SEAM – Why Did God Make Us?

Dad, I have a question...

SEAM stands for Something Ezra Asked Me.  Appropriate, since just when I think I have things all sewn up, he asks me a question and it all comes apart.

My son and I have a deal – Monday is question day. Each Monday, the goal is that he will ask, and I will answer, some question that he has about God, Jesus, the Bible, etc. Of course, he can ask me a question about anything, anytime. And we’re not legalistic about it – if he doesn’t have a question one week, we’re both quite confident that he’ll have three questions the next. But pretty much every Monday, we get into a great conversation about some very interesting spiritual topics based on his questions. Since we started doing this – about 8 months or so now – I’ve found these particular talks to be encouraging, uplifting, and challenging.

And humbling. Oh yes, very humbling. In fact, is there anything more humbling to a young preacher than a question asked out of the boundless curiosity, keen insight, and matchless simplicity of a precocious 11-year-old? Questions have ranged from exegetical (“Dad, what’s Paul saying about the law in Romans 7?”) to textual (“Dad, what’s up with Deutero-Isaiah?”); from profoundly simple (“Dad, how do you obtain the grace of God?”) to the maddeningly complex (“Dad, why did God say thou shalt not murder and then tell Israel to fight so many wars?”) – humbling questions all.

Today’s question threw me a bit: Dad, why did God make us?

Indeed… why?

The way I’ve heard the question answered before – and indeed, the way I answered it today – takes the original question and turns it into what did God make us to do? Another important question, but I don’t know if it’s the same.  In any case, we reflected on Ecclesiastes 12:13, Isaiah 43:7, and Revelation 4:11, which collectively suggest that we were created to please, honor, and glorify God.  I think that’s an important concept to grasp – we don’t live for ourselves, but for the God that created us.  Our purpose in life is to please Him.  If my son grows up with that lesson planted in his heart – if it blossoms and grows into a life of trusting faith and fruitful service – then I’ll be happy.

But, still… why?

Why did God choose to create us, knowing the heartache that we would put Him through?  Some might say for love – yet surely God doesn’t need our love. The love between the Father, Son, and Spirit is greater than anything we can fathom, much less offer, and has been in place for all eternity.  Our adoration and praise – how much better can we really do than the angels?  Who knows?  I don’t have all the answers, but I sure am glad my son is asking questions.  More to follow in coming days, but in the meantime I have one for you:

How would you answer a child who asks you why God made us?


2 Comments on “SEAM – Why Did God Make Us?”

  1. Jim Kotter says:

    I agree that in trying to understand our place in God’s universe it is proper to see our existence as designed to please, honor and glorify God in keeping with the references you provided. After all, He is sovereign and is rightfully due all of those things. However, if God created us exclusively or even primarily for those reasons, wouldn’t that reveal Him to be selfish and ultimately motivated only by self-interest? He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) but jealousy and selfishness are not necessarily interdependent. Furthermore, if He only wanted honor and praise He wouldn’t have needed to create humans with the capacity of freewill.

    I think that the nature of fatherhood gives us some insight into this matter. Why, when done so by choice, do parents bring children into this world? Having someone to serve us, particularly in our old age, is a by-product of having children but is not the main purpose for doing so. Neither are parents who have a good marriage lonely nor lacking a person to love because the stated problem that marriage remedied was man being alone and without a suitable partner. (Genesis 2:18) As you correctly point out, a Triune God is not lonely or unloved either. So I must conclude that the reason God made us is the same basic reason for which we have children: to have someone else to show our love to and bless with all the good gifts that we have to offer. (Cf. I John 4:8; James 1:17) In that respect, God created in order to give, not receive something.

    The real question at some point, which you mention in your answer to the SEAM, is “Was it worth it?” Is the measure of good that comes out of creating mankind greater than the measure of evil in the world? My response is that the only one who could ever know that is God. You and I couldn’t know that because our perspective is too limited. Only God is in a position to accurately answer that question. Apparently God thinks that on balance, the good of creating humans is going to outweigh the evil that humans cause or else He wouldn’t have allowed for its possibility by creating us as free moral agents.

    Something that must be bound up deep in the nature of God is a desire to share His love and His blessings, despite the incredible personal cost associated with doing so. I see you using the gift that God has given you to teach the Word as being in the same vein. You possess something which is a blessing to others and you share it in order to show your love, not because you have to and despite the sacrifices and hardships you will endure as a result of deciding to do so. Since God’s act of creation was also a choice, the answer to the question must include the fact that He wanted to in keeping with His desire to love. Love not expressed is not love at all and the love expressed to us through our creation and then our redemption is the most vivid display ever of unselfishly blessing others.

    Props to you for teaching your own son the example of his namesake: “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10)

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