An Existential Crisis

An Existential Crisis

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Christians are not immune to existential crisis. While this overwhelming feeling of meaninglessness is a trademark of younger people, older people often deal with it too. Young people may seek meaning, direction, and purpose for their lives as they look to the future. Older people might look to their past, wondering if their life’s work was a functional/worthy investment of their lifespan. We all have fundamental questions to work through. 

This series will explore some of those questions we have: 

Why was I created? What is my purpose? How can I be happy? What is true/real? Why does God allow evil to exist? What do we mean by “next life”? 

This week we’ll look at the first question. Not one person ever asked for consciousness or existence. Why were we brought into a dysfunctional world? Even though none of us requested existence, we exist — and we’re going somewhere after we die. None of us asked for that burden, either. 

Here are some of the commonly given answers: 

  1. We’re here for the glory of God. 
  2. God gave us the ability to choose our fate, whether to reject him or be obedient to his will. 

The problem with those statements is that they don’t actually answer the question, at least not adequately. The Bible answers those questions, and with a little effort we can find out why God created us. 

Why are we here? 

1. We’re here to interface with God’s reality. 

2. We exist, ultimately, to populate a perfect world. 

God created us in his image and likeness (Gen 1.26-27, 5.1-3, 9.6; Js 3.9; I Jn 3.1-3). This is emphatic in scripture — he made us in his image AND his likeness. Let’s put the Hebrew words sal-me and de-moot (image and likeness) in modern English. The one speaking in Genesis 1 is Logos, according to John 1. That’s Jesus. He made us to look just like him. He is the visible form of the invisible father, according to Colossians 1.15. 

Genesis 5.1 — When God created people, he made them look like himself. 

Genesis 5.3 — Adam had a son who looked just like himself, and he named him Seth. Same exact words used in 5.1. 

James 3.9 — Uses ομοιωσιν, which means in that context, “to look the same.” 

God made us self-aware, intelligent living entities to interface with the reality he created. This life is just a trial run. We exist, and that’s something we have to accept. We have a life, so what we do with it is up to us. 

That leads to the second reason we were created — to populate a perfect world. II Peter 3.13 says, “Based on what he promised us, we’re looking for a new sky and a new earth where only morally good people can live.” Because we messed up and introduced evil to this planet, it’s no longer a paradise (Rom 8.20-25). But that’s not natural. We weren’t originally created to coexist with dysfunction or entropy. 

We can thank Satan for most of the dysfunction we face today: 

  1. Ephesians 2.1-2 — Satan has control over natural functions of the planet. 
  2. I John 5.19 — Satan has control over political power on this planet. 
  3. Luke 4.6 — Satan has power over every population group on earth. 
  4. Ephesians 6.12 — Those dysfunctional powers aren’t based on earth.

The church is a combat unit. We aren’t fighting other people, we’re fighting an enemy that has far more power than we could ever dream of confronting. That’s what “spiritual warfare” means in Ephesians, for example. God is our ally, so we can never be destroyed for good. Satan may have control of the planet, but God has control over the universe. 

Our job is to make the best of our existence, ideally living by our Creator’s definition of functional. If we do, we get to live in a perfect world without any potential for dysfunction. In Matthew 19.28, Jesus describes it as a “return to the way things originally were” or “regeneration”. 

Why were we created? To interface with God’s reality in a limited capacity, and to populate a new earth after this earth’s time is up. 

Gary Pollard

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