It began with Creation.
Because God is good and everything He does is good, we can safely assume that all He creates is good. So in the beginning, when God created heaven and earth, they were good.
Then something went wrong.
Between Genesis 1:1, when out of His goodness God created the heavens and the earth, and Genesis 1:2, something happened. We are informed that what was created became "without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep" (Genesis 1:2).
The Hebrew word used in verse 1 for "created" is bara, literally meaning just that—creating something out of nothing. However, in verse 2, the Hebrew word describing the earth being formless, empty and covered in darkness is haya, which means to become, to happen, to occur.
What does this tell us? In the beginning what was made good apparently became bad. How? Numbers of theologians believe this is when the angel Lucifer fell because of his pride (see Isaiah 14:11-15; Ezekiel 28:13-18).
An Amazing Plan
From the beginning of time, however, we see the marvelous, compassionate way that God responds to catastrophes. After realizing that what He created was now covered with darkness, God didn't decide to just abandon it. No. He refashioned this planet that had lost its original beauty.
When this was done, "God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Genesis 1:31, emphasis mine). In fact, His new earth became the home for His Son's bride. It was definitely not a second-best place.
Not long after the introduction of the first man and woman, another great failure occurred. These human beings, formed from the clay of the earth by God's own hands and made in His own image, fell prey to the deceiver, and Paradise was lost.
An angel with a flaming sword was posted at the entrance to the Garden of Eden so they would never be able to return (see Genesis 3:24). What was God going to do now after the whole purpose of man's creation—fellowship with Him—was lost? Well, He immediately gave them a most wonderful prophecy: the promise of the seed of the woman, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior (see Genesis 3:15).
Does this mean the cross was God's second best because His first plan for mankind failed when Adam fell? If we say that the coming of the Messiah and the cross (and what Jesus accomplished through His death) were an inferior choice next to God's original plan, it would be blasphemy!
God's gift, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8), was God's greatest revelation of His love toward mankind, greater than what Adam ever experienced before his fall. And think about this: The original plan only made man in the image of God, whereas the second one made him a child of God (John 1:12). No, the cross is not second best—it is the very best!*
From this point onward, man fails. Yet through this, we can still see how God magnificently weaves together His amazing plan from the beginning of history.
Time and time again, God has taken marred pots and turned them into vessels of His praise. Not only does He make them more beautiful, but through them, He also brings about His perfect will. Truly, His ways are above our ways.
But How Can This Be?
Are you still wrestling with, "How can God bring about His perfect will when I messed up so completely? I mean, I deliberately did what God did not want me to do. How can His 'perfect' will still be accomplished in my life?" You are not alone in your struggles.
First of all, He is not working within the confines of time. God is eternal. To God, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. He sees the moment of a failure in our life at the same time He sees us on that moment when we stand before Him as a faultless bride. He sees us the moment we were born at the same time He sees us at the moment of our last breath. He is not restricted to seeing time progress in chronological order. He is not confined in time as we are.
He has thoughts about us that go far beyond what we can even begin to consider. He is working outside of our realm of reference. None of us can totally understand God and His ways with our limited minds. We simply aren't capable.
But we can believe Him. Don't fall into the trap in which you will only believe God if you completely understand Him. Your unbelief will hinder the transformation He wants to bring about in your life. Please don't be a doubter. Join your heart with His and simply believe.
This article was adapted from K.P. Yohannan's booklet "When We Have Failed—What Next?" To order, visit the store or contact Gospel for Asia in your country.
*Ideas taken from a message shared by Zac Poonen at the Gospel for Asia Biblical Seminary in 1997.
Dr. K.P. Yohannan
Founder & Director of Gospel for Asia