Section 3: Humanity
Week 1: God Created Us for His Glory
Day 1: God Doesn’t Need Us
In the section on God’s greatness, we explained God doesn’t need anything. That includes us. At first, that might sound strange. We know, of course, God doesn’t need us to do things. He’s smarter and stronger than we are. So there’s not much we can add in that regard. But doesn’t God need us in the sense that he needs someone to love? Wouldn’t he be lonely without us? No. Remember, God exists as three persons. So he didn’t need to create us to have a relationship; he exists as relationship. That’s not to say God doesn’t want a relationship with us. He does. But he wasn’t compelled to create us out of a sense of need.
That might sting a bit, because many of us think of love in terms of our needing someone and their needing us. If you want to test it, tell your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife you don’t need them. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
How’d it go? Not so well? That’s because we all like to think other people need us. That’s especially true with those closest to us. We want to be important to them, and how can we be important to them if they don’t need us in their life? Being needed gives us a sense of significance. But it doesn’t work that way with God. He doesn’t need anything from us. And if we could get past our wounded pride, we’d see that’s a good thing.
When you go to your favorite restaurant and the waiter or waitress attends to your every need, are they thinking primarily about you? Maybe. Your waiter might be such a loving and caring person that he can’t bear the thought of you suffering through your meal dying of thirst because he didn’t refill your drink. He might be such a considerate person that he truly doesn’t mind taking your steak back to the chef—for the third time—because you want it pink in the middle…but not too pink. You can’t help but wonder, though, if his primary motive is getting a bigger tip.
What about God? When he meets a need of ours, should we be similarly suspicious? Could God just be trying to get something from us? No. God doesn’t need anything, so there’s never a question about motivation. As Ron Highfield puts it, “If God needed us, we could never know for sure whether the attention paid us is for our good or is designed to meet God’s needs. It is precisely because God does not need us that we know God really loves us.”[i]
Make a list of things God has done for you in the past month.
How would it make you feel if God had ulterior motives for doing those things for you?
[i] Ron Highfield, God, Freedom, and Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centered Culture, Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press (2013), Ch. 8 Kindle eBook.