While I am in Bible school and have a million things to read and to study I have been thinking, praying, reading about the meaning of life.
It all started with a simple question: Why did God create us?
As Christians we have different answers to that.
First of all let’s put the first one out of the way: Love.
God created us to love us. It is essentially incorrect and let me explain why.
The uniqueness of our faith is that our God is three in One. In other monotheistic religions God is simply one but our God is three in One. According to Islam this is heresy and a serious sin. But If God is one and God is love then God needs an object for his love and therefore God needs to create to express his nature, to express love. Hence God would needs us. This is incorrect. God is three in One and love is already present within the Godhead, love is already present within the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is love and God loves, with and without his creation. God created us and loves us, but he didn’t do it because he had to but because he wanted to.
So the purpose of our lives, the reason for our creation is not love but God’s desire and will.
I hope you are still following because we are moving a second common answer to the question ‘why did God create us?’
We will say for His glory. We have biblical ground to defend this view. Isaiah 43:7:”everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” and 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Have you ever heard a preacher saying something alike”If you would have been the only person on earth God would still have sent his Son to die for your sins and to have an eternal relationship with you.” That is beautiful and many people came to faith just thinking of that but doesn’t it make you wonder: “What if there was only one human being on earth, would his or her purpose in life be to glorify God?”
According to the Bible there was such a time as this. God created the world and everything in it and on the 6th day he created Adam, and chapter 2 of Genesis tells us that first it was just Adam, the animals and God. So did God create Adam, the only human on earth, for His glory? Did Adam have to glorify God for the animals to see his glory? Psalm 19 verse 1 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” God doesn’t need us to glorify himself.
There is no question if whether or not we should glorify God. We must. This is our mission on earth, to glorify our Father in heaven as Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven, but is this the reason for our creation? Why did God create us? Was it for his glory?
There are two words that don’t appear in Genesis 1, love and glory. And I think we wish sometimes Genesis was a lot simpler, well I do anyway. I wish it would be a book about God explaining plainly why he created us and what he expects from us. But no, we have a talking snake a rib-made woman instead and we have to work out God’s intention with that. Genesis doesn’t say “God wanted to glorify himself so he made mankind.” Nor does he say anything about his love for us. But God created and “saw all that he had made, and it was very good” Genesis 1:31. Again and again God declares his creation good, God was pleased with his creation. God created us not because he needed to but because he wanted to and he was please. I believe therefore that God created us for his pleasure.
There are two instances in the Gospel where the voice of God from Heaven is heard, the first is at Jesus’ baptism, Jesus is in the Jordan river and God speaks from heaven and says:”This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) or in Mark “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (1:11). The second time God speaks from heaven is at the transfiguration and God says: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5) and in Luke “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” (9:35). Here again the emphasis is not on God’s pleasure. The Father loves the Son and is pleased with him.
Do you know what is the first words that Jesus speaks in the Gospel of Matthew? It is verse 15 of chapter 3:”Let it be so now,” Jesus replied. “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness in this way.” Then John permitted Him.” Don’t you find it a little bit underwhelming? It is just before Jesus’ baptism and we see that all that he is concerned about is to do the Father’s will, “it is fitting” can also be translated by it is acceptable or appropriate. What I see in this is that Jesus is being baptized because He knows it is God’s will and it will please him.
For one of our classes we had to memorize and meditate on the verse Psalm 19:14 :”May these words of my mouths and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.” and it is our ultimate goal, our ultimate longing, not that we would glorify God, not that we would serve him, not that we would make him known, but first and foremost that we would please him, our Heavenly Father and our Great Maker.
This is David’s expression of an utmost longing, the longing to please God.
Paul seems to have understood that as well as he says to the church in Ephesus “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the world. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:10) and to the church in Thessaloniki “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (Thessalonians 4:1)
How therefore do we please God? What displeases God?
What pleases God is holiness and what displeases God is sin. “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” Hebrews 12:14
How do we become holy? Through Jesus.
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:22-24
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.” Ephesians 5:1
Now how is this relevant to us?
Have you ever felt discontent? One of the first things I realised when I became a Christian is that I felt utterly content. Jesus says in John chapter 4″whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” I used to be an atheist and to live my own way, and though I was not really aware of it I was seeking to please others and when I was not I was seeking to please myself, and isn’t what we see in the world right now? People living for themselves or people looking for identity in others. But as I became a follower of Christ I understood that it absolutely didn’t matter what people thought of me as long as I loved them more than myself in accordance to God’s commands :”consider others as more important than yourself” Philippians 2:3.
We know what pleases God, that we would be holy, that we would glorify him and that we would serve him, but we mustn’t forget that the first goal is to please him so that we will not seek our worth in service, but in him who loves us and takes pleasure in us.