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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why did God create things?

I am, of course, assuming that God did create.

I have occasionally remarked, in this blog, that the Bible doesn't tell us why God created, or how, or when, but it does tell us Who. I was wrong. We do know something of why God created.

Some people believe that we do know why, and that Revelation 4:11 tells us why: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (KJV. The song "Thou Art Worthy" is based on this verse.) However, that translation is probably misleading. Here's a compilation of several translations of that verse. The majority, including the New KJV, render that phrase as "by your will," rather than "for your pleasure." In fact, the Greek word θέλημα, thelema, translated as "for thy pleasure" in this case, is translated as "at your will" in the 59 other verses where it occurs, in the KJV.

I have now read an article that claims to give reasons why God created. Here are the reasons presented:

1) To show God's glory. Bishop, the author, quotes Romans 1:20 in support of that: "For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse." (All Bible quotations are from the WEB) He could have quoted Psalm 19:
1 The heavens declare the glory of God.
    The expanse shows his handiwork. 

2 Day after day they pour forth speech,
    and night after night they display knowledge. 

3 There is no speech nor language,
    where their voice is not heard. 

4 Their voice has gone out through all the earth,
    their words to the end of the world.  

2) To serve as God's temple. (The author quotes Psalm 78:69, Psalm 93:1-2, and Isaiah 66:1.) I have some problems with this, or at least with the scripture taken to support it. I'm not sure that it does. Psalm 93:1-2 says:
93:1 Yahweh reigns!
He is clothed with majesty!
Yahweh is armed with strength.
The world also is established.
It can’t be moved.
2 Your throne is established from long ago.
You are from everlasting. (WEB)

We aren't to take the last part of verse 1 literally, surely. Why should we take the rest of it as literal, rather than poetic?
Hebrews speaks of a temple of God in the heavens. Why did God need a temple on earth, then? I'm not convinced.

3) Bishop writes: "Another of God’s purposes, that we’ve already seen, is for creation to become uniquely what it is called to be in Christ." OK. I can see that one, even though there's not explicit scripture cited for it. Bishop might have used Romans 8:18-25. (See below)

4)Bishop's next reason is that God wanted to populate the earth with life. He uses Isaiah 45:18 as part of his justification. Here it is:
45:18 For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens,
the God who formed the earth and made it,
who established it and didn’t create it a waste,
who formed it to be inhabited: (WEB)

5) The author's last reason is this: ". . . God intends for creation to be an arena for comprehensive redemption . . ." He uses Romans 8 as his Biblical justification.

In summary, after reading Bishop, I conclude that, while we can't understand all of God's purposes, we can grasp, from the Bible, that God's plans were to create beings for His glory, and to redeem creation.

Thanks for reading.


Pete D said...

So he did it to show off and be praised! How narcissistic!

Martin LaBar said...

Well, that's one way of looking at it.

Thanks, Pete.

Weekend Fisher said...

I like the roundup. The "why" is always something we wonder about.

Still, I'm a simple sort. Genesis keeps saying "He saw that it was good." Maybe that's something to consider for the collection: God wanted to do it because it was good.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

That's a good answer, Weekend Fisher.