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THEOLOGY > God > Work of Creation > The Purpose of Creation


THE PURPOSE OF CREATION

God chose to create. He created because of His own will, His own determination, His own purpose; He is the One “who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). Matter is not the result of an accident, or randomness, or chance; rather, it is the result of a purpose, God’s purpose. God’s heavenly creation proclaims in worship: “You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11). The will of God is the explanation for all that is.

The act of Creation was a purposeful act by God alone. “He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion” (Jer. 10:12). God did not create because of a necessity outside of Himself, neither because of a deficiency within Him, nor because of counsel around Him. By His own wisdom He created, by His own power. Creation was a free act by the Godhead, with no constraints or necessity; it flowed from God’s will, which is totally free in its determination. God’s will alone is the explanation for Creation! “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:10). The twenty-four elders in heaven affirm: “For you created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

No necessity outside of God compelled Him to create. He was not constrained to create; He was under no compulsion or obligation from some law or requirement that existed independent of Him. God is not under law—He is law. His character does not conform to law, rather His character establishes law. A standard does not guide Him, because He is the standard.  Nothing is superior to God; sovereignty belongs to Him alone (see: God is Sovereign). Besides God there is no other. Totally independent is the God of heaven. Uncaused and unconditioned are His acts; their explanation resides only in God. He acts and He acts freely. So it is improper to speak of something exterior to God that compelled or motivated Him to create. He created, not out of obligation or coercion, but out of purpose, His own purpose. The rationale for Creation resides in God alone.

No deficiency or loneliness within God precipitated Creation. God did not create because He needed to create or because He needed a Creation; God was not alone and in need of companionship. Creation does not enhance His being; it does not fulfill Him or satisfy an emptiness that is endemic of God. God is all perfection; He is complete within Himself—God is God! If God had so pleased He could have continued alone for all eternity; His existence would have been complete and the thrice holy God would be in need of nothing.

God cannot even be compared to Creation; Isaiah poses a question: “To whom then will you liken God?” (40:18). He also writes:

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field . . . Behold the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales . . . All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless . . . It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers . . . “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things” (40:6, 15, 17, 22, 25-26).

No counsel outside of God contributed to His act of Creation. “Who has directed the Spirit of YHWH, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice?” (Isa. 40:13-14). God Himself is perfect wisdom; Paul speaks of “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33) and of “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10). Job, out of his experience, affirms: “With Him are wisdom and strength; He has counsel and understanding” (12:13). Out of His own infinite and perfect wisdom God purposed to create. By His own wisdom and knowledge God created, and His wisdom guided Him in His Creation work:

YHWH, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all (Ps. 104:24);

Out of His immeasurable wisdom God determined to create, and by His own wisdom He was guided in Creation. In God alone resides the impetus that brought about Creation. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords . . . to Him who alone does great wonders . . . to Him who by wisdom made the heavens (Ps. 136:3-5);

YHWH by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew (Prov. 3:19);

He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding (Jer. 51:15).

Why did God create? The Scriptures are silent. No clear statement is given as to why God chose to do what He was not constrained to do. Perhaps it is unwise to consider the “why” of Creation, because the creature is seeking to comprehend the Creator’s act, an impossibility. Or, perhaps, this is the most fundamental question of all, and it is appropriate for the creature to seek to understand the Creator in light of the Revelation that has been given by God to man. Possibly, the greatest question is not, “Is there a God?” but, “Why did God create?”

Often the suggestion is set forth that God created the universe in order to show forth His glory; and, conceivably, there is no other legitimate suggestion. Scripture, without being definitive, appears to support this supposition: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1; NASV: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God”). The psalmist continues: “And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (Ps. 19:1-3). The beauty, the grandeur, the splendor, the wonder of Creation speaks of its Creator. According to the psalmist, the day and night are constantly speaking to man and revealing knowledge to man of the magnificence of God: the glory of creation is the glory of God.

All of creation testifies of God, from the fluttering butterfly to the soaring eagle, from the fragile tropical fish to the dominating orca, from the blazing sunset to the fixed summit; all with one voice proclaim God and the fact that God is the God of glory. In Creation is seen the Creator. Calvin called Creation the “glorious theater” in which man contemplates God’s workings (Institutes, I, 6, 2). And the works manifest the Glory, the ineffable, inexpressible Glory.

The psalmist also affirms: “The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory” (Ps. 97:6). The peoples of the earth hear the voice of Creation day and night proclaiming the glory of the Lord, the majesty of the Maker. The works of God are obvious; they cannot be denied. “Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Ps. 139:14). And the works that cannot be denied attest to the One who made them and to His brilliant glory. And these works are seen and known by all people.

To see Creation is to see the glory of God; to hear the message of Creation is to hear the declaration of God and the declaration of His magnificent glory. To be confronted with Creation is to be convinced in the soul that God is real and that He is majestic. It is a constant and an inescapable message because it is so surrounding and engulfing; man cannot determine to avoid it—to live is to hear the message. Only the fool would reject it. To be alive is to be faced with God, the God who is glorious. Man is without excuse. To think otherwise is to be characterized by perverted thinking (see: Perverted Thinking).

In the manifestation of the glory of God is the God of glory. To be confronted with the glory is to be confronted with God: where God is, there is glory; and where there is glory, there is God. In revealing His glory, God is revealing Himself, His glorious perfections. To gain knowledge of the glory is to gain knowledge of God. Paul writes to the Romans: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are with without excuse” (1:20).

Either creation communicates and affirms to man something of who God is, or creation confirms to man the innate knowledge that he has, a knowledge that God is and the type of God that God is. Since the moment of Creation this preaching by the heavens and the earth has been taking place; God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen. God’s witness of Himself is everywhere—His glory fills the cosmos.

Solomon prayed:

Blessed be YHWH God,
the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.
Ps. 72:18-19

God’s glory speaks of His moral perfection, His beauty of person, His holiness of essence, His Triune excellence. Glory is not a substance He has, but His glory is what He is. It is His greatness, His omnipotence, His authority: it is His sovereignty. “His glory is above the heavens” (Ps. 113:4; 148:13) because He has set His glory above the heavens (Ps. 8:1). God’s glory is both immanent and transcendent; it is both visible and invisible. His glory inspires worship and creates dread; it brings comfort or consternation. To the believer it is the glory of the One who is both Creator and Redeemer; to the unbeliever it is the glory of the unknown god.

If the purpose of Creation is the glory of God, then the purpose of Creation is not in Creation itself. One cannot look to Creation to find a purpose for its existence; that is, the purpose of creation will never be found by examining Creation. Rather, the purpose is to be found outside of Creation, not within Creation. And Creation testifies that its purpose is not itself but its purpose is found in the will of the Creator. Creation exists for the sake of the Creator; the Creator does not exist for the sake of the Creation.

God’s display of His glory may indeed be the explanation for Creation, but the Scriptures do not specifically relate Creation to a purpose in God to display His glory, even though Creation does do just that. If that was and is His purpose, it is not a purpose arising from necessity or deficiency. God is absolute in Himself and is in need of nothing. If God’s glory is the why of Creation, then God created in order to make Himself known, for He is “the King of glory” (Ps. 24:10). If the manifestation of His glory is Creation’s purpose, then the why of Creation is found in God and only in God.

Surely YHWH our God has shown us His glory and His greatness,
And we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire.
Deut. 5:24

YHWH has made all for Himself.
Prov. 16:4


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