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Why did God create?

Published: 4 January 2020 (GMT+10)

God is perfect and needs nothing (see Process theism). So, why did He bother creating anything at all? E.G. from Canada writes:

world

I have done a lot of reading in the Q&A section, and I haven’t found an answer to my adult son’s question. So, here is his reasoning, and then the question. It’s hard to set it out in order, so I hope this makes sense.

We believe that God is perfect, complete, and needs nothing outside Himself because He is Trinity, and thus has fellowship and communication.

So, why did He create anything at all? If He started with angels, they respected, obeyed and worshipped Him. The Bible says they rejoiced when He created the universe, especially when He made people. He did not create the universe and everything in it simply to have the angels praise Him – that would have been pride, which is not part of God.

God says that He is love, and we know that love is complete when it is two-way, given back to the giver by the one who is loved. If he created people because He needed to be loved, that contradicts the fact that He is perfect and complete.

The Bible tells us the purposes of many things which God created – sun, moon, stars, rainbow, the earth, etc. but I cannot find any indication of why He first chose to create anything. Are we asking to understand the impossible, or is there an answer that a human can comprehend?

E.G.

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

Dear E.G.,

Thanks for writing in.

When it comes to worshipping God, don’t think of it in terms of what God needs; that’s a category mistake. Rather, we should worship God because it’s what we need. And it couldn’t be any other way for us: God is so unfathomably great and good that anything that could exist with a will and mind to worship would need to worship God to be truly fulfilled beings. What could be better for us than for us to value the ultimate good above all others? Well, God just is the ultimate good.

But as Jesus points out, it’s not a competition: loving God and loving others go hand-in-hand (Matthew 22:36–39) to the degree that John says we can’t love God if we don’t love each other (1 John 4:20). This shows that love is in essence self-giving: God gave Himself to us (in creating us, and sending His Son for us—1 John 4:8–10), so we should give ourselves to God and each other.

And that’s indeed what is behind the creation of the world for God: God is giving Himself to others by bringing them into being, so that He can love us and we can love Him. Now, there’s no need in this on God’s part (Is God ‘forced by His nature’ to be loving?); within God’s Triune nature there is a perfect and complete self-giving love between the Father, Son, and Spirit that creatures can only ever experience in part. But that lack of necessity is where we see some of the heart of God’s reason for creating: grace (again, see Process theism). It was a free act of grace on God’s part to create us; purely to ‘share the joy’ of the divine love beyond the divine being.

Think about it like this: when a couple chooses to start a family, can they do it without any need to, but simply to share their love with another? If so for us, then so much more for God.

Another way to think about it is the Father giving His Son a gift (Colossians 1:17; all things were created for – Jesus), which Jesus ultimately presents back to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:28). In that sense, creation then isn’t foremost even about us; it’s about the Father and the Son. This makes creation a free expression of the Father and the Son’s love for each other. Could they have expressed their love differently? Sure! But they both deemed this creation a fitting expression. (Did God create man to be an eternal companion for His son Jesus Christ?)

Hopefully this gives you some thoughts in response to this question. For more information, please see Why did God allow sin at all?

Kind regards,
Shaun Doyle
Creation Ministries International

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Christianity for Skeptics
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