Part 1: Why Are We Here?
I remember being in middle school when this question first started poking me in the ribs at the oddest of times. Standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom and wondering about how infinite the galaxy really was. Where did it end? How did it start? Where did I come from? Did my life really matter? I imagine it’s common to start asking these questions during adolescence as you’re beginning to think of yourself as your own person - separate from the identity of your parents. And as schools begin to introduce big concepts like the universe.
These days, schools are introducing big concepts earlier and earlier in the U.S., so it stands to reason that kids are having these thoughts earlier and earlier.
Yet, we’re also seeing earlier signs of depression, anxiety, and even suicide in young children. CNN reported in 2017 that from 1999 through 2015, 1,309 children ages 5 to 12 took their own lives in the United States. This should make all of our minds explode. Why on Earth could this be happening?!
Among experts, the conjecture often leads to mental health conversations and I in no way plan on disputing that. But I think a conversation about spiritual health and understanding of purpose is also key to any explanation of why children would find themselves so utterly hopeless.
And any conversation of hopelessness, leads me back to the question of purpose. Which leads me back to my first question of, why are we here?
The biblical worldview, would begin instead with the question of, “who” put us here. And it would answer, that question with a sovereign, triune God.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”
And out of His absolute goodness, this sovereign, triune God created that which expressed His glory. By that, I mean creation of all kinds: animals, flowers, mountains, the seas…All of it. But the crowning achievement of His glory is the human race. Walking, talking, living, loving – people.
If you’re not a believer in the idea that humans were created by a creator, I would ask you to suspend your disbelief long enough to imagine – that if it were true, that this being that created all of what I just said, would have to be intensely powerful, intensely intelligent and intensely creative. I would also argue that this being would have to be intensely loving. Why else would a being so powerful, intelligent and creative, want to make humans?
This ultra-creative being could have instead, decided to make more plants. Or it could have been satisfied with populating the earth solely with animals. They’re beautiful, able to be tamed, and often loyal to their masters…The same, as we know, can’t always be said of humans. And a being this powerful has also got to be “complete” – lacking nothing. Not exactly needful of people. And yet…
Here we are. Walking, talking, breathing…
Based on our shared human experience (believer or non-believer) how can we come up with anything more logical than love? Relationship. God is a loving being who wants to share what He’s made with something else that He’s made - out of his absolute goodness.
Throughout Genesis we see God evaluating what He has created. After gathering the waters together and separating them from dry land, we see God acknowledge that it is good (Gen 1:9-10). After producing vegetation He acknowledges once again the goodness of that creation (Gen 1:11-12). On and on we see God calling his own creation good. In fact, the first time that God calls something “not good” it’s in recognition of the man He created being alone - without a helper (Gen 2:18).
So by this Genesis account, we’re lead back to love.
God does not desire what is “not good” for us, so He provides someone for man to share with and cultivate all of this extreme beauty. God is providing something for man’s good. Sharing something with him.
Think about it. When’s the last time any of us shared something with someone we didn’t love? Basically never. We share our snacks in elementary school with the girl or boy we like. We share secrets with our best friend. We share a bed with our spouse. Sharing – inviting someone in to partake with you - is an act of love. Out of His goodness, God shared with us and bestowed on us the blessing of getting to share with someone else.
Relationship. Love. Partnership. Mutual Surrender.
If you’ll recall from the introduction on Surrender, we noted that none of us like that word very much. That it raises images of white flags and laying down of our rights. But then we also asked the question whether or not it was the actual word that was bad or if it was dependent upon who it is that we’re surrendering to. What do we know to be true about this person? Do they want what’s best for us? Will they allow us any freedom? What is that freedom dependent upon? Are they demanding? Are they kind? Will they punish us if we break their rules? And if this being is so loving, why am I suffering?
Well, that’s where we’ll pick up next time on our journey – making a pit stop at the questions that confuse our idea of a good God.
In the interim, I encourage you to check out Genesis 1&2. This section of scripture is a front row seat to the “why” and the “good” of God and the beginnings of His creation here on earth.
A few things to check out:
Your playlist accompaniment for this leg of the trip? “So Will I 100 Billion X” by Hillsong UNITED