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If the end goal is the preaching of the gospel to every human on the planet, then it would not be hard to come up with very efficient and effective methods to do so. For example, God could send hundreds of millions of angels to preach the gospel around the world, and in a matter of minutes every person would be evangelized. Or God could give dreams and visions to every person simultaneously revealing the truth of the gospel, causing unprecedented large scale conversions all over the globe (by the way, there is anecdotal evidence that this appears to be happening to Muslims to some degree). And likewise, one could creatively think of myriads of other possible ways in which the gospel could've been preached sooner, faster or more effectively. Yet, God chose to use human beings, the Church, to carry out the great commission. Why?

I don't want this question to be opinion-based, so I would prefer answers that draw on reputable sources pertaining to the subject matter, e.g., the works of reputable theologians. Alternatively, if a denomination has an official denominational answer to the question, I would be interested in knowing that too.

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    what a great question...I am +1 on this one and look forward to reading and criticising answers – Adam Apr 22 at 10:28
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    In my view, this is not a well researched or focused question. Just one example (of many) is that no attention has been paid to Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, God's chosen method is the most effective and the most efficient. (It is just that this question has not stated, correctly, what He is doing and why He is doing it.) – Nigel J Apr 22 at 15:49
  • @OneGodtheFather - if something like that had already happened, it would've been comparable to a world wide alien invasion / disclosure. Certainly something like that couldn't have been missed in the historical records. – Spirit Realm Investigator Apr 22 at 17:37
  • @OneGodtheFather - what about Daniel 10: 7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. 9 Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. – Spirit Realm Investigator Apr 22 at 17:45
  • 10 And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. – Spirit Realm Investigator Apr 22 at 17:45
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Your question could be expanded: why did God choose to make the world at all?

The implication of asking your question is that the ultimate thing God is aiming for is efficiency. This is not the case.

God created the universe for his own glory. He has his ways of doing things which are not our ways of doing things:

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

However, I think we do have some clues as to why God chooses to make the gospel known through frail and flawed human beings rather than in a more 'efficient' way.

2 Corinthians 4:7, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." If you think of us as the 'jars of clay', then the fact that something supernatural happens (i.e. people are converted) by the preaching of the gospel shows that it is God's power at work.

Similarly in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

When God's work is accomplished not only despite our weakness but through our weakness, then it shows it can only be his power and not ours.

So I would answer your question, God chooses to make himself known and evangelise the nations through the work of human beings, because it brings more glory to himself in his power being made manifest in weakness.

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    "God created the universe for his own glory." Can you say more about this? It makes it sound like God is a narcissist. He could expedite the salvation of billions of people, but instead draws it out because he wants more glory? – One God the Father Apr 22 at 18:47
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    @OneGodtheFather That sounds like another question to me! – Phill Sacre Apr 23 at 7:26
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    this answer does not actually answer the question...saying God does not work for efficiency is not what the question is asking. sorry but this is a -1 from me. – Adam Apr 23 at 8:47
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    The point of believers being 'clay vessels' helps answer the Q. As evangelist D.L. Moody said, “God doesn’t seek for golden vessels, and does not ask for silver ones, but He must have clean ones.” My own application of a famous quote is, "If ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’, that might be why God entrusted the gospel to mortals." Yes, weak [but clean] vessels are bold in obediently proclaiming the gospel, and this brings greater glory to God than if higher beings did the job. – Anne Apr 23 at 9:30
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What if the end goal is not "the preaching of the gospel to every human on the planet" as your question stated? What if the end goal is humanity transformed and that the preaching of the gospel is a means to this end?

God is not known to be efficient, but He gets the job done (humanity transformed) by eventually bringing all whom He has chosen to His sheepfold before the night comes. My answer starts with several Biblical observations and theological reflections and concludes with an answer from a reputable theologian (Michael J. Gorman) framing mission as PARTICIPATION.

Biblical observations and theological reflections

  • Adam caused the Fall and through Adam and a line of sinful people that the world will be saved. Note how in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt 1:1-17) we have Jacob the liar, Tamar who slept with her father in law (Judah), Rahab the prostitute, and Bathsheba (whom God chose out of David's other wives, even though David murdered her first husband Uriah!)

  • It's a Biblical pattern that God chose people with problems BUT who have hearts for Him. He dignifies them to be involved in His plan. He is acting like a leader in a company who wants to include everyone in the company's success.

  • He even helps them to overcome their weakness (like Moses and his speech issue, and Gideon with his fear). He is acting like a father who loves to involve his little children who offer to help their dad to build / repair something although he would have finished the job sooner by himself.

  • In Christian teaching, a person cannot come to faith unless God first choose him/her (doctrine of election) and then provides him/her with grace to respond to the gospel. Those two are essential, but miracles and vision are not. At the end of the day, despite our evangelizing efforts and powers of persuasion, it is still up to God and up to the person we are evangelizing to.

  • One reason why God works through His Church is that He wants us (the problem) to be part of the solution. God is control but wants us to be maximally involved. In doing so we become more aware of our sins but become better as a result of evangelizing. His providence and foreknowledge make it work in the end. We look forward to becoming amazed at the extent of God's wisdom when everything is revealed at the end of time.

  • Paul is our model as his own life becomes the gospel: he started by being a murderer of God's elects, repented, and voluntarily became a soldier for Christ, suffering for Him out of his gratitude for being saved, and wanted everyone to have the same experience.

Michael Gorman's book: Becoming the Gospel

For a reputable theologian's answer, I refer you to the 2015 book by NT scholar Michael J. Gorman : Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission reviewed here with some constructive criticism here.

Among the points in the final chapter of the book there is one theological explanation which I paraphrase as follows: God's mission is the formation of a new humanity, so the gospel has to be preached out of a bodily witness of the transformation.

Relevant quotes from the chapter (emphasis mine):

The Gospel and the Missio Dei

A critical part of becoming the gospel is appropriately defining the gospel. A narrow, privatistic understanding of the gospel (such as, “Believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord so that you will have your sins forgiven and go to be with him when you die”) may require the church to say a lot, but it will not require it to become much of anything other than a loud voice. It does not even have to be a very credible loud voice as long as it says what (it thinks) needs to be said.

...

This is why our understanding of the gospel and our understanding of the missio Dei are so interconnected. A thin, lightweight view of the gospel entails a similar thin, lightweight understanding of salvation and the missio Dei. But a thick, robust understanding of the gospel involves an equally complex and comprehensive perspective on salvation and the missio Dei. What God was and is up to in Christ is ultimately cosmic in scope, but in the present that future cosmic reality is anticipated in the formation of what Ephesians refers to as a new humanity. If the gospel of Christ crucified, raised, and exalted as Lord means anything for the human race, according to Paul, it means that transformation into the cruciform image of God is possible in the present. And that means that the message and the people, the gospel and the church, are inseparable; the witness to the reality of transformation through death and resurrection is the existence of a transformed and being-­transformed people.

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