At an individual level, this post’s title is quite personal, and broad. Is there any point to our existence and how might a worldview help understand it? If a worldview can provide a framework for one’s life, perhaps it can address the meat, i.e., purpose, in the sandwich of the existence, purpose and destiny of our lives.
If people think there is no point (purpose) for their life (existence), it can lead them to a very dark place, such as described in John Paul Sartre’s “No Exit”, Albert Camu’s “L’Etranger”, or that from a much earlier work, in for instance, John 1:4-5. At best, that existential place must be one of moral relativism, without absolutes, truth, rest, hope, peace or joy – ugh! However, there is some good news in that purpose can be found as a tenet of many worldviews. A significant question becomes which worldview is going to work for me, helping me enjoy the world in which I find myself. Since I know I exist, as Rene Descartes put it, “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”, then with a purpose, my destiny could be well on the way to leaving a “doubtless” legacy.
What’s the point? Hope seems a good answer. If so, then from where might hope originate? What if there is more to life than hope – rest, peace and joy seem reasonable compliments to hope.
This quartet are good reasons for which to live the life in which we find ourselves. So, how or where might we find these qualities – could they help us be an encouragement to those around us? In other words, how do we find something to care about? Is the converse to a caring life a downhill slide from chaos?
The Hu-man element, as the Dow Chemical Company so well put it, has a high potential, not the least of which is the propagation of the species – a good thing, if there is a point to human life. Two considerations are whether there is both intrinsic and extrinsic value to our lives. If we are moving, then we are working – thermodynamically, we are producing heat. Walter Martin stated that the bigger question was whether that heat was producing any “light”. In his book, “Your Work Matters to God”, Doug Sherman makes a strong point for the intrinsic value of work, citing, within the Biblical worldview, the Creator’s own statement that His work of creation was good (Genesis 1:31a). The extrinsic value of man’s work is what he produces. An outstanding discussion of the socioeconomic value, within the Biblical worldview, of that produce, can be found in “Godonomics”, by Chad Hovind.
Could reasons for human existence reach beyond the value of the work produced? Let’s look at rest, hope, peace and joy in a little more depth. What, in fact, if these are some of the reasons? Rest could be the ongoing circumstance of a “life well lived” – encouraging those around us. Hope could come from knowing the “end of the story”. In the Biblical worldview, the chaos of both today’s world and that of the future, is supplanted by the picture (Revelation 21-22) of that “end”. Then, “… the peace of God that passes all understanding…” (Philippians 4:7) comes from intimacy (John 17:20-26; Ephesians 4:13) with the Creator of our universe. Finally, joy could result from knowing that tomorrow is the first day of the remainder of your life with the rest, hope and peace attainable within a Biblical worldview.
And yet, there is suffering and evil in this fallen world (more on this in a future post). Hard circumstances and wrongs done (to us, or by us) can significantly impact our ability to find rest, hope, peace and joy. God is not only good, and the provider of all that is good (James 1:17), but He also is the just Judge and the “righter of wrongs.” There is hope in the healing and redemptive of work Christ Jesus (Revelation 21:5a). Shouldn’t one’s worldview impact the “Human element” with a message of hope and justice?