These two words are found in the very first sentence of the Christian scriptures.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”
This is perhaps the most fundamental and prerequisite belief for a Christian to hold.
Though the “how” is most definitely up for debate among scholars and non-scholars alike, Christians trust that the God of the Bible is indeed the Creator of the universe. This is one of the most unique and identifying beliefs that Christianity inherited from Judaism.
Now, there are a ton of questions that naturally arise when discussing the biblical creation event…
- Why does the account in Genesis chapter 1 differ from the account in Genesis 2?
- Literally, seven days?
- What about Evolution?
- Is Genesis 1 simply a poem?
And I love these questions. I love speculating and dreaming about answers for them.
But at the end of the day, my answer to all of these is “I don’t know.”
And that’s okay, because ultimately, I don’t need to know. These things are peripheral to salvation and completely unrelated to how I live my life day by day. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t search for answers to tough theological questions because I believe just the opposite but I am saying that there are questions we simply won’t ever be able to answer.
God is sovereign over that.
But there is a question that I think we must answer when it comes to Creation.
Why did God create?
I think it imperative to answer this question for two primary reasons:
- I believe there is an answer given in scripture that is true to and revealing of God’s character and nature.
- There are two dramatically unbiblical and contradictory theories floating around that are extremely popular.
The first theory is that God was in want of companionship, therefore God created humanity to fill that desire.
Now, from a human perspective that seems logical, right? It makes sense.
However, if we take into account the doctrine of the Trinity, this theory gets very heretical, very fast. Genesis 1.26 says this,
“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness;'”
So unless God is schizophrenic, God was not alone in the beginning.
For over 1900 years, Christians have believed that God lives in community and always has, even before God created anything. This is the Doctrine of the Trinity, that God is singular in nature and character but plural in person, that God is made up of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is within himself a community. Cornelius Plantinga, a theologian of the highest rank, says this of the Trinity,
“At the center of the universe, self-giving love is the dynamic currency of the Trinitarian life of God. The persons within god exalt each other, commune with each other, and defer to one another. Each person, so to speak, makes room for the other two…. we might almost say that the persons within God show each other divine hospitality.”
God is not in need of companionship and if He was surely He could come up with a better companion than humanity. We don’t even make it a full three chapters into scripture without committing treason against God. The second theory is that God created humanity as worshipers because God was insufficient in glory. Before I say anything else, I believe that God’s first priority is God’s glory. I also believe that the primary reason God does anything is for His glory and that our purpose as human beings on this earth is to glorify Him.
However, it is vital for a correct understanding of the nature and character of God that we recognize that God is completely sufficient within Himself. God needs nothing. God needs no one. As Plantinga said, God is adequately exalted inside the community of the Trinity. We were created for God’s glory, but not because God’s glory was lacking anything at all. As if in some way God was ego-deficient.
This might sound crazy, so get ready for it.
I think God created the universe as part of a grand, wonderful gesture of love for God.
Love tends to make us create. Love makes people produce words, songs, art, babies, etc…
We often create in attempt to glorify things we love. And as we were made in the image of God, I think God is probably highly motivated by love as well.
So, all this to say…God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were all active in Creation in the different ways that fit their unique strength for the purpose of exalting one another out of love.