Every human eventually arrives at this point. What is the meaning of life, and what is the grand theory underlying it all? What caused me to be here, and why? In many conversations with atheists I’ve had a lukewarm objection that basically went: “I can’t see why we need a unified theory of where everything came from.” But regardless of that objection, the abundance of discussion and number of theories points to an inherent need by mankind to explain things, and that includes origins and purpose.
Calvin, in his institutes, states that that need is proof that God exists. Because why else would man have a pathological, and sometimes painful, desire to answer questions of this magnitude? I say that it’s sometimes painful because even the most ardent materialist has to invoke faith of some kind to justify his grand unified theory. Faith of any kind raises the possibility of doubt, and thus one seeks to develop knowledge, experience and warrant for that faith.
And it seems that this is not a unique modern development. The earliest cultures sought to answer this question of origins and purpose by inventing gods, it continued through the ages into the middle ages and enlightenment into the post-modern society. The only difference is that the modern gods are inanely human centric, with an arrogant presupposition that human thought, disguised as secular ethics, political correctness and the scientific search for objective “truth” account for the unified theory need. Philosophical meanderings have displaced stars, planets, animals and carved objects as the gods, presupposed naturalism and materialism have become the underlying faith d’jour.
God knew. When He gave life to man, that inquisitive nature and inherent knowledge of something greater than the self was part of the creation. It didn’t start out well, leading to an immediate search for something greater, and resulted in the fall and doom of mankind. That trend continues today. A search for something greater than the self, other than the only Holy and Gracious God, only leads to death and doom. It is pretty self-evident from the logical consequences of our modern secularist, materialist philosophies…there is no here-after, only death.
God told Paul really early on in his ministry that he will face this, and this timeless truth remains:
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
Rom 1:25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
The worship of human thought is as prevalent today as it was in days past. It writhes and twists, changing form and shape but remains as futile as when Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, the perceived thought-leaders of his day.
Starting from any point except God is suppression of the truth, denial of that inherent knowledge that has been with man from the time of creation, and leads only to death. Everybody’s faith is in something, but there can only be one truth, that which has been imparted to us from the beginning of creation. That truth is in the loving, merciful and gracious God, who gives life through the death of His own Son.