The Purpose and Meaning of Life

What is life and why we live? These are the fundamental questions that many people ask themselves at least once in their lifetime. Some ask this question early in their life and some ask towards the end of their life after many years of toils, earning money and reaching the top only to find out there is nothing there. And many go frustrated without getting answers to those questions. It’s really sad! No answers to the most important questions in life!

Why no answers? Because they either miss the answers due to faulty procedures or they start at the wrong place – themselves. What do I do with my life? What do I want to be? Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. You did not do anything for your birth or you did not create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself why you were created for! If we need to find a right answer to this question we must begin with the one who created us – God. The meaning and purpose of a thing is decided by the designer and the maker. Design decides the usefulness. Ask the designer, he will tell the purpose.

Designed and made for a purpose

“Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” -Bertrand Russell, an Atheist.

If you don’t believe in a God who created everything and sustains everything, this question is meaningless. If you are on earth as a result of some chance or an explosion as evolution says, then there is no purpose to life other than eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow we die and cease to exist. The creation model provides definite purpose and meaning for life. We are created by God and for God and until you understand that, your life will never make sense. God, the creator is an all knowing, all powerful, omnipresent, eternal and sovereign being who created the universe including man with definite design and purpose.

On careful examination, we can observe the purpose behind each of the creation – Soil for the plants to grow, Clouds for rain, atmosphere and ozone layers for protection from harmful cosmic rays, Sun for energy etc. Everything has a perfect design behind it pointing to a designer who created everything. For example, the design and working of our body, photosynthesis, fine-tuned universe etc. Just like all other thing which has a purpose and design, human beings too have a purpose and design. Yes, God has created us with a unique design for a definite purpose.

Made in the image and likeness of God

Bible says that God made man in God’s image and likeness. Since God is spirit and not matter, the phrase “image and likeness” cannot be material. Bible clearly teaches that God is a personal spiritual being. The phrase image of God refers to the spirituality of man while the likeness refers to the personality of man. So man is a created, spiritual and personal being bearing resemblance of God’s being. Since we are created in his image and likeness we have the spirituality and personality.

What is spirituality ?

Man has spirit and through man’s spirit man enjoys God consciousness. He is aware of God. Through spirit, man has a sense of morality and ethics. Man is a moral being. Through spirit, man has consciousness – awareness of right and wrong. Man’s ability to know God, love God, worship God, enjoy God etc is the result of man’s spirituality.

What is personality?

Personality is what makes man a person. If man has no personality, then man would be another animal. It is through personality we think, feel and decide. God has created us with the ability to think, to feel and to take decisions. God is omniscient (all–knowing) so man has knowing capacities. God is omnipotent (all-powerful) while man has ability or power. God is omnipresent (present everywhere) while man has personal presence. So man is an analogues being. Man as a personal being needs to orient his personality vertically to God and horizontally to fellow man. He needs to ask fundamental questions as Who am I? Who made me? Why am I here? Where am I going? Why am I made? etc. Finding right answers to the above questions provide man meaning and purpose in life.

Meaning and purpose of life!

God’s image in us (Imago-Dei) makes him a unique creation. Animals and plants do not have the Imago-Dei. Animals have programmed existence. Man alone has personal, rational, spiritual, social existence and freedom of choice. Man is an image bearer of God. This unique relational existence makes man distinctly different from all the other creations. God’s image in man (imago Dei) has an inclination towards God. As a volitional personal being, a man needs to decide whether he wants to cooperate with this natural inclination towards God. The reason why all human beings are born theists is because of the imago-Dei, Atheists are not born; they are made. Atheism is always a reaction against the pre-existing belief in God or gods.

What gives meaning to life? Man’s consciousness of the imago-Dei! God’s image in us gives the ability to know God, to obey God, to enjoy God, to love God and to worship God. God’s image in us gives us morality which prompts us to obey God’s moral laws. It is the God’s image in us that drives us to live for Him.

The purpose of life is to fulfill the creational potentials of man. In other words, we are created to glorify God by praising Him, worshipping Him, by proclaiming His greatness, and to accomplish His will. To realize and to actualize these potentials, God has blessed man with freedom of access to God. He needs to come to term with God. He needs to harmonize his thinking, feeling and deciding with those of God (concerning man). Some people rebel, some cooperate and succeed. God’s purpose for man is that he must do God’s will. To know God’s will man needs to read God’s Word. Knowing God’s will from God’s Word with the view to obey God, will lead man into a worshipping relationships. God granted man a unique relationship with Him: to be His man on earth, to live for Him. God put man in charge of this world. But man has failed! Instead of using his reason for God’s glory, man has misused his freedom to choose for self-elation. Instead of using his authority to bring the world at the feet of God, man has alienated the world away from God. Instead of following God’s laws he violated them. This problem we call SIN. Sin separates man from God.

Rationally man denies God and thereby man has become the most irrational being. Emotionally man hates God and thereby became the most morally corrupt being. Volitionally man has willed to make his own gods, thereby becoming the enemy of the true God. Man has lost the meaning and the purpose of life through sin. Only when he returns to God and have his normal relationship reestablished he could find true meaning and purpose of life.

Return to the creator!

There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing,but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus. – Blaise Pascal

Man tries to solve his problems by himself. He is like man sitting in a basket trying to lift it by himself. God has created man with a purpose. God has created man with definite design to achieve the purpose. Damaged design, lost purpose, irrational thinking, inordinate affection and stiff-necked volitions make man the most vulnerable creature on earth. To restore this broken relationship with God man needs a savior. God has provided a savior – the incarnated God – Jesus Christ. He has atoned for man’s sins. He has redeemed man from eternal destruction to eternal life. He has forgiven man his sins. He imparts to everyone coming to him, a new heart, a new power and a new Pou sto (point of reference, from selfcenteredness to God-centeredness). And man finds the meaning and the purpose of life.

When a man returns to his creator God, God makes him a new creation with a new relationship, a new value system, a new power; Man begins to operate on a new level and begins to enjoy life vertically and horizontally. He is a redeemed being now; His direction is changed from doom to blessing, his devotion to God from self. The decision to avail these must be made willingly by man. Man needs to return to God, his creator and savior. Man finds meaning and purpose of life when he returns to his creator God to live for Him.