Just a simple, quick question, right? I am teaching Gen. 1-3 this semester, just a 1-credit course, but needless to say full of discussion. (I have not even gotten to Day 6 yet and we are five weeks in.) During our discussion a few weeks ago the question of why God made the world came up. Now I often say that Gen. 1 is not a guide on how to create your own cosmos, but that it was written to tell us who created the world and why. I realize now that I have been very loose in my language.
It is obvious that I meant in the first instance that Gen. 1 was written to tell us about God and that he is the sole creator of our existence. But when I have said that Gen. 1 tells us why were created, I did not really mean “God’s motivation is revealed to us” since, in fact, Genesis and the Bible never indicates why God created our reality. There may be hints here and there that no doubt systematic theologians will present as a fully formed theology, but the biblical text never gives it to us directly. Was God lonely, bored, did he need us? I think our Jewish or Christian context (and perhaps Muslim as well) condition to immediately respond “no” to any of those suggestions, but what was God’s motivation? I am very curious as to what you think so please leave a comment.
9 thoughts on “Why did God create the world?”
I recall a story about George Washington Carver – name from memory – he asked God why he created the world – and God said – that’s too beig a question. OK said George, then why did you create me? Still too big a question, says God – OK says George – why did you create … the peanut. OK says God now let me show you about the peanut. And GWC discovered and taught a myriad of uses and aspects of the peanut.
All that aside – God I think created the world for joy, for love, for play, in holiness. Proverbs 8. And he created it for mystery and discovery and comfort – Job 3 and Job 39. These are the necessary poetry and parable to put beside Genesis 1.
I observe both in the sacred texts and in my daily living that God created us and the world for fellowship with God. In addition to faith, hope and charity, I find sanity, encouragement and guidance to build up daily life, not tear it down.
In LDS theology, and scripture, we believe that we existed as spirits before we were born to this earth. As spirits, our progression was limited because there were many things we could not learn without a body. We believe that God the Father is literally the father of our spirits. We believe He has a tangible body, and that in order to become more like Him, we needed a body also. The creation of the Earth was part of the “Plan of Salvation” that would enable us to become more like our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ’s role in this was the most important, because He overcame death so that after this Earth life is over, we can be resurrected and continue to progress. Through His atonement, He also made it possible for us to repent of our sins so that we will be worthy to enter God’s presence after this Earth life is over. So the purpose of this Earth was to give us a place where we could obtain a body, and also experience and learn things we couldn’t learn as a spirit.
You might be interested to read some of our scripture about the creation of the world. It is found in the book of Moses in the “Pearl of Great Price”. Much of it is similar to the Genesis account, but there are some additions. The Book of Moses is an extract from Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible. You can read the Book of Moses at this link: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/moses/1 (Looney taught me to embed the link, but I”m feeling a little lazy. 🙂
On the one hand God is love. On the other, I don’t see how a single sentient being in a vacuum can experience love. It seems to me that the nature of God as love thus compels the creation of a structure where love can be realized.
Or…that God is Trinity (which I know you believe). I’ve actually discussed this with Muslims before who admitted that Allah’s love, care, justice, etc. are contingent on his creation due to this very issue you pose.
Astute and excellent question.
If one answers the question from within Christian theology there are two points I would offer.
1) God is already a community of love. Father / Son / Holy Spirit. See Orthodox Theology by Vladimir Lossky and also Being and Communion by John Zizioulas. (Obviously a non-Trinitarian understanding of God would not say this or perhaps #2.) This leads to:
2) God did not need to create the universe. Not even to “fulfill his nature”. God is entirely free and did not create out of necessity.
Unfortunately that does not entirely answer the question “why”. Perhaps “because he wanted to”. I like how Bob McDonald answers it.
It couldn’t be so that eve would eat it.
God created the world because he thought we would like it,he created us because he likes loves us …..its that simple