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.”

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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!

Christmas Thought – 2018

My thoughts at this year consistently turn to my Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. This is common for many, but my thoughts turn not to His birth, but to His death, resurrection, and ascension. This mixed with the celebrations is where my heart stands. This is, now, my fourth “Christmas Thought” since I started this blog (which I did in March of 2012) and each time I’ve put effort into a Thought on Christmas the same truth comes back to me: Christmas is worthless without the end result!

I want to be clear: I am not saying His birth is worthless. What I am saying is the end result is what brings the value to His birth. This is where my mind sits. It also brings the important Gospel message out in my heart. I have come to understand something, regardless of its origin Christmas is important as it is a time in which the Gospel message is put forth by even secular media. It is a time when people are more receptive and open to the message of the Gospel.

It is a time for being with family and friends, yes of course, but let’s not forget to give His message during this time. Bring your family together. Call on His name, pray for your loved ones. Don’t forget we’ve all sinned (Romans 8:28) and no one is good (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19; Romans 3:10). So, lift those closest to you to the Lord, and during this time of year, when so many are so receptive to the Gospel, bring it to the them. Tenderly, softly, give it to them just the way our Savior would.

The old, beautiful hymn “Softly and Tenderly” is how we want to call our families and friends to Jesus! Give them the beautiful message of the Gospel and pray. Remember the Lord will give you the words to say. Celebrate His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, and the eternal life He has give us freely. This Christmas season make the time about more then just presents and food, make it about Him!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I truly hope your Christmas is merry and you have a blessed new year!

Kalytero Volume 1, Issue 2

Hey everyone, we are so excited to have the second issue of Kalytero™. Kalytero is the premier publication from Believe Better Ministries. It is a quarterly journal furthering the goals of Believe Better Ministries; that is to help everyone Believe Something Better™.

There are two ways you can read Kalytero.

First, you can download and read it for free. We’re putting it out in PDF format so you can read the whole journal when it comes out. Click here to download the PDF.

Secondly, you can purchase a print copy each issue. You can access the print copies only through us. Click here to see and purchase a print copy.

We hope you enjoy this first issue and if you would like subscribe so you can get each issue in your e-mail please sign up over on the sidebar, or simply click here.

Also, don’t forget submissions are open!

Thanks, everyone!
RB

Where are All the Articles?

Hey everyone,

So, we received an e-mail the other day asking where all our articles have gone. First of all, we are working on getting articles ready to be put up here on our website. That mission has never changed! We are going to have new articles, thoughts, and just plain info coming out here in the near future. But, and secondly, we are also working on building more of a presence. To that end, we have been putting out more videos on our YouTube Channel.

So, what that means is we are putting material out, it may just be in a format different from here. We may try embedding the videos and putting them here, but we’re not promising anything. I do hope you will go check out our YouTube Channel and watch our videos. Please like and subscribe so we can continue to build our reach. We truly appreciate all the support our readers have given us over the years and hope you will continue!

I hope you will enjoy the upcoming videos and articles. I also hope you will enjoy the upcoming issues of KalyteroTM. We are still working on this project and will be putting forth the new issue at the end of this month. I am looking forward to it and submissions are still open!

We will be seeing more of me later. Again, visit our YouTube Channel like and subscribe. And I truly pray we are helping you to Believe in Something Better.

RB

New Miniseries

Okay everyone,
While we wait for new things to happen I am have been working on a new series. I was inspired by Jason Mayfield of Grace for Life as he spoke on the Bibles he has in his life so I am doing a similar series. I hope you enjoy it. It is up on Believe Better Ministries’ Youtube Page and you can see the first video in the series below. I apologize this first video is rather long. I am a rambler. It happens. Anyway, this is the start of this journey and fittingly so it is the Bibles which started me on my journey. Hope you enjoy!

Oh, if you are looking for an NIV Study Bible, the 2011 edition is a good update to the ones presented in this video. I totally would suggest you go check them out. And, if you want to find those highlighters, Click Here.

The Key in Philippians 2:5-8

Phil 2:5-8 BOGV
5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross.

This passage is a key to Jesus’ divinity. Jesus is the very eternal God a single member of the Triune Godhead. It is a passage which has been disputed as verse six is rather vague in both the Greek (which is the same in the NU, Majority, and Textus Receptus: “ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων, οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἴναι ἴσα θεῷ,”). Paul, here, is not being vague, however. He is rather clearly stating Jesus innate deity.

The first thing to notice is in verse six Jesus in His preexistence was in the form of God. Now this God is one member of the Trinity, God the Father. Typically, in the Bible (and specifically the New Testament) the word God refers to God the Father. Jesus in His preexistence was in the form of God. It is important to see this verse as Jesus’ preexistence as He has not been incarnated. If we continue to read on we see Jesus has not yet been made in the likeness of men (the end of verse 7 and beginning of verse 8).

So, before Jesus existed on the Earth as a man He existed in the form of God (that is the Father), but – and this is a big stopping point – He didn’t consider equality with God as a thing to be grasped. This is where a little of the debate happens. “a thing to be grasped” is hard to interpret. There are two main ways this is interpreted:

1. Something Jesus did not have but was reaching for
– or –
2. Something Jesus did have but not holding on to

Well, this doesn’t really make the debate easier, it merely shows the two sides. Was Jesus God and wasn’t worried about holding onto His godhood? or, Was Jesus merely a man who didn’t consider it right to reach for godhood? If this text ended there or Paul changed the subject at this point we could debate each other round and round without really giving a statement other than what lines up with our own doctrines. Thankfully, however, Paul didn’t stop there! The sentence continues in verse seven and we are given the linchpin which opens the whole statement and it really only allows this statement to be interpreted one way: “but emptied himself” (Greek “ἀλλ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν”).

If we interpreted the previous phrase the first way above, then what did Jesus have to empty Himself of? How could Jesus possibly empty Himself? He is merely a man and equality with God is not something He is going to reach for anyway. However, if we interpret it the second way then emptying Himself makes sense. First, Jesus has something to empty Himself of. Second, He has the ability (or power if you will) to empty Himself. This is the key which the whole argument stands on. Both sides must reckon with.

This one little logical flow then can open our eyes in this passage to who Jesus is. We have part of the passage speaking on Jesus’ preexistence, another part speaking on his existence and in the middle a wonderful section which tells us what happened in the incarnation of God the Son.


Note: This is the first in a series around the Doctrine of the Trinity. You will be seeing more writings coming out over the next year. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments feel free to get in touch, via e-mail. Thank you!

Kalytero Volume 1, Issue 1

We are excited to announce the release of the first issue of Kalytero. Kalytero is the premier publication from Believe Better Ministries. It is a quarterly journal furthering the goals of Believe Better Ministries; that is to help everyone Believe Something Better™.

There are two ways you can read Kalytero.

First, you can read download and read it for free. We’re putting it out in PDF format so you can read the whole journal when it comes out. Click here to download the PDF.

Secondly, you can purchase a print copy each issue. You can access the print copies only through us. Click here to see and purchase a print copy.

We hope you enjoy this first issue and if you would like subscribe so you can get each issue in your e-mail please sign up over on the sidebar.

Also, don’t forget submissions are open!

Thanks, everyone!
RB

New Exciting Project

Believe Better Ministries is excited to announce have a new project we are working on. This project is called Kalytero. This is going to be the first ever publication put out by Believe Better Ministries! Kalytero is going to be a quarterly journal put out for free in PDF format. We are also hoping to put out a hard copy of the journal which will be available for a small fee (which will cover shipping and the printing costs).

The goal is really to get our message out even farther. With this type of media, you can send each issue to whomever you wish. We are very excited to be opening submissions for articles of future issues! The first issue is planned and ready to come out. It is currently planned to be released on June 23rd and it will be our July, August, and September issue. If you would like to have an article you wrote included in future issues please read the submission guidelines on the new Kalytero page and, if your article fulfills them, e-mail it to us at contact@believebetterministries.com.

We really are excited about this new project and hope you are too. If you want to receive a link to the PDF in your e-mail and notification of new issues make sure you sign up over on the sidebar.