What then is it all about? In a brilliant sentence, Benedict carefully explained the broad sweep of our being to us: “God made the world so that there could be a space where he might communicate his love, and from which the response of love might come back to him.” This passage emphasizes the central purpose of creation. For God to communicate His love, some beings capable of loving in return had to exist. Since such beings could not themselves be gods, they needed a place in which they could live. There, they were invited to “respond.” They could choose not to do respond, otherwise there could be no true and free love. What Augustine called the City of God and the City of Man are involved in this drama.
Benedict added a further astounding fact. “From God’s perspective, the heart of the man who responds to him is greater and more important than the whole immense material cosmos.” Such a sentence puts things in proper perspective from considerations of abortion, to sinners, to the evils we experience in history. Each person is thus made in the “image” of God, with intelligence, will, and a space in which to decide what he will be. The parable of the lost sheep in the Gospels comes to mind. God searches for what is lost, but He cannot “force” men to choose Him. They have to love him because He is loveable. The playing out of these human responses is, as Benedict stated in Spe Salvi, what constitutes the judgment of the living and the dead, as we see also in the Creed.
— Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., “The Purpose of Creation”