Are we accidents with no enduring purpose? ...

Why Were You Born?

We are born. We live. We die. Is there a point to it all?

James McBride: On the grand scale, life is little more than a brief spark. It appears, glows to one degree or another, and disappears. In human terms it can last from a few minutes to little beyond a century. And the shorter it is the less likely our title question is asked. But in the excitement of youth or when you reach middle age or a comfortable `three score years and ten' then you might ask Why on earth am I here? Is there a point to it all? Is that all there is to these years of sorrow and happiness?

Few philosophers can give a satisfying answer. After all, if you are simply the end result of an entirely physical process then you may as well, as King Solomon noted, enjoy - or endure - whatever health you have, whatever life throws at you. If we crawled from some primordial swamp on flippers, the result of some purely random process, then our seventy years are the sum of our existence. (This scenario, however, will before long be pictured only in the comics - as ridiculous and fictional as Superman or money for nothing or little green men and women from Venus.) Eat, drink and be merry - for tomorrow you die! And that's it. You live on only through your children.

Always Tomorrow

But most of us don't think that way, do we? There is, we feel in our bones, always tomorrow - even after death. From the recorded beginnings of human civilization man has prepared for the journey through the valley of death and into the unknown vistas of the next world. All religions - except perhaps the religion of professed humanism or atheism - are a process of explanation for that world beyond the grave. If there's a `religious gene' then we all have it, even though we may do our best to suppress it!

Varieties of Belief

The universality of religion is good evidence that we have an eternal destiny. And if so, why, on earth, were you born?

So, whatever your faith, why do you think you were born? Most Christians would reply that they are to `follow Jesus' and when they die go to Heaven. After that it gets a bit fuzzy. You may enjoy painting or singing - but can you imagine doing that for a year, a million years, for ever? Certainly we can enjoy praising God for ever. But is that all your dreams? Young Muslim men strap explosives around their waists in the hope that the explosion will send them to `Paradise'. Wine, women and song - and water - for ever and ever. And atheists? Well, that's sad.

Of all religions the `Holy Scriptures' - the Christian Bible - explain the divine purpose as does no other religious writing or tradition. That purpose is mind-blowing! Yet most professing Christians are blind to the incredible destiny in store for the people of God.

Human Destiny

Mankind is a direct - and purposeful - act of the great ever-living Creator God. We are not just a divine whim but designed as the `clay model' that can be transformed as a vessel of worth and beauty.

Given the opportunity of living forever, our first parents `blew it'. They chose the path of human reason to the exclusion of divine guidance. The result - the awesome mess that is today's world, marred by our wilful rejection of the fundamental rules of success - sin. We have - collectively and individually - lost sight of the purpose of life.

God respects our choice. He permits mankind to pursue his own path, intervening only to keep His global plan on track. But He also works with individuals. Any who respond to His open invitation are given every resource to fulfil the divine purpose.

That purpose is that we become part of His divine Family - truly children of God. Throughout this life, God actively molds His children into His divine image through our unique ups and downs, all carefully monitored by Him.

That image, that way of life, was exemplified for us in the life of God's only-begotten Son, Jesus. Jesus himself, through his life of perfect submission, qualified to become `the heir of the universe'. Raised from the dead he is lifted above the physical to a position of unbelievable authority. No longer subject to death, he wields all the power that sustains our universe.

You Can Share It

All who come to him, believe him, obey him - and who stay with him till life's end - are destined to share with him in his inheritance: to live forever as spirit-born sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.

God's plan for His creation doesn't end with our physical existence. It extends into an eternity of, to us, inconceivable projects! No longer limited by our flesh, we will endlessly enjoy the work of our hands.

Only those who will to step out on the narrow and difficult path beaten by our Saviour will fulfil the awesome purpose for which each of us was born.

To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.

For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 5 No. 5, September/October 2001. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.

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