“Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?” These are eternal questions that we all ask at some stage in our life. For many people life is defined by the pursuit of happiness. For others their motto is, “The person who dies with the most toys wins!” Even Charlie Brown and Lucy, in one of Charles Shultz’ cartoons debate this question. Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “I’m intrigued by this view you have on the purpose of life, Charlie Brown … You say we’re put here on earth to make others happy?” Charlie Brown answers, “That’s right.” The next frame shows the two of them in deep thought. Lucy eventually asks, “What are the others put here for?”
What is the purpose of life for the person who doesn’t believe in a Creator God? One such person, Jean-Paul Satré, wrote that “Every existent is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance.” As Albert Mohler writes, “For the atheist … Life is a cosmic accident, morality is an arbitrary game by which we order our lives, and meaning is non-existent. As Oxford University’s Professor Richard Dawkins explains, human life is nothing more than a way for selfish genes to multiply and reproduce. There is no meaning or dignity to humanity.”
Does the Christian who believes in a Creator God have purpose on this planet? In the Scriptures we read that the LORD said that, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7). God, by His own sovereign free choice, chose to create mankind to enjoy and reflect His glory (Revelation 4:11). When mankind rebelled against Him He sent His Son to redeem a people for Himself.
Dignity and purpose, for the Christian, are directly related to God’s Person and purpose. The Bible teaches that man was created to know their Creator, in the deepest sense of that word. That is why Paul wrote, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). When man knows and loves God, the LORD in turn delights in the pinnacle of His creative handiwork (Zephaniah 3:17). John Piper has written, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” If this is true, then purpose is found not in work or pleasure as ends in themselves, but in pursuing these activities under, and for, our Sovereign Creator. Purpose is found not in travelling to the ends of the earth, but in humbly looking up.