Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Why Did God Create the Universe? -Part 1
I've been meditating and thinking a lot lately on the question: Why did God create the universe? I want to share with you some of the things that I have learned from the Scripture and from some other resources that focus on what the Scripture teaches. Since many of these thoughts were generated by what others have written, I've listed a few references at the end of this post to give them credit for thinking these things ahead of me and to point you in a direction that might be helpful for you as well. (But the reader should not assume that everything I've written here should be attributable to these authors. I respect them too much for that.)
What got me started on this originally was a point that John Piper makes in several of his books that the greatest joy that we as human beings can have is to know God intimately. Along with that is the idea that when we enjoy God and find our pleasure in Him, God gets the glory. And it turns out that God's glory is the purpose of everything. So knowing God and finding joy in him works to promote the very purpose for which God created the universe and us. So pursuing real joy and glorifying God are one and the same.
Let's begin by looking at several passages of Scripture.
“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”” (Isaiah 43:7, NKJV, emphasis mine)
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11, AV, emphasis mine)
So from this small sampling of verses we can see that God's purpose in creating was for his pleasure and for his glory. When we speak to one another, we often say, "So, what's the bottom line?" We want to get to the point. And the point of Scripture is that God created for his glory. He didn't need anything. He didn't need fellowship. He was not incomplete in himself. Everything in creation started out in God, and so we have nothing to offer back to God that he didn't already have.
“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7, NKJV)
That means that everything we have came from God. We have nothing in and of ourselves.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33–36, NKJV)
Everything we have we have received from him. We cannot offer him anything that he did not have beforehand and so his motive for creating could not have been in order to get something from us, even love and fellowship. He had love and fellowship among the persons of the trinity throughout all of eternity past.
God desires his glory to be praised and declared.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,” (Psalm 19:1–4, NKJV)
And God desires that we should declare his glory.
“Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” (Psalm 96:3, NKJV)
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV, emphasis mine)
So God is ultimately the source of everything good and right and beautiful. He was and had everything before he created. Therefore, he didn't create because he needed anything. Multiple verses of Scripture teach us that God created ultimately for his enjoyment, pleasure and glory and he desires that we his creatures respond by exulting in and praising his goodness and glory.
The End For Which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards which is given in its entirety in God's Passion for His Glory by John Piper
When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper
Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation by Ben Stevens