First of all, to dogmatically assert we really know anything about God that He doesn’t reveal to us would be the ultimate in pretentious hubris. The finite mind can no more fathom the infinite Source of Being than Hamlet could comprehend Shakespeare. We simply have no mental grid for anything outside of our “fishbowl” we call the cosmos, so there will always be a degree of mystery here. Yet, we can logically deduce the existence of this infinite Source of Being, and from that, infer the best answer for why God creates.
I’ve talked about this in various posts but usually in reference to other subjects, So I will attempt to lay out a logical summary of my view here. Also understand that this does not address how God creates. That’s another subject.
First, we must understand what we theists mean by “God.” There are a lot of possible answers but the one that seems most cogent to me is that of Classical Theism understood by the early church fathers. I won’t elaborate on that here (you can click on the link for that), but to help us not confuse this with Theistic Personalism, which would be how many in the modern West seem to think about God, here’s David Bentley Hart to explain the difference:
“The most venerable metaphysical claims about God do not simply shift priority from one kind of thing (say, a teacup or the universe) to another thing that just happens to be much bigger and come much earlier (some discrete, very large gentleman who preexists teacups and universes alike). These claims start, rather, from the fairly elementary observation that nothing contingent, composite, finite, temporal, complex, and mutable can account for its own existence, and that even an infinite series of such things can never be the source or ground of its own being, but must depend on some source of actuality beyond itself. Thus, abstracting from the universal conditions of contingency, one very well may (and perhaps must) conclude that all things are sustained in being by an absolute plenitude of actuality, whose very essence is being as such: not a “supreme being,” not another thing within or alongside the universe, but the infinite act of being itself, the one eternal and transcendent source of all existence and knowledge, in which all finite being participates.” (from article here *)
The Bible would say it this way:
28 for in Him we live and move and have our being….” (Acts 17:28)
16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col.1:16-17 NASB *)
God IS Love
One axiomatic definition of God in Scripture is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This is not to be confused with an attribute. God does not just have love; His very essence is love and He is the source and being of love.
Love, here, does not mean emotional affection but willing the good of the other (benevolence). Therefore, love is necessarily relational. And, in order for God to be love, He must be able to express it within Himself, apart from His creation. This other-centered, self-giving agape is expressed perfectly between the Father, Son, and Spirit within the trinitarian life of God.
You can read my post, “The Classical Argument for Christ” for a fuller explanation.
God creates because He is love!
If God’s essence is love, which is willing the good of another, it follows that He is self-diffusive, self-communicative, willing to share Himself, and we would ultimately have to apply that to God’s relationship to His creation. Here we can turn again to theologian C. Baxter Kruger for a beautiful explanation of this expression of love.
“The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal and abiding reason for the creation of the world and of human life. There is no other God, no other will of God, no second plan, no hidden agenda for human beings. Before the creation of the world, the Father, Son and Spirit set their love upon us and planned to bring us to share and know and experience the trinitarian life itself. Unto this end the cosmos was called into being, and the human race was fashioned, and Adam and Eve were given a place in the coming of Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son himself, in and through whom the dream of our adoption would be accomplished.” (from “The Summary of the Trinitarian Vision“)
This is what turned broken humanity’s world upside-down in the first century. Love has come down to all humankind. Love has a human face—Jesus Christ!
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor.4:6 *)
3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3 *)
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24 *)
This glorious unveiling is what compelled Paul to suffer beatings, betrayals, shipwreck, imprisonment, and finally, beheading at the hands of the Romans.
4 And he chose us to be his very own, joining us to himself even before he laid the foundation of the universe! Because of his great love, he ordained us, so that we would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence.
5–6 For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children, through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, so that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace—for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure!
7 Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace. 8 This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing within us all forms of wisdom and practical understanding. 9 And through the revelation of the Anointed One, he unveiled his secret desires to us—the hidden mystery of his long-range plan, which he was delighted to implement from the very beginning of time. 10 And because of God’s unfailing purpose, this detailed plan will reign supreme through every period of time until the fulfillment of all the ages finally reaches its climax—when God makes all things new in all of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ. (Eph.1:4-10 TPT *)
Beloved of God (which is every human being), God has set His love upon you. His arms are open wide. He has invited you and me into His life. Nothing satisfies the deepest longings of the human heart more than love. And the ultimate love is a Person!
You can believe whatever you want. You can call me a fool. It doesn’t matter what you think of me; it matters what God thinks of you. The Cross of Christ is His answer (John 3:16-17). We were created for something profound, beautiful, absolutely stunning and glorious—nothing less than intimacy and fellowship with Ultimate Love. And, from this Love, we live and move and have our being…today, tomorrow, and forever!