Why did God create us? (Systematic Theology Essay)

Posted: November 15, 2011 in Systematic Theology, Theology

(All Scripture references are from the NIV, feel free to look them up in a version of your choice.)

The question “Why did God create us?” excited me when I heard the essay topic, it’s a deep question and I thought I had an easy answer. Turning to Genesis 1:26-31 where God gives man a purpose for his life I thought I would find an answer easily, maybe thinking that God would have put somewhere inside the first words He ever spoke to mankind the reason for which we were created? Genesis 1:26-31 reads, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of lie in it – I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.”
Initially it looks as though we were originally created to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” In Genesis 2:15-25 it goes into more detail about the instructions given to man, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’ The Lord God said, ‘it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
These two scriptures from Genesis alone would be enough to prove that we were created for a purpose, that we are to obey God’s commands and do as He guides us and to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. I went searching for more, there had to be something better and deeper than this than to just have been made to live and listen that God would have created us for. Why would He create us simply to obey Him? Scripture after scripture gives the same commands though. For instance, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 says, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” And what God commands is simply to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. “(Matthew 22:37)
I looked for another reason as to why He would have created us and stumbled upon Romans 9:17, where Paul is talking about how we can’t twist God’s arm into giving us mercy and that just because some were Jews didn’t mean that some were given mercy and others not but that He gives mercy as He chooses and that we are all on equal footing he quotes Exodus 9:16, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” And in Esther 4:14, Mordecai talking to Esther and explaining how God could use her to save Israel says, “For if you remain silent as this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Showing that each of us might have a unique purpose that God has given us aside from simply obeying His commands, but this doesn’t give us an answer as to why He created us at all. He was free to write any story for the world that He would please and He chose this one, before time He had these plans for us and by no means did He have to create us to fulfill these plans. It was all His choice.
As I was praying and looking for a reason as to why God created us, it seemed impossible to find. And then I found a verse, Amos 4:13, in which God was identifying Himself to Israel who had rejected Him. It reads, “He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth – the Lord God Almighty is his name.” This spurred an interesting concept, what if God created us simply because He is Creator? It wasn’t because He needed or wanted anything, but just because in His being He is Creator. I looked to other books and verses to shed light on this. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones of powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” It says in Colossians 1:16, and again in John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The Bible shows that everything was created by God and for Him, the He is creator. Even the very first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1 identifies Him as Creator. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And in Hebrews 11:3, again, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” In Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” And Genesis 14:19 Melchizedek met with Abram “and he blessed Abram, saying, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.” If we go back to Ecclesiastes 12:1, even there it says “Remember your Creator in the days of your youthe, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’ –“ In Deuteronomy 32:6 (Is this the way you repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?”), Matthew 19:4-5 (Jesus quoting Genesis 2:24, “Haven’t you read’, he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”), and Romans 1:25 (“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.”) we find the same thing, God being recognized and identified as Creator in different circumstances and times by different authors. God is to be identified as Creator; it isn’t just something He did, it is part of who He is. In and of Himself, God is Creator God and needs no other reason to create us than that. Put simply, because God is Creator, He created. God chose to create us because He is a Creator.
We can take this truth, that God is Creator God, and apply it to what we found earlier in Scripture as well. Because God is Creator God, He creates purpose for us, His creation, and no one can tell Him how He should create it. He wrote the story of time and the universe before it was, He wrote each of our parts in this grand story of His creativity as a Creator. God created something for us to do, He created guidelines for us, He created the greatest love story ever recorded on His own with Himself as the main character, and us as His lover against all odds spanning the lengths of time and depths of many hearts. He created a fierce battle in which He deals the final blow and sets His bride free from captivity. He created imagination and ingenuity and knows its dimensions and where it will go and places people in its path to change history. He created because He is Creator. Also because He is creator, He can create things that are new, He has never stopped creating. In Psalms 51:10, David cries out to God, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Followed by Psalms 108:1, “My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul.” We see a prayer answered, and a steadfast heart created. God answers prayer, God is for you, and He wants to make us new. In Ephesians 2:14-18 talking to the Gentiles and Jews about their being part of God’s Kingdom through Christ it reads, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” God isn’t just in the business of creating, but also creating new things and recreating the old. God made the church from broken people, both Jews and Gentiles (both those near and far from Him.) People that were once against each other now came along side each other as one body for one purpose because He made a new creation from them. Again in 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul gives us the idea of being new creations because of Christ, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” And in Revelation 21:5, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” No matter how corrupt or broken we become, we serve a Creator God who can and will by His nature make everything new. Thank God we were not just simply created to obey Him, but that He created us because of who He is and not what we are.

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