Thursday, February 10, 2011

Did God Waste His Creation On Us?

We received the following email from Chris, in Phoenix, AZ:

"Was the universe made just for us? According to the Bible it seems like we are the center of attention. If the universe was made just for us, then why is it so big? Clearly, if Judgment Day is supposed to happen sometime in the near future, then I doubt we will have time to really explore it. So wouldn't it basically be a wasted creation? And why also does the universe appear as if it is in the middle of a long ongoing process rather than something that was created only 6,000 years ago?

Thanks for your email, Chris.

The universe was not "made just for us." God does all things for His glory. And creation declares His glory. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1) And He doesn't share His glory with anyone or anything. "I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols" (Isaiah 42:8).

You wrote: "According to the Bible it seems like we are the center of attention." Again, God does not share His glory with anyone. Instead of the "center of attention," a better way to describe the human race is as the pinnacle of God's creation.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth'" (Genesis 1:26-28).
You wrote: "If the universe was made just for us, then why is it so big? Clearly, if Judgment Day is supposed to happen sometime in the near future, then I doubt we will have time to really explore it. So wouldn't it basically be a wasted creation?"

The universe is indeed BIG. Some astronomers believe the universe is about 150 billion light years across, and expanding. That means it would take 150 billion years to traverse the universe, if one could travel 186,000 miles per second. To put that in perspective, it takes light approximately nine minutes to travel from the Sun to Earth. If we could travel at the speed of light, it would take us approximately 4.3 years to reach the nearest star outside our solar system--Alpha Centauri. Traveling at the same speed, it would take approximately 100,000 years to travel from one end of the Milky Way galaxy to the other.

Today, estimates are as high as 170-200 billion galaxies in the known universe. The number of stars in each galaxy ranges from 10 million in the smallest galaxies to 100 trillion in the giants. Keep in mind that our Sun is relatively small in size compared to other stars.

So again, Chris, the universe is very big--in all likelihood much larger than the finest astronomers realize. As far as seeing all of it, let alone exploring all of it, that will likely never happen--certainly not in our lifetimes. Does that mean God wasted His time? Not at all.

If your perspective is that God created the universe for your use and entertainment (of course you must presuppose that God exists to even make an argument against God. And God not doing things the way you like it is not an argument against God's existence), then I can see why you might think God wasted His time in making a universe too large for us to explore and fully enjoy. But once again, God created all things for His glory, not for our personal enjoyment. And as Creator, God can do whatever He wants with His creation.
"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable us" (Romans 9:20-21)?
In your last question you wrote: "And why also does the universe appear as if it is in the middle of a long ongoing process rather than something that was created only 6,000 years ago?"
"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature" (Genesis 2:7).
Adam, the first human being, was not born into existence as a baby. He was created and brought to life as a man. God, who spoke the universe and all of creation into existence, did so in six days. "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31). God did not take billions of years to form the stars, the planets, other celestial bodies, the Earth, and life on Earth. He did it in six literal days. So, how should we then expect the universe to look? Should we expect, in the beginning, to see all aspects of creation as if they were in their infancy? Or should we rather, in the beginning, see all aspects of creation formed and mature?

Now that I've answered your questions, Chris, I have a few questions for you.

There are two things you know--two things which you already knew before you emailed us your question. The first is this. You know that God exists.
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, has been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (Romans 1:19-20).
If you doubt or deny the existence of God (which you didn't state in your email, but I presumed from your questions), it is not because you lack sufficient evidence or even belief. Your denial of God's existence is merely an attempt to suppress the truth.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth" (Romans 1:18).
And what is unrighteousness? It's sin. And what is sin? And what is sin? It's the violation of God's Law. And this brings us to the second thing you know, which you knew before you sent us your email. You know that you have sinned against God, for God has already written His Law on your heart.
"They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" (Romans 2: 15-16).
You know that it is wrong to lie, steal, look with lust (sexual desire), take God's name in vain, and dishonor your parents. No one had to teach you that these things are wrong. Your conscience either convicts you when you do any of these things, or you try to manipulate your conscience in order to justify what you know in your heart is wrong.

Since you already know God exists, and since you already know that you have sinned against God and will one-day give an account of your life before Him; here's my first question.

If on that day when you stand before God, if He finds you guilty of breaking His Law and sinning against Him, what should He do with you: Heaven or Hell? I think you already know the answer to this question.

Because God is good--because He is holy, righteous, and just--He must punish sin. And the punishment God has ascribed for sin is eternity in Hell.
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
That is the bad news, Chris. If God gives you what you deserve for your sins against Him, you will spend eternity in Hell.

I don't want that for you, Chris. And that is why I am going to share good news with you.

While it is certainly true that God is holy, righteous, and just; He is also merciful, loving, and kind. God, the One about whose glory all of creation testifies, the One who "upholds the universe by the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3), has provide the only way for you to escape His holy and righteous wrath against your sin.

2,000 years ago, God the Father sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus, born of a virgin, was fully-God and fully-Man. He lived the perfect, sinless life that neither you nor I can live.

About 30-33 years into His earthly existence, He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered and died a horrible, bloody death at the hands of sinful men--a death He did not deserve. On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment we rightly deserve for our sins against God. Three days later He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. He is alive, today; and He will return at a time of His Father's choosing.

God humbled Himself to take on the form of human flesh (His creation) and to suffer and die at the hands of His creation. "For our sake he [God the Father] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

What God commands of you, Chris, is the same thing He commands of all people everywhere (Acts 17:29-31). God commands that you repent--that you turn away from your sin and turn to God. He commands that you repent and believe the gospel--the good news of Jesus Christ; and by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

No, my friend, God did not waste His creation on us. God created the universe for His glory and, by His grace and mercy, He allows us to see and contemplate not only the beauty, intricacy, and grandeur of what He made, but the greatness and holiness of the One who made it all. And He is so very gracious and kind that He has allowed you to hear His gospel, today.

Repent and believe the gospel, while God has given you time.