A student at a major university is troubled by questions his professors are asking.
For example: Why did God create man? If one replies that God “needed someone to love,” why couldn’t he just have loved the angels? Whatever may be said about man could apply to them as well. If God already had angels, then why did he create us?
This is an interesting question, likely entertained by many on occasion. A couple of things may be said in response.
God Is Self-Sufficient
It is improper to argue a proposition that suggests God “needed” something. In his speech at Athens, Paul declared:
“The God who made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:24-25; emphasis added).
God is completely self-sufficient. It is one thing to say that God created mankind because he is a God of love (1 Jn. 4:8), and it is quite another to suggest that he created angels and people because of a need to love. Jehovah’s love is simply intrinsic to his nature; “loving” was not a need that would not have been unfulfilled but for the creation of either angels or humans. The fact is, eternal love prevailed among the members of the sacred Godhead long before either angels or men had their genesis.
One must recognize that it is not possible for finite human beings to understand all of the purposes of God. We can only know what he has chosen to reveal (cf. Dt. 29:29) in his sacred Word (biblical revelation). Reflect on Paul’s words:
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33-36).
It is sufficient for us to know, on the basis of well-reasoned evidence, that God exists, that he created us, and that he loves us. And further, that he has provided a plan whereby we may escape from the defilement of our sins, if we will but responsibly use the freedom of choice with which he has endowed us, and so, submit to his will.
In the concluding book of the New Testament, John records the words of the “twenty-four elders,” who fell down before the Almighty. In praise, they proclaimed:
“Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for you did create all things, and because of your will they were, and were created” (Rev. 4:11; emphasis added).
Admittedly, this passage contains some ambiguity. It merely affirms that God brought the creation into existence because he willed to do such. [Note: Isaiah’s earlier testimony, that the “creation” (of the nation of Israel) was for God’s “glory” (43:7), may hint the original creation was similarly initiated.]
But, as one writer has noted, beyond this
“we have no further revelation and must stop with this
thelema[will]. Speculative minds seek to probe beyond this will into the nature of God, into necessity, etc., but only become confused, however profound their speculative deductions may sound” (R. C. H. Lenski, St. John’s Revelation, Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1963, pp. 189-190).