Doctrine | God
What does the Bible teach about God?
Question | Why did God make all things?
Answer | God made all things for Himself, according to His perfect will and for His good pleasure. He created everything to display His greatness and to bring Him glory.
Scripture | Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him.
Explanation | With our previous question, we looked at how God made all things. But now, with this question, we learn why God made all things. When we ask why God made all things, we are really trying to understand His purpose for creating. And as we begin thinking about God’s purpose in creating all things, it might be helpful to remember why He didn’t make all things. So for example, God didn’t make all things because He somehow needed to. He was perfectly fine with only Himself, existing as He has forever as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Why then did he make all things?
God created all things for Himself. All of creation was designed and made by God, for God. We can see this clearly in our verse, above—‘all things were created through Him and for Him.’ Put another way (and another way of putting it negatively, too), He didn’t create all things for you or me. Yes, God has given us good things as a part of His creation, and we can and should enjoy what He has made and provided for us. However, His highest goal in making all things was not for us, but for Himself. When the Bible talks about all things being for God, it means that creation—which includes you and me—is to be for God’s purposes, to serve Him and His plan. We have life because of Him and are to live all the time for Him.1 It’s not the other way around. He doesn’t exist for us, we exist for Him. But even more, that creation is for God also means that it was intended by God to please Him. He made all things for His good pleasure. Think about when you’ve made something (for example, working with wood, building something, putting ingredients together, making a craft, working on a project around the house, or even fixing something). You’ve no doubt experienced a fair bit of frustration when either the process or the result didn’t quite work like you were hoping. But, what about when it has gone well? How did you feel? I’m guessing, you felt a sense of satisfaction or pleasure. Maybe even a smile came to your face when you were done. In a similar (but not the same)way, God made all things because it pleased Him to do so. To be sure, it’s not as if God isn’t or can’t be happy apart from His creation. No, not at all! Yet, at the same time, the Bible tells us that it pleases God to create and to provide for His creation, especially us.2 And, let me take this a step further. For all things to be for God’s pleasure—without implying that He needs anything other than Himself to be happy—also means that He is a pleasurable God who is pleased to have us share in His pleasure.3
God created all things according to His perfect will. What is God’s will? When the Bible talks about our will, it is often referring to either our desire for something, or our determination to do something. Similarly (but again, not entirely the same), when the Bible talks about God’s will, it usually refers to either what God wants to see happen based upon what He knows is best, or what He makes happen according to His perfect plan for all things. Yes, God has a will. He’s not indifferent, indecisive, or complacent. Nor, does He ‘fly by the seat of his pants.’ As it relates to creation, this means that God’s decision and action of making all things was according to Him, according to His will. There was nothing outside of Him that caused Him to create. No one put Him up to it, nor put any pressure on Him to make anything. It was all according to His will.4 He intended to make all that He made. Creation didn’t just happen or happen by chance. It wasn’t a mistake (not even a happy little accident). It wasn’t an unintended result of something else He was trying to do, nor was it Plan B. And, His intention to make all things was perfect. His will to create everything was perfect. It was right. It was best. There wasn’t a better way. There wasn’t a better plan. And keep in mind, this includes you and me. We are a part of His perfect will. We might wonder about the hows and the whys of what God is doing in and with His creation, especially as it relates to our lives. That is, we might not only ask why God made us, but perhaps even more, why He allows certain things to happen to us. But we must remember that God’s plan to make all things is perfect, even if we don’t see or understand His will perfectly.5 And this is true not only with what God has done in the past (He’s made all things), but also with what God continues to do in our present (He sustains and directs all things perfectly according to His will).
God created all things to display His greatness and to bring Him glory. Because God is infinite—meaning, here, that we cannot know everything there is to know about Him, nor even understand all of His ways—we certainly cannot say that we know all of the reasons why God chose to create as He did. However, the Bible is very clear that we can know some of His purposes for His creation.Why did God make all things? The Bible tells us that all of creation has been intended by God to do two things: display Him and bring Him glory. And these two purposes go hand-in-hand, like two sides of the same coin. By display Him, we mean that all of creation was intended to make God known. In other words, we can see and understand something about God, in part through His creation. The Bible tells us that creation is constantly telling us something—it ‘declares,’ ‘proclaims,’ ‘pours out speech,’ ‘reveals knowledge,’ all about God.6 While we can’t know everything about God by looking at and listening to His creation, we can and should know something. In fact, we are told that God has made it so plain to us that we are ‘without excuse’ if we ignore and reject what God has intended for creation to tell us about Himself.7 By bring Him glory, we mean that all of creation was intended to make much of God. What does it mean to bring God glory? It means not only to know who He is, but to respond to who He is as He deserves. And what He deserves is our praise and worship, our thanks and obedience.8 What God does—for example, in creating us—He does for ‘His name’s sake’—that is, so that He can be known and cherished. We were made by God for His glory. Let us then live in such a way that magnifies Him, not us or the rest of creation.9
This is what the Bible teaches about God.
1 1 Corinthians 8: 6 Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (See also, Acts 17:28, 2 Corinthians 5:15)
2 Luke 12: 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
3 Psalm 16: 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (See also, Psalm 147:10-11)
4 Psalm 135: 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (See also, Revelation 4:11)
5 Psalm 18: 30 This God—his way is perfect;the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (See also, Romans 11:33-35)
6 Psalm 19: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 Romans 1: 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
8 Romans 1: 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (See also, Exodus 9:16, Ezekiel 20:9, 14, 22)
9 Romans 11: 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (See also, Isaiah 43:7)