Book: Why Were You Born?

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Man has discovered—by way of astronomy and related sciences—our own solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the awe-inspiring, infinite and incomprehensible universe beyond. Employing recently developed sophisticated technology, space telescopes and satellites, scientists have captured images not only of our galaxy, but have also documented the existence of billions of additional galaxies located in the furthest reaches of the universe.

Similarly, man has explored the depths of the oceans with deep-sea submarines. Using powerful microscopes, researchers have analyzed the makeup of living cells—even peered into the structure of atoms. Increasingly, scientists are astonished to realize that microstructures found on earth often mirror the various macrostructures of the universe. Yet they do not grasp the significance of such discoveries—that there is indeed a “grand design.”

Scientists have also discovered the genetic processes by which almost all living plants and creatures, including humans, procreate. In fact, the study of the human body and mind—including man’s unique ability to create, invent, and find expression through music, art and literature—continues as one of the great frontiers of scientific research.

To say that man is preoccupied with his own existence is an understatement. Indeed, of all living creatures, only man asks why. Yet no scientific discovery, conclusion or theory can begin to answer the basic question of human life: Why does man exist?

Throughout the ages men have asked: What is man? Why is there human life? Is human life a product of “evolution,” or a unique creation of God? What is the purpose for human life—for your life? Is it even possible to know? Where can we look for answers to this all-important question?

In search of answers, we will first look at what the great religions of the world tell us. As we will see, it is quite a bewildering hodgepodge of beliefs! Then we will examine the varied ideas of the “intellectual elite”— secularists, atheists, evolutionists, and philosophers. Have any of them, individually or collectively, actually discovered the true purpose for human life? Can they explain this greatest of mysteries—Why were you born?

Professing Christianity: Essentially, the Christian religion teaches that when one’s life comes to an end, the person’s “immortal soul” immediately goes to heaven or hell, depending on whether they have lived a good life or an evil life. (For Catholics, there is also the possible step of being sent to purgatory, a kind of in-between state, in order to have one’s evil purged through priestly prayers.) For the “Christian,” making it into heaven is presumably the supreme purpose for mankind. Yet that thoroughly unbiblical perspective, owing to its absolute ambiguity, fails to satisfactorily answer the question, What is the purpose for human existence? 

Other Religions of the World: Because they reject the God of the Bible and His divine revelation, the key religions of the world also fail to identify the true purpose for human life. Consequently, they have created their own particular beliefs—disconnected from the Word of God. Here is a brief overview:1

Judaism: Traditional Judaism teaches that death is not the end of human existence. However, because Judaism is primarily focused on life here and now, the religion approaches the afterlife with little dogma. This leaves considerable room for personal opinion. Thus, many Orthodox Jews, like Christians, believe that the "souls" of the righteous go to "paradise" at death - or to a place similar to hell. Ideas resembling reincarnation of the "messianic age." The Talmud teaches that this world is like a "corridor" leading to the olam ha-ba, the afterlife in the world to come. The goalof devout Jews is to live a life worthy of passing from the corridor into eternal paradise.

Buddhism: The purpose of life is to bring an end to one’s suffering by gaining enlightenment, awakening and a release from the cycle of death and birth—or to at least attain a better rebirth by gaining merit. Our purpose is also to help others do the same.

Hare Krishna: Similar to Indian religions, the purpose of life focuses on reincarnation, which must continue until one is united with the godhead through “Krishna consciousness.”

Hinduism: The purpose of life is to realize that we are even now part of God. With this understanding we can ultimately leave the earth and abide with God.

Jainism: The universe is eternal and many gods exist - and gods, humans, and all living things are classified in a complex hierarchy. The soul is uncreated and eternal and can attain perfect divinity. The purpose of life is to gain liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. This is accomplished by avoiding bad karma, and especially by causing no harm to others.

Sikhism: The purpose of life is to overcome the self and align one’s life with the will of God—thus becoming a saintly soldier, fighting for good. Reincarnation must continue until a person’s karma is resolved and merged with God.

Stoicism: The purpose of life is happiness, which is achieved by virtue and living according to the dictates of reason, ethical and philosophical training, self-reflection, careful judgment, and an inner calm.

Taoism: The purpose of life is to achieve inner harmony, peace and longevity by living in accordance with Tao—the path or the way—and to ultimately revert back to a state of non-being, which is said to be the “other side of being.”

Traditional Chinese Religion: Man’s purpose is to live a favorable life and peaceful afterlife—attained through rituals, ancestor worship, prayer, longevity practises, divination, prophecy, astrology, and feng shui (a Chinese system of law).

Confucianism: Confucianism is as much a code of life for organizing the state as it is a religion or a philosophy. It recognizes that human nature must be shaped through discipline and education. Because man is driven by both positive and negatice influences, Confucianists seek to achieve a goodly nature through strong relationships and careful reasoning while working to minimize negative energy. This emphasis on normal living is seen in the Confuciainist scholar Tu Wei-Ming's statement that "we can realize the ultimate meaning of life in ordinary human existence.” Thus, in Confucianism, the purpose of life is to fulfill one’s role in society with propriety, honor and loyalty.

Islam: In Islam, man’s ultimate objective is to serve Allah by abiding by the divine guidelines revealed in the Qur’an and in the tradition of the prophet Mohammad. Earthly life is merely a test, determining one’s afterlife, either in Jannat (paradise) or in Jahannum (hell).

Utilitarianism: Founded on the writings of Jeremy Bentham (17481832), Utilitarianism teaches that nature has placed mankind under two masters, pain and pleasure - and that they alone determine our actions. Accordingly, the purpose of life revolves around the idea that “good” is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. Bentham called the meaning of life the “greatest happiness principle.”

As one can see, these complex "religious" ideas about mankind's ultimate destiny fail to adequately answer the question, What is the purpose for human existence? In the end, they merely reflect the vain imaginations of men cut off from the true God, struggling to find an answer to this ageold question.

 

What the “Intellectual Elite” Believe

The “intellectual elite” of this world—a broad group including secular scholars, atheists, humanists, and philosophers in general - officer little in the way of answering the question, Why does man exist? They all share a common starting point: the denial of a Creator and the obstinate adherence to the theory of evolution. For them, man is simply the end product of billions of years of an evolutionary process—that all started with a “Big Bang.” The universe, the earth, and life itself all accidentally developed from nothing. (See Appendix 1, Seven Proofs God Exists.)

Thus, since there is no God, no Creator, there is no purpose for human life!

Atheistic evolitionists look to Charles Darwin as the "father" of the theory of evolution, upholding his Origin of Species (1860) as their “bible.” This theory, however, actually originated with the philosophers of the ancient world. In his article "Evolution: An Ancient Pagan Idea," Paul Griffiths writes: “As I read the works of the Greek philosophers, who lived between about 600-100BC, I was amazed to discover primitive evolutionary theory.... The fragments of Anaximander (c. 610–546 BC) taught that ‘humans’ originally resembled another type of animal, namely fish. There was Democritus (c. 460–370 BC) who taught that primitive people began to speak with ‘confused’ and ‘unintelligible’ sounds but ‘gradually they articulated words.’ Epicurus (341–270 BC) taught that there was no need of a God or gods, for the Universe came about by a chance movement of atoms. After them, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) said, 'we are so subject to chance that Chance herself takes the place of God; she proves that God is uncertain.'

“The Greeks borrowed some of these ideas from the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Hindus, whose philosophies extended back centuries before. For example, one Hindu belief was that Brahman (the Universe) spontaneously evolved by itself like a seed, which expanded and formed all that exists about 4.3 billion years ago. These Hindus believed in an eternal Universe that had cycles of rebirth, destruction and dormancy, known as 'kalpas', rather like oscillating big bang theories, We also read in the Hindu Bhagavad Gita that the god Krishna says, ‘I am the source from which all creatures evolve.’ ” 2

Like many atheists, humanists champion a system of thought that attaches prime importance to human, rather than divine, ideals. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and look to logic in solving human problems. This statement from the American Humanist Association summarizes their creed: “Humanism affirms our ability, and responsibility, to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greator good of humanity."3 Concerning the purpose of human life, the Association adds: "People determine human purpose, without supernatural influence; it is the human personality … that is the purpose of a human being’s life.”4

Since there is no divine purpose to human life—and nothing beyond death, no afterlife—this present life is all-important to the humanist. Again, the beliefs espoused by the elite intellectuals of this world—atheists, evolutionists, humanists—are based on the assumption that there is no God, no divine creation. Thus, for them, there is no purpose to human life.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) reveals how and why many of these “elite” arrived at this conclusion. In his book Ends and Means, he reveals why he and his contemporaries did not believe in God and why they adopted the philosophy of "meaninglessness." He writes: "I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning. Consequently, I assumed that it had none and I was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption…. For myself and, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the [commonly accepted standard of] morality because it interfered with our sexual freedoms; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust…. There was one admirably simple method of … justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt. We could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever. Similar tactics had been adopted during the 18th century and for the same reasons…. The chief reason for being philosophical was that we might be free from prejudices—above all, prejudices of a sexual nature. It was the manifestly poisonous nature of the fruits that forced me to reconsider the philosophical tree on which they had grown.” 5

Julian Huxley (1887-1975) wrote this concerning his brother: “[Aldous] saw Humanism (a word he did use) as an exact substitute for religion: a worldview based on evolutionary biology. [Aldous once wrote:] ‘This new ideas-system, whose birth we of the mid-twentieth century are witnessing, I shall simply call Humanism, because it can only be based on our understanding of man and his environment. It must be organized around the facts and ideas of evolution, taking account of the discovery that man is part of a comprehensive evolutionary process, and cannot avoid playing a decisive role in it.’… [Aldous] added: ‘[Humanism] will have nothing to do with absolutes, including absolute truth, absolute morality, absolute perfection, and absolute authority.’…” If, as Huxley once claimed, there is “no other valid kind of knowledge” outside of science, it is a short step to argue, as he did, that we should “invent a new morality based on science.” 6

Presently, the world’s leading atheist guru is Richard Dawkins—yet even he asks, in his own contemptuous way, Why man? Notice his comment on man’s “brief time in the sun.” “Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked - as I am surprisingly often - why I bother to get up in the mornings.” 7

Here are some of Dawkins’ cynical thoughts on the “Meaning of Life”:

“The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” 8

"There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else (pasrent in the case of children, God in the case of adults) has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point. Somebody else must be responsible for my well-being, and somebody else must be to blame if I am hurt. Is it a similar infantilism that really lies behind the ‘need’ for a God? The truly adult view is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it. And we can make it very wonderful indeed.” 9

“We are made by the laws of physics, working through four billion years of evolution. We have a brief window of life through which to see the universe and understand how we came to be in it. The truth may not always be comforting in the face of suffering, but it has a majesty of its own….

“It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, mad cow disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate….

“I think there’s something very evil about faith … it justifies essentially anything. If you’re taught in your holy book or by your priest that blasphemers should die or apostates should die … that clearly is evil. [But] people don’t have to justify it because it’s their faith.” 10

Transhumanism: One final subgroup of the secular elite should be mentioned—the proponents of so-called transhumanism (sometimes called posthumanism). The futuristic idea revolves around “human enhancement.” “Basically, it’s a sort of re-genesis, [the] altering [of] human bodies— genetically, mechanically, or both - to make them better than they've been for thousands of years, affording them Superman-style abilities in both brains and brawn. Futurists describe it as being ‘posthuman,’ the next step in what they believe to be the evolutionary process.” 11

This perspective is well explained in Arizona State University's Templeton Research Lectures: “Humanity stands now on the precipice of a new phase in human evolution, referred to as ‘posthumanism’ or ‘transhumanism.’… In the transhuman phase, humans will become their own makers, transforming their environment and themselves. Proponents of transhumanism believe that advances in robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and genomics will liberate humanity from pain and suffering. Presumably, in the transhuman age humanity will conquer the problems of aging, disease, poverty, and hunger, finally actualizing happiness in this life.” 12

It is noted, however, that “those who advocate transhumanism promote a utopian vision rooted in a host of unstated assumptions about the meaning of being human."13 To the contrary, proponents of  transhumanism have no clue as to the true purpose of life. Like all atheists, secularists, and humanists, their creator-less approach prohibits them from answering the one question that preoccupies man, What is the purpose of human life?

Those Who Reject God Cannot Discover, Why Human Life?

From the very beginning God has been willing to show mankind His purpose for creating the human family. But man has continuously chosen to ignore God’s instructions and His revelations. Thus, as we have seen, man has concocted a variety of theories, philosophies and religions in an attempt to answer, Why is there human life?

In his epistle to the Romans, Paul describes what happened to ancient religious leaders, intellectuals and philosophers when theu rejected the revelation of God. This also is happening to the world’s modern societies because like those of ancient times they are rejecting God. Thus Paul’s writings are a prophecy against the modern societies of today. He writes: “Indeed, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest among them, for God has manifested it to them.

“For the invisible things of Him are perceived from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that were made—both His eternal power and Godhead—so that they are without excuse; because when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but they became vain in their own reasonings, and their foolish hearts were darkened. While professing themselves to be the wise ones, they became fools. And [they] changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed creatures, and creeping things. For this cause, God also abandoned them to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to disgrace their own bodies between themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie; and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the One Who is Do Men Know Why There Is Human Life? Creator, Who is blessed into the ages. Amen” (Rom 1:18-25).

Nearly 1,200 years earlier, King David, a righteous man after God’s own heart, wrote that those who reject and deny God are indeed fools: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and have worked out abominable wickedness; there is no one who does good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who understand, who are seeking after God. Every one has turned away; they have altogether become corrupt; no one is doing good, no, not even one. Will the workers of iniquity never learn?” (Psa. 53:1-4).

In exercising “free moral agency,” mankind as a whole has chosen to reject God and has refused to listen to His word. As a result, their hearts and minds are blinded. As Jesus said, “[God] has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts…” (John 12:40).

In this state of spiritual blindness, men convince themselves that they are wise, intelligent and competent. But Proverbs tell us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death…. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes…. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Prov. 16:25; 16:2; 12:15).

Apart from God and His word, it is impossible for men to know even how to live as our Maker intended. As Jeremiah acknowledged, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Likewise, apart from God and His revealed word, it is impossible for man to answer the most fundamental questions of life: What is the purpose of human existence? What is man’s place in the universe? Is there life beyond the grave? What is our ultimate destiny? Why was I born?

Because mankind has chosen to ignore God and devise their own societies and religions, God has, in turn, chosen to hide His purpose for human life. Jesus said: “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You did hide these [secret] things from the wise and intelligent…” (Luke 10:21).

But where has God hidden this secret knowledge? It is “hidden” in the Scriptures, identified as the “mystery of God”—the “mystery that has been hidden from ages and generations” (Col. 2:2; 1:26).

Indeed, the “glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2). As we will see in the next chapter, God has hidden this knowledge “in plain sight”—yet only He can reveal it, only He can answer the pivotal question, Why were you born?

 

Chapter 1 Notes:

1. Sources: Adherents.com, Religionfacts.com, Wikipedia.com,  Beliefnet.com, ReligiousTolerance.org, Omsakthi.org, and jewfaq.org

2. www.creation.com/evolution-ancient-pagan-idea

3. Humanist Manifesto III: Humanism and Its Aspirations, American Humanist Association

4. Humanist Manifesto I; emphasis added

5. Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means, 1937. From the section Reasons and Denial of a Special Creation of Everything for Explanation of Creation Without a Divine Creator, pp. 312, 315, 316, 318; emphasis added.

6. www.aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/michael-ruse-humanism-religion; emphasis added

7. Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow—Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder; emphasis added

8. Dawkins, River Out of Eden—A Darwinian View of Life; emphasis added

9. Dawkins, The God Delusion; emphasis added

10. Dawkins, “Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life” (documentary);  emphasis added

11. www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=346993; emphasis added

12. Arizona State University Templeton Research Lectures, “Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism”; www.transhumanism.asu.edu; emphasis added

13. ibid

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