Author’s Note: This story was originally written for a Junior Sabbath School class at Pioneer Memorial Church at Andrews University. Following the teaching pattern of Jesus, I have tried to make concepts easy to understand and memorable to students who have many competing distractions for their attention.
At some point in Eternity Past, there was only God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible says that “God is love.” To truly love, there needs to be another being or person with enough brainpower to understand and appreciate the love of God. This being or person would also need to have the ability and desire to love God back.
There once was a young man who fell in love with a girl. She was beautiful, and he thought she was the only one for him. But she didn’t like him at all. He brought her many gifts. Once he brought a blue and green silk scarf, but several days later, he found it in a trash can. He gave her a box of expensive chocolates; she tasted one but then spit it out and threw the box away. He spent many hours making a wooden trinket box out of walnut and mahogany. When he gave it to her, she threw it on the ground and stomped on it, breaking it to pieces.
Finally, the young man made a plan. He went to her one day and said, “Either you marry me, or I will kill you.” She said, “Oh, thank you for forcing me to love you; now I REALLY do love you, and I will be your happy and loyal wife for the rest of our lives.”
Can you see the problem God had? When He decided to create beings to love, He also wanted them to love Him back. But for their love to be true and honest, He would need to give them the ability NOT to love Him if they chose. This is called Freedom of Choice, Freedom of Conscience, or Free Will. Being made in God’s image is the freedom to choose good or evil, love God, or reject Him.
But how do we know that God loves us? We have heard that God loves us, and the Bible makes that claim, but do we have any evidence that this is true? What about galaxies, stars, and all the wonders in the sky? What about the scientific laws God made and the power He constantly uses so that atoms don’t fly apart or that stars burn in a controlled nuclear explosion over millions of years?
What about all the different kinds of birds and fish — blue, red, white, different shapes, sizes, stripes, dots, and behaviors? And what about the rules God made so that each animal species would only have babies of the same species? It would be chaos if fish created baby birds or turtles had baby snakes. Doesn’t this show that God loves us?
Does God laugh and even like surprises when He is trying to show us He loves us? What about the strange-looking animals like the elephant, giraffe, and hippopotamus? Doesn’t this tell us that God likes to surprise us with many different kinds of creatures? What about the color of the beings in his universe? Did God create them all the same? Well, look at us — are we all the same? Didn’t God give humans the ability to have many different colors and shades of hair, eyes, and skin?
So, what about angels? Are they all the same? The Bible tells us some have two wings, and some have six wings. We think that they might be gold, silver, or white, and there may be some that are other colors as well. If we have a problem with people of different colors on earth, how can God trust that we won’t cause problems in heaven, just because an angel is not the same color as us? If God loved us so much that we would be unique enough to have different color eyes, hair, and skin, how can we treat others different from us with less love than God?
And God made an extraordinary angel, a covering cherub that would be the closest to Him, and the being that would go to the other angels and beings in the universe to tell them about God. This special angel’s name was Lucifer — the Bearer of Light. His covering (maybe his skin) looked like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, agate, carbuncle; all the precious stones that reflect light and color in many different ways. God also gave Lucifer unique musical talents.
• Was there enough evidence in the universe that God loved the angels?
• When they were created, did all the angels love God?
• Were they free to choose NOT to love God?
• Is there any evidence that perfect beings in a perfect universe decided NOT to love God and were allowed to do that?
• Is there any evidence that humans have been given the freedom to turn away from God?
When Jesus was tried on Passover Friday, there were people there who did not love Him. What did Jesus do to people who turned away from Him — even hated Him, spit in his face, and pulled the hair out of His beard? Did He say, “Someday I’ll get you back; I’m going to burn you, and when I do, I will rejoice”? No! He said, “Father forgive them.”
After all his gifts were rejected and the girl still would not marry him, the young man could do nothing else but sadly turn away from her and let her go. Even though he loved her and trusted her, there was NOTHING else he could do to gain her trust and love.
It is simple. You can choose to love God — or turn away, even spit in His face. God has never said, “Love me, or I’ll kill you.” If you reject God’s love, all He can do is cry as He gives you up and lets you go.
Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.
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