The meaning of life is one of those questions that for some goes unanswered, but even though by human standards this question is one embellished with mystery and philosophical intrigue; there is a clear concise answer.
You may have heard many say the meaning of life is to learn, to grow, to love, to live in harmony with our fellow human beings, to nurture the earth and nature. While some of these are very valid and are a component of life’s true meaning, they actually are the results of the true meaning and don’t tell the whole story.
When considering this question, there is an overriding factor that will figure into what you are willing to accept for a ‘reasonable solution’.
The agnostic is going to approach this from a perspective of attempting to find meaning in existence itself; nature. While one who believes in a god of creation is of course going to need to consider the reasons ‘that’ creator went to the effort to create us.
I’m going to immediately discount the agnostic position because it is a debate outside of the scope of this discussion. We could spend hours upon hours battling either side of the argument between agnostic and theist.
I fall into the theist camp without apology and all I have to say about the agnostic position is that it leaves you with no solid definition to the meaning of life and frankly, diminishes the worth of humanity as having no authoritative source of being. I will offer a form of apology to the agnostic that reads this, because I am truly sorry that you find yourself in the position of being an accident of nature. I can only image how hollow that must be.
Starting from the theist position a good place to start is the beginning. If we believe that a god created life and consequently us, it would seem obvious that our first point of reference would be any record we can find regarding that even.
My God is Yahweh, the God noted of Biblical fame. So my authoritative source is going to be ‘The Bible’; the Word of God. So let’s go to the beginning of the Bible and see what we can find there. The first mention of man comes up in the first chapter of Genesis in the 26th verse:
Genesis 1:26-30 (CSB)
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed.
This will be food for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth — everything having the breath of life in it — I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Now it would be easy to look at this and immediately say ‘Oh! God needed someone to tend to this world he just created so he made man and woman to be his facilities management staff.’ Well, he did assign them the task of caring for his creation, but I think we’ll see here something more that God had in mind; something much more significant as to ‘why’ he created mankind.
Not too much further we observe God apparently doing what he was accustomed to long on a regular basis.
Genesis 3:8-9 (CSB)
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you? ”
God didn’t ‘need’ to walk through the garden. Because God is omnipresent he can choose to be anywhere he wishes. No, God enjoyed spending time in the garden and obviously he enjoyed spending that time with the man and woman he had created.
So, when God came to the garden and went on his stroll as was his custom the usual eager encounter with his creation was markedly different. Adam and Eve had done the one thing that God had forbid them doing. They hid from God and so he called out to them. (Note: God didn’t have to ‘call out to them’ he knew exactly where they were and what they had done. This dialogue was strictly for Adam and Eve’s benefit.)
The thing that I want us to draw from here I we begin to see exactly why God created mankind here in the third chapter of Genesis. God wanted fellowship. For all that God had at his fingertips he wanted to love and be loved without direction. God is big on this ‘free will’ thing. When he created the angels he allowed them free will and as a result Lucifer rebelled and took a third of the other angels with him in his fall from Grace.
Man was different. God wanted a relationship with this creation. He wanted to spend time with it and embellish it with love and see it respond by loving him back. The betrayal of his creation by doing exactly what he forbade them from doing created a separation of God from his creation and set into motion all the events leading up and including the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sin of mankind. This fellowship was a major thing for God as we will see as we examine this further.
Skipping to the end a bit here lets look at the last book of the Bible.
Revelation 4:11 (CSB)
Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.
The only thing I really want to draw out of this is that from the beginning of the scripture to the very end it is clear that God created mankind out of a his desire.
Now I want to focus in on the core motivation for God acting on his desire and creating humanity. I think you’ll identify this fairly quickly with a few references.
Exodus 15:13 (CSB)
With your faithful love, you will lead the people you have redeemed; you will guide them to your holy dwelling with your strength.
Deuteronomy 33:3 (CSB)
Indeed he loves the people. All your holy ones are in your hand, and they assemble at your feet. Each receives your words.
1 Chronicles 16:34 (CSB)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.
Psalms 25:10 (CSB)
All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth to those who keep his covenant and decrees.
Psalms 32:10 (CSB)
Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the Lord will have faithful love surrounding him.
John 3:16 (CSB)
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 5:8 (CSB)
But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Got it? LOVE! Unmistakably the motivation was love, which is a consistent theme throughout the Old and New Testaments. God loves! He desires to love and beloved. Hence he poured out his love on his people throughout the ages and though time and time again those he loved turned away from him he continued to return again to love even more than before.
To bring this down to the reason we were created and why we exist we only need extrapolate from this ‘love’ that God desired us to have a relationship with him.
Being the eternal all knowing entity that God is he knew his creation would betray him, he knew that despite setting up a covenant between him and the children of Israel that they would ultimately fail, but he kept on loving.
He being pure, holy and full of justice he could not be in the presents of sin so the final solution was to come to earth as a man and live a perfect life among men and ultimately sacrifice His life to mitigate the sin of the world! He knew this before he created us and yet he did so because HE LOVES US and WANTS a relationship with US!
This is the reason we are here. To love Him back because he Loved us first and Loves us more than we can even fathom let alone begin to match.
Why am I here? Because of Love!