Why did God create humans?
We won’t know the complete answer until we see Jesus.
But the functional reason God created humans is no mystery. It is spelled out in the first chapter of the Bible. God created us with one functional purpose in mind: to rule over the earth and all it contains.
The First Commission [Genesis 1:26-28] provides a compelling rationale for daily work. For Joe the carpenter, for Bev the realtor, for Peter the pilot, and Bonnie the business executive.
“But,” some may ask, “don’t followers of Christ have another commission that is more important than the First Commission? In a Fallen world, doesn’t the ‘Great Commission’ of Matthew 28:18-20 trump the 'First Commission' of Genesis 1? Doesn’t the Great give us a higher reason for living than the First?”
I was at a table with a group of Christ-followers at a conference not long ago, when a woman across the table declared: “My only purpose in life is to see souls saved.”
The question I would ask her is, “Why?"
So people won’t go to hell when they die?
I don’t mean to imply hell is not an issue. But there is a reason for saving souls that aligns more closely with the Great Commission itself, namely: so people can engage in the First Commission in a way God intended from the beginning.
The Great Commission says: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." [NASB]
I don’t believe the Great Commission trumps the First Commission, because I see them both having the same intent. The Great Commission provides the means by which the First Commission is fulfilled in a Fallen world. The Great provides the gateway for people to rightly engage in the First. It gets us back on track.
In what more splendid circumstance can we "observe all that Christ commanded” than while fulfilling the First Commission in our work? That's what work is about.
The Great Commission has more to do with what happens on earth than what happens after we die.
And this casts the word Gospel in extraordinary light.