Recently in a conversation somebody told me that there is no logical way that a loving creator would ever make beings for the sake of their happiness while still giving them free will to ruin that happiness. They were, of course, referring specifically to the Judeo-Christian account of creation, and criticizing it because it seems ridiculous that a creator would create beings so that they would be happy with the full knowledge that they would mess everything up and suffer. It seems illogical that a loving and good God would create a race of beings in paradise so that they would be happy, tell them not to do something while knowing that they would eventually do it, then inflict suffering upon them for breaking the rules that they were bound to break anyways. This is a very complex issue, but it rests on a single flawed assumption; that within the Judeo-Christian framework God created mankind for the sake of mankind’s happiness.
I am not saying that God created man to be unhappy creatures. But there is a difference between saying that God created man with the potential for happiness, and saying that God created man for the sake of happiness itself. If man had indeed been created merely for his own happiness, then surely a reasonable creator would have made mankind happy little robots with no free will (yes I said free will, we can talk about free will itself in a later article) so that we would not mess up our own utopia. Surely, since God is omniscient, He knew that the fall of mankind would happen when man sinned, and that would bring about suffering for mankind thereby ruining the happiness that He supposedly made man for in the first place.
It seems then that there must be a different purpose for mankind, and I would propose that the purpose of man is to worship, bring glory to, and love God through obedience. 1 Corinthians 10:31 makes it pretty clear that we are to live for God’s glory when it says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (ESV)” Isaiah 43:21, which says, “The people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise (ESV)” gives us an idea of how important our worship and adoration is to God. Psalm 150:6 emphasizes the importance of our praise to God when it says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (ESV)”
It is evident throughout Scripture that the purpose of mankind is to worship and bring glory to God both through words and actions. God does not just want empty superficial gestures of praise, He desires true commitment and obedience. We can see this in 1 Samuel 15 when Saul deliberately failed to obey God’s orders in the war against the Amalekites. 1 Samuel 15:22 records, “…Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. (ESV)” In 21st century America that may sound strange, but in the time of Saul to make animal sacrifices was one of the most well-established religious practices. Yet, God desired obedience more than he did a “religious” gesture to Him. We see further evidence of God’s desire for obedience to Himself in John 14:15 in which He states, ““If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (ESV)” God desires our praise, and we must praise Him through obedience as well as through our words of adoration.
Perhaps then, the purpose of mankind is best summed up in Micah 6:8 when it says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (ESV)” The clear message throughout Scripture is that the purpose of mankind is to love and worship God through word and deed. This is very different from the idea that man was made for his own happiness. To the contrary, we were made for the satisfaction of our creator, and through fulfilling our purpose we will achieve mutual satisfaction.
Of course, any act of worship to the creator would be meaningless if the created beings had no free will and no capacity to choose to not love and serve that creator. This is why God gave us the capacity to either use the life He gave us to worship ourselves by obeying our own selfish desires or to use this gift of life to worship Him by doing what is right. Sure enough, we messed up to say the least, and as a result there is terrible suffering in this world. But this only highlights the grace and mercy God has shown us in offering salvation so that in this present life we have the power to worship God even though we got ourselves into this mess in the first place through our own sin. God has offered us both salvation through the forgiveness of our sins, and He has given us the power to live according to our purpose which is to love and worship God.
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