Read Revelation 4:11-12
11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things,
and they exist because you created what you pleased.” (NLT)
We sometimes hear it said that God made the world in order that he himself be honoured and glorified. While we may certainly affirm that God is worthy of all the honour and glory, it still sounds a bit like God is just wanting to show off a bit. He makes a wonderful creation in order to shout, “Look at me, look at me!”
It is not quite like that. God is entitled to draw attention to himself as much as he likes: he is God after all. But perhaps we might just as well affirm that God made the world as an act of love. He delighted to shower his creative skill and divine compassion on all creation, human or otherwise. As a supremely relational being, it as if companionship within the Trinity was not enough: he needed more scope for his love. And so he made the world.
If this line of thinking is valid, then it reminds us that love is very costly. If we choose to love someone or something we open ourselves up to disappointment as well as delight. Love involves risk and pain. God thought it was worth it. He went on loving the world even as the world turned against him.
God’s love is finally revealed in Jesus and what he did for us—the ones who turned our backs on our creator. But the fact that he made the world and us in the first place is his very first act of love. The very first instalment of an ongoing love affair with his creation expressed in words and acts and human life.
Creation may indeed give honour and glory to God. But the purpose of his creating the world was to love it, not to boast about it.