Most people acknowledge that the world we live in has not existed eternally. And most of them likely believe that there was a cause behind its beginning, something that triggered it’s coming into existence. A variety of causes have been proposed by scientists, but Christians understand that cause to be God.
But, assuming the Christian view is correct, why did he create the universe and all it contains? What was his purpose in doing so? Many people over the years have pondered this question, myself included. And various answers have been given. But I find many of these answers to be troubling and unsatisfactory. What follows are my thoughts on this question.
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The Nature of God
Any answer to the question of why God created needs to start with the nature of God. Who, and what, we understand him to be is going to color how we view what he does. So, what is God like?
The Christian God is, by definition, a maximally great being. This means that in every way, he is as great as it is possible to be. Many of the attributes we use to describe God reference this maximal greatness. His is omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent. He is also infinitely loving, good, merciful, and gracious.
God has no needs. If he did, then he would not be maximally great. In his own nature, he lacks nothing. And nothing outside of himself has anything to offer him. From eternity past, and into eternity future, God was, is, and will be, perfect and fully complete.
Some Invalid Reasons for Creation
Many of the reasons I have heard people give for this question of why God created seem to imply a need on God’s part. Some would say that he needed/wanted someone to love. Others that he wanted someone to fellowship with. And, others that he created for his own glory.
But I find all of these less than satisfying. The triune God has existed through eternity in a perfect and loving fellowship. He does not need anyone to love. Nor does he need anyone to fellowship with. He has all of that perfectly within himself.
To bring glory to himself is not as clear. Creation does indeed glorify God. But that the creation glorifies him does not mean it was created for that purpose. God has no needs. Including the need to be glorified. And, even though the creation glorifies God, I do not believe it increases his glory at all. A glory that was maximally great before the creation.
So Then, Why?
It seems clear, at least to me, that God did not create the universe for his own benefit. That would then imply that he created it for the benefit of someone else. And that would seem to be humanity. He created the universe for my benefit, even though I did not as yet exist. Ephesians 1:4 expresses this when Paul says that “he chose us in him before the creation of the world.” I was known and chosen in Christ before God began to create.
I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around that idea. But it is the conclusion I keep coming back to. God created this universe, and all it contains, simply so that I would have the opportunity to know him. To experience an eternal and intimate relationship with the infinite God.
Most Christians are comfortable with the idea that salvation is solely a matter of God’s grace. And the life that we now live as believers is enabled by his grace. But God’s graciousness toward us did not start on Calvary. It is found all the way back in Genesis 1:1, where we see recorded that God created the heavens and the earth.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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