Pastor Dennis Smith
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Those are the very familiar opening words of the Bible. They provide a very succinct, straightforward revelation of the origin of the physical universe. I happen to agree with many Bible interpreters who understand this opening sentence as describing the creation of the cosmos out of nothing (ex nihilo, as some scholars express it). Genesis goes on to describe how God proceeded to form and order what he had brought into existence.
The New Testament provides more insight into this business of creation. John, in the prologue of his gospel, says of one whom he identifies as the Word, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Then Paul says of the Son of God in Colossians, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible … all things were created by him, and for him.” We understand then that Christ, to whom these two passages refer, was the actual agent in creation.
But the question I want to ask here is why would God even create the world? It would seem there was no necessity for it. I know of no logic that would say that God had to create anything. Theologians speak of God’s transcendence which basically means that he is distinct from his creation and exists apart from it. He is above it and outside of it, so to speak. Although he chooses to interact with his creation, he is not part of it, and it is not part of him. Some have suggested that God created the world and man because he longed for relationships, and he needed someone to love and to love him. I doubt that, for he is perfect and complete in himself and lacks nothing. Frankly, he doesn’t need me or my love, or my obedience for that matter.
So, let me share my personal thought on why God created the world. This admittedly involves some speculation because God’s reasons for creating aren’t spelled out in the Scriptures as far as I can tell. And possibly the ultimate question of “why” is wrapped up in the mysteries of the Godhead. But here I would go back to Paul’s words in Colossians, that all things were created by the Son and for him (emphasis mine). Could it be that God decided to create all things out of his love for the Son? Could it be that God wanted to present the Son with a majestic kingdom for his honor and glory (as I understand Daniel 7:13–14 as well as other passages)? Might that have been God’s ultimate purpose for creation? Again, I can only speculate.
In Psalm 8 we read, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Indeed, why would God set his attention on us as fallen, corrupted creatures? David, the psalmist here, poses a question that may be too deep for anyone to answer fully. But perhaps at least part of the answer is that we indeed have been created for the Son and his glory. Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out … And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
Whether or not we can ever truly know why God created the cosmos and man, may Jesus’ words humble us and spur our devotion to him who gave himself to redeem us and give us everlasting life.