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The Unexamined Life (from the archives)


Why are you here? Why do you exist?



Most people can’t answer these questions with any degree of certainty, which is really a problem. How can a question that basic to your day-to-day existence be neglected? Answer: We’re just too distracted to care. It’s on the deathbed that many panic at the sharp reality of this unexplored mystery. We graze like cattle on pleasure, work, ambition, until years pass by, the purpose of it all being still just as mysterious.

It haunts others. By God’s grace, it has haunted me since college. I was on the way to getting my degree, a job, a spouse, and a reputation. But for what? What ultimatereason was there for my ambition? As Socrates says, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Let’s examine.


Nothing + Nothing = Nothing

First, there is the simple truth that we are designed. That is to say, we are intentionally created. We are crafted with more precision than a Swiss watch. There is more intricate design in the hair of our toe knuckles than any shopping mall grain of rice painter could ever imagine. There are more details in us than in the IRS tax code. Get the point?

There are some that say that evolution is the “blind watchmaker”, but have you ever seen a watch made by a blind man?

The question any proposition asks is does it correspond with reality?

The Genesis proposition is this: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

Now, does that correspond to reality? Do the heavens and the Earth have the image of design, or do they seem random?

Not only that, the Genesis account proposes that God (self-existent) created the world ex-nihilo (out of nothing).  That might seem far-fetched, but what is the alternative? The leading theory: nothing + nothing = everything.

You can polish it up and call it a ‘singularity’, but that’s just lipstick on a pig.

God gives design, intentionality, and purpose.

If there is no god, then there is no ultimate purpose.


Christ or Chaos

If there is no Creator, then there is no moral standard outside of ourselves that we ought to obey. I’m not saying that there are no morals; I believe that we are all made in God’s image and are all bound to be moral beings regardless of what we believe. But why should I follow your rules more than my own? If there is no standard, then how do you know something is wrong? If there is no standard, how wrong or right is an action? What are you measuring it against? If there is no God, then the universe is silent and indifferent to the suffering of the world. Wars, famines, rape, and murder all carry on constantly, only to find our weeping and our tears reverberating around a cold, chaotic, but ultimately indifferent cosmos.

Just as design comes from a Designer, so moral law comes from a moral law giver.

Our world rages and outrages constantly on moral principles, but if there is no standard outside of yourself, your culture, or your whims at the time, then you have no firm foundation for who you are, what is right, wrong, true, or why you exist.


Brief Reflection

I want to examine even further why the opening line of Genesis corresponds to reality and all other attempts at purpose fall flat, but here are a few takeaways for now:

  • If there is a Creator, then this world is magnificent and praise worthy. Everyday should be spent in wide-eyed wonder.

  • If there is no creator, then how did we get here and what do we do now?

  • If God gives a moral standard, then all moral actions across time and culture can be measured.

  • If there is no moral law giver then each culture, or individual, has the right to determine what is right and true for them without question. And yes, that means that your neighbor can murder you – tough luck, kid, but the universe just don’t care.