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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

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
From
US $17.00
Why would a loving God allow death and suffering?
by Dr Jonathan D Sarfati
US $0.60
The God Reality
by Rob Slane
US $8.00

Readers’ comments

C S.
The most logical, credible answer to this question that I have yet read.
David G.
"We believe that God is perfect, complete, and needs nothing outside Himself because He is Trinity, and thus has fellowship and communication."
This seems to have a non-biblical idea of 'perfect'; more a pagan aristotelian idea. Reality is fundamentally about relationship and conditioned by love: that's because that's who God is in himself. We were created for relationship with God: for our good, not his, and that's because that is who God is; one who desires the joy of others in relationship.
Shaun Doyle
God certainly is love. Still, it is biblical to say that God needs nothing outside himself (Process theism), and thus had no need to create anything. The fellowship of the Trinity is perfect in itself; it is a perfect fulfilment of God's desire for the joy of others in relationship (What was God doing before creation?). Still, love is self-giving by nature, and so it is perfectly consistent for God to freely give Himself to those who are less than Himself (by creating them and inviting them into a love relationship with Himself).
Alan B.
Why did God create?
Well, the whole Bible is full of allusions to marriage - eg. Gen 2:18 - is that talking just about Adam, or is it also referring to THE Man ie. Christ? Similarly, Song of Solomon is a love poem from the King to his (or is it His) betrothed, and Rev 19 speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb to His bride, the Church, as being the consummation of all things.
Therefore it follows that if marriage is the consummation, then it must also be the purpose.
It is common to say that God created because He wanted to pour His love far and wide, but I believe there is a far more fundamental and intimate reason - the Second Person of the Godhead wanted a Wife!
BILL P.
GOD'S love, and so much more about HIM we can not measure or imagine. Yes HE, HIS Son, and HIS Holy Spirit are one in fellowship w/one another w/perfect love. I use that word "perfect" because I at this time do not know a better word to use, YET I some how know deep inside my heart that it's even better than just perfect. Adam at one time knew what it was like to be ONE w/THE FATHER, The Son, and Spirit in truth, having been created in THEIR Image. How beautiful it must have been. I have no doubt that Adam regretted sinning against GOD everyday for the next 900 plus yrs. No doubt it broke GOD'S Heart, and for Adam it must have been like being warm, and content, and then someone (the evil one) comes along and dumps an ocean full of ice water on you. The evil one a created creator full of pride (believing he could be god), and envy because man was created by GOD in HIS IMAGE and had fellowship w/one another just like the fellowship that THE FATHER, Son, and Spirit have. I wonder as Adam and Eve had children the world although now fallen must have been an amazing place. Their children would come and tell their dad and mom about the wonderful things they saw. Both Adam and Eve sitting there sad, having to teach their children "you should have seen it before I sinned against my GOD and Creator". YET also teaching their children, never forget GOD's promise that one day HE will offer HIMSELF as a sacrifice to restore all things including "The Oneness we had w/HIM. Remember not to make the mistake I made when I sinned against God believing "The Lie" of Satan. This world will tell you GOD'S promise is a lie but don't believe them. Let God be true and every man a liar. I'm sure this doesn't answer E.G.'s question of why but I love the fact that HE did ALL HE did w/love, for us.
Michael B.
Your analogy of gift giving has given me much to meditate on this morning.
The Father giving all those who are His to the Son and the Son giving back to the Father. (John 17)
The gift of the Holy Spirit being given to us and we presenting ourselves as living sacrifices to God.
The implication of ourselves as gifts to God and the need for such gifts to be without spot or blemish.
Our giving of our lives for the lives of others to show the greatest of love and by this love for one another the world will know we are His.
Much to meditate on and explore the implications for my life.
Your Brother in Christ,
Michael
Shaun Doyle
I'm glad that my short article has helped you meditated on the awesome grace of our Triune God. That is my hope and prayer for all who read it. Thank you for your encouragement.
George S.
one of the reasons was in response to the war that was going on in heaven Rev 12 v 7 Satan`s accusations against God of been arbitrary exacting revengeful and severe, the accusations Satan made to Eve in the garden, at creation God gave to mankind the power that when man and woman come together in love can create little people, in creation dose God look arbitrary exaction or severe, we are told at creation the angles sang for you
Shaun Doyle
God created Satan. He must be included in the global question of 'Why did God create at all?' that this article addresses. As such, the reason God created can't presuppose the existence of Satan.
Chris W.
Try this one.

Lucifer was causing division in Gods kingdom and needed chastising so the entity we know as Jesus agreed to be Crucified, even before the foundations of the World were laid. The Earth and the stars were created by God through Jesus and Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden. Lucifer was put in charge of punishing of man if he sinned. For 4000 years the trap was baited with sinful man and then a sinless man is born. Jesus kept God’s law and therefore had no sin that alowed Satan to punish Him with death. When Jesus was crucified His death was unlawful and therefore murder.

If this all sounds like a sting operation then we appear to be of the same opinion.
Shaun Doyle
The question is about why God created at all, not simply about why He created the visible universe. God of course created the angelic hierarchies (Colossians 1:16-17), including Satan. As such, His reasons for creating can't simply be conditioned on what happened with Satan.
Jim B.
Jesus seems to say that before the Foundation of the World there was perfect love between the Father and the Son - and that He created us so that we could share in the fellowship of that perfect love.
"Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world came to be. . . . The glory that You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one — I in them and You in Me — that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them as You loved Me.
Father, I also want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory—the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:5, 22-24)

This is confirmed by Paul in the letter to the Ephesians:
"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He has made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:4-6).

How glorious that THE SELF-SUFFICIENT GOD who needed nothing would create a world to receive His love and participate in the eternal fellowship enjoyed between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from before Creation.
Robert O.
Another category mistake is the idea that God, working in and through all things, glorifies himself because He is worthy of His own glory. To say this would be a pride issue for God, fails to grasp the worthiness of God as the only valid receptor of 'All glory and honor and power.' Rev 4:11 We however are not worthy to receive glory. Therefore when we seek our own glory, we seek for ourselves what belongs only to God. Thus we seeking our own glory is the essence of sin unto death. Not so with God.
Leslie B.
Just to add a thank you, Shaun. I enjoyed reading this article....something I have also wondered about. I also read your biog which was very encouraging, too. God bless.
B. M.
This question seems to stem from a very utilitarian view of God that can be summed up in the expression “God does everything for a reason”. We see the complimentary nature of everything in virtually all of creation, from animate to inanimate, and suppose that we can ascertain the raison d’etre of the very atoms. In this view nothing in the universe, including the universe, can just be. Everything must function in a way that benefits another and thus justify its existence.

But a God who needs nothing and receives no benefit from anything outside Himself complicates this view. Thus the question “why did God create”. If He does everything for a reason, thus giving everything a reason for being, and that reason for being is to function in a way that benefits another, yet He Himself receives from Himself perfectly whatever those benefits are, then why create anything at all?

The answer is love! Love doesn’t need a reason to love. Love doesn’t need the object of its affection to function in a way to benefit the lover. This is the great mystery of God’s love that we will explore for eternity. God’s love opens the door for things to exist just because. No grand overarching purpose, no function, no reason, nothing beyond the fact that it’s there because He loves it to be there. This isn’t to say that the things God created don’t have a function that serves another. They do. But that function is not why it exists. Whatever it does God Himself could do a million times better. God’s love is why it exist.
P. V.
I think, I'm not a theologian; that God is the most creative being in existence, so he would create. He bothered to write because he wanted to, not because he had to. I like writing because he does; we are in his Image.

He's writing the great story, in his Word.
JOHN G.
Great reply to why God created this world, though He needs nothing more to be satisfied. For what it’s worth, could I add one word that might be missing in your response: SACRIFICE. It’s implied in how He GAVE His Son to die for our sins. Sacrifice is the one thing that needed to be done--the CROSS where Jesus died. Without that, creation has no real significance. Does that help at all? God sacrificed His precious Son because only by the supreme sacrifice can love be complete and fully expressed.
Valmai B.
I once asked my pastor: "Since Satan was destined to destruction from the moment he rebelled against his Maker, why didn't our all-knowing God destroy him immediately, before He created Adam, to prevent these thousands of years of our free and willing slavery to sin and the resulting suffering that we are going through?"

The pastor pointed me to the first three chapters of Ephesians, where God explains the mystery of his purpose - to display to all the principalities and powers in heaven and on earth, the exceeding riches of His wisdom and grace in his kindness to sinners in Christ Jesus. Can we sinners reject or condemn our Almighty Maker for that?
Warren S.
This article again prompted me to think about Paul's letter to the Ephesians, specifically 2:6-7 and 3:8 to 11. The context seems to indicate that his creation of us and our response to the faith he gives us is somehow part of the final judgement of evil. In the final judgement will we be held up as witnesses for the prosecution? Could it be that the reason evil is still allowed to exist is because the God's relationship with his created people will show that his final judgement is perfectly just?
Shaun Doyle
Please see Why did God allow sin at all?, where I suggested something like this as one reason God may have gone ahead with creation despite knowing people would sin.
David B.
One answer I heard recently and have been chewing vigorously on due to its difficulties is this. God's creation allows Him to reveal one more aspect of His character that cannot be revealed in any other way. That would be His mercy and grace. We are the only beings that allow Him to do this. The difficulty lies in the fact that we are created in a way that gave the possibility for us to fall and many of us needed to go into hell to accomplish this. This is why this is such a 'chewy' idea and thought upon which to meditate but God is blameless in all this even when He gave us the power to reason and reject Him
Shaun Doyle
You may find this article helpful: Why did God allow sin at all?
Howard B.
Great response, and replies to this great question! I will only dare to add that had God not created anything at all, but was content to remain alone with Himself (in trinity), then we would not even be here to know that He is who He is. He would be truly the unknown God. Praise the LORD for who He is and for all His marvelous works!
Gary B.
Good answer Shaun. The Bible does give us the reason God created; because it pleased him. Colossians 1:16 and Revelation 4:11.

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