The Matter of Life & Death – Part 3

The Final Question

At some point in your life, if it has not already happened, you will step back from the hustle and bustle around you to examine the world and your place in it. Ultimately, you will ask the question that we all eventually ask ourselves:

Why am I here?

Most likely, you will ask this at a point in your life when you are discontented. You might be sad or angry or confused. You might just be bored. Regardless, in that moment, you will wonder if there is more to life than what you have experienced so far. You might wonder if you should be doing something else.

Why am I here?

It is the final question of our series, but it is the most important question of your life, because it is only in knowing the answer that you can map out a path for your life that brings you the most peace and joy.

All created things have a purpose. A hammer’s purpose is to drive nails. The purpose of a book is to store knowledge that can then be imparted to its reader. Created things have a purpose given to them by their creators. Therefore, if you want to know the purpose of something, you need to ask its creator.

At its simplest, your mom and dad created you! If that is as far as we go, then we simply need to ask your parents why you are here. They made you with a purpose in mind, so only they can reveal why you are here. Maybe they were lonely and wanted some company. Maybe they wanted to propagate their genes. Maybe they want you to fund their retirement. 

At its deepest, it is the God of the Bible who created earth and all the living creatures therein, including human beings. God had a purpose in mind when he created Adam and Eve, and He has a purpose for you.  

One of the reasons the Bible was created is to reveal God’s purpose for creating us. The Bible contains the answer to the question, Why did God create humankind? By answering that question, it will help us answer our most important question.

A God Of Glory

I did an internet search with “why did God create humans,” and one answer seemed to be pretty popular: 

“He did so to give himself glory.”  (https://web.archive.org/web/20160414051307/https://www.josh.org/god-create-humans/)

I want you to know, right up front, that that is not true. In fact, I hope you reasoned for yourself why that might not be true. It is a good practice to get into the habit of questioning everything you hear about God, because what you will hear mostly are lies about Him.

God was not lacking in glory that He needed more.  He was already maximally glorious.  No act can make God more or less glorious. More or less holy. More or less powerful.

“The God who made the world and everything in it … is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything” (Acts 17:24-25).

He is a God of love, and love precludes any selfish behavior. Propping oneself up is selfish, self-centered. God is perfectly other-centered. God does not seek out nor enforce worship to satisfy anything about Himself.

So, why  did God create human beings?

“God said unto them [Adam and Eve], Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:27–29). 

God’s purpose for Adam and Eve was for them to start a family, to fill the earth with their descendants, and to have dominion over the earth. His original plan was for Earth to be a paradise forever, populated by a people who would treat each other with unconditional, selfless love. These citizens of Earth were to live in peace with each other and enjoy the fruits of their labors. 

So, one of the reasons God created us was to experience joy. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4–7). 

When does the Bible say we are to rejoice? Always. God wants us to live a life that makes us happy, that inspires us–or gives us a reason–to rejoice in the Lord.

The phrase “rejoice in the Lord” is translated more clearly in other versions.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord.” (NLT)

“Always be glad because of the Lord!” (CEV)

“May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord.” (GNT)

We will deal more deeply with this concept of “union with the Lord,” but just understand for now that God wants you to be happy!

The other reason God created us was to experience peace. 

“Do not be anxious about anything. … The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4–7). 

What does the Bible say will guard our hearts and minds? The peace of God. A “peace… which transcends all understanding” is ours through a relationship with God. 

Again, other translations can help us bring out the meaning of this phrase:

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (NLT)

“Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand.” (CET)

There is, again, this idea of a “union” or “belonging” to Jesus. We will explore that in the future, but just understand that God desires you to live a life full of peace in your heart and mind.

The Bible says that God created us to experience a life of peace and joy. This is what God wants for you.

This would be easy in paradise. Can you imagine? No kidnappers or murderers? No thieves? No traffic?

Sadly, we no longer live in paradise, and it seems almost impossible to experience a life of peace and joy.

However, God intends that you experience peace and joy here on this planet today, in your life right now. Otherwise, why would the apostle Paul, a follower of God who wrote many books in the New Testament, pray,

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

When will the Lord of peace give you peace? At all times.

In what circumstance? In every way. (The New Living Translation says, “in every situation.”)

Is that even possible? Is it possible to experience peace and joy at all times and in every situation? I think so. It is what allowed tortured prisoners to sing joyfully in their captivity.

“And when they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into jail. … At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:23, 25). 

These two preachers of God, Paul and Silas, were unjustly beaten and thrown into prison. Yet, they had peace and joy in their hearts enough to sing praises to God.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

The Meaning of Life

Life is a precious gift, and God wants us to enjoy it! He wants our lives to abundantly overflow with peace and joy.

The answer to our most important question of Why am I here? is simply this: “to enjoy life.” To put it in another common phrasing:

The meaning of life is to enjoy it.

If this is true, then why do most people not experience the peace and joy that God desires for them? Why is there so much suffering and evil in the world? We will explore the answer to that in our next series of lessons.

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