A Clay Jar

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Why Did God Create the Heaven and Earth?

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why did God create

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.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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.

Everything that God does for us, from creation to the end of eternity, is an act of grace on his part. Praise God for his indescribable grace (2 Cor. 9:14-15).

Disclaimer

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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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

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.

18 thoughts on “Why Did God Create the Heaven and Earth?”

  1. Hello, thanks for the great work you are doing. its been a great experience reading and learning from your website on the question of “why God created the heavens and the earth?” I’m taking a kin interest in researching especially in this area because due to the Bible conviction I’ve got, I came up with a ministry name calling it “GLOBAL AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST” concluding that the purpose or reason why God created human beings and made them to live on earth moreover temporarily, was to live a life of representing His Son Jesus Christ.

    Reply
  2. The awesomeness of our Creator is unspeakable! First let me say, this is my first post and the first time I have visited your site. I’ll be 58 in a few days and this is the first time I have read anyone saying “we don’t have it all correct and we need to keep growing and learning”. God bless you for seeking TRUTH and bless you double for sharing what He reveals to you.
    Our lives, yours and mine, have some very interesting similarities. Where you turned right, I meandered on with dimmed vision. I definitely did NOT take the short route. Please forgive my imperfect use of the rules of the English language. I try, but I am just a servant seeking TRUTH.

    Now to the subject, “Why Did God Create the Heaven and Earth?” The question in this post goes all the way back to Adam and is the very reason that the “barstool” was created. What are we here for anyway? What is the meaning of life? I believe the answer to this question is childlike simple and plain as day if we just approach it from a child’s view with the basic information we have. The first thing we need to do is to throw out everything we KNOW as it is that which is making everything so unclear. I think if we look at it as a father, if you’re not one just pretend, it’s built right into each of us, what is your reason for doing anything at all? It is your “created”, that which is OF you. Sure, things you own or are responsible for are in there. But, it is that which you have conceived that is your reason. Now is a time when we need to forget all that we KNOW because it very well may mislead us. As you so correctly stated above, our Creator needs nothing. Thinking that through, it makes no sense to me that humans are what humans were created for. It also does not seem to align with the ways of our Creator that mankind would be created knowing that in the end the wide gate full would be apart from that Creator. I’d also like to note here how odd it seems that all those who posted here, yourself and me have each most likely sat through many sermons on this very subject and each time came to the same or very similar conclusion which you phrased as “He created the universe for my benefit, even though I did not as yet exist”. And yet here we are many thousand year later still blogging without a convinced heart. Even you wrote “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.”
    The earth was created before humans and the universe before even that. So, what was created before that? It seems clear that there is an “us” or a “we” when it’s reported “in our likeness”. I believe mankind struggles with this because we always seem to want to embellish or make things bigger, better, faster. It’s our nature to fabricate rather than keep it simple. What if the reference to more than one is the Creator and those of the Creator, offspring in a sense?
    Along with the book of Genesis, I’d like to look at the parable of the prodigal son. A man “creator” has an offspring that wants to go off to party town and show his old man the “what for”. The creator (Father) loves so much and believes in the perfect ending doubtlessly. So he says, with tears in his eyes and a quiver in his voice, “sure son, take all that’s yours and go”. Problem with that is, “Party Town” ain’t been created yet. Create universe, earth, mankind, problem solved.
    I believe, the universe and everything in it is created to teach something far greater than that universe a very valuable lesson. Something like a human father giving a child an ant farm to teach responsibility. We are not on the Creator’s time, we are not on the Son’s time and we certainly are not on mankind’s time. It seems to me that it’s ALL about the lost “one”.
    We give ourselves way too much credit and never enough repentance. There is a purpose. It will be finished.

    Reply
    • Sorry, but I am having a hard time following you. It almost seems like you are suggesting that the creation is for the benefit of something besides God and humanity. Like this universe, and the people it contains, are the “Party Town” for some other being(s) who exist prior to creation. And that the creation is ultimately an attempt to reform them. But I do believe that the bulk of Scripture argues against that perspective.

      I am also concerned about you call to throw out everything we know. I agree that some of what we hold to needs to be eliminated. But to throw it all out will lead to confusion and almost certain error. I believe that is a dangerious approach. Study the Scriptures. If you belief is contrary to what it teaches, then by all means change your beliefs to conform to the Scripture. But don’t just thrown out everything and start anew.

      Reply
      • Mr. Jarrett,
        Multiple apologies are due here. First, I apologize as I failed to read carefully and did not check the box to be notified as you clearly stated. I have been traveling and only now thought to check the post to see if it had been changed. Thank God and may He bless you for this reply.
        Second, not so much an apology but more so a sympathy offered. I know that I can be hard to follow; you are not the first to mention it. I’m working on that and again, God bless you for hanging in there.
        Third, I do apologize for my poor choice of words. Where I wrote “throw out everything we KNOW”, that really isn’t what I meant. That’s really not right at all. I’ll try to explain. As Christians I feel we sometimes know what we know because it has been passed on to us by those before us, our thoughts, our ideas, and why we believe what we believe. It’s not that we need to throw out anything and certainly not everything. I’ve learned some mighty tough lessons; I certainly do not want to start over. No sir! I just think we need to, as you stated, “Study the Scriptures.” However, I feel strongly that we need to do it, at least some times, as though it’s the first time we’ve ever read it or heard anything about it. I know that I have sometimes “studied” scripture when what I really needed to do was just “read” it. Read it for just what it means, like a child would rather than some kind of an attorney. The Good Book is not the American income tax system. TRUTH is not complicated. Far reaching yes, but not complicated. I have always felt it better to say “I don’t know” than to say that I do know things I do not. I do not know if what I am writing here is how it is. But, it’s real, it fits, and it seems to make more sense than anything I’ve ever been taught. I agree with you. If what I believe or know does not align with Scripture it can’t be TRUTH. If it doesn’t align with what mankind knows, but it finds no fault with Scripture, it deserves a good SELAH.
        I am prayerful this is a little less unclear and that I haven’t written more things that don’t say what I mean them to say. I am also prayerful that I can better explain what I mean in regards to the subject of the post, “Creation”. I am suggesting that all of creation IS for the benefit of the Creator, of course. Although I would say a kind of indirect or maybe future benefit. Much like planting a garden. It is quite natural for a father to make available things that will help his children grow and which will in the end bring good to the father. To teach balance, responsibility and some basic mechanical skills the father may provide a bicycle. Sure there may be some bruises, skinned knees, broken bone, misplaced tools and stolen property but in the end the child will hopefully grow and learn and be pleasing to plēsion (others) which brings good to the father’s name.
        It seems to me that Lucifer and the host of heaven existed before the universe. Using the ant farm as a comparative, a container, some dirt and a few ants we can see the universe as the container, the earth as the dirt and mankind as the ants. All of this, designed and created for the purpose of growing and teaching the wayward portion of heaven the TRUTH. In doing so it will bring glory to the Creator of all. The Creator made the container and the dirt and He loves the ants. He wants that none should perish. But the real purpose of it all isn’t about the dirt or the ants. Please don’t think I am saying mankind is nothing more than a colony of ants. Mankind has a very important role. Our Creator gave us brains and everything. We were created in the likeness of the Sovereign God and because of that we CAN do the right thing and that is ALWAYS repent. I believe I got it correct this time, “always” repent. If we do this it will be witnessed by the ones we were created, as a tool of the Creator, to teach. It’s only confusing if it is over thought or studied from a Christian world paradigm. It’s simple, it’s in our hearts because we are the likeness of our Creator. In this way I am suggesting that the (party town) earth, which has, as I see it, become more defiled than Sodom, is the perfect means by which the Creator of all will, not so much reform but rather, chasten and redeem that which is cherished by Him. How is it that mankind can so easily pass over the text that tells us of the Creator’s love for Lucifer and yet stick so strongly to how we believe He loves us? How many time is it written that our Creator was absolutely ready to and declared to exterminate mankind entirely? There is only one thing that throughout scripturally recorded history has ever caused the Creator of all to refrain from the “new” plan to destroy the entire thing and go back to the original plan. That thing is repentance, the condition of the heart of the created. It is repeated several times and multiple examples are given. If such a thing can find reprieve for mankind how could it not be at least as effective for that which was created before mankind? It seems to me that the book we call the bible is a parable in its entirety. All the stories have the same moral as does the book. Repent and be with the Creator forever… or… don’t. If mere mortal man can believe, repent and be welcomed home, how in this defiled world can it not be so for those created a little above mankind? A better question might be, how can mankind be so big headed to believe that any of this is all for him? Our Creator loves us, make no mistake about that. However, there is that which our Creator loves more. It is not that which was created in the image of, but that which was created OF. The entire family loves the pet that was brought in to teach the kids all kinds of valuable lessons. But our children are much more valuable than the dog. Once again, I am not saying mankind is a dog. It’s just a metaphor. We are more valuable than a dog. The proof of that is quite simple. The master would have shot the dog long before it got as far out of line as us humans. We are still here because the Masters work through us is not yet finished.
        If you make it through all of this and still believe that the bulk of Scripture argues against such a perspective, would you please share any part of that. If it does not align, I’ll throw it out.

        Kent
        Bond Servant of Christ
        Ekklesia

        Reply
        • Kent, no worries and no need to apologize. You cover much more ground here than I can respond to. But I will make a few comments.

          1) Saying that the universe was created for God’s benefit, even if indirectly, implies that he has a need. That he is somehow not perfect and complete. I do not believe that the infinite God has any needs. He is perfectly complete.

          2) Why do you believe that Satan (He is not Lucifer) and the host of heaven were created before the universe? Colossians 1:16 says that Jesus is the creator of all things, including the other spiritual beings. Also, where do you get the idea that the Creator loves Lucifer? By the way, Lucifer was the Latin translation of star of the morning, or morning star, that is found in Isaiah 14:12. And that passage may refer to a fallen angel. Or to the king of Babylon. But, regardless, it is not an actual name.

          3) Angels are above us now. But that will not always be so. 1 Corinthians 6:3 tells us that someday we will judge angels. Christ is above the angels (Hebrews 1). And, as we are in Christ, that would elevate us above those who are ministering spirits, sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14).

          Reply
    • Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world. Whether you understand this choosing in Christ to be individual or corporate in nature, it does say that God knew us before creation. We were in his mind. And his creation gave expression to what was in his mind. And, I believe, he did it for our benefit, not his. Similiar, in a way, to parents who choose to have a child because of what they have to offer that child.

      Reply
  3. could it be that God created the earth the heavens and everything init for the so knowing He would send him to eath as a man and would reclaim it from Satan as he is Lord and God over all things. so creation was and is as we are agift to the son. as he says we belong to him.

    Reply
    • The Scripture is clear that God knew what would happen to his creation before he made it. And it is true that Jesus, the Son, was a part of the original plan, to be the savior of the world. And those who come to him, do belong to him. But creation was not because of any need or lack on God’s part. He has no needs. That is why I tend toward the view that he created for the benefit of the creation.

      Reply
  4. The question is still unanswered. If he created heaven and earth for people who hadnt been created yet, why did he plan to create people? Why would god need to create people just so they could know him? Out of boredom? Why would god need people to know him? God has no needs.

    Reply
    • You are right. God has no needs. Creation does nothing for us. God creates, not out of any need, but because it is who he is.

      Reply
  5. Hello

    Yes, I thought I would be able to find this question to be easily answered but as I research more I found that the question is very hard to answer. Everything I read left me with a not enough feeling. Then I stumbled upon your paper “A Clay Jar”. I’m in agreement with what you are saying. If we know God as the Omnipotent one the Omniscient one your theory has to be true. Because God does not need us for anything so everything he made even before my existence was for us and our good. Now let me find scripture to validate my thoughts.

    Reply
    • I agree that it is challenging to understand. But if God has no needs, then creation could not be for his benefit. And so that leaves the creation, or something within it, as the beneficiaries of creation.

      Reply
  6. Yes, I am dumbfounded on the subject as well. I do not see why God would create humanity for us when we did not ourselves know humanity would be because we did not exist, we were an idea, a creation a thought from his mind. So to me the question is still unanswered as of yet, but than you for your input.

    Reply

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