Why Did God Allow the Serpent in the Garden of Eden?

Also known as:

Why did God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden?


Why did/does God allow evil/sin?

Let me first begin by saying, “I don’t know.” These questions are not explicitly answered in Scripture. Any answer to these questions will be speculation. The extent to which the answer-er is bound to a theological camp and not Scripture, the more speculative the answer is.

Secondly, let me share my speculative answer.

In the beginning God created. This simple statement is the beginning of all “things.” God, being spiritual, is not a “thing.” He is outside the physical “thing” realm. He is the Creator of things—He made everyTHING out of noTHING.

God’s nature is perfect, holy, righteous, pure, and eternal. There is no lack in any aspect of Him. Anything He creates is not Him. Thus, the nature of that thing cannot be as perfect/complete as His nature.

The reason people can sin, the reason there is a serpent in the Garden, may not be philosophical at all; it might just be of necessity.

God made everTHING perfect. But since the nature of things is not as eternal and unchanging as God’s, there is chance for stupidity. We gladly found that chance and became stupid.

Calvinism says God allowed sin for His glory. He wants to grind it in your face how great He is by letting you know how awful you are. In your face, loser.

I don’t think this is an adequate explanation (and yes, I know I’m phrasing it over the top and strawmen are gathering, etc. Relax. Eat some ice cream. Work with me).

I don’t think God is proving anything. I think God is creating a system/thing that is other than God and thus it can inherently be diminished from perfect.

Perhaps we then ask: well why did God do that then? I think the answer has to be something about love. All speculation has to begin and end with love. He took the “chance” of dealing with less than perfect things out of love.

The coolest aspect of the whole ordeal is that spiritual, non-thing God became flesh and dwelt among us.

This is a cool time to quote Luke 1:35 (KJV) addressed to Mary, “the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

That “holy thing” is Jesus. God became a “thing,” a piece of creation at the birth of Jesus. In order to do so, He had to lay some of his divine attributes aside, because no thing can have all facets of divine, eternal perfection (no I’m not saying that Jesus wasn’t perfect morally. I’m saying He got tired, had pain, died, etc all things the spiritual, perfect God couldn’t do).

Humans have a choice: do we stick with our fallen selves and creation and worship and serve the creation more than the Creator? Or do we come to the end of ourselves, deny earthly things, set our affections on things above, and lay hold on eternal life?

Through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we who are flesh can become spiritual beings. In eternity we will put off the earthly and put on the heavenly. This earthly fallen world will be replaced by a new, eternal and spiritual one, free of all taint, as it is given to all who have denounced and renounced earthly conformity.

Humanism and materialism, or the worship of God and losing yourself: that’s your choice. Temporal living it up in fleshly indulgence or denying the flesh for an eternity with a divine nature. God wants to make us better than created things. He wants us with Him and like Him in every way.

In order to get there though, your flesh must be crucified and you must be born again, raised up to newness of life and live like citizens of heaven. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

The bottom line is that God knows our frame; He knows that we are dust. He knows we’re created things and created things aren’t perfect. He desires your perfection. He became like us to raise us up to be like Him.

If God didn’t allow sin and evil, you wouldn’t exist.

Don’t get caught up on philosophical speculations if it causes you to miss the simplicity of the Gospel. Worship and serve the Creator, He’s much better than any bit of creation.

That’s my speculative answer. I’m willing to be wrong. I just know God loves us and wants us to be like Him. That is not in question. Whether we want to be like Him is definitely in question and probably a question that should consume way more of our time than it does.

2 thoughts on “Why Did God Allow the Serpent in the Garden of Eden?”

  1. Hi Jeff,
    a few notes which may or may not be saying the same things you said, in a different way.:

    1) I don’t see that God created everything ‘perfect’. Scripture says God saw His creation was ‘good’ or even ‘very good’. It wasn’t perfect because He allowed for the potential of sin by establishing ONE law – ‘of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…’ He didn’t need to give any laws, but…

    2) The establishing of that ONE law, and the ability to disobey it, gave man freedom of choice, thereby allowing God to be loved and obeyed willingly by man. God’s desire is for a willing people.

    3) After that initial disobedience, man has been given a new option – to have the stain of disobedience removed through another willing choice – to put their faith in Jesus and HIS willing choice to sacrifice Himself on man’s behalf; taking the penalty of sin upon Himself.

    4) God will create a new heavens and earth, where only righteousness will dwell – where there will be NO potential for sin, and because of that will be an improvement on the original creation.

    5) This current creation started with the making of a place suitable for man to live. The second creation starts with God making man suitable to live in God’s new place, by providing Christ’s righteousness to those who turn to Him in faith.

    6) The current creation was clearly not intended to be permanent.
    Sinless (thereby immortal) man, being fruitful and multiplying to fill the earth, would SOON fill it to overflowing.

    7) On the new earth we will not be marrying and giving in marriage, so there will be no “multiplying” to cause an imminent over population problem.

  2. Good thoughts. Yes, very good doesn’t mean perfect. Choice is key. It makes love and faith a reality. Without choice, there is no purpose. God giving us freedom to be idiots, not forcing us to lockstep His will unless that’s what we desire is something else. Love and faith have to be behind it. We whine about the downside, but I doubt we comprehend the totality of the upside.

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