I ended the last post with this statement, attempting to clarify what the God of the Bible is like in contrast to the gods of this world, highlighting 6 things about the Triune God.
However, if I believe in the God of Christianity, the Triune God, I have a God that is altogether different. He is real (a). He created with intentionality (2). He created not out of need but out of love (3). He created and then didn’t run away but remains active in the world (4). He takes all responsibility for what has been, what is, and what will be (5). And if I’ve been made in His image (6) – to do his works, think his thoughts, and represent Him in the world – that makes all the difference.
Now, I want to take a few minutes to unpack that. Today’s post will cover 3, then the next post will cover 3.
He is real
I love what Glen Scrivener says about this. There are 4 answers to the question, “What was there before the beginning?” Scrivener argues that every worldview can be classified into 4 categories based on how they answer that question. First, some answer the question with “nothing.”
If that’s true, then what is the consequence for humanity. We’re an accident. We’re alone in the universe, just happy that some random molecules came together to form our little planet and our little lives. We came from nothing and are returning to nothing, so what’s the point of manhood? Nothing.
The second answer is, “Chaos.” Like Buddhists or Gnostists, something bad happened (we’re often not sure what) in the “cosmos,” and we’re the result. We’re not just “nothing,” we’re the excrement of the Universe. It burped us out. So, men, life is chaos, and nothing really matters. Do whatever you can to escape chaos, even if that means infidelity or abandoning your family.
The third answer is, “Power.” Either power itself (big-bang) or an all powerful, solitary deity (the god of Islam or the Titans) caused us. So, what’s the point of life? Power! Gaining power. Survival of the fittest. Creating a following of slaves and servants. So, men, feel free to conquer and oppress because that’s what life is all about.
But, the Christian answer is different from every other answer. Before creation, Christians argue, there was love. There was a Father loving His Son, in fellowship with the Spirit. We take a sneak peek into Heaven in John 17. We hear God the Son, that’s Jesus, speaking to God the Father. Listen to what they were doing before creation:
17.5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
17.24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
The Triune God, the Christian God, Father, Son, and Spirit were sharing glory with one another before creation. They were loving one another before the foundation of the world. The were giving to and receiving from each other. They were enjoying each other. Isn’t that beautiful?! What does that mean for life? That it is the outflow of love, which we’ll look at in a moment. And for men, it means that whatever characteristics we have, if we don’t have love, then we are not like God, and we are failing at the entire purpose of life.
He created with intentionality
Creation wasn’t a surprise. It also wasn’t just thrown together like a kindergarten art project. No, the all-wise God – Father, Son, and Spirit – working in tandem, together created the world and said afterwards, “It is very good.” The heavens declare the glory of the Lord. The beauty of creation show his power and wisdom. He is intentional, and mankind is meant to live with intentionality within His creation and purposes.
He created out of love, not out of need
God wasn’t lonely before creation. We’ve already seen that. He also didn’t need people to serve him, to meet his needs. No, He was just fine without humanity, without creation. So, why did He create? The great theologians of the Church over the centuries all agree, Father, Son, and Spirit created as an overflow of the love they already experienced together. They had so much love, that they wanted to create a people to whom they could further give their love. A people to fellowship in loving communion with, just like what they already had.
Here’s how Jonathan Edwards put it: The spouse of the Son of God, the Lamb’s wife (the Church) is the reason for which all of the universe was made…God created the world for His Son, that He might prepare a bride for Him to bestow His love upon; so that the mutual joys between this bride and bridegroom are the purpose of the creation.
Isn’t that awesome! And so, if that’s the purpose for God’s work, for God’s activity, for God’s leadership over the new world he has made, then that means we men already know the purpose for our own work, activity, and leadership. Not to be served, but to serve. Not to have our needs met, but to meet the needs of others. Not to acquire and hoard, but to give and pour out.
Come back for the next post when we’ll cover the other 3 points!