Question from a reader:
I researched the ‘first cause’ by Thomas Aquinas, and found it to be wanting of a very important nature, purpose. We are all taught that God created us for only one purpose … to worship him … to do his bidding and his will … and if we don’t we get punished for all eternity. God is a dictator … not a loving creator. Because even though we have free will, God doesn’t say that’s O.K. He says that if we don’t do conduct our behavior according to his will, we will be punished. The bible also says that God loves us more than our parents do. That is not true. If we go against our parents’ wishes. They do not punish us for all eternity. Good parents tell their children that they should do as their hearts tell them to. That is real love. Everything that God created, he created for a purpose. Yet what purpose did God have before he created the angels?
Thank you for your question. My perspective is somewhat different than yours, but I hope that I can shed some light on these issues, and maybe learn from each other.
I believe that our purpose is to glorify God. We are a part of His Creation, so everything we do must please Him and bring Him glory–our obedience, our trust, our conduct, etc. (Romans 15:6, 2 Corinthians 5:9). Please see my article on Pleasing God.
We all have the sinful nature of the flesh. We each have sinned, both by committing personal sins and by the imputation of sin from Adam (Romans 5:14-10): Imputation. Yet, since God cannot coexist with sin, there’s nothing that we can do to deserve eternal life in God’s presence, so we have a dilemma. Only God can do anything about this, and He would have been perfectly justified to let us all die in our sins and to separate Himself from us for all of eternity. However, in His love, He instituted a system of grace to solve this problem for us. All we have to do is to believe and trust Him for eternal salvation (John 3:16).
If God is a dictator, then He is a benevolent one. I must simply disagree with you because I believe that God is a loving creator (1 John 4:8, 16). Yes, we have free will, but it is a limited free will (Predestination). God loves us so much that it is only by His plan of grace that there is a solution to our problem. Ephesians 2:4-6 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
God does indeed love us more than our parents love us. He loved us so much that He sacrificed His own son Jesus Christ for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:5), so that all we have to do is to believe Him for our eternal salvation. (Who among us would be willing to sacrifice our own child for others?) God imputes all of our sin onto Jesus Christ who died for our sins and was resurrected for our eternal life. Christ took the punishment for our sin, if we only believe in Him, so God can now look at each of us believers as being sinless.
Again I disagree where you said, “Good parents tell their children that they should do as their hearts tell them to.” Good parents tell their children that they should glorify and obey God; and, that until they’re old enough to thoroughly understand this, they should obey their parents.
Unfortunately, the Bible does not tell us about God’s purpose before He created the angels. Remember that God is an eternal being, so He is not limited by words such as “before” and “after.” Eternity transcends time and space, so these are not boundaries for God, although we (in our physical being) cannot fully understand these concepts. We can simply be assured that since God created everything, then the purpose of everything (including us and the angels) has always been to glorify Him, and this will always be so.
I hope this helps.