This question is asked time and time again. Throughout history, those who accept God’s existence as foundational to our own have asked, “Why did God make us?” The short biblical answer is for His pleasure. Typically Revelation 4:11 is quoted in the KJV translation, “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.” I believe the reason for the quote being consistently rendered in the King James Version is because the Greek word translated here as “pleasure” is more commonly translated as “will” in other versions and “will” more directly infers simple choice rather than a desire. Though the word “pleasure” denotes desire I believe “desire” would be the most accurate translation because the simple answer to the question, “Why did God make us?” is relationship.
The simple answer, however, needs clarification only so God’s infallible character is not misconstrued as Him needing something, as if He in and of Himself were not enough. God in His infinite being is self-sufficient meaning He needs nothing from any other source for He is the source of everything. God is life. He is light. He is love. All these things that He is are inextricably interwoven just as the “physical” expressions of His being are, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For now, let us focus on the one characteristic of God that relates most directly with our answer and that is love.
God is love. He doesn’t just embody love He is the source, the definition, the author of it. Being love, again, He is self-sustaining. He doesn’t need anything or anyone else to love Him because He is its ultimate expression. But being love, one of the fundamental qualities of love is the desire (not need) to share it with another but not just share, have it reciprocated. Reciprocation requires by definition that there be some equality between both parties and as God’s creation our very nature negates the possibility of equality with God. Nevertheless, God made a way.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
There is one thing that we and our God both have, by His design, and I believe it is this common attribute that is at the heart of the “imago dei”. Love is sacrifice and God in His infinite love and wisdom gave up something long before He came down to us in the flesh. He could easily have created perfect beings who felt love for Him and returned His affection blindly adoring their Creator eternally. However, the value in a relationship isn’t found in a blind or obligatory return. Its value is found, created really, when the desire to relate is returned freely, of its own accord. There is only one inherent characteristic of all mankind that can allow a relationship like that to be possible and that is free will. God, in a sense, sacrificed for a time the perfection of His creation*, in His desire to have a freely reciprocated love relationship with us. God’s will is absolute, don’t misunderstand. We only exist because of His will and without it we would cease to be. Our will is not equal to God’s in power but equal only in the sense of our ability to freely choose.
People ask all the time, what is the point of this? Why allow pain? Or evil? The simple answer is that in order for this relationship to be of any real value there had to be free choice and choice requires something to choose between. Life and death. Good and evil. Light and dark. The world sees these things as balancing contrasts as if one cannot exist without the other but that’s not true. It’s our finite perspective, our vision clouded by the limits of time that makes them appear to be contrasting equals. In reality all you have to do to see the truth is light a match. The flame itself casts no shadow.
Death is the absence of life. True life exists without death because God is true life and He exists outside of death. But the choice between the two would not exist. True good is the absence of evil and true light is the absence of dark but again where would free choice be if we weren’t in this finite world where we could see both the presence of and the absence of these things. That means that for a limited time the resulting pain and suffering that comes from imperfect people making imperfect choices is necessary and actually is to our benefit and to God’s glory because without it we would not have this opportunity to choose. Without choice our lives might have purpose as a rock has purpose or water has purpose but this life would have no value to us without relationship and that is in direct opposition to God’s desire for reciprocal love.
God’s desire for us is so great that He doesn’t want a relationship with just some of us but all of us.
“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness. But He is patient with us, because He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
God’s desire to have a reciprocating love relationship is so great it is the reason for creation even knowing we would fall. It is the reason for the redemptive work of His Son Jesus, to restore us to the perfection necessary to be with Him. Even the reason for Judgement Day is for our benefit not His because it is to show us all the opportunities we squandered when we chose against life and ran headlong toward death and to show the saved the justification of their faith in Him. This relationship God so desires with us is the reason for all the things he has done, is doing, and will do. It has all been done for us, out of love, God’s perfect love.
There is wrath, judgement and death in the bible, true and that is exactly what is in store for those who perpetuate death by choosing against life, light and love which is God. There is and always has been only two choices for mankind, life or the absence of it. Either we are with God or against Him and yes, it’s an all or nothing proposition. Scary as that sounds, that is reality. But this is also why the bible is a love story. God loved His creation so much He brought them into existence with the gift of choice and then gave them every opportunity to believe and every evidence for that belief and every good reason to choose well. Means, motive and opportunity. In the end, it will be because of love we were here at all. Whatever we choose, the accountability of our choice remains with us however. Choose God, every moment, every day and you will be choosing life, light and love.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve [life or death]… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15; interpretation added
I would encourage each of you if you have never chose to know God before for whatever reason, to pray to Him now with all sincerity and ask Him to show you His love, through His word and through your life. Patiently seek Him and wait upon Him and you will see His love in the most amazing and unexpected places! A little bit of faith, a penitent heart and a sincere call on God for His hand and love in your life and the transformation that will occur within you as you continue to pursue your new found love for Him will astonish you! God bless.
*From God’s wide-angle perspective even the imperfect creatures we are, are a part of His perfect plan and in that sense He did not sacrifice perfection He consummated it.