Now we are in a position to examine the interesting and very practical question: Why has God created anything at all? Why did He not remain just as He was without anything but Himself, and so save Himself and us all the trouble and the pain that are involved in this vast and complicated process of creation and evolution?
To attempt an answer to the second part of the question first: there really is nothing but God Himself. The created Universe or System is not something outside the being of God and apart from Him; the whole Universe is within His being, and the process of its evolution is an activity within Himself. To compare a very great thing with a small thing, the whole process of creative evolution is to God as the process of creating a thought, filling it with feeling and projecting it in some action, is to us. We cannot help that process, we are continually doing it, it is our nature so to do; so also God cannot help creating, it is His nature so to do. There is at least one thing that even God cannot help doing: He cannot help doing what it is His nature to do, and it seems to be His nature to create. It is no more trouble for Him to create a System or a Universe than it is for us to create a thought and to carry that thought into action–and no more pain. So far from it being pain to God to create, it is all joy; He does it because of the joy of doing it. To get some faint and far-off idea of God’s reason for creating, watch the actions of some boy or girl or of some young animal, full of joy and energy. If you watch long enough you will see the boy or girl or animal bound and leap with joy. That is the joy of living. The joy comes from God, and it expresses faintly at this far-off level the joy that God always feels and expresses in creative activity.
It is thus possible, from our own experience of life, to understand God and the reasons and motives for what He does. We ourselves are rooted in God, and we have only to turn back into the depths of our own nature to realize to some extent why He does what He does. In creation He is externalizing His own bliss.
Pain And Suffering In Creation
At the extremity of His System, that is to say, at the point in creation at which we human beings have arrived, and earlier at the animal stage, there is some pain and suffering. But it is His suffering. Our pain is His pain. We are part of Him, and in us God suffers. He foreknew it and we in Him foreknew. But such was the joy of creating that He, and we in Him, took little notice of the pain that would inevitably ensue just at our present level and went ahead with the Great Work. The Apostle said this of Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Saint Paul presented the perspective we should have–and which God had before us–when he wrote: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). If a boy wishes to rescue his ball from a prickly hedge he takes little notice of the scratches that must inevitably be his lot in the process. He wants the ball, and the trifling pain involved in the process of getting it cannot be compared with the joy that will be his when he has succeeded. So it is with God. He wants a System peopled by perfect beings, and the joy of making such a creation and evolving such beings altogether outweighs the pain that by comparison with the joy is but slight, and, even so, is only for a time, and only in this plane, at the extremity of His creation. “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17).
Our affliction, which seems to be so heavy and so hard, is so mainly because we see it isolated and out of relation to the larger whole of which it is a part. If we could see it in its true relation we should see it in its true proportion, as only a temporary matter, and existing only at the extremity of the being of God. We shall do well, also, always to remember that our pain, such as it is, is God’s pain; “in all our affliction He is afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9, paraphrased). In this line is to be found the true solution of the problem of pain. Pain is not really so bad as it seems. But for us in our limited condition it is bad enough, and our right attitude with regard to it is, whilst never losing sight of the larger view, to pour into the fields of suffering, whether in the human or the animal kingdoms, all the love that we possess, and to seek by all possible means to remove the causes of suffering where those causes are discoverable and removable.
Yet There Is Joy And Love
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning”(Psalms 30:5).
Pain is a fact and an unpleasant fact, but we must not allow it to divert our attention for long from the larger and more absorbing fact–the fact, namely, that in creation God is externalizing His own bliss. We shall better understand that point also if we draw deeply upon our own experiences of life. What is to us the greatest bliss of all? To that question, as with one voice, human beings of all times and nations almost shout the answer: “the bliss of loving.” That, too, is an indication of the quality of the thought of God which is His creation. His creation proceeds from love, and continues throughout the whole process in love, and it will end as a completed effort of love. Most people know something of the longing of love. They know what it is to experience a sense of incompleteness. They need a friend, a companion, or many friends and companions with whom they may share their own happiness, and who will give in return as much as they can of their particular bliss. That experience, too, that desiderium amoris, that longing of love is the love that God in us experiences. Our love is His love. When we love we are most Godlike, for God is all love. Now, if we know what it is to love our friends, our parents, our family relations, anyone, or if we know what it is to be without love and to long to love, we know something of God’s love; only a little, perhaps, but enough to answer the question: Why did not God remain forever alone, with none but Himself in His universe?
God never was alone. There have forever been distinctions of Persons within the being of God. There has always been relationship in God, even before creation was begun. Yet that was not enough. This relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had to be extended to give sufficient scope for the abounding love of God. And we and all other created beings, and beings in process of being created, are an extension of the Trinity, as we have been trying to show in the preceding chapters. We human beings have already reached the stage in evolution at which we can to some extent appreciate the bliss of loving; the stage at which we can know what it is to love, at which we can appreciate the gift of love and the power of love, and can pass it on as we receive it to more and more of our fellows. By so doing we are loving God, and, as we come to love more and more of our fellows, and to love them all more and more completely, we experience a more complete oneness with them, and, though we do not always realize this, a more complete oneness with God.
The Desire Of God
All that spells Bliss. And that is what God wants. God wants millions and millions of beings who shall be completely able intelligently and self-consciously to receive His love, to pass it on to all others, to receive it from others and to give it back to Him. So, without such perfect beings, without such as ourselves, as we shall be when our evolution is completed and we are perfect, God may be said to be incomplete, just as we are incomplete if we have no friends to receive our love, to pass it on to others and to give it back to us.
We need not conceive of any other reason for creation than that, and we need not look for any better reason. And since that is the true reason, then it would seem that there need never be any end to creation. When one System has been completed others may be begun and so on ad infinitum. Since God’s love is infinite, then it follows that the expression of it must be infinite also, and the beings necessary for its infinite expression likewise infinite.