Question of the week: Why did there need to be a fall into sin? Could not God have created without a fall?
My answer: God certainly could have created in such a way that there would be no fall among his creatures into rebellion and sin against him and one another. He did that with the microbes, the plants, and the nonhuman animals. However, one of his goals in creating was to magnify his expression of love and to see a significant degree of his love manifested among the beings he creates. This divine motivation explains God’s creation of angels and human beings.
Angels and humans are spiritual beings endowed by God with extraordinary consciousness, awareness, and curiosity not only about their immediate environment but about the entirety of the universe—that is, about all the created realms beyond the universe, and about God himself. They are also endowed by God with free will. It is the consciousness, awareness, curiosity, and free will of angels and humans that gives them the capacity to experience and express love at very high levels. This same consciousness, awareness, curiosity, and free will implies that there will be a nontrivial fraction of angels and humans who will choose to exercise their free wills not in submission and loving relationship with God but in rebellion and rejection of God and God’s love.
Yes, God could have—by ratcheting down the consciousness, awareness, curiosity, and free will of angels and human beings—minimized the fall, one where many fewer angels and humans would choose rebellion against God, rejection of his love, and loss of the capacity to love one another. However, such ratcheting down would also limit the levels at which angels and humans could experience and express love. God was willing to tolerate a degree of rebellion against him and rejection of his love so that his love would be more greatly experienced and expressed by those angels and humans who do choose submission to him and a loving relationship with him and one another.
God was especially willing, since before he created anything at all, he set in motion his plan to redeem humans from their fall into rebellion, sin, and evil whereby, if they so choose, they could be eternally delivered from rebellion, sin, and evil (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). God in his great wisdom, power, and love knew that the carrying out of such a redemptive plan would manifest an even greater experience and expression of his love among humans who receive and experience his redemption and among angels who observe humans receiving God’s redemption.
Christianity is a two-creation model. God designed the first creation, the one we are in now, to be a tool in his hands for the efficient eradication of evil and suffering. Following this eradication God will take redeemed humans and the righteous angels into the new creation where there will be no sin, evil, pain, decay, death, or suffering and where redeemed humans and righteous angels will enjoy eternal, unimaginably rewarding and loving relationships with God and one another. They will also be engaged in fulfilling careers managing God’s new creation. The sin, evil, tribulations, and suffering to which we are presently briefly exposed is necessary training for our future careers and relationships.