Does Life Have Meaning and Purpose?
The Meaning of Life
We all need to know our lives matter, have meaning, and we were placed here for a reason. However, during the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and frantically seeking things of this world we hope will satisfy and make us happy, we still feel empty.
It's been proven time and time again. Money doesn't create happiness. Neither does fame, or worldly success. People search for these things as if they were the only things that matter. Even the rich and powerful look at everything they have and wonder why they still feel empty.
The fact is, we were made in the image of God and therefore yearn for communion with Him. Our spiritual journey is an endless one. At many points on our journey we will make new discoveries and eventually come across something in God's Word, a glimmer of truth that will point us in the right direction.
Of course, it will only make sense if we believe life was created for a reason. If life simply evolved by accident, then life cannot have any meaning. It only has meaning if it was created for a purpose. No Creator, no life. Simple conclusion isn't it?
Some may try to find meaning in life without believing in God, but then our lives would merely revolve around achieving wealth, fame, or satisfying our own desires. It may seem possible to understand the meaning of life through our own decisions, but we would be lying to ourselves.
Most people who ask "What is the meaning of life?" really mean "What goals should I set for myself?” However, meaning cannot be achieved through our own decisions. Any such attempt would be meaningless. Either life has intrinsic meaning, or it doesn't. If life has meaning, then goals have been set and we can do nothing to change them. In light of such attempts, the question to "What is the meaning of life?" has no answer. If life starts off meaningless, then it ends meaningless. According to Christianity, God created us to have a relationship with him. God wants to know Him.
Why are We Here?
Everyone looks for meaning in their life. It's unpleasant to think our lives have no real meaning, just being born, and then dying. The Bible doesn't directly say "The meaning of life is...," but it does tell us God's purposes for us. God created us above the animals, having some of God's qualities, and appointed us as stewards over all His creation.
The 10 Commandments
When God created Adam and Eve He gave them a few simple rules to follow comprising what one might call the meaning of life. However, sin entered the world through their disobedience and they were banished from the Garden of Eden.
However, God didn't leave us to fend for ourselves. He gave us the 10 commandments as a guide. When Jesus arrived on the scene, He expanded on God's purposes and commandments. He explained the Commandments were not just a set of rules to obey, and boiled them down to two basic principles: Love for God and other people.
People who are able to focus on the needs of others find true happiness is found only in making others happy. Life's meaning is not found in getting more, but in giving more!
Each of us has something to give. Some have wealth, some talents, some time, others compassion and wisdom. Whatever gifts we have been given, we should share generously.
Christianity teaches the universe was created by an intelligent power, that being God. Creation was made for a purpose, therefore it's not morally neutral, but intrinsically valuable. God's purpose in creating the universe reflects His intention was man should enjoy perfect love and justice. God created humans in His image, to allow them to understand Him and their purpose. The purpose of life is to love and serve God.
Reason is a gift God gave man to enable them to reflect on their own nature. But man can never completely understand God and His complex design of creation. Something more is needed. Humans are not expected to accomplish the divine plan alone. The fulfillment of God's purpose depends on God's grace.
Reason is a good gift, however sometimes abused for selfish, prideful purposes. In such cases it comes down to nothing more than willful sin, meaning separation or alienation from God.
The Christian concept of sin begins with the story of Adam and Eve found in chapters 2-3 in Genesis. Some Christians believe these events actually took place, while others understand it to be symbolic of the human condition. Many view it to mean God has a personal relationship with humans who have free will as to how they will respond. They can obey God's will, or follow their own desires in rebellion. Others believe sin originates with Satan, who now seeks souls to devour. The truth is everyone is prone to sin, it's human nature.
We instinctively know helping others is right. Christ spent His time preaching on this important aspect. We know God is a God of love and forgiveness. We don't believe this because we found it all written in a dusty old book. The truth of what Christ said is written in our hearts and souls.
Christianity is a complete understanding of who and why we are here. God has commanded us to know and love Him, and to show that love by caring for others. By doing this we fulfill our destiny.
Most of what we know about our relationship with God is based on Christian theology. Christ called God our Father, and referred to us all as His children. This is our fundamental relationship. But being true children of God isn't a simple matter. We have to have free will, the ability to choose between right and wrong.