The Purpose of Creation

What is the Purpose of Creation? This is an oft-debated question by some of the most brilliant minds in Christendom throughout the ages and, before Christendom, also in Judaism for Millennia before Christ. We have received only a couple reasons for the purpose of creation. The most common answer given by scholars throughout the ages is to glorify God (or some synonymic phrase thereof). I think this particular answer is not entirely accurate. I’ve hinted before at this thought and now wish to fully put it forward.

One important fact, before heading further into this subject, is the Triune God is the only form of a monotheistic god which would create as we have seen it. A unitarian god either has no reason to create, or is simply a creator god and therefore cannot stop creating. Dr. Michael Reeves in his short book Delighting in the Trinity has the best argument for this and rather than taking up valuable space to rehash his argument I will simply direct you to his book. Suffice it to say we can take solace in the fact of creation as one proof of the Trinity, and we will return to this fact later.

To return to our main purpose in writing: Catholic and Orthodox minds have provided the main answer to this question. The Catholic Church in their catechism gives the answer to this question as “Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: ‘The world was made for the glory of God.’ ” The Orthodox Church is more complicated than the Catholic as there is not one leader, but it is a confraternity of different churches. In its American version besides calling this a mystery, it goes on to say “The first purpose of man is the glory of God.”

This has been the working premise since very early on in the history of Christendom. However, the problem is, is there is a deeper meaning. If we take a look at the whole witness of Scripture, we have something else being presented. While, yes, the creation does bring glory to God (see Gen 1:1–2:3; Ps 19:1; Is 6:3, 43:6-7 among others). However, this is not the main purpose of the creation. I would say Christendom historically and in the present age has missed the boat on the purpose of creation. Now, I have seen some try to rectify this problem by explaining the how of bringing glory to God, but even this tends to fall flat. If glory – which is defined as 1. very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown; 2. something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride; or 3. adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving – is the purpose then we leave ourselves open to arguments which are impossible to rectify.

If we define glorifying God as the New City Catechism does in their sixth question “We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and by obeying his will, commands, and law” then not only do we fall flat but we also define the word glory in a way which is outside the definition of the word itself. And the only supporting verse which is quoted is from the Old Testament law (Deut 11:1) something which we know we are unable to actually keep. However, I wish to point out to you the most important thing in this creation is the purpose of this creation. That is relationships, as far as creation is concerned this would be the all-important relationship with the Lord God. We can see the witness of this in God’s creating them in Genesis 1 and the expansion of this in Genesis 2. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” God is not alone but in the perfect relationship of all eternity as the Trinity. So, God made us for a relational reason then as well. I would say God exists eternally in the Trinity, in perfect unity and eternally as love (1 John 4:8). If God exists as such then He does not need anything. He created out of a desire to spread this love further and to have others participate in this love.

This is the purpose of creation! This is the whole reason for Christ’s incarnation, to bring about this relationship. A relationship which was lost at the fall. Humankind was created to be in a full relationship with God. If we see this, it changes everything about how we look at the Scriptures. Key passages start coming forth as a clue for us. First and foremost: What are the greatest commandments? The greatest commandment was not Deuteronomy 11:1 “You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always,” which is used to support how we are to bring glory to God by the New City Catechism. But the first and greatest commandment is Deuteronomy 6:4–5: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” And the second is from Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus says the whole of the Old Testament depends on these two commandments and Paul says all of the law is summed up and fulfilled in the second one (Rom 3:9-10; Gal 5:14). There is nothing in these two commandments about obedience, or glory. It is about love.

In one step further the Apostle John – the only one to record the upper room discourse – gives us the one and only commandment Christ gave us during his earthly ministry: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” This is not really anything new, however, it is a narrowing down of the second greatest commandment. We go from neighbor to specifically our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This commandment is so important John tells us “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” (Stumbling here being sin.) And “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (So, our expression of the second commandment confirms the first.)

We were not put here to bring more glory to God. How much more glory can the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal God receive from the impotent, ignorant, singular, finite creation? We were created to take part in a wonderful relationship with God. To add one final point. God also wants a mature relationship. This is the purpose of our growing and maturing in this physical life. If He didn’t want such a relationship, we would merely be robots preprogrammed for whatever will God desires. This, in many ways, is the reason Believe Better Ministries was named such, and we use the phrase “Believe in Something Better.” This is better than all the religious dogma available to us. I truly do hope you can come to believe in something better, and have a wonderful, beautiful relationship with God. I’ll leave you with the words of John Piper on the purpose of creation: “God created us to know him and love him and show him.”

Easter Thought – 2019

A song has struck me. The title of the song is “Reckless Love”. The chorus of it really explains exactly what God’s love is. His love isn’t reckless, but from our finite point of view it seems that way. The chorus says:

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
“Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
“I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,”

This is so powerful! This is God’s love. We can’t earn it and will never deserve it. Yet, God still loves us eternally. This is what we are supposed to be celebrating every day. Moreover, this is what we celebrate today, on Easter. We celebrate the culmination of this love in a specific series of events.

Jesus, the Christ, the very Son of God, came to Earth, clothed in human flesh. He lived a life, perfect, before the law of Moses. Finally, at the appointed time, He went to the cross and died for us, as the atoning sacrifice for all the sins of all the world. That wasn’t the end. All other prophets, and religious leaders died, and remained dead; Jesus, on the other hand, rose from the dead on the third day. He rose from the dead so we might have eternal life with Him.

This is what we are celebrating, today. This is the message of the Gospel. This is the point on which we stand. I continue to be awed by this, year after year. I read the book Prodigal God by Timothy Keller and love how much his words line up with this. I recommend the book to you. He will reinvigorate your faith!

This reinvigorated faith has enlivened me to want to share the Gospel. Today, as you celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Love your neighbor as your self and share with them this Gospel. The message is simple and easy. All we have to do is share it.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowships of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Happy Easter.

New Year’s Thought – 2019

2019, who would have thought it would be 2019 already? Certainly not me. This is a big year for me, I turn thirty this year! With the looming approach of my third decade, I’ve had a verse be brought to my mind by the Holy Spirit. This verse is going to walk me through this new stage of life.

The verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV) This is a wonderful statement for this time of year. For me, some really hard, and downright terrible things happened this year. But, does that mean the year itself (2018) was terrible? Does it mean 2019 is going to be terrible? The genuine answer to both of these questions is, of course, “no”. There is so much positive to look at, so much to learn, and so many ways I have grown.

I am a new creation in Christ and the Lord is growing me into this new creation. In the new year, I need to set my heart on the things of this new creation. I need to set my heart in the good times and the bad times on this. This is hugely important because “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV).

This is the promise which we need to hold onto in every situation. Our good God does not allow us to have purely negative – or bad – things, but in the end of every situation, there is good. This good is not happiness, riches, or necessarily physical goodness of any kind, but spiritual goodness does come in every situation and is almost more important than physical goodness. We may find the Lord, then, has been teaching us to lean on Him more, teaching us patience, or bringing the fruit of the Spirit to greater prominence in our lives.

Follow God this year. Because the new creation God has made you. Look to Him and how He has worked all things together for good. Let’s check our attitude and follow God and look to Him to take care of us. The Lord does and will always take of us, for He will never leave us nor forsake us. Let’s make 2019 centered around how He takes care of us!