A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Garmisch, in southern Germany for a conference.
He also traveled to famous places in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France before returning home. But first on his list of places to visit was a trip to Ludwig II’s . This is the famous “fairytale castle” which Walt Disney patterned his Cinderella Castle after. It is gorgeous.
But a tour of this castle will reveal one unpleasant fact. Less than ten percent of the castle’s interior was ever completed. The rest of it, over ninety percent, is nothing but bare masonry and rough wooden floorboards and rafters. The same is true for Ludwig’s even larger project, the Castle of Herrenchiemsee. Only a very small portion of its interior is complete. Others of Ludwig’s castles never left the planning stage. In fact, only one of Ludwig’s castles—the smallest—at Linderhoff, was fully completed. So much was planned in the mind of Ludwig II. But so little was actually executed. Limited resources and an abrupt ending of his life left most of his dreams unfulfilled.
It makes me think, “How many of God’s plans and dreams for humanity have gone unfulfilled because of our rebellion against Him?” Perhaps we have a hint of this by looking at the vast universe.
You know, theologians readily acknowledge the potential for failure which God built into His creation. In other words, humanity had the capacity to sin. He gave us the power to choose between good and evil. Therefore, God created the possibility for humanity’s fall.
Theologians also acknowledge the corollary that God made provision for this failure before all time—the plan for Christ’s redemption.
But is it also possible that God built into His creation the potential for humanity’s success? In other words, did God have a plan in place for humanity’s existence and expansion should we never sin? God had a redemptive plan to address our possible failure. But did He also have a plan for our possible obedience and success?
Think about it. We often speak of God’s finished work of creation. But doesn’t that really only apply to our planet, Earth? God made this wonderful and glorious oasis in the midst of a vast and terrible universe. But what about the rest of the cosmos? It appears that this planet, and this planet alone, is fully equipped to sustain life.
Our scientific community is obsessed with finding life of any kind in other worlds. But to this day that quest has gone unfulfilled.
It seems as though a strange reality stares us in the face. While our world possesses all the necessary components to make life more than comfortable, all the other planets in the known universe are devoid of them. They are nothing but barren wastelands. Is it, therefore, possible that all those billions of planets represent the “unfinished worlds” that “could have been” if mankind had not sinned? Do they all represent “stand-by worlds” awaiting humanity’s occupation? Could they be worlds that God would have completed for mankind’s habitation, if only he hadn’t rebelled against his Creator?
Wouldn’t this answer the question, “Why did God make the universe so huge if He only had plans for this particular planet?” We typically answer this question by suggesting that life, especially intelligent life, exists beyond our world. But what if it’s really a matter of the life that should be out there, but isn’t because of our own rebellion. In other words, those other worlds were meant for us. But our sin has confined us to this planet. If this is true then this vast and empty universe stands as a monument to what could have been if we had not sinned against God?
Think About It
Unblemished human beings, running at their full potential without sin’s ravages and God’s curse, would have lived forever. Humanity would have advanced in scientific knowledge and godly wisdom at such a rate as to not only outgrow this planet in short order. They would have also developed the technologies and propulsion systems necessary for interplanetary—even intergalactic—travel. God would have blessed humanity’s endeavor by finishing those worlds and made them fit for habitation. Or, perhaps, with God as his constant companion, mankind would have developed the technology to finish them himself.
But humanity did sin. And all those billions of planets stand only as the bare foundations of beautiful worlds that might have been. Sin has so damaged our brains that we’ve only made it as far as the moon. By our rebellion against heaven and by excluding God from our efforts, we’ve restricted most of our achievements to earth. No wonder God describes sin in such terrible terms. No wonder our sin has so profoundly disappointed Him.
God knew we would choose a rebellious course. And He made the greatest provision for our reconciliation to Him and our restoration to the glorious plan He has for us. He sent His one and only Son into the world to live a sinless life amidst a world of temptations (John 3:16–17; Heb. 4:15). And then, as God’s sinless sacrifice, He offered His Son as an atonement for our sins (John 1:29; 1 Pet. 2:21–24; Heb. 9:24–28). This supreme sacrifice so completely cleanses us, blots out our sins, and satisfies God’s justice that the consuming fire of His presence can now rest comfortably in our hearts (Acts 2:2–4; 1 Cor. 6:19–20).
But Christ’s redemption only benefits us if we embrace it by welcoming Jesus into our hearts and lives. Only then does God clothe us with His righteousness and receive us unto Himself as His beloved child.
Does God have future plans for all those billions of unfinished planets out there? Will they ever serve as habitations for redeemed humanity? I don’t know. Much of this is speculation. But His word does tell us that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the mind of man what wonderful things God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). God’s got millions of wonderful surprises in store for redeemed humanity. But to be part of His glorious plan we must embrace His Son Jesus Christ and begin the path of redemption.
Dear Lord Jesus, You created me for greatness and glory. But my own sins and rebellion have ruined my existence and caused You terrible pain. Please forgive my sins. Cleanse me in the blood You shed on the cross for me. Transform my heart and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me from this point onward to walk hand in hand with You and to serve you all the days of my life. Amen.