One night last week while I put my daughter to bed we talked about the birth of the world. I believe the universe has been around a while, and I believe God took his time with the emergence of man, but that only raises my awe at His creativity. My daughter asked me why God had made everything in the first place.
Because He loves beauty, He loves to create. He wanted to be able to love us and for us to love Him. It is a strange truth inherent to the reality God chose to create that He could not hear my prayers for my daughter while she sleeps or draw my heart near to Him or be loved by His children unless He first envisioned atoms, planned polarity, made quarks so small we would only ever be able to describe them mathematically.
And so it is that love was wrapped up in the first act of creation. The emergence of the first bouncing particles and the new laws that governed them, breathed out into the nothing by a curious He, was a pledge of future love, a promise of fidelity. He made something dependent on Him, and so His character swore Him to love it into eternity. Is procreation not the same?
Man and woman come together in an act that, left to its own devices, brings forth life, a life that both are obligated by the image of God in them to love and nurture. If we choose to create, we are vowing at that moment to love the creation, and it is a vow we must keep. The first choice is not separable from the second.
God knew the yoke of love He was taking on when His finger stirred light into the cosmos, knew of sin and pain and the cross and neglected children and wars and the pieces of us He would have to glue back together, and yet He set the dominos in motion none the less, on down through the eons, till His love could be expressed to us. Let there be light was as good as saying I will love.
This helps me as I look at my daughter and wonder at the seemingly random circumstances that brought her into our life. I like to think love was involved in her formation, though I wasn’t there when it happened those thousands of miles away. However unplanned she may have been, her conception guaranteed her of God’s love. And as we have made her our own, we have accepted that yoke as well.
Satisfied with my simple answer to her question about why God created, my daughter moved on to How is Jesus God if He’s also Jesus?, which I could use an answer to if anyone has one handy.
Oh, the Trinity; a paradox for which only marriage serves as a working metaphor, however weakly. The Trinity’s love for their creation is bound up in their love for each other. And of course this is true for us as well.
As man and wife not every joining together in physical love is with progeny in mind. My wife and I have made the decision that for us it never will be. And so this act is a different pledge, a promise of faithfulness, a recognition that our love for each other must thrive not merely for our own sake, but for the health of our whole household. Meeting our daughter’s daily needs, celebrating her growth, delighting in her delights, seeing her into adulthood to have a family of her own, loving her, is a grafted limb of our marriage that cannot now be removed. Our love for each other is inseparable from our role as life givers, life sustainers, teachers and nurturers in our home.
God, who has loved us since we were particles in space; God, who gave us His image that we would love our children from the time they were cells in our bodies. We fail on our end of course, but our failure can only let them fall as far God’s own love, and they are cradled just the same. It is a good God who spoke matter into space that He might know and love His children.
(david has long stunned me with his poet-voice and raw faith… he honors me with this post. thank you, friend. *in other news, i am due with our second child today… it doesn’t look like he’ll be making an appearance for awhile, but i will keep you posted. please keep praying–thank you!)