We are useless (and this is good news!)

Gran-0001

One of my lecturers recently asked our class a question: Why did God create us? 

And, as theologians tend to do, we proudly regurgitated the dogmas we were taught at Sunday school.

“Because he loves us.”

“Because he’s an artist.”

“Because he wanted relationship.”

But the more we thought about it, the more we realised that we could not actually give a coherent answer that did not border on a heresy. He’s creative, yes, but if that’s the reason he made us then it could imply that he is somehow bound to making stuff, like in Plato’s Symposium. And of course he loves us and wants relationship with us, but if that was the sole reason why he made us then it could imply that he was somehow deficient or lonely. Was the trinity not enough?

Does God need us in any way? Was he bored?

Of course not! As my lecturer said, “creating mankind was not the divine equivalent of getting a puppy.”

So, why did he do it? As the existentialists famously asked, why is there something rather than nothing? 

Well, we often forget that God is a person with his own free will. All we can ever say on this is that he made us because he wanted to.

We have no function; he does not need us.

We are entirely useless.

We serve no utilitarian goal whatsoever, and this is very good news.

If God needed us, then he would be insufficient. But if God wants us, then we are deeply valuable.

So, we are not needed, but we are wanted. Our innate value is based on who we are as image-bearers of God, not what we do in his service.

We are not a means to an end, we are just an end.

So, if you are feeling unproductive during quarantine, remember that productivity is not why you are here.

Rest in that this week!

S

4 Comments

  1. Great post.

    If God needed us, then he would be insufficient. But if God wants us, then we are deeply valuable.

    I find this to be a very profound and uplifting thought. The book of Ecclesiastes describes the ultimate futility of everything, and it’s true that every human artist’s work is really unimportant in the grand scheme of things. But that doesn’t mean the artist doesn’t love the process of creating, or feel happy with their work. Perhaps the same is true of God?

    Very grateful to have read your post today. God bless you.

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