“Why are we here?”
Do you ever think about that question?
Maybe you grew up in the Church and your answer is locked and loaded. Or maybe you haven’t really thought much about it. It could be that you’ve discussed it in the classroom at some point but your stance is somewhat unresolved.
There have been many proposed answers to this behemoth question. Throughout history, it’s produced a broad spectrum of philosophical, scientific, and theological speculation from people of all types of ethnic, cultural, and ideological backgrounds.
Regardless of your own personal history of wrestling with this question, it’s important that we understand why we’re here. We’re not going to dissect every nook and crevice of the issue. But hopefully, by the end of this post, we’ll at least have narrowed it down a bit for you. In order to do that, we first need to know how we got here.
Because the how informs the why.
So how did we get here? There are two main schools of thought: evolution and creationism.
Let’s start with evolution. If evolution is the answer to the “how” question, then “survival of the fittest” is the highest law. That means that, essentially, our human lives bear no real significance. We are indeed, accidental. Why? Because if evolution is the theory that something came from nothing, it implies that we came from nothing. If atoms suddenly formed, and matter suddenly existed, and these oceans of primordial soup came to be—then what? As the theory goes, this soup spawned organisms that eventually changed over time into humans.
But if we came from nothing, then nothing awaits us at the end of it all. If nothing awaits us afterward, what’s the meaning of anything we’re doing right now? If we came from nothing, then we can surmise that we have no worth, no purpose, and no dignity.
And the moment we try to define “nothing,” we, ironically, turn that nothing into something. Confused, yet?
So if evolution is truly the how and our lives are truly accidental and meaningless, then the highest law really is “survival of the fittest.” If it’s survival of the fittest, then I’m just competing against everyone and everything else to make sure that I survive. That’s all there is.
Some of us live this way, right? We’re number one, and we don’t have time to worry about anyone else. It almost informs the way we live. Why? Because the how informs the why.
Luckily, there’s another school of thought. That’s where creationism comes into play.
To begin to answer the “how” question through the lens of creationism, we can look in the first chapter of Genesis, which you’ll find at the beginning of the Scriptures and the Pentateuch (a fancy word for the first five books of the Bible).
Like the other books in the Pentateuch, Genesis is widely attributed to Moses, who wrote Genesis to the nation of Israel after they had escaped from Egypt. Genesis is a story of beginnings. It’s an origin story.
Genesis 1:1 reads: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
In the beginning…God.
You might be asking, “Something can’t come from nothing. So where did God come from?”
Well, God exists and continues to exist outside of time. That means that God is not within the realm of time itself. God is outside of time and has been for all of eternity.
Suppose you were writing a book. This book has a beginning, middle and end. But you, the author, do not navigate by the concept of time in the book. You fall outside of the book’s timeline.
Similarly, God is the author of our book—the book we call “life.” He is outside of all of it, and he sees all of its pages simultaneously. To Him, there is no time, but we can’t fully grasp that because we’ve only ever been inside of time.
Now, if creation is the “how,” that means that we are created.
**INSERT MIND BLOWN GIF**
If creation is the “how,” that means there is a creator. That opens up a flurry of new questions:
If it’s creationism, then why was I created? Can I get to know this creator? Can I have a relationship with this creator or is it impersonal? Did this impersonal creator create personality? If we can get to know this creator, how do we get to know him?
How are we supposed to live? How does our creator want us to live?
If our creator has a plan for how He wants us to live, that means that we have purpose. Starting to see how the “how” informs the “why?” That’s where we can start to look at who God is and why we are created?
In Genesis 1:26, it says, Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
Wait a minute. Let us make man in our image after our likeness? Why the plural pronouns? Now, we have a few more questions. What does this mean?
What this is saying is the Holy Spirit, God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, were all present at the same time. That means that God didn’t create Jesus, nor did he create the Holy Spirit. Rather, they just were.
Three in one. The Holy Trinity, as it’s come to be known. (We’re not going to explain the doctrine of the Trinity in this post, but if you’re curious, here’s a good starting point.)
All that to say, God created us to be like him—not to be him, but to be like him.
What does that mean? It means that we have value. We were made in His image, and nothing else was. The very best dog or cat you have? They might be wonderful companions, but they were not made in God’s image.
That’s not to say that we physically look like God. But we have thought processes and emotions, we can smile, we can come up with theories, we have consciences. We have value, regardless of whether we believe in God, whether we’ve stepped foot into the realm of His existence.
Whoever you are, whatever walk you come from, whatever race you come from, whatever country you come from—every single person has value. It doesn’t matter how far away we are from God.
In Romans 5:8, it says but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
People who are far from God are valuable to God, because they are made in His image. That means the racist has value. That means the murderer has value. And none of them are so far gone from Jesus Christ.
Our foundational theology tells us that every single person has value. That doesn’t mean we have to like every single person. When Jesus says to love others as we love ourselves, it just means that we have to see their value the way that God sees their value.
For reference, if you go back to the beginning of the creation story, it says And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light.
Light is the start of transformation. And yes, while we were sinners Christ died for us.
We see the process of light playing out three times in Genesis. But we also see the light in Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 4:6, it says For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
God’s light, that same light that burst forth in creation, is the same light that is in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the light for all mankind. So the first step for man is to be brought out of darkness and into light. Light is the start of transformation. And if Jesus is the source of that light, then we better get to know him, so His light can shine in us and so that we can transform.
The question is, “Are you letting that light in?”
Because that’s why you’re here.