Lucifer opted out. A gaggle of angels who followed Lucifer opted out. Adam opted out. Eve opted out. Paradise was hemorrhaging the handiwork of God. They opted out of paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to them. The allure of a life lived with God in paradise (a/k/a the beatific vision) was insufficient to keep them there. The evidence of the inadequacy of the allure of paradise is indisputable.
Lucifer, in the guise of a serpent, presented to Adam and Eve the promise of deification in godlessness (Genesis 3:5). He put on the table the possibility of a superior alternative existence to paradise. He conjured up two illusions: 1) an illusion that camouflaged the sweetness of paradise and 2) an illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The illusions hid from Adam and Eve the natural inclination of reality. Reality was contrary to the illusions. Reality was the polar opposite of the illusions. Lucifer was a liar (John 8:44) and his promise was empty. Yet, his promise of a life lived as God in godlessness induced Adam and Eve to abdicate paradise for godlessness. It induced them to run away from their home in paradise with God like foolish children. Unfortunately for us, they took us with them on their escapade into godlessness. God had given Adam and Eve many gifts including the gift of life, the gift of paradise and the gift of a spouse with whom to enjoy it. Lucifer gave them nothing. Yet, inexplicably, Adam and Eve preferred Lucifer to the gift-giver.
Opting out of paradise was contrary to their self-interest. It is a type of suicide - self destruction - insanity. The God who loves his handiwork had an opt out problem. The problem needed a solution. God does not want the children of Adam and Eve to repeat the mistake (original sin) of their parents. Moreover, any solution to the problem needed to fit into certain parameters. God did not want to turn paradise into a prison, themselves into our warden and us into prisoners. God wanted the solution to respect our free will. Moreover, God understood from the debacle of Lucifer, his gaggle of angels, Adam and Eve that our faculty of obedience was broken. It malfunctioned. Therefore, the solution could not be based on our faculty of obedience. The solution needed to bypass it. Stupidity is not a characteristic of God. The solution, therefore, needed to be based upon our faculty of rationality.
To solve the problem of post delivery paradise opt out, God decided to give the children of Adam and Eve what Adam and Eve wanted. God decided to give them a taste of the sourness of godlessness. The taste of the sourness of godlessness would persuade them that Lucifer was a liar who made promises but never delivers. The taste of the sourness of godlessness would shatter the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness.
Therefore, God inserted a delay.
The delay is the most controversial aspect of God's rescue plan. It generates the most bad press. It monopolizes the attention of the complaint department. From the delay arises all of the backlash against God and God's rescue plan. It causes us to doubt the existence of a loving God.
God tweaked the timing of the delivery of the gift of life and the gift of paradise. Adam and Eve received the two gifts simultaneously. The children of Adam and Eve do not. Between the delivery of the gift of life and the delivery of the gift of paradise, God inserted a delay. During the delay, we taste for ourselves the sourness of godlessness. The taste shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The taste proves that the serpent is a liar.
Adam and Eve lived in paradise. They had no experience in godlessness. Their lack of experience in godlessness made them vulnerable to the sales pitch of the serpent. The children of Adam and Eve, however, experience the sourness of godlessness for themselves. The experience makes them invulnerable to the serpent's sales pitch. To save us from godlessness, God switched our starting point. Instead of starting in paradise as Adam and Eve did, we start in godlessness.
Having experienced for himself the pigsty, the prodigal son will not return there and neither will we. We will not commit the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. We will not abdicate paradise for godlessness as Adam did, as Eve did, as Lucifer did and as the gaggle of angels that followed Lucifer did. We will not opt out. When the gift of paradise is given to us, we will keep it. The taste of the sourness of godlessness stops us from fumbling the ball.
The delay is harsh but effective medicine. A loving God lets bad things happen to good people (the problem of evil) to reduce the likelihood of post delivery paradise opt out to near zero. The effectiveness of the medicine justifies its harshness in the eyes of God. The medicine works.
For the critics of "the delay", however, the cure of godlessness is as bad as the disease of godlessness. In answer to this criticism, God made life short. Life is an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God.
Freed from the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness, rational people flee the sourness of godlessness. It would be insane to do otherwise.
The sourness of godlessness was the first engine that drives the children of Adam and Eve along the escape route from godlessness to paradise. However, it is not the only engine.
Paradise is foreign to us. We are strangers to paradise. The memory of the life that Adam and Eve lived with God in paradise has faded. Therefore, to shatter the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise from us, a revelation was needed. More than two thousand years ago at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet known as the Middle East, God revealed to us the sweetness of paradise. In fact, the sweetness of paradise himself paid us a visit.
Freed from the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise, rational people seek the sweetness of paradise. It would be insane to do otherwise.
The sweetness of paradise became the second engine that drives the children of Adam and Eve along the escape route from godlessness to paradise.
The sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise generate the current of salvation. The playing surface is not level. It tilts. God rigs the game in our favor. The two engines curve space so it inclines downward from godlessness to paradise. God wants us to hit the jackpot. Our return to our home in paradise with God and his holy family is the jackpot.
It is said that the truth sets us free. The above is the reason for such an assertion. Much is true. However, much truth is irrelevant. The truth that matters is the truth that shatters the illusions conjured up by the serpent. This subset of truth shatters the illusions as the blow of a sledgehammer shatters glass.