What are you here for? What’s the ultimate purpose of your existence? What gives your life meaning and makes it worth living?
Atheism and Christianity give you two very different answers.
The atheist has to say you aren’t here for any higher purpose. Your life has no meaning except for what you make of it. And in the long run, it doesn’t matter that you lived because your life makes no ultimate difference to the universe. I’ve never understood how anyone could be attracted to atheism. How could the West be getting more secular? Don’t people think about what their beliefs mean? As Blaise Pascal said, that kind of philosophy is “the saddest thing in the world” (Kreeft, Christianity for Modern Pagan, p. 194).
Atheism has one answer and Christianity has an entirely different answer. And you need to make sure your children and grandchildren understand it and hear it often.
Why did God create you?
Here’s the short answer: You were designed for love.
When someone asked Jesus to name the greatest commandment, the Lord spoke about love:
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
You were created to love God and the people around you.
Why are those the greatest commandments?
Let’s think about it together.
First, you can never be wrong when you choose to love God. Ethics is hard. Moral decision-making can be uncertain. When you act morally, you’re always trying to achieve something that you think is good. Love always has an object, but sometimes you love the wrong one. You can love drugs, alcohol, or hoarding money. And you think that loving those things will do you good, but the problem is you make mistakes, lack information, and have the wrong understanding of what would be good for you and others. And so, when you look back on decisions that you’ve made, you realize that you were wrong, and instead of helping, you hurt yourself and others because you loved the wrong objects.
But loving God is an entirely different story. God is good and the source of all goodness, so loving Him is always intrinsically good. In other words, you’re never wrong when you choose to love God. You’ll never look back and say, “I shouldn’t have loved God.” So why is loving God the greatest commandment? Because in a life full of uncertain moral decisions, loving God is the unshakeable foundation of living a good life.
Second, when you love God, you abide in His love. In other words, you stay in it and live in it. And you become even more open to enjoying His love for you. Of course, God loves you whether you know it or not, but you can’t enjoy that love unless you know it. When you love God, it opens your eyes, as it were, to see His love for you.
Third, when you love your neighbors, they love you back. And isn’t that a really good thing, one of the things you want most, and that make life worth living? But even more than that, the more you love your neighbors, the more you end up enjoying God’s love for you:
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us (1 John 4:12).
So, what is the meaning of your life?
Secular society—atheist society—if it is consistent, has to answer that there is no ultimate meaning. It can copy Christianity and say that “love” is important, but it can’t say you were meant to love because, in atheism, you weren’t meant to do anything. You’re an accident. And if you choose to love, you can, but you can just as easily choose not to love, and it makes no different.
But in Christianity, you’re no accident. God, who is love, created you out of love, to be loved. That’s the ultimate truth about the meaning of life. As Frederick Buechner wrote, “To say that God is love is either the last straw or the ultimate truth” (Buechner, Wishful Thinking, p. 65).
Thought for the day: “God is love” is not only the ultimate truth about Him but also the ultimate truth about you.