Why do I exist?

22 06 2013

why do i exist2

It is not a strange question at all, but a very natural question. Everyone asks it, consciously or unconsciously, though not necessarily in those words.
It is a religious question. It is a question to which all religions claim to have an answer. It is not abstract but as concrete and particular as you are. It’s about your life. Why is my existence in question?
Because you didn’t have to exist. If one little thing had happened differently to any of your ancestors, you would not exist. For instance, if your great-grandfather hadn’t been surprised by the sound of a squirrel dropping a nut on a dry leaf in the park where he was sitting on a bench a hundred years ago, he wouldn’t have turned his head around to see what the noise was, and he wouldn’t have noticed the pretty girl on the bench over there, walked over and struck up a conversation with her, got to know her, and eventually married her–and you are part of the rest of that story.
So is it just luck that you exist? Just chance? Did you just happen, or are you designed? Are you an accident, or are you wanted? Are you just lost on a stage without any lines to speak, just making it all up as you go along, or are you part of a play, a plot, a plan, with an Author’s mind behind it?
You can’t get the answer to that question just from your feelings, because your feelings change from year to year, day to day, even minute to minute. Everyone at times feels lost and meaningless, and everyone at other times feels part of a meaningful story.
It makes all the difference in the world how you ask that question. It amounts to asking whether your life has real meaning or not.
We deeply want our lives to have a real meaning. But where does this real meaning come from? Why is there a real answer to the question “Why do I exist?”
Because God is real, that’s why. Because you were willed into existence by an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful God. That’s why your life has meaning and purpose. How can we know the true answer to this question, the meaning of our life? What must we know, to know who we are?
The secret of your identity is in the mind of your Creator and Designer. Therefore, to find the meaning of your life, you must know God. To find out who Macbeth is, you must ask Shakespeare. To find out who Gollum is, you must ask Tolkien. To find out who you are, you must ask God.
How do we know God? Through Christ. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son . . . has made him known” (Jn 1:18).
To know yourself adequately, you must know God. And to know God adequately, you must know Christ. Therefore, to know yourself adequately, you must know Christ. Christ reveals not just who God is but also who we are.
When we ask why exist, what do we seek?
We seek our origin, our nature, and our destiny. There are actually three parts to this question: “Where did I come from?” and “What am I?” and “Where am I going?”
There are two radically different possible answers to this three-part question: the no-God answer and the God-answer. We exist either because of mere chance and accident or because of divine design; we exist either because of blind matter below us or because of conscious divine spirit above us.
The three questions (of origin, nature, and destiny) are connected. If our origin is only material, if we came only from mindless matter blindly bumping into more mindless matter and not from the Mind of God designing and creating matter, then our nature is also only matter: we are only apes with bigger brains but no souls. If our parents were big apes, we are only big apes. And then our destiny, our end, is only the destiny of all matter and animal life: death and decay. Period. End of the story. That is the logical consequence of believing that there is no God. Death wins in the end.
But if one’s origin is from above, from God–if we are designed and created by an intelligent Spirit–then our nature can be also spiritual, made in the image of the God who is spirit. God may have used evolution to make our bodies out of previously existing animal species, but souls cannot evolve. God must create each soul afresh.
If that is true–if we exist because of God, if we are real because God is real–then the practical consequences are tremendously important. For then each one of us has intrinsic dignity. That means that we are not mere objects to be used by other objects. We are God’s kids!
And then our destiny (the third connected question) is also spiritual: to live forever with God in Heaven. God is our first beginning and our last end, our ultimate origin and our ultimate destiny.

Prof. Peter Kreeft.


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2 responses

31 07 2013
WhyDoIExist

Interesting take on the question. I’m also addressing this subject at my blog, http://www.WhyDoIExistBlog.wordpress.com but I actually think we have a physical objective to accomplish. I’m writing a book about that as well. Hope you check it out sometime!

~Steve

31 07 2013
Editor

Thanks for your comments Steve, I am looking forward to reading your book. Good luck.

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