Why Were We Created?

Why were humans created? Some faiths think we're here to serve the gods. But what about Christianity? Andy Crouch dives into Genesis in pursuit of human purpose.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. What does a "flourishing world" look like?
  2. How can you seek the flourishing of your part of the world?

I think one of the most amazing things about the Christian faith is-is the conviction. It gives us that there is a reason to be a human being. The Genesis story was written at a time where there are lots of other creation accounts, right? There were, there were other religions - the Babylonian religion was very powerful. Um, I mean, Babylonian religion doesn't exist anymore, but at the time when Genesis was written down, it was-it was the dominant religion um, in that part of the world, and it, uh, the Babylonian religion had an answer for what is the purpose of life, and it was to serve the gods. The gods want worship, uh, and the gods are frustrated when they don't have sacrifices. They want this aroma, like, wafting up to them from the burning of the offerings. And so human beings are placed in the world to, to satisfy the gods' - plural - you know, the pagan gods' needs. And the amazing thing about Genesis to me is, um, that instead of God needing anything, God just freely creates these beings who were made in His image, and he actually says rather than you're here to worship me or make me happy, you're in the world for the flourishing of the world. Uh, be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, uh, and the purpose of the image bearers is to have this flourishing world that is everything that, um, the creator wanted it to be - to be kind of representatives of the creator of the world. So the purpose for human beings is to fill the world with true images of the world's creator and to have the world full of beings who care for the world in the way the creator himself would care for the world. Uh, and so that applies to every human being. Now, that doesn't answer the question of what's my specific thing. Uh, but everything I do should in some way be about the flourishing of the world. Uh, I'm, I'm here to find some little piece of this creation and kind of explore it and excavate it and discover what's good in it and make it even better than it would be if it were left to itself. And human beings- that's what human beings do. Every, every time you see a human being, um, who's doing what human beings are supposed to do - we're doing that. We're tending and tilling and creating, uh, and that is what we were made to do according to Genesis- not just fulfill the desires of the gods for sort of appreciation. God, uh, commissions us um, for the world's sake rather than for his own sake in the, in the Christian story.