Firstly, it should be noted that as human beings we perceive everything from a human perspective and formulate our views accordingly. Human beings act out of necessity or desire; we set out to do things because we have certain needs or are compelled. Through some self-infatuation, we foolishly compare God to ourselves and suppose that He acts as we do. Therefore, in asking the above questions, it is of the utmost importance to remember that God is independent of all wants or needs, and far beyond our conception.
Who is distressed by the creation of the universe? Who does not desire the benefit from gathering in the crops at harvest time? Who does not seek happiness by using the provisions of the world in the best possible way? There are few who express sorrow at being in this world. Some, faced with distressful situations, have committed suicide, but they are small in number. The overwhelming majority are grateful rather than regretful to be alive in this world and to be human. Who complains of being cared for in the arms of his parents and being nourished by that love in childhood? Who complains of being a youth, when the exhilaration of life is felt in the very bones? And who complains, as a mature adult, of having family, children, and leading a harmonious life with them? How would we begin to measure the happiness of believers who, as they are cultivating the seeds for this world, are also ensuring success in the next? The believers are discovering the keys to the gates of ultimate happiness, so they are contented and feel no reason for distress. We consciously experience all these diverse kinds of happiness, and give heartfelt thanks to the Creator who brought us into being.
The universe has been ornamented with every sort of art, animate and inanimate, in every scale; it is like an endless exhibition of works of art, designed to attract all people and cause them to reflect. The Beauty of landscape constitutes a reality, definite and present, to our senses and minds. Its extraordinary diversity and magnificent adornment and the sheer abundance and flow of events are beyond human conception. Reality argues the existence of an agent who brings the world into being. Through the reality of His works and deeds we come to know the Doer, and thus His Name or Names.
Through these Names, manifested in objects and beings, we try to know His Attributes. We yearn to know Him in Himself; exalted is he, through the channels and prayers opened to our hearts. This raising up of our being is inspired by things, events, and the vast realm of man’s stewardship in the universe.
Now let us try to express the Creator’s purpose with a simple analogy. Let us think of an expert craftsman or artist. Say that this artist is an extraordinary sculptor who, with a few strokes of hammer and chisel, can produce life-like subjects from the hardest stone, expressive of the most delicate feelings. Or a skillful worker in wood who can pour his soul into walnut or beech, or bring (as the expression is) a piece of ebony to life. Or an excellent painter, whose brushstrokes can produce the most exquisite combination of colors that stir the beholders with their beauty.
And to these kinds of skills, we might add many more. It is impossible to know the craftsman as an artist if he does not show his abilities. We may come to know him and deduce his abilities either from his works of art or the process through which he produces them. Every potentiality wishes to reveal the reality hidden within itself, to demonstrate what it knows by clothing itself in an outward form or external body. Seeds strive to sprout, sperms strive to join the egg in the womb, and bubbles floating in the air strive to reach ground as droplets of water. They all endure the effort necessary because of the desire to show the potentiality within themselves. The urge to show our potentialities, and thus to be seen and known by others, is in fact an expression of weakness or defect, as all beings and their wishes are merely the shadow of the original essence. However, the skillful Creator is free from such defects or weaknesses. We must never forget that neither any single nor composite manifestation of the essence is similar to the essence.
The artistry of the universe informs us of the thousands of Names of God. Each of the Names, manifested in the diverse arts of creation, illuminates our way and guides us to know the Attributes of that Being, the One Creator. They stimulate and awaken our hearts to the signs and messages that the hidden Creator presents to our senses.
The Creator wants to introduce Himself to us thoroughly without leaving anything unclear. He wants to show His Splendor through the variety and beauty of the Creation. He wants to show His Will and Might through the magnificent order and harmony of the universe; and He wants to show His Mercy, Compassion, and Grace through his gifts to us, including the secret wishes and desires of our hearts and minds. And He has many more Names and Attributes through which He wants to make Himself known.
He places objects into this world to manifest His Might and Will. By passing all things through the prism of the intellect and understanding of conscious beings, He arouses wonder, admiration, and appreciation in the earthly and heavenly domains.
Just as a skillful artist manifests his talents through his works of art, in the elevated sense, so does the Owner of this universe, simply to manifest the Might and Omnipotence of His Creativity.