For what purpose did God create Man? This has been an eternal question as long as man exists since religion was born into the heart of man. Take, Christianity, for example, there are so many views on this ,and the discussion developed into even bloodsheds. It is true, it is not until the beginning of the twentieth century that man could freely speak out on the nature of God and man.
First of all, the questions as to whether God exist or not is not one discussed objectively. We have solved this problem rather intuitively. My own sequence of thought is this; There exists man. This is an unshakable fact. Man has tremendous potentialities and capacities. Since man already exists in the universe, something that caused man to be born into this world must be above and beyond. man. This "something" I call God, whose nature transcends everything in the universe.
We can find various "Genesis" in every religion, both sophisticated and primitive. That God created man and woman is almost common theme. The Bible, whose Genesis is too well-known and has always been the center of controversy, presents us various interpretations. Fundamentalists, one of many Protestant groups, take the meaning of the Bible just as it is. That is why they persistently deny evolution theory, claiming to prohibit it from being taught at school. At the other extreme, some sects simply dismisses Genesis as a mythology fabricated by ancient Jews.
My impression is that the Bible 's Genesis is an abridged version of evolution theory. The order in which God created the universe, the sun, the earth, the sea, animals and plants roughly coincides the history of geology and biology. It seems that the writers of Genesis rewrote the whole history of the universe for the uneducated. The tale of forbidden fruits must be a symbol of some dramatic change in the history of mankind. Some say the fruits symbolize the secret of sexual pleasure. This view seems interesting, but is too superficial because sexual activities are not sin in themselves, but rather everyday ones conducted by every animal including man. This idea must have been invented by nymphomania! The fruits, I presume, symbolize consciousness of their own mortality.
Adam and Eve ( and other human beings ) were not aware of having to die some day. They were the first to know the secret of life and death. The Garden of Eden, which is sometimes referred to as a paradise on earth, was no more than a small patch of and sandwiched by the Tigris and the Euphrates. A paradise in the true sense of the word was in their minds. Adam and Eve are the first human beings that chose to know the reality of the world. Until then they were as happy as any other animal. They were the first human beings in this sense, in the eyes of God.
The most important is they chose to live with the burden of death. Other animals than man are happy till the end of time. And whether we like it or not we have to assume the aftereffects of the Adam and Eve incident. But according to Jesus, we are always at a starting point as Adam and Eve were; that is, we can also choose between the two; for God or against God.
If we are completely in the hands of God or Devil, there is no such thing as freewill, and our life is meaningless in that we have no other choice but to led a prearranged life; we all have to be fatalists. There is nothing we can do, and any individual life is precisely tracing the truck set by the providential plan. In my opinion, this cannot be the purpose of God. If it were, why should God have set the forbidden fruits? Why do we have to face so many hardships and trials? If God wanted someone who obeys him blindly, it sounds very easy; all he has to do is create intelligent robots or something that would loyally carry out what God command. Things would be in a complete harmony and no one would dare to rebel him. But it would be a world completely planned by God and it may well be called a dead Garden of Eden.
God would not want all the yes-men. Since he is almighty, he must have a complete freewill, subject to nothing. And his men must have their own freewill, willing to obey him for choice, that is, spontaneously. Some who are not for him will leave him. The real purpose of God, who created man, is this; to let man choose between God and something else according to his own freewill. Is it a wild idea?
If we turn our eyes to the real world the very complexity of it brings it home to us that future depends upon the choice undertaken by man; we are always at a crossroad. Amid the chaos of his world those who really want to live with God will follow him.
Man's freewill, of course, is not a complete one; always subject to limitations of the physical world, social environment, inherited characteristics and so on. But even if his decision is not made in a moment, his long life-span will make it clear that he is for God or not in the long run...
Those who die so young or so moronic as to be unable to appreciate the existence of God are not so unhappy as we think they might.; they are living in a Garden of Eden, not knowing what death is. It is often said that the good and the warm-hearted die young. I suspect God may not want them to live long and suffer from the hardships since he already knows they are for him.
People say when a man suddenly dies he was taken away to the laps of God. Is it something that has happened under God's complete control, or just an accident? To say that everything is in the hands of God is contradictory to the reason for man's freewill. Rather, I suspect God by intention let things go on by accident. since he is almighty. Only Big-Bang ( enormous scale of explosion at the beginning of the universe ) was made by his own will. After that things went according to "the table of random numbers". On the other hand, substance in the universe has some physical regularities thanks to our creator, therefore could develop into life almost automatically, finally into man. As one philosopher put it, the universe is made up of "chance and necessity".
On the whole, religion has been on the wane on the world wide scale. Instead people are trying to find the alternatives. It is evident that no one can live without something he may spiritually or mentally depend upon. Materialism proved empty. New religions reveals that most of their founders are no more than money grubbers or swindlers. 19 century-bred philosophers are dying. Occult and superstitions are flourishing. In affluent societies, people are forced to consume. It seems that freedom of human spirit has never been so narrowly on the brink of disappearing as now.
We need something that is firm and confident like a huge rock. Christianity ( plus Islam and Judaism ) seems to solve this problem. They have many things in common; only one God and constructive relationship between God and man. When man has a strong faith in God he is completely free from anything in this world. For example, he is free from superstitions.
Now we have come to a point where we must establish our individual freedom, for which religion seems to suggest some hint. If we neglect it, we will easily be lost in this computer-dominated, artificially controlled society associated with Orwell's "1984" It is high time we thought twice of religion and its role in the future society. The prospect for our future without it is indeed grim.
First Written in April, 1986, Revised in April, 2001