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Written by Ángel Manuel Rodríguez
Why did God create?
This is a simple question for which there is no simple answer. You are asking for a divine reason or motivation for creating. My impression is that the Bible does not provide an explicit answer to your question. So the only thing left is for us to examine what the Bible says about God, and to try to extrapolate from that a possible answer to your question. I will discuss here God as love, as Creator, and His creativity.
1. God Is Love: The most common answer given to your question is that God created because He is love (1 John 4:8, 16). But that plain statement does not fully answer the question. It simply says that the love of God moved Him to create, without informing us why love wanted to express itself in the act of creation. In fact, it could suggest that since love does not provide a reason, there is no reason for creation. This answer could even imply that creation is irrational and purposeless. To avoid this problem, it has been argued that God’s love urged or moved Him to create, perhaps because He wanted to enlarge the objects of His love outside the inter-Trinitarian relationships. This answers the “why” of creation, but raises new questions. Why did God want to enlarge the circle of love? Did it satisfy a divine longing within the Godhead? You may think that there is no fundamental problem with this answer, but there is.
This answer suggests that the love that characterized the members of the Godhead throughout eternity lacked fullness of expression. This need had to be satisfied through the creation of other creatures to which They could manifest the fullness of Their love. But the real problem with this solution is that God’s love is never directed toward itself; divine love always seeks the benefit or good of the other. If in creating God was satisfying a personal need, then creation was an expression of selfishness, not of love. Obviously we are not suggesting that creation is to be detached from divine love. The question is how to relate the two in a constructive way.
2. God Is Creator: The first thing the Bible tells us about God is that He is the Creator (Gen. 1:1). This title is commonly understood as a divine function: Creation is seen as an expression of His power. And this is true. But by itself this suggests that God did something He had not done before, He became the Creator. The obvious question would be, who was He before creating? All of this is very speculative, I know, it is better to stay with the biblical witness. The Bible interprets the title “Creator” not simply as what God has done but as who He is (Jer. 10:12; Prov. 3:19; Rev. 4:11). Before He began to create, divine wisdom was with Him (Prov. 8:22-31). Therefore the divine capacity to create is inseparable from His divine attributes, from what God really is in Himself. Divine creativity is part of the essence of God.
3. God’s Creativity: The One who imbued us with creativity when He created us in His image is creativity Himself. If I am right, then there has never been a time that creativity was absent from God. His role as Creator is firmly grounded in His creativity. Through it divine wisdom finds expression. It is indeed in the nature of God to create and to love. He created because it is part of His very being to express Himself in acts of creation, not because He had some particular need that had to be satisfied. Creation is meaningful and purposeful because it is part of God’s nature to create as an expression of His freedom and of His creative, loving, and powerful nature.
Since divine creativity is an expression of love, what God creates is good (Gen. 1:31). This means that His creativity is embedded in His exclusive concern for the goodness and exclusive benefit of His creation. Creation does not add anything to God (Acts 17:25), but reveals to His intelligent creatures throughout the cosmos the glories of the divine character.