Love is the reason anything exists. God created the world out of love—to express his love and to invite others to share in his love. The central goal of creation is succinctly summed up in a profound prayer Jesus prayed just prior to his crucifixion:
For [the disciples’] sake I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:19-21)
As we participate in God’s loving oneness, we replicate this loving oneness among ourselves. And as we replicate this loving oneness, the world sees and believes that Jesus Christ is sent from the Father. The world knows the reality of the triune God because they encounter the love of the triune God in us.
Visual aids can help illustrate this point. The Trinity can be depicted as a triangle (notice the top triangle). God’s essence is the eternal unsurpassable, infinitely intense love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
People can also be depicted as triangles, as we are made in the image of God (notice the triangles at the bottom). We are created with a hunger that only the triune God can satisfy. We are created with a nonnegotiable need to be filled with the infinite love that God eternally is. God created us this way because he wants to express the love that he eternally is to us, in us, and through us. God wants to be the source of our life.
God’s goal is that humans, when filled with God’s unsurpassable love and eternal life, would replicate God on an individual level and overflow with love back to God, to themselves, and their neighbors (notice the arrows).
In God’s plan, each created individual would receive God’s love and life, filling the God-shaped vacuum in the core of his or her being. Every person would therefore replicate God’s loving overflow by ascribing infinite worth to God as source and to themselves and others as people who have infinite worth because of who God is. In this way the human community would replicate the perfect love that God eternally is.
Indeed, the relationship of God to creation and of humans to each other would display in a new way the prefect love of the Trinity. The perfect love of God would be expanded. To be sure, God’s own love isn’t improved upon, for that is impossible. As the Trinity, God eternally is unsurpassable love. But through humans, this eternal love is reflected in new ways. The perfect community of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit opens itself up for others to participate in it. As we participate in it, we reflect it to God, each other, and the world.
Another way of saying this is that the goal of creation is to “glorify God” (Ps 86:9). God’s glory is the radiant display of the divine nature. As God’s life is poured into individuals and flows through individuals to other people, we individually and collectively “image” God. Like prisms in the noonday sun, we refract light in novel ways by participating in it. We glorify God—we display his perfect love—by receiving it, reflecting it back to God, and reflecting it to ourselves and one another. Individually and collectively we display the radiant beauty of God.
This is the goal of everything. We might say that the goal of every individual and of humanity in general, is to dance the eternal dance of the Trinity, to participate in and glorify this unsurpassably loving fellowship.
—Adapted from Repenting of Religion, pages 28-32.