Did God Make Pot?
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. Genesis 1:11
As marijuana has become less stigmatized, the population that I work with has embraced this cultural shift. Many of my patients don’t even consider pot to be a drug. If you ask if they’ve been abstinent, they’ll say yes, referring to methamphetamine or fentanyl. But when cannabis shows up in their drug screen, they’ll say – Oh, that’s just pot. That’s a plant. It’s natural. God made it.
This brings up an interesting question. Did God make pot? If so, why? I certainly understand that there are medicinal uses for cannabis. That’s not what I’m talking about here. In this context, I’m talking about a psychoactive, often abused, addictive drug, that isn’t harmless. Why would God make that? The bigger question is this – Did God create evil and sin? If he is so good, why would he even allow evil to exist?
In today’s passage, we read about day three of creation, when God made all living plants. Later, in Genesis 2:9, we read about God creating the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, telling Adam and Eve they must not eat from that tree, or they would die. Some will see this as evidence that God created evil, but we’re told much later in James 1:13, Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. God didn’t create evil but rather created the possibility of evil, allowing us to choose.
So why even create the possibility of evil? Why create the temptation of marijuana? The answer lies in the creation story. God made man in his own image (Genesis 1:26) with the capability to love. God loved us (John 3:16) and he longs that we love him in return (Matthew 22:37). For love to be authentic though, there must be a choice. We must be able to choose to love God or we must be able to choose not to do so – we must be free to choose evil. Once mankind chose evil, God’s perfect creation fell (Genesis 3) and ever since, we’ve lived in a broken world.
Paradoxically, it’s because God loves us and desires that we love him in return, that he created pot and the possibility of evil. He’s given us a choice. If he hadn’t, we’d simply be robots, following our instinctual programming. Instead, we can follow ourselves or we can follow him. Our way is eventual disaster. God’s way is life, joy, and peace. Daily, the choice is ours.