As physical creatures, we eat, drink, reproduce, and die. In the midst of that we develop and deteriorate. One pagan philosophy advises us to enjoy the ride because it is all we have, to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die, to live life to the fullest so that when we face death we won’t regret missing out on what this life offers. The atheistic version asserts that our existence is limited to our time of consciousness and when we die, our existence is absolutely ended. It says that life is ultimately meaningless but we can at least enjoy it as much as we can, while we have life. If this is true, life has no purpose.
Others suggest that the universe is our higher purpose, that we are pieces of the universe in a grand pattern of existence. This philosophy teaches that the piece which is me gains a separate existence and a consciousness; that the piece which is me ought to enjoy and endure everything for the sake of the universe—me, for I a piece of the universe. This plan offers more meaning; but it is a silly meaning. And even this silly offering is just an illusion for, the Big Bang theory tells us that absolutely nothing can traverse the boundaries between cycles of “bang” and “crunch”. If this is true, life has no purpose.
Since both of these systems hold to purposelessness, both ultimately view euthanasia as a mechanism to give us control over our own cessation. When our prospect for more enjoyment has ended, we can just pack up, check out, and desist living. With dignity, of course. But if life is meaningless, death is meaningless and dignity is also meaningless.
But here we are living, and knowing—somehow knowing—that living is meaningful. And so we ask, “Why am I here?” (Google gets 800,000 searches per month for “Why am I here” and one million for “Why are we here”!)
We are here, first, because God made us to glorify Him. All of God’s creation, but especially man, shows His great power and wisdom. Creation and man reveal God’s holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. This raises two objections: (1) is not that self-serving of God and (2) since man is clearly messed up, how does that show God’s wisdom?
The first objection is whether God is self-serving in making Himself to be the central purpose of everything. When a man, woman, or child acts like he is the center of the universe, he is rightly called arrogant. Why is this pridefulness such a dreadful sin?, because none of us really is the center of the universe. Acting like it is both a lie and mutiny. Part of the answer to this question is that it is right for God to act like he is the center of the universe, because he really is the center of all things. “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). God made us and all things for His own glory. That is the way it should be. Luke 17:7-10 clearly illustrates this order:
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
The second objection is that, since man is “messed up”, it is inconceivable that we can show forth His wisdom. We, indeed, are sinful; we act wickedly. In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” But even man’s sin shows God’s greatness. In dealing with sin, God reveals both His mercy and His justice. Romans 9:22-23 shows how this is possible.
What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?
God offers mercy in Christ without the least injury to His justice because Christ fully paid the penalty that our sin deserves and that God’s justice demands. Those who reject the free gift are condemned to face the demands of justice without help. In Christ, mercy and truth are met together (Ps 85:10).
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Our first answer to “Why are we here?” is; we are here to glorify God. If you want to know the meaning of life, if you want to fulfill your destiny, if you want to do something good—the highest good—glorify God.
Psalm 86:9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
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