What was the purpose of creation? Why did god have the WILL to create a universe? Why create timelines and stories and create a religion? Why not just sit back and party with your angels? Or better yet why need angels at all? Are there references that deal with these questions?
The Ramchal answers this in Derech Hashem - in a nutshell
- God is perfect and wants to share his perfection with others
- He created the world in an act of love, to have someone (man) who benefits from His goodness, which is ultimately man's ability to attach himself to the perfect good (God)
- now in order for the gift not to come for free (and be worthless), God created a world of challenges, a body and a soul, a yetzer hatov and yetzer hara for man to earn credits by dominating his yetzer hara.
See that the purpose of creation was to give from His goodness, may He be blessed, to another besides Him. [...] His intention, may His name be blessed, in the creation that He created was to create someone that can benefit from His goodness, may He be blessed, in the manner that it is possible for him to benefit from it.
For an excellent simplified presentation of these ideas in modern terms see also What's the Purpose? Judaism's View on the Meaning of Life as well as Aryeh Kaplan Anthology Volume I by R Aryeh Kaplan.