By: Sarah Norman
Why did God create the world? I think this answer is both easy and complicated all at once. The easy answer is God created the world and us and everything in the world because he loves us. But once we begin to consider all the evil in the world, all that the world gets wrong, the answer becomes harder to figure out.
It says in Genesis 1 after everything He created, that “it was good.” Everything God created pleased Him, it brought Him joy. And then on the sixth day He said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness...so God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them,” (Genesis 1:26-27). The concept of image bearer is one I have thought much about in the past several years as I try and teach my sons how we treat people, how we love people. People are made in the image of God. Justin brought up a point this week that I had never considered before. We are told to not make false idols, false images to worship because God is who we should worship. Created images are not meant to point to God because we are the created images meant to point to God. That doesn't mean that we worship ourselves or the people God created, but we are to live our lives in such a way that points other people toward the one who created us.
The purpose of God creating us was solely for His glory. The rebellious, human nature in me bristles and gets defensive when I think about this. When Justin mentioned it this week, I immediately thought about how arrogant that sounds, that God would create us for the sole purpose of glorifying Himself. It's so easy to put humanness on this concept, which is why I think sometimes it's difficult to understand and except. If I put it in a human context, my husband and I create a child so that child will reflect wonderfully on us and will grow up to glorify us. That is completely the wrong way to think about becoming a parent. Mostly because it will not happen. We are humans who sin and let each other down. Our children will not always reflect well on us and if we put something like that on them, they will more than likely end up resenting us. But God is not me, thank goodness. I don't completely understand the concept of an omniscient, all-powerful, always has been and always will be creator, but I am thankful that I don't have to. If I could understand exactly why God created me and everyone and everything on this earth and in the universe, then God wouldn't be God. God would be something I've made in my own image which will always disappoint me.
So when we think about the fact that God's motive for creating us was for His glory, that's not a bad thing. It's what He deserves. When I stop and think about the world we live in, the creatures that walk the earth, the land and it's beauty, the people created, not to mention the magnificent universe and beyond that's yet to be discovered by humans, I am in awe of God. Psalm 19:1 tells us “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.” When I stop and think about all that God has done, all that God has created, all that God has worked in my life, I have no other response than to worship Him with the awe that he deserves.
Justin asked a second question this morning, “Why did God create this world.” We can look at all the things God created both in the world and the universe beyond earth and see how amazing they are and see how they reflect God's goodness. But it's more difficult sometimes to wonder why He created a world where people would not worship Him, but rather worship themselves or other gods they created. When he made Adam and Eve, he knew what they would choose. He didn't want to create robots who all fell in line and did exactly what they were told. That love and devotion wouldn't have been real. So he gave us a choice, while at the same time knowing exactly what they would choose, what we would chose. God had a plan from the very beginning. We go back to the end of Genesis chapter 1 where it says, “Let us make humankind in our image,”. That is not just God the father talking, but God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He had a plan, even then to save humanity from ourselves. He knew what Adam and Eve would choose and so he knew that eventually, when the world was ready, God the Son would come to Earth to save us from our sins, to save us from ourselves and the destructive choices that we most certainly will make when left to ourselves.
As we are in this Lenten season, preparing our hearts for the joy of Easter, this is what we have to reflect on. We are sinners. Left on our own, we deserve nothing but Hell. Without the blood of Jesus as our sacrificial lamb, that is what would most certainly have happened to all of us. No one can live the perfect life required to be in communion with our Holy God. The time leading up to Easter is not necessarily meant to be joyous as we consider what it was that put Jesus on the cross. I lament the fact that it was my sin that put Him on the cross. And if it was only my sin, and no one else, He still would have done it, He still would have died to save even one person. But it wasn't just me. We are all sinners. We all deserve Hell apart from Jesus. But that is not where God left us. Easter happened just for that purpose. Jesus died as the perfect spotless lamb sacrifice, but then defeated death and rose from the grave. That power that rose Jesus from the grave is the power that saves us, the power that allows us to say no to the sin that dwells in us.
John Piper says “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” God created us for His glory. So often we think that can only mean just sitting in a church pew, singing songs that we don't always like, listening to a boring preacher (not Justin of course), and then going home. But we don't always know how to glorify him outside of church. While God created us for His glory, He also created us all different. He gave every person gifts and talents and a creative brain to figure out how to use those gifts and talents to serve Him. Our glorifying God by being satisfied in Him does not look the same for every person. It can be done through art, through our work, through our relationships, through hobbies. God can use any passion we have for His glory if we are willing to give it over to Him. So consider today what you love to do, what God has given you a passion for. Think about how you can use that love to serve God and bring Him glory.