Why Create People Destined for Hell?

Question: Any “god” who creates a human being out of dirt, knowing the being will be damned to hell, should have left the dirt alone.  How would you answer this?  

Answer:  Let me restate the question.  If God knows ahead of time what our choices will be and some individuals are going to reject God, then why does He allow them to be born?  Why doesn’t God only create people that he knows will choose him?

This issue has to do with how we understand God’s omniscience (all knowing).  According to theologian Wayne Grudem God’s knowledge may be defined as “God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act[1].”  Elihu speaking to Job about God states, “Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds, the wonders of one perfect in knowledge.” (Job 37:16)  God has perfect understanding of everything.

What does it mean to have knowledge of all things actual and possible?  It means God has knowledge of the past, present, and future.  King David writes, Psalm 139:1-2 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you understand my thought from afar.”  God has perfect knowledge of our actions and our thoughts.

Another way to state God’s knowledge is He knows all true propositions both now and in the future.  What this means is God knows ahead of time what we will do.  His omniscience is based on knowing our free will choices.  However, God cannot know what we will do unless we actually existed; unless we lived and made free will choices.  I will illustrate this truth.  Let’s say Gary was born in 1950 and during his lifetime, God knew he would turn his back on Him.  In fact God knew he would reject Him even before he was born.  How did God know this?  He knew based on the fact that Gary would someday live out his life on earth and freely reject God.  If Gary never existed, then his free will choices never existed, and God couldn’t possibly know what a non-existent person was going to do.

God knows all things actual and possible; He knows all true propositions.  Believing or not believing in God can only be known by God based on actual people living out their lives and making real choices.


[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, Zondervan Publishing, 1994, p. 190

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Josh March 16, 2022, 10:30 am

    Hi Steve,
    Are you saying here that God doesn’t know counterfactuals?
    1 Samuel 23:8–14 and Matthew 11:23 are often cited to support that God does.
    Also if his knowledge is limited to not know counterfactuals, then He is not the greatest conceivable being.

  • Steve Bruecker April 5, 2022, 3:39 pm

    Did you read my post? I quoted theologian Wayne Grudem who wrote, “God knows all things actual and possible; He knows all true propositions.” He is talking about counterfactuals. Then near the end, I repeated what Grudem wrote, “God knows all things actual and possible; He knows all true propositions.”

    As I said, God knows all counterfactuals.

    Steve

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