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This Is the Purpose of Life!

This Is the Purpose of Life!

Stop and consider the answers to deep questions, such as what is God’s plan? Are we free moral agents? Dive into the Bible’s answers, as Gerald Weston explains from 1 Corinthians 15, Genesis 1:27, Hebrews 2 and Romans 8.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

An All-Important Question

What is the purpose for your life? Do you know? Do you even care? This last question, “Do you even care?” should shock our senses. Why would anyone not want to know the purpose for his existence?

We come into this life knowing nothing. We involuntarily arrived one day and today we find ourselves somewhere, at some age and stage of life, and being who we are. What an enigma! But at some point, often in our teenage years, or as we near the end of life, we wonder, “What’s it all about?”

Do you, dear friend, ever ask yourself this question? And if not, why?

Sadly, too many don’t seem to be very concerned. We here at Tomorrow’s World keep trying to give you the answer to this question, and while thousands do order our resource that explains it, many thousands do not. Apparently, there are more people interested in the future of the world than their personal, eternal future!

On today’s Tomorrow’s World program, we’re going to consider the most important questions of all for each and every one of us: Who am I? Why was I born? What is the purpose of life? What is God’s plan for me?

Now, stay with me as I will be back in five seconds to answer this most important of all questions!

Materialism is NOT the Answer

A warm welcome to all of you from those of us here at Tomorrow’s World. On today’s program, I’ll be answering the most important of all questions: “What Is the Purpose of Life?” The answer is found in the pages of the Bible, and it’s NOT what most people think! It’s NOT to float around for eternal retirement in heaven. No, dear friends, it’s infinitely greater than that!

The meaning of life question has been mulled over and debated among philosophers and theologians for millennia, yet, the answer has been with us from the beginning. No, we are NOT left to our puny minds to discover some novel idea that suits our fancy. There is a far greater purpose than most imagine.

Those who subscribe to an evolutionary origin to life, thus in their own minds doing away with the need for God, have no real answer. What grand purpose can there be for a life confined to the here and now? Even if you live a thousand years and come up with a cure for cancer, what good will that do you in the end? When you die, all hopes, dreams, and temporal rewards will end in the blackness of darkness forever if there is no God.

Philosophy Professor Thaddeus Metz summarizes a multitude of theories on life’s purpose from theologians and philosophers, and he mentions that:

Lately, however, an extreme form of naturalism has arisen, according to which our lives would probably, if not unavoidably, have less meaning in a world with God… (“The Meaning of Life,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, February 9, 2021).

In other words, to them, God’s existence would take away from a meaningful existence! Professor Metz then explains several theories put forward to come to this absurd conclusion. The first theory postulates that God’s existence places us in a master/servant or parent/child relationship, thus:

… our independence or dignity as adult persons would be violated.

Put another way, we could no longer be our own boss. We would have to answer to a higher power and atheists and agnostics chafe at such an idea. Professor Metz points to an additional “God, don’t tell me what to do” line of reasoning:

Another salient argument for thinking that God would detract from meaning in life appeals to the value of privacy…. God’s omniscience [all-knowing] would unavoidably make it impossible for us to control … the most intimate details about ourselves, which, for some, amounts to a less meaningful life than one with such control.

Apart from revelation from God, the subject is broad, technical at times, and, well, meaningless! Leave God out and there can be no purpose beyond our far-to-short temporary existence. But, not surprisingly, there are those who argue against eternal life itself. As the professor explains:

First and foremost, there has been the argument that an immortal life could not avoid becoming boring (Williams 1973), rendering life pointless according to many subjective and objective theories.

One of the major Jewish sects during Jesus’ day also believed there was no future beyond the grave. Note this encounter between the Sadducees and Jesus when they challenged Him about the resurrection—Matthew 22:23:

The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him… (Matthew 22:23).

And when brought before the Council, the Apostle Paul created a near riot between the Pharisees and Sadducees over this subject.

But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”…. For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both (Acts 23:6, 8).

Some among the Christians at Corinth were influenced by this erroneous idea. Paul’s first letter to that church addresses the subject of the resurrection from the dead in chapter 15, and he reasons with perfect logic the futility of life if it is only for the here and now.

For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep [or died] in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:16–19).

Paul later explains the senselessness of self-sacrifice if all that we have is the here and now—taking it to its natural conclusion.

If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32).

But before we set off to eat, drink, and die forever, let’s ask ourselves the central question Paul addresses in this chapter: “Is there a resurrection from the dead?” Either there is, or there isn’t.

A Resurrection to Life—But Why?

And if there is no God, there can be no life after death: no memory, no thoughts, no joy, no happiness—only the blackness of darkness forever. As Paul convincingly wrote,

If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32).

Ancient king Solomon sought the purpose of life through wine, women, and song; and he discovered that none of these brought lasting happiness. What was the purpose of it all? He concluded that all was vanity and grasping for the wind.

“As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me, and why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity [or worthlessness].” For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:15–17).

You can never match Solomon when it comes to wine, women, and song. Neither with fame nor fortune. Most who try, find that what they thought would make them happy does not. Consider the lives of so many celebrities who outwardly “have it all.” Some get strung out on drugs, others have one failed marriage after another. Ponder the recent tragic case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Both had good looks, fame, and fortune, but it’s evident none of this provided the happiness both sought.

This is not to say that every rich person has a failed marriage or that all celebrities are unhappy—only that lasting happiness does not come from temporary pleasures, and unless there is a God who can resurrect you from the grave, anything you do in this life is temporary.

How can we be certain that we can live again? While there are those who claim a “near death” experience, only One was resurrected after three days and three nights in the grave, and that was nearly 2,000 years ago.

But Paul answers that question in this same “resurrection chapter” [1 Corinthians 15] listing by name individuals who saw Jesus after His crucifixion, and then asserts:

After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:6).

This was written less than 25 years after the crucifixion, and most of those 500 were still alive. What credibility would Paul or his letter have if this were not true? And scholars recognize further evidence.

According to John 7:5, Jesus’ own half-brothers did not believe in Him prior to the crucifixion, but afterward they became disciples. James went on to be the leader of the Jerusalem congregation and he wrote the epistle of James. His half-brother Jude also became a believer and wrote the letter bearing his name.

Furthermore, history records that of the twelve apostles (remember that Mathias replaced Judas), only John did not die a martyr’s death. Now many have died as martyrs for a cause they believed in, but how many would die for a cause they knew to be a lie? Jesus’ twelve apostles knew the resurrection was true.

The question remains: If God exists and there is life after death, what does that mean? What is God’s purpose for you and me?

Why God Created YOU

Do you know why man has so much greater mental capacity than animals? Several animals have larger brains, but none come close to man’s capacity to reason, to think, to innovate. None can devise a plan to go to the moon and return. None can build a telescope, a television, or a computer. Yes, I know, your dog is pretty amazing, but there is something fundamentally different between the two of you.

What makes the difference? How is it that man can build machines to go higher, faster, and further than any animal? And why is it that with all our intelligence, we cannot get along with our fellow man? Why divorce? Why wars between nations? Why people scamming, stealing, and bludgeoning one another?

We begin our search for the answer in the first chapter in the Bible. Here we find God’s purpose for mankind.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26–27).

How many read over this passage without considering what it means? In plain language, God did not make man after any animal kind, but His (that is, God’s) kind. We are different because we were created in God’s image and likeness. Write down Genesis 1:26–27, and read it for yourself, and consider what it means. Or simply order our free booklet What Is the Meaning of Life? as this is explained there.

God created us after His own kind with amazing ability to think, to reason, and to do marvelous things. But why don’t we conduct ourselves in a godly manner? The missing element is explained in the second chapter of Genesis. There we find that man is made a free moral agent with the ability to make choices.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16–17).

He was given the ability to choose between right and wrong, between good and evil. Notice how this is spelled out at a later time for the nation of Israel—Deuteronomy 30:19:

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).

While we sent men to the moon and brought them back safely, to this day we cannot get along with one another. There are too many failed marriages; too many murders, rapes, and assaults; too many wars, cutting short the hopes and dreams of millions.

Sometimes people ask why God, with all of His power, does not stop the atrocities that occur here below. But which of these same people are willing to submit to God’s will in everything?

Heirs to the Promise of Eternal Life

The idea that God is creating man in His own image is truly profound and this theme is found throughout the Scriptures. David looked up at the night sky and wondered why God would even be interested in puny little man, asking,

What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4).

The book of Hebrews picks up on this question and explains:

“You [that is, God] have put all things in subjection under his [man’s] feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings (Hebrews 2:8–10).

The Bible reveals a plan and purpose being worked out that is far greater than going off to heaven for retirement to stare into the face of God for eternity. Why is it, dear friends, that people do not accept what the Bible plainly says? The Apostle Paul is not vague about our future. He explains in Romans 8:14–15 that we will be sons of God and joint heirs with Christ.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba [meaning “daddy”], Father” (Romans 8:14–15).

Now notice what he says next:

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (v. 16).

Did you catch that? We are to become children of God. Humankind, as brought out in Genesis 1, was made in the image and likeness of God, not of any animal kind, but of God Himself! Can you believe what the Bible clearly says? Notice further:

“… and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (v. 17).

In previous generations we understood that the masculine man or mankind, represented both men and women in this context; but if anyone is offended by that micro-mini-aggression, note that women are not left out.

I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18).

But how can this be? Notice again from Romans 8:16:

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

Here we find two spirits: God’s spirit and “our spirit.” In this we find the difference between God’s thinking and man’s thinking. Humanly speaking, we do not think as God thinks, and without His indwelling Spirit, though intelligent in material matters, we lack true love and self-control. That’s why we naturally exhibit what we call human nature.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (Galatians 5:19–21).

But, does that mean we can never think as He thinks? Let Paul give us the answer.

“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10).

Paul next explained why there is a difference between the animal brain and the mind of man.

“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” (1 Corinthians 2:11).

Similarly, this explains the difference between the mind of man and the mind of God.

“Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11).

Here we find two spirits. The spirit of man empowers the human brain far above that of animals, but without the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we can no more understand the things of God than my dog Marcus could understand calculus! To be fully made in the image and likeness of God, to think as God thinks, these two spirits must unite.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God…. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:14, 16–17).

WOW—“children of God… heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”

I hope you enjoyed and profited from this video.

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