If you are someone who believes in God then it is likely that you have asked yourself the question, why did God create us? Are we meant to worship Him, obey and serve Him? Most Christians would agree that yes, these are at least some of the reasons why human beings were created. But the Christian God is far from an ego-maniac nor does He seem in need of constant reassurance. And He certainly doesn’t need human beings to be running the show for Him. Some Christians would argue that above all these things, God created us to love Him and if we love Him on a deep and meaningful level than a practice of worship and obedience would naturally follow.
But is that it? Are believers, meant to just fall in love with God only and disregard the rest of His creations? It says in The First Principle and Foundation used in Ignatian spirituality,
“Lord, my God, when your love spilled over into creation, you thought of me. I am from love, of love, for love.”
Many Christians believe that God created us for love rather than just to love. In theory, we are loved by Him and so we overflow with that love and share it with others. Quite often Christians talk about their relationship with God using the ‘father-child’ metaphor. Now if you choose to have a child one day, one of the fundamental reasons behind that decision will be that you have love to give. Of course you will hope that your child will grow up and love you too but ultimately your deepest desire is that they will be happy and feel loved.
My years as a therapist has led me to believe that the philosophy of human nature put forward by something known as Christian Hedonism is accurate. The idea is that humanity on a whole are constantly striving for happiness and the fundamental purpose of our life is to seek it. Think about it. We spend all of our energy and sometimes our money trying to escape pain and despair and long for pleasurable experiences. We all want to ‘feel better’ and furthermore, we want to know how to stay that way.
Recent research into Positive Psychology suggests that those who are happiest in life lead ‘meaningful’ lives. They feel like they are serving a purpose greater than themselves. This idea is hardly surprising to Christians and is indeed very biblical, nor indeed for those from other faith traditions. The book of Psalms is overflowing with God’s promises of joy and peace when you find your purpose in Him. The great St Augustine once said,
“You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
The Bible often uses language referring to biological survival, such as thirst and hunger, when it talks about human beings need for God. It suggests that God created us to crave the joy that only He can provide which is why we often crave for something more than basic, earthly joy. Whether a believer or not, we all seem to long for ecstasy, for a deep inner peace and for someone who knows us better than we know ourselves. Someone we can trust to fulfil our deepest needs.
If we are created to crave than in a sense, we are all addicts. But what are we addicted to? God or something else outside His will? Even Christians often tend to go searching for what God has promised in all the wrong places and regrettably, these places are often the backdrop for dark and unhealthy addictions.
In our next blog post, we will take a deeper look at addiction as a counterfeit form of worship and how the recovery process mirrors the Christian conversion experience. In the meantime, any further information can be found in my book, ‘Confronting Porn.’