By Lucas Hagen, Crosswalk.com
This is one of the age-old questions of Christianity. There has always and will always be debates about the answer to this question, or the premises that lead to this question.
With that said, it is essential for all followers of Jesus to think through and come to a conclusion about why we are all here in the first place.
In this article, we will explore both some reasons why God created, as well as clear up some misconceptions that some have about the subject.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Rawpixel
What Prompted God to Create and Why?
There are at least two ways to approach this question. The first aspect of this question is, what prompted God to create? The second is, for what purpose are we created? While closely related, these two questions have very different answers and accomplish different goals, and both will be addressed in this article.
First, let’s clear up two common misconceptions about God and what prompted Him to create.
The first misconception is that God created because He needed to. The idea is that there was some external force that necessitated God to create the universe and to create creatures such as humans.
However, this idea directly contradicts the orthodox teaching of God’s sovereignty. If God is completely sovereign, then nothing can force God to do anything. That would necessitate something else to hold power over God, which is simply not possible. God must have created out of his own will, rather than to appease some external force or being.
The second misconception is that God created because He was lonely and wanted creatures to keep Him company. This is not true, because it contradicts an orthodox view of the Trinity. Christianity teaches that God is three persons in one God. Therefore, in the eternity prior to creation, God was never alone, because God is not a singular being, but is a Triune being.
There is a concept in theology known as perichoresis. This is a transliterated Latin word that literally means “to dance around.” This term refers to the relationship that has and continues to exist among the three persons of the Trinity, and the love that is shared between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The love and intimacy of God has always been shared among the three persons of Trinity. God did not create to fill some void, but rather to include others into this perfect eternal dance of love. Let’s explore four reasons why God created us:
Photo Credit: ©SparrowStock
1. God Created Us Because it Pleased Him to Do So
Because there was no external force that necessitated God’s creation, God must have created because he wanted to create. If nothing forced God to create against his will, then creating the universe and all of the indwelling creatures was an intentional choice that God made within His own will. God created because He desired to create, and there is no other explanation necessary to justify his choice.
2. God Created As an Overflow of His Love
The idea of perichoresis is foundational to a biblical understanding of why God created us, because it demonstrates that God did not create us to have creatures to love, but rather as an outpouring of the love that has been eternally shared within the Triune God. God was not in need of creatures to love, but God’s overflow of love manifests itself in creation.
Zephaniah speaks of this in his beautiful words, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
Take a moment to think about this imagery. God delights in you so much that He rejoices over you with singing! The intimacy and beauty present in this picture is lovely. This is a clear picture of God’s love for His creation. I don't know of anyone who sings over something they do not love. God is this same way. His delight in His creation is overwhelming, and is the foundation for why He chose to create in the first place.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/koyu
3. God Created Us for His Own Glory
This and the following point aim to address not only what prompted God to create, but also what is our purpose now that we are created? What are we supposed to do? The answer: glorify God.
In biblical terms, glory means value. To glorify something is to show why that thing is inherently valuable. To glorify God is to show the world how great, gracious, holy, and honorable He is. God created us, along with the rest of creation, to further His glory. This theme is prevalent throughout Scripture. Here are only a few examples.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? – Job 38:4-7
Note at the end of the text, God created in front of an audience. This is not simply for the dramatic effect, but this is so that God can demonstrate his power in front of His creation. It is so that He can be glorified by the angels. If God were apathetic about his glory, He would not go out of His way to lay the cornerstone of the universe in front of a divine audience.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. – Psalm 19:1-2
Not only were we created for God’s glory, but the rest of creation was made to demonstrate God’s glory to us! Go outside and take a look around. You will be hard-pressed to not find countless reasons to marvel at God’s amazing creation, regardless of where you are in the world.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works. – Psalm 104:31
Here the psalmist addresses how God is glorified in all of His works—creation included. All that God does is done for His glory, which means that when God chose to create, He did so for His glory. That also means that God’s will for His creation is His glory. Our purpose for being created is to glorify God, and our purpose now that we are created is to glorify God.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism answers the question, what is the chief end of man? With the following answer: the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. For hundreds of years, orthodox Christians have understood their purpose in being created as glorifying God, and God seeks to glorify Himself.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/molchanovdmitry
4. God Created Us to Be Like Him
Humans are unique in the context of God’s creation. Humans are unique because, unlike the rest of God’s creation, we are singled out in Genesis as being made in the image of God. It is written:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them. – Gen. 1:27
God created humanity as His image-bearers on earth, and that allows us to experience unity with God, and to become like God in a way that no other creature can. Throughout Scripture, there are commands for God’s people to be like God, such as:
I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. – Lev. 11:44
God created us not only to glorify God, but also so that we can become like God, and experience eternal unity with Him.
While we will never be able to understand what exactly God was thinking as He created the universe and all of us, Scripture does shed light on general reasons and principles for why God chose to create.
God chose to create:
1. because He wanted to
2. out of an overflow of love among the Trinity
3. for His own glory
4. so that His people can become like Him
While your life may not feel full of meaning and purpose at this point in time, and you may be questioning why God ever made you in the first place, rest assured that God has a purpose for all of our lives.
God is actively using you and your life for His glory, regardless of whether you understand it or not. Even when we are disobedient to God, He is in the business of redeeming our broken lives and using all of it for His glory.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Rawpixel