Last week, we started a discussion of what it means to join God as artists and creators. We are always creating, whether or not we mean to be. At the very least, we are creating memories, impressions, relationships, patterns of thinking/feeling/acting; and we are creating legacies.
We began by addressing why God made the world. Not out of lack or need, but out of completeness and overflow, the Trinity made the world in keeping with Their own nature—beautiful, good, orderly. Why, then, did God make us, God’s image-bearers? Take time now to consider how to answer this age-old question.
Some say God made us to serve Him. I doubt it. In Acts 17:25, we are reminded that God “is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Though we are to serve obediently, God didn’t make us because He needed billions of slaves to till His Garden.
Some say God made us to love Him. Maybe. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (Lk 10:27). All of Scripture is the story of God’s patient, persistent pursuit to make us His beloved children, complete with a Family resemblance and an inheritance. Yet, even we as imperfect parents know not to “create” a child because we want to get love. God, the perfect Parent, wants us to love Him, but God did not make us in order to get love.
God’s love was already complete in the Trinity. God was never lacking love. Our triune God’s very nature is love (1 Jn 4:8). Please be clear that in speaking of God as Love, I am not limiting “love” to a sweet, comforting sensation. Sometimes God’s love is fierce and powerful, unpredictable, like a refining fire, a whirlwind, an avalanche, or a flood. And sometimes God’s love is a refuge, a fortress, or a shield. God’s love is active, sometimes instructing, disciplining, and setting boundaries. God’s love also forgives, holds, comforts, and soothes. May we never make the mistake of believing we have captured the essence of God as Love by even beginning to comprehend it.
The love flowing in the Trinity overflowed into the creation of a new recipient of God’s love—Adam and Eve, you and me. God made us to be receivers of His abundant love and forgiveness. The more we receive God’s love, the more we give back to Him and to others.
Some say the “chief end” of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Yes, at last! This does not mean we were made just to worship God. Jesus said “even the rocks” would cry out if humans did not worship him (Lk 19:40). God does not need worshipers or admirers. God is not on a cosmic ego trip.
What, then, does it mean that we were made to glorify God? As image-bearers, we reflect our Maker, which brings God honor. In addition, we sons and daughters were “created for [God’s] glory” (Is 43:7). The word “glory” here means the manifestation of God, displaying in material form a spiritual Reality. The Trinity made us to share in and display Their goodness, holiness, creativity, beauty and love. As we receive God and His love through the Son, we are transformed and begin to shine with the Family resemblance, which in turn glorifies God.
So, why did God make us? To actively, continuously, daily receive and surrender to His love, which changes our hearts and lives in ways that display the reality, character and intent of God for all humanity and for all the world. In this way we glorify God and will enjoy Him forever.
How then can we shine the Family resemblance and glorify God as artists or creators? Think, pray, and journal about this. In particular, how might we integrate the eight principles of design—Dominance, Balance, Contrast, Gradation, Variation, Alternation, Harmony and Unity—into the lives we are creating with God? We will begin by discussing Dominance.