Why Did God Create Man?

Of all the questions that could be asked, this one is of vital importance. If we can answer this question, it will enable us to understand the very core of God’s thinking concerning the type of relationship He desires with man. Before proceeding, it is necessary that we first understand exactly what the Bible means when it says “God is love.” There are four Greek words used to describe what our limited English vocabulary calls love. Of the four listed below, see if you are able to determine which definition properly belongs to God’s character.

  1. Storge—A tender, motherly love—instinctual
  2. Eros—A physical or sexual love
  3. Phileo—A brotherly love—friendship, kindness
  4. Agape—An unselfish benevolence

If you chose agape you were right! Why is this so important? Because it helps us understand God’s motivation in creation. We are not merely interested in what God did but why He did it. I have asked many Christians to give their opinion concerning God’s motives and intentions in creating man. Most have given remarkably similar answers. “God created us to worship Him.” “We were made to glorify God.” “He created us for His pleasure.” Now let me ask you some further questions:

  1. Is it not true that God is totally unselfish, willing our highest good without expecting anything in return? (Agape love)
  2. Didn’t God already have a host of beings praising and worshiping Him prior to man’s creation?
  3. Wouldn’t God be egotistical in creating more beings for the express purpose of worshiping Him?

First, let me mention that the Bible does not say that God created men to worship Him. What it does say is that we were created for His pleasure. Now, in the light of the fact that God is love and that His love is a totally unselfish, giving love, why would God derive pleasure in creating man? God has an enormous reservoir of love within His great being and it needs an object of focus. A Being possessing a character of total, agape love derives great pleasure in creating further objects to serve as receptacles for His love. He wants to give and give of the great overflow of His love. Through sin and selfishness, we have lost all concept of this kind of love. We cannot conceive of a Being totally satisfied by giving without any inter- nal strings attached to His love. But this is God. C. S. Lewis adds some intriguing thoughts about God’s love:

In that sense all His love is, as it were, bottomlessly selfless by very definition; it has everything to give and nothing to receive … If the world exists not chiefly that we may love God but that God may love us, yet that very fact, on a deeper level, is so for our sakes. If He who in Himself can lack nothing chooses to need us, it is because we need to be needed … from nonentity to the beloved of God.[1]C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Macmillan, p. 50.

What a marvelous thought! The God of the universe speaks, and out of nothing the earth materializes in obedience to His word. Then this grand Being stoops to gather a handful of the freshly created substance. He uses it to form the shell of a man. Drawing in, He prepares to expel the most awesome, creative force in all the galaxies—the breath of God. Finally He falls in love with His man of dust—who moments earlier was a nonentity. God designed man so that as he perceived and understood God’s revelations of Himself it would be enjoyable to respond to this truth. This is praise; this is worship; this is glorifying God. “Our highest activity must be response, not initiative.” [2]Ibid, p. 51. It is not worked up, it is a natural response to what we see. I believe David, like Adam and Eve, was loved by God because he recognized Him (Ps. 42:1–2). He admonishes in the Psalms to “sing praises with understanding,” or, to put it in other words, sing “naturally.” We ought to see by now that God made man like Himself, not physically, but morally, in order to engage in a personal, intimate love relationship—like with like. If God is personal and has something in common with man, then there is no reason why He should not want to communicate truth about Himself in different ways to the minds of men. If He really wanted to be mysterious and aloof, as Calvin taught, why did He give us His Word, perform miracles on earth and send His Son? He would have been far more mysterious had He not expressed Himself in these ways. The overwhelming weight of evidence leads to the fact that God wants to communicate Himself.

Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out hand, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him. Deuteronomy 4:34–35

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? Proverbs 22:17–21

It is a wonderful passage, “the certainty of the words of truth.” Aren’t you glad in this day and age that we can be certain about something? Yet there are those “learned ones” who still insist that it’s not in our best interest to try and get too close to God. It’s almost sacrilegious to say that God can be understood and that you’re attempting to understand Him. These individuals remind me of the disciples who tried to shoo away the little children when they attempted to get close to the master. Jesus desired that we should understand the scriptures for He knew it was good for us to receive God’s communication of Himself.

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45

God will in fact often go to great lengths to assist someone who is struggling to understand Him:

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning and sitting in his chariot reading Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said: How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him … Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. Acts 8:26–31,35

Bible reading in many churches and homes has become a pious routine, a religious symptom. The great desire of the Ethi- opian eunuch and the Jews of old to read God’s Word for revelation, to read it in order to understand God, has waned. Let’s go back in time, with the aid of Nehemiah’s descriptive narrative, to observe a most interesting and enlightening phenomenon—

And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understand-ing … And he read from it … from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law… Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. … [And] the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Then Nehemiah … and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn Or weep.’ For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law … So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, ‘Be still, for the day is holy, do not be grieved.’ And all the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them. Nehemiah 8:1–3, 5–9, 11–12 (NASB)

Let’s sum up what we’ve observed:

  1. The people asked to hear the Law.
  2. It was read to those who could understand, as it was to be intellectually perceived.
  3. It was read from early dawn to midday— that’s at least six hours.
  4. When the Word of God was opened, all the people stood up and then bowed and worshiped.
  5. The Levites explained to the people what was being read so they would understand it.
  6. All the people wept when they heard and understood the Law.
  7. Finally they left to celebrate and rejoice because they understood the Word of the Lord.

To me, this is one of the most moving and remarkable scriptures I have ever read. It reveals the incredible result of realization. That we would return to reading and studying God’s Word like these Jews! It’s important that we remember the Bible “is not a collection of embalmed truth,” as A. W. Tozer astutely points out. Nor is it “as some appear to think, God’s last will and testament; it is, rather, the written expression of the mind of the living God.” [3]A. W. Tozer, God Tells the Man Who Cares (Christian Publications), p.14. God is fundamentally a creator, and He has not relegated Himself to using the printed word of the Holy Scriptures as the sole means to communicate Himself to man. The Bible itself only claims to be propositional truth about God and his dealings with man. Certainly all the vast realms of creation “declare” Him. His handiwork speaks distinctly of a master workman’s presence. And there are many other sources of moral enlightenment, but none so eloquent or articulate regarding the nature of God’s great heart and its expectations, as when He cloaked Himself with flesh and dwelt among us for thirty-three years. The man, Jesus, no less than the Son of God, came to earth to put the Godhead on exhibition. We read that

God in these last days has spoken to us in His Son … and He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature. Hebrews 1:2–3 (NASB)

For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light (or revelation) of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NASB)

Jesus, who is referred to as the Word of God (Greek, logos), the mind of God in expression, stated clearly, “I have told you everything the Father told me.”

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Macmillan, p. 50.
2. Ibid, p. 51.
3. A. W. Tozer, God Tells the Man Who Cares (Christian Publications), p.14.

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