Why did God make the world?

I recently heard someone ask ‘Why did God make the world?’ and it set me thinking. After all God being God did not have to make the world, or any other part of the universe for that matter. Having made the world he did not have to populate it with plants and living creatures, or indeed create people to inhabit it. The universe would not exist without God; but God could, indeed did exist without the universe. So why would he bother to create anything at all?

Throughout history kings and leaders have instigated construction projects in order to celebrate their greatness. Whether it has been buildings such as palaces, or cities and even monuments there seems to be something instinctive in humans to create lasting tributes to intelligence and ability to demonstrate their glory.

In a similar way the Bible shows us that God too is motivated to demonstrate his glory in all that he does. The world and everything in it is a visible tribute to God’s eternal power and majesty, to his divine creative genius. So for example we read in Psalms ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.’ (Psalm 19:1 ESV) This idea is repeated in Revelation ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’ (Revelation 4:11 ESV) God’s glory was revealed in the earth at the dawn of time yet the Bible tells us that it will increase over time. ‘But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD’ (Numbers 14:21 ESV)

If you have ever gasped at the beauty of a sunset, gazed in wonder at the grandeur of a mountain, or been awed by the vastness of space then you have already been affected by the glory of God in his creation. His desire however is that you should not just be amazed at the beauty of what he has created, great though that is, rather he longs for you to discover him for yourself. If you would like an introduction to meet your creator than why not join us on a Sunday morning, 10:30 am at Elizabeth Hall?

This blog post featured in the July/August 2013 edition of Hook Focus

God’s Signposts

This summer my wife and I have enjoyed the holiday of a lifetime in Canada. Our trip ranged from Toronto to Vancouver, Niagara Falls to the Rocky Mountains. In a couple of weeks we only scratched the surface of that vast country which spans 5 time zones and is the world’s second largest by total area. Time and again we were stunned by the awesome beauty of the scenic countryside, mesmerised by the power of crashing waterfalls, speechless at the strikingly coloured lakes and humbled by the vast mountains.

I wonder what your reaction is when you see beauty in the natural world?  Invariably for me it reminds me of God’s creative power. Speaking of God, Paul wrote: ‘For his (God’s) invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made’. When we are captivated by the power of something like Niagara Falls, made to feel small by the magnitude of a great mountain, or transfixed by the beauty of a sunset, this is because God intends it to produce that kind of reaction in us. He has created stunning natural power and beauty for us to enjoy as signposts to his superior power and beauty. The tragedy is that for many, the signpost becomes the destination, and our gaze rests on the created rather than moving onwards to the creator.

Sometimes people say to me I don’t need church because I can experience the presence of God by being out in his creation. Paul goes on to tell us that because of the beauty of the natural world ‘we are without excuse’! The signposts we see to God in creation should lead us to want to meet with him personally. The message of the bible is that we do that corporately among God’s people as we read his written words, pray and sing songs of praise to him, which enables us to go beyond the signposts and have a living encounter with the creator. Why settle for the work of art when you can meet the artist who designed and made it?

This blog post featured in the September 2012 edition of Hook Focus