Why We Are Here
THE Bible reveals that our Creator, Jehovah God, never acts without purpose. Consider, as an example, his provision of earth’s water cycle, which makes life on earth possible. The Bible describes it in this poetic, yet accurate, way: “All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.”—Ecclesiastes 1:7, New International Version.
The Bible compares the reliability of God’s promises to the cycle just described. As we know today, the sun’s power causes water to evaporate from the oceans, seas, and lakes, and later it is returned to earth as precipitation. Jehovah calls attention to this cycle and explains: “So my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:10, 11.
Clean water is returned to earth from the clouds to make life possible on earth. Similarly, the “word that goes forth from [God’s] mouth” is able to sustain our spiritual lives. It is as Jesus Christ himself explained: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.”—Matthew 4:4.
Partaking of spiritual food from God makes it possible for us to conform our lives to his purpose. Yet, before we can do that, we need to understand what God’s purpose is. Why, for example, did God create the earth? And how does his purpose regarding it affect us? Let us see.
God’s Purpose for the Earth
Because God wants the best for humankind, he placed the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, in Eden, a paradise garden. He then instructed them to have children, saying: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”—Genesis 1:26-28; 2:8, 9, 15.
What conclusion can we draw from these instructions? Isn’t it clear that God wanted the whole earth to be cultivated into a paradise home for mankind? His Word says: “As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.”—Psalm 115:16.
Yet, for humans to realize the fulfillment of God’s purpose that they enjoy the earth forever, they would need to honor Jehovah by obeying him. But did Adam do that? No, he sinned by disobeying God. With what consequence? All of Adam’s offspring, including all of us today, have inherited sin and death, just as the Bible says: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”—Romans 5:12.
As a result, all humans are subject to death and earth has not yet been cultivated into an earth-wide paradise. Could it be, then, that God’s purpose for earth has changed?
No, for recall that God said: “My word that goes forth from my mouth . . . will not return to me without results” but “will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.” Moreover, God promised: “Everything that is my delight I shall do.” (Isaiah 45:18; 46:10; 55:11) And it is God’s delight—his purpose—that this earth become an earth-wide paradise populated with humans serving him forever in happiness, as he originally purposed.—Psalm 37:29; Isaiah 35:5, 6; 65:21-24; Revelation 21:3, 4.
God’s Purpose Fulfilled—How?
Jehovah manifested his unsurpassed wisdom and love in making provision for humans to be rescued from inherited sin and its consequences—imperfection and ultimate death. He did this by making possible the birth of a son who would be free of the sin that all others have inherited from the first man, Adam. This provision is called a ransom, which was provided so that worthy humans could receive everlasting life. (Matthew 20:28; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6) How was the ransom provided?
Jehovah’s angel Gabriel announced to a virgin woman named Mary her approaching miraculous childbirth, describing how the child would be born to her even though she was “having no intercourse with a man.” The miracle that God performed was that of transferring the life of his firstborn Son from his position in heaven to an egg cell within Mary’s womb. She thus became pregnant through the operation of God’s holy spirit.—Luke 1:26-35.
Jesus was born about nine months later as a perfect human, comparable to the first man, Adam. In time, he was able to give his perfect human life in a sacrificial death. By so doing, Jesus served as ‘the second Adam’ and thereby provided the basis for all those faithful to God to be ransomed from sin and death.—1 Corinthians 15:45, 47.
Surely we should be moved by this great love that God has manifested for us! As the Bible says, “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The question is, How will we respond to God’s love? Should it not be with appreciation for his gift? Consider examples of some who have such appreciation.
Enjoying Meaning in Our Lives
Denise, mentioned in the previous article, found that honoring God by heeding his laws and instructions gave her life focus and meaning. She relates: “I learned from the Bible that besides having a long-range purpose for mankind, God has a specific work for those who worship him. I can’t imagine a more satisfying life than using the free will he has given me to praise him by living in harmony with his purpose.”
We can do similarly by learning what God’s will is and then doing it. True, we need yet to realize fully the application of the ransom sacrifice, which will make possible our enjoying human perfection in a new world of righteousness. But in the meantime, it is urgent that we satisfy the spiritual yearning that God has placed in each of us.
Dave, referred to in the first article of this series, is one who has had his spiritual hunger satisfied. He found answers to his questions about the meaning of life. “Looking back,” he says, “I see my life before learning about God’s purpose as a series of fruitless endeavors. I didn’t know it at the time, but the hollowness I felt was actually an unfilled spiritual need. I never have that feeling now. I understand why I’m here and what I should be doing with my life.”
Yes, unlike the thoughts of imperfect men, God’s view of the meaning of life as presented in the Bible is truly satisfying. We are here because of Jehovah’s purpose in making us—that we may praise his name, have a good relationship with him, and thus satisfy our spiritual need. Both today and for all eternity, we can enjoy the fulfillment of the inspired proclamation: “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!”—Psalm 144:15.
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THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING
Suffering has been called one of the greatest challenges to understanding why we are here. Viktor Frankl stated: “If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.”
The Bible explains the reason for suffering and death. God is not responsible. Rather, these are the consequences of the first human couple’s disastrous decision to set the course of their lives independent of their Creator. This sinful tendency has been inherited by all their descendants and is the root cause of human suffering.
Although understanding why we are here does not solve all of life’s problems, it does provide a basis for coping with them. Also, we are given a hope for the future, a time when suffering and death will be eradicated forever by God.
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The Bible compares the reliability of God’s promises to the marvelous water cycle
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Why can we be sure that, in time, earth will be a paradise filled with happy, healthy people?
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‘I can’t imagine a more satisfying life than using my free will to serve God.’—Denise