God. Man had fallen and so was their nature. All positives now were tainted with negativity. Nothing was perfect anymore; not Life, not Truth, neither Love. Hence there came Death, Error, and Hatred. This was to be the beginning of their sufferings, all of them being another twofold test of which they were to either embrace them with love accepting it’s God’s Will, or reject them on freewill.
I’ll be back with a new chapter on what the nature of suffering is.