I have been a project manager most of my professional life. I managed software projects with up to 100 people, but usually a group of about 5 programmers, lasting a few man years each. When I planned the project, I tried to foresee all eventualities and manage all risks. Worst case scenarios, critical path, plan B.
God a few thousand years ago planned a project of a totally other dimension – humanity. Take a look at the complexity – alone today there are some 7 billion people, and the project runs for almost 6000 years by now. But God had a competitive edge. He lives outside of time and sees the end from the beginning. Means: he knew everything ahead of time. No risk calculation, no worst case scenario, no surprises at all.
I’m talking about perfect foresight, not predestination. We all have our free will to decide about how to behave within this project, but God knew back then, before the foundation of the earth, how I would decide in every case I would make a decision, and when I would run from taking one, trying to avoid it. Still he decided to go ahead with the project, on purpose.
But what was the project all about? Salvation, as most of us would say? In that case it would be all over and the goal would have been reached. But how do we find out what the real purpose is?
Obviously we cannot ask questions like: would Jesus have come to earth if Adam and Eve would not have sinned? Nobody knows, if we take a historic view point, not even God, as he never planned for that case. He knew it was not an option. We could argue that Jesus would not have come to die, as there would have been no reason to do so. There was no sin, therefore no need for redemption. And could he have died anyway? Would there have been death or not? Death in Genesis means separation from God. We do not know whether people would have lived for a certain time and then have been changed in a moment into something we today call the resurrection body, or whether Adam and Eve already had this body before the fall. All speculation. Or as C.S. Lewis had it said by Aslan, the lion, in the chronicles of Narnia: “Never ask what if”.
Is there a way to find out then what God planned for all along? I think, there is, taking into consideration the beginning and the end. How was man in the beginning, and what does the bible say about the last days.
I personally believe that Jesus already was on earth in paradise – every day in the cool of the evening. When we were formed after God’s image, we were formed after Jesus. All through the old testament we see God appearing to people. In Aramaic, the phrase “God said” is more like “and the Word of God came to him”, which John in the first chapter of his gospel links to the person of Jesus Christ.
At the end of the book we see the bride of God – us, the church – appear and being revealed on earth. And Jesus and God will live in their midst, and they will need no sun as God is their light.
Paul calls the Spirit of God the teacher, he calls the Word of God the “leader to God”. I personally believe that the plan of God is to have a being that being very immature in the beginning, but having a free will, out of this free will will have a relationship with him. And Jesus was to lead man in full knowledge and revelation of God.
It is all about a maturing and growing relationship between God and man, based on free will and love.