The Purpose of Our Existence
“There is no purpose to our existence, but that doesn’t matter, we can make up our own purpose, and in so doing, we will be freer and have more purpose than anyone religious person who believes a bunch of superstitious myths.”
Such is the attitude of some, when we ask, ‘What is the purpose of our life? What makes life worth living?’ Scorn and derision are poured on the notion that there might be a God behind and above the universe who has the authority and legitimate right to assign the purpose of human existence. Ridicule is heaped on the biblical notion that God created us for His good purposes and glory.
Yet, I would argue that such a posture of unbelief in God’s Word is unlivable (at least consistently). A person can say it does not matter if there is no purpose to our existence and who cares because we can just make one up, but no one can live this philosophy out regularly. Here’s some reasons why.
First, anyone who truly feels the weight of the reality that there is no purpose to our existence is led to nihilistic despair. The assertion that our lives are utterly inconsequential and there is no reason for our existence leads to grim understanding of existence. It is bleak. It is dark. It is overwhelming. So, it seems that most who say they hold the position, haven’t actually faced the nihilistic facts; they not allowed themselves to feel the full weight of the nihilistic angst. They have numbed themselves to the reality of nihilism, while saying they believe it (a sort of ‘have your nihilistic cake and eat it too approach’).
Second, no lives as though ‘every person is within their rights and has a valid way of defining how they live and why we exist’ approach. We all cringe at a wasted life. We urge our friends and family members away from arrogant and misguided pursuits. We plead with other to reject conspiracy theories. But if every purpose of life is valid, then why urge anyone to live differently? If all approaches are on the table, then who are we to criticize another person’s approach? But we all do, because we all know deep down there is a WRONG way to live one’s life, and it is WRONG to waste one’s life.
Third, ALL of the proposed ways of giving our lives meaning apart from God’s designed way in the end fail us. Whether we live for romantic love, or career, or the environment, or helping others, or beauty, or knowledge, or charity, or something else, in the end the heart will never be satisfied. Eventually, our pursuits will let us down or crush us, even if we can keep them going for a while (even years). The author of Ecclesiastes was aware of this. He had everything you could ever want (possessions, relationships, fame, sex, knowledge), but in the end he saw that all was VANITY.
Christ, God who came and dwelt among us, reveals why we exist: “This is eternal life: that they may know the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). We were made to know and enjoy God. Here is freedom, joy, and purpose. Only God can bear the weight of the human heart, which is made to worship and enjoy God and find purpose and truth in God’s ways and design.