A Question on Creation

A few weeks ago, my uncle sent me the following email:

I’d be curious to hear your answer to this…
Why did God create man?

This is actually a very good question and not too shocking to be coming from my uncle. He left institutionalized religion a while ago and occasionally pulls out these questions. I guess I drew the straw this time.

After some much needed time for thought and reflection, I sent him this response:

First off, God did not create ex nihilo. There was not some external necessity imposed on God to create. God does not create to satisfy any neediness in the divine being, or under the pressure of any inward drive or impulse. This is because in the divine being there is perfect love between the persons of the Trinity.

Despite this, God chose to create. Given that God has chosen to create, we can see that it was good and fitting for him to do so. (The end of each day of creation is good and the whole of creation is very good).

Thomas Aquinas states that God “brought things into being so that his goodness might be shared with creatures, and be represented by them.”

With that in mind, why man? Out of all creation, mankind is the only creature that is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). I think that there are two possible conclusions people come to concerning why. The first is that God needed to have something to worship Him. But that would be because of some inward drive on God’s being, not to mention that this first reason completely does away with free will. It basically makes God a dictator saying, “Love me! You have no choice in the matter.”

The second conclusion, and the one I hold to, is God is a God of love. There is perfect love between the persons of the divine being. But God wants to share that love because love in and of itself is not greedy or jealous. God allows for free will, we are able to chose to love God or not. While it’s God’s will that all love him, to impose that on creation would be to selfish and contrary to God’s nature, thus free will.

There are all kinds of issues that can come up with this one, not-so-simple question, so I tried to anticipate any issue that could come up.

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6 thoughts on “A Question on Creation

  1. Based on your final conclusion, I highly recommend you read Gene Edwards’ “The Divine Romance.” It’s a great read.

    Also, I’d like to propose the idea that bearing the image of God implies not only that we are like Him and act like Him, but also that we are charged with the duty of accomplishing His work. He created us in love, yes, but also to accomplish His work on earth, which, according to Genesis, includes stewardship over the rest of creation. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Also, I’d like to propose the idea that bearing the image of God implies not only that we are like Him and act like Him, but also that we are charged with the duty of accomplishing His work. He created us in love, yes, but also to accomplish His work on earth, which, according to Genesis, includes stewardship over the rest of creation. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this. I would say Genesis 1:26 supports that. God gave mankind dominion over all of creation. Dominion doesn’t mean we can do with it what we please. I think dominion calls us to be good stewards of creation, since ultimately, it isn’t ours.

  2. I’m not sure you gave us a reason for God creating man. Your answer is a little vague. Your Uncle’s question is one I’ve also wondered about. I’ve heard messages that God created man because he was lonely and wanted fellowship with man. But I don’t buy that, since God said it’s not good for the man to be alone and then created woman to keep the man company. Over time, (I’ve been a Christian 35 years) I’ve concluded God needed to resolve a problem, and we are his solution that will return the universe to peace and harmony. Man was tempted to sin, so sin must have existed before we were created. Knowing man might sin, God fore ordained a sacrifice to save us. Finally, the book of Revelation talks about a day the devil and his sympathizers will be cast out of the heavens and after men and devils destroy most of the earth, God will give us a new heavens and earth.

    • Hmm…Not sure what to make of this. I’m not sure how vague an answer love is….

      Over time, (I’ve been a Christian 35 years) I’ve concluded God needed to resolve a problem, and we are his solution that will return the universe to peace and harmony.
      Sounds pretty close to Process Theology to me and I think it conflicts with a later statement: God fore ordained a sacrifice to save us…God will give us a new heavens and earth. If God gave us a sacrifice (ie Jesus), why would he need us to be “his solution that will return the universe to peace and harmony?” Christ will do that we he comes again in glory at the eschaton…not us.

  3. I agree with your respose and conclusion. God is pure love. Love by its very nature must go forth from its bearer. Love HAS to be given away. And once it is given away…because of love purity…they, too, must give it away. Love is a powerful force. No, it’s not the characteristic we humans call ‘love.’ Our love is selfish. Desires its own. But the nature of God’s love…agape love…the nature of His heart…is first and foremost…concerned with the benefit of others. His love is the powerful love which, when indwelling the human heart, can ‘love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And to love your neighbor as yourself.’ We know we’ve passed from death to life ‘if we love the brethren.’ Pretty simple…huh. God is love. And while there is perfect love amidst the Trinity…that perfect love, by its nature, is compelled to go outward….away from the Trinity….to be returned to the Trinity.

    Beautiful…God’s perfect Love.

    Good post. Thought provoking. thanks

    Carolyn / internetelias.wordpress.com

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