Why did God create Adam and Eve if he knew that they would turn away from him by sinning?
Some might think that God is “on the hook” for original sin, because if he had not created Adam and Eve, they would never have sinned, right? While that’s a humanly understandable reaction, in one sense, it also reveals an imperfect understanding of what true love is.
First, God knowing something is going to happen—given his divine omniscience—doesn’t mean he’s going to cause something to happen. We still have our God-given free will by which we can choose to cooperate—or not cooperate—with God’s plan for humanity in general and for our lives in particular. God gives us free will to determine whether we will trust him to provide what’s best for us or whether we’ll go “our own way" in opposition to him (Matt, 25:31-46).
God doesn’t know events in a pre-deterministic sense. He knows them because all history is present to him as the creator of time. He cannot be limited by time, so he doesn’t have to wait for things to happen to know their outcome.
Here we see that true love is not coercive. It respects the free will of the beloved. God doesn’t let sin and death have the last word either, sending his only begotten Son to become man and redeem us all through his one sacrifice of Calvary. So he gives us plenty of opportunities to repent and walk with him throughout our lives and to accept and persevere in his gift of salvation.
Analogously, Catholic parents will have children knowing that they will be born with original sin and will commit their own sins. Does this mean they don’t love the children that they procreate? Of course not. They know that children are gifts from God and that he has a great plan for all children—including eternal life if they will receive that gift; and they themselves will work with God to see that happen for their children.
And so we see it was also with God and our first parents. He knows they will they sin, but he knows that it will be their choice, not his. And he knows that he will send them a great Redeemer, someone who will offer them an opportunity for eternal life—a far greater life and communion with him than had they never sinned and only lived on Earth forever. So we see, in the end, how loving our God really is (CCC 412).
By Tom Nash