6/3/2017

God Doesn't Need You

We apparently associate "need" with "love." A lover expresses his or her love with the words, "I need you. You are my whole world." But is need really equivalent to love? We could say that drug-addicts need drugs to continue to function (or at least as well as they have up until now), but do they "love" drugs? Perhaps in a way they do. What about the person who they use to continue getting the drugs? We could say that, for the moment, they need this person, but could we say they love them? So we see that someone may need someone, but not presently love them. In fact, if I really was someone's "whole world," I tend to think I would grow tired of the responsibility.

If my wife needed me to be with her every minute of the day, even to do the simplest of tasks, I'm sure, at least in some ways, I would grow tired of her company. My patience would be tasked, and my love would be tested. Would I love her enough to be with her whenever she needs to sleep? Would I love her enough to be with her whenever she talks to any other people? Would I love her enough to be with her whenever she eats? Would I love her enough to be with her whenever she uses the bathroom? How long could I go on without some kind of break? As we can see, the situation would quickly become more about me loving my wife than about my wife loving me.

Changing gears a little, what would you think of a God that needs you? Does that make sense to you? If we understand "God" to be someone who made us, does it make sense that "God" would need us? How long did it take God to realize that he absolutely needed our company? Perhaps he went on for years, fading away in loneliness, until finally he realized he needed to have some small creature like us to provide for and talk to? Perhaps God felt hungry, and needed us to feed him with sacrifices, or felt lonely, and needed someone with our intelligence to talk to? Perhaps God needed our money, or our example of how best to live? Perhaps God really needed our praise and glory, just so he could feel good about himself? In the past, God was often called "Providence" because he was thought to be the one to ultimately provide everything that exists. If it rained, it rained because God made rain possible. If there were plants, they were there because God had initially created them. But if God provides us with everything (i.e. is the source of everything), why would he need anything?

“Hear, my people, and I will speak; Israel, and I will testify against you. I am God, your God. I don’t rebuke you for your sacrifices. Your burnt offerings are continually before me. I have no need for a bull from your stall, nor male goats from your pens. For every animal of the forest is mine, and the livestock on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains. The wild animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Pay your vows to the Most High. Call on me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” - Psalms 50:7-15

I cannot remember a single place in the Bible which says or implies that God needs us. Jeremiah 25:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future," but does that mean that God needs us to survive and thrive? Romans 12:2 says, "Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God," but does that mean that God needs us to be transformed and do his will? John 10:10 says, "The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly," but does God need us to have life?

Rather than say God needs us, we should say he wants us. He obviously created us for a purpose, saying, after making us, that we and all of his creation were "good" (Genesis 1:31). God desires that we love him (Matthew 22:37 and 38). God provides for us (James 1:17, Philippians 4:19), and for everyone (Matthew 5:44 and 45). God sent his son to save us from his wrath because he loves us (John 3:16). So does God need us? No. Does he want us? Yes.