“Why do I exist?” People have discussed and debated the purpose for human existence from about every philosophical direction imaginable. Atheists have written books to tell us that we are just accidents with no purpose for existence. Many theologians give the trite answer, “Because God wanted to create us,” which is not much of an answer.
Recent evangelical ministers have used the analogy of couples deciding to have a child. If a child asks his parents, “Why did you have me?” What would they say? They might say, “Because we wanted a child to love.” Later, a parent might say their child has brought them great pride as they tell anyone who listens, “That’s my child.” Does that human parent comparison explain why God created us?
I would consider that it is not reasonable to suggest that we humans fulfill a need that God has. God does not have human needs. We don’t praise God because He has an ego problem or is struggling with depression. The Apostle Paul tells us to “glorify God” in Romans 15:6 and elsewhere, but that does not mean God needs us to build Him up because He lacks something. That would be like a political figure or an entertainer who needs people to praise him and build his esteem. Thinking that God has such needs is rooted in human attempts to create God in our own image.
In the Bible, we can find clues to help us understand more clearly the purpose for human existence. For example, the book of Job shows a conflict beyond our daily physical struggles. God never explained to Job the spiritual battle behind the purpose for his existence and which led to the pain he suffered. But after his dialogue with God, Job concluded that the answer is beyond human knowledge or understanding. Speaking through Ezekiel, God tells us that Job, Noah, and Daniel achieved the purpose for which they were created, but their righteousness could not make up for the sins of others. (See Ezekiel 14:14 and 20.)
The New Testament further clarifies the purpose for human existence. First, we see a major confrontation in the war between good and evil in Matthew 4:1-10 when Satan tempted Jesus. Then we see the culmination of the conflict in Revelation 20-22. People often fail to understand the Book of Revelation because they don’t understand that it is not describing a physical war. The war between good and evil is in a realm beyond this physical world. Ephesians 6:10-20 makes it clear that the purpose of our existence is beyond flesh and blood but involves a struggle “against the rulers, against the authorities against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
In Ephesians 3:8-13, Paul writes that his purpose in existing was “to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Revelation chapters 20 to 22 give a prophecy of the ultimate destruction of evil and the wonderful existence we all can have if we fulfill the purpose for which God created us. First, John 1: 5-9 makes it clear that we will not be perfect, but we will be forgiven and cleansed as we fulfill the purpose for human existence. Atheists try to tell us that evil doesn’t exist and that there is no reason for us to be here. However, the evidence and the biblical message show us the reason for our existence and the joy and love God makes available to us all.
— John N. Clayton © 2023