Purpose and The Meaning of Life

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Blog
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Remember those long philosophical treaties mentioned last week? Do you remember the questions raised regarding mankind’s purpose? After poking at philosophers, and raising questions on purpose, it was appropriate to read a biblical philosopher’s ideas on purpose.

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A friend once said, some men were made to read those things, and football players aren’t the men for the job. I’m sure he was trying to tell me something. Not to fool anyone into thinking I sit among those who read and write such things, nevertheless, I took my only qualification and ventured where many bearded theologian have trod before.

The dissertation is by Jonathan Edwards—One of American’s foremost intellectuals and philosophical theologians—putting Bugs Bunny to shame when contemplating humanities’ purpose. The title of the dissertation is, “A Dissertation—The End For Which God Created The World.”

Now, if you’ve kept reading to this point, you’re doing well. The essence of Edward’s long blog post from the mid 1700’s is that God created the world with purpose. Edwards wrote, “We must suppose that God, before he created the world, had some good in view, as a consequence of the world’s existence, that was originally agreeable to him in itself considered, that inclined him to bring that universe into existence, in such a manner as he created it.” As in, God has a purpose in creating the world and this is agreeable and good to him. In God’s creative purposes, which are multifaceted, he created man, whose consequence of existence has specific divine intent. This beautiful truth is the reasonable deduction that God’s purposes are achieved through his creation and his creaturely beings.

Thus our purpose, as created beings, is inextricably connected to God’s purposes in created order. A lot of words to give the simple conclusion that God’s purposes are also to be ours. RC Sproul adds the idea that creation’s purpose, and all occuring in creation is tied to the existence of the transcendent and sovereign Lord,—“If there is no sovereign Lord directing all things, we are without hope in this world and life has no transcendent meaning. But if the only wise God is truly in control of absolutely everything that ever happens in the universe, we know that even apparently random events have purpose, and that He can work all things together for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28).”

Not only does God have a purpose in creation, his existence provides purpose in creation. Understanding our purpose then is not a matter of the fulfillment of one’s potential, but grasping the transcendent meaning of life. When contemplating purpose it extends beyond the bounds of personal fulfillment, but pushes out to the cosmic meaning in all of humanity, as evident in the existence of God.

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