Why Do I Exist?

Allie Marie Smith
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I believe the answers to our biggest questions about life and our purpose begin with one simple yet mysterious and profound truth: we have been made.

The Biggest Questions We Ask

We must ask ourselves what we believe about the foundational questions of life. Why do we exist? What is the meaning of it all? The Greek philosopher Socrates said, “an unexamined life is not worth living.”[1] It can be easy to take our existence for granted, to go about the motions and never look for the answers to some of life’s greatest questions. One of the biggest questions we can ask is, “How did I get here?” Have you ever wondered how this expansive, sophisticated, beautiful world began?

Our belief about how and why we are here will determine the course of our entire lives and change the way we see ourselves. It will shape our sense of worth. It will determine our sense of purpose. What we believe as young girls—and eventually as women—about how we came to exist determines the way we understand ourselves, our lives, and our value. It is the substance upon which we build our identity.

Just as Socrates said the unexamined life isn’t worth living, I wonder if the unexamined faith is worth believing? Maybe you’ve been raised in a Christian home. You fell asleep to stories of Noah’s ark. You are familiar with the creation story and you believe in God, but have you used the mind He’s given you to examine your beliefs? Or maybe all you’ve heard is that there was a “big bang” in the cosmos and billions of years later we are here due to evolution.

Views on How the Universe Began

There are two primary viewpoints on how the universe and life as we know it began. The atheistic view is that life resulted outside of intelligent design or divine intervention. The theistic view is that life is the result of intelligent design, that life had a creator or a supernatural beginning.

If you believe you evolved over billions or millions of years and originated without any divine intervention, what does this say about the meaning of your life? Are you an accident? Should you really be here? What is the purpose for your life, and what happens when it’s over?

If you believe the universe was divinely created, what does this mean? Could it be that, before the beginning of time, you were chosen to be here? Is there a unique purpose for your life? Is there something after it’s over?

In our culture, there is a battle between science and religion, and many claim you can only side with one. Some physicists believe the universe burst into existence out of nothing. However, even atheists agree with theists—that the universe had a beginning.

“Creation praises the Creator.”

In his book The Case for a Creator, Lee Strobel, an author and former legal editor who was once an atheist, interviewed Stephen C. Meyer, an author and former geophysicist. He quoted Meyer as saying, “If it’s true there’s a beginning to the universe, as modern cosmologists now agree, then this implies a cause that transcends the universe. If the laws of physics are finetuned to permit life, as contemporary physicists are discovering, then perhaps there’s a designer who fine-tuned them. If there’s information in the cell, as molecular biology shows, then this suggests intelligent design.”[2]

Scientists of all worldviews agree that our universe is finely tuned, meaning there is a precision of physical laws and constants that must be exact for life to exist. If any of these constants, such as the gravitational force that holds the moon in its orbit or the strong force that holds the atoms together, changes by a tiny fraction of a percent, life becomes unsustainable. This convinces me that our world was intelligently designed with precision, order, and intention.

On his journey toward faith, Strobel realized:

To continue in atheism, I would need to believe that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason. I simply didn’t have that much faith.[3]

It takes faith to believe in God. Like Strobel, I believe it takes even more faith to believe this all just happened.

There are many scientific theories about how the first living cell appeared and how life has evolved since. However, these theories don’t speak to the origin of human consciousness, our emotions, or our innate search for meaning. Philanthropist John Templeton, despite not adhering to an orthodox theology, still posed a great question: “Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose?”[4] We are physical and spiritual beings. We are looking for spiritual answers our material world cannot provide.

God Revealed in His Creation

The Bible tells the story of a wealthy man named Job. He was an upright man who did the right thing. Job went on to have every good thing taken from him and to experience immense sorrow and suffering. Job questions God and then God speaks to him and says:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4–7)

Radiant sunsets, gnarled oak trees, a harvest moon, fireflies in summer, a child’s giggle—the beauty around us speaks of a beautiful creator. No, it didn’t all just happen:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

“The universe is not looking out for you, but the One who breathed it into existence is.”

God has revealed Himself through creation because of what has been made. Creation praises the Creator. God is the great artist, the master designer, the chief architect of all things wild, lovely, and beautiful. His evidence surrounds us, and because of this, we have no excuse not to believe in a higher purpose.

As a little girl, I never doubted the existence of a creator—I saw God’s fingerprints all around me—in the giant trees hovering above our home upon the hill; in the glorious sunsets of pinks, purples, and oranges painted on the canvas of the evening sky; in the miracles of roly-poly bugs and shooting stars. Even as a little girl, my spirit knew the beauty around me was evidence for the God who made it all.

The universe is not looking out for you, but the One who breathed it into existence is.

[1] Plato, The Apology of Socrates, H. N. Fowler Translation, Loeb (1913), 25.

[2] Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 77–78.

[3] Lee Strobel, Twitter, tweet referring to his quote in Case for a Creator, December 24, 2017.

[4] John Templeton, The Humble Approach: Scientists Discover God (Radnor, PA: Templeton Foundation Press, 1995), 19.

For Further Reading:

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