As human beings, one of the most fundamental questions we all ask ourselves at some point is “why am I alive?” This question gets to the heart of our purpose and meaning in this world. As Christians who follow the teachings of the Bible, we can find clear answers about why God created us and what plans He has for our lives.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will dive deep into biblical theology and exegesis to understand the meaning of human life according to Scripture. We will look at critical passages in both the Old and New Testaments that reveal God’s intent and purpose for mankind. Let’s explore this profound topic together!
- God created us for His glory and to have a relationship with Him
- Our purpose is to know God and make Him known to others
- We are called to fulfill the Great Commission and spread the Gospel
- We are created to do good works and bear fruit for God’s kingdom
- Our gift of life is a stewardship and God wants us to use it wisely for eternity
- In Christ, we have victory over sin and new life in Him
In the Beginning: The Creation of Humanity
To start at the very beginning, we turn to the first book of the Bible – Genesis. Here we find critical passages about the origins of mankind and insights into why God created us.
In Genesis 1, we read about the creation of the world and everything in it. The pinnacle of God’s creation was humanity:
Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 NKJV)
Humanity is uniquely created in the very image and likeness of God. We reflect His divine nature in a way that nothing else in creation does. We were made to represent Him and steward the rest of creation on His behalf.
The creation account also directly states the first purpose God had for humanity:
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 NKJV)
Our first calling was to be fruitful – physically through having children and spiritually by bearing the fruit of godly character. We were also called to multiply – spread out across the earth, fill it, and manage it well.
These creation purposes already reveal part of why we are alive. We were made to be like God, represent Him on the earth, be fruitful for Him, and spread His glory across the whole earth. Our lives have significance from the very beginning.
We also see special details about the creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 2:
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 NKJV)
Humanity was uniquely created by God breathing life directly into us. He crafted us personally from the dust of the ground and animated us with His very breath. This signifies how deeply meaningful and valuable human life is to God. We are not cosmic accidents – but lovingly formed by the Creator’s hand.
Therefore, right from the first pages of the Bible, we learn that God created humanity for relationship with Himself. Our ability to know God, walk with Him, and find meaning through Him is built into our DNA as human beings. We were made to thrive through knowing our Creator.
The Fall: Broken Purpose and Relationship
However, early on in human history, a catastrophic event occurred that disrupted God’s good purposes and plans. In Genesis 3, we read about the temptation and fall of humanity:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:6-10 NKJV)
Adam and Eve’s disobedience, known as the Fall, brought sin and its effects into the world. Separation and brokenness entered the relationship between God and humanity that He intended to thrive. Shame, hiding, fear, and blaming took the place of intimacy, honesty, courage, and unity with God.
Because of the devastating results of the Fall, God also cursed the ground itself and death entered into humanity’s experience (Genesis 3:17-19). No longer would life be simple and fruitful – now it would require struggle and eventually end. Pain, suffering, injustice, violence and death became the norm due to human sin.
Clearly, the original purposes God had for humanity were thrown into disarray. The Fall sent all of creation into disharmony, especially humanity’s relationship to God their Creator. Their lives were now directionless – marked by hiding, fear, and mortality rather than intimacy, courage, fruitfulness, and life.
The apostle Paul later commented on the ongoing impact of the Fall on humanity in Romans 5:12:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12 NKJV)
What God intended for life has been frustrated by the consequences of sin and the curse. His purposes for how we are meant to live were corrupted and reliability off track. From Genesis 3 onward, the Biblical narrative follows the redemptive arc of God restoring and fulfilling His plans for human life in a broken and fallen world. The rest of Scripture describes God’s work to redeem and recreate humanity back to our intended design and purpose.
The Redemption: Renewal in Christ Back to Life
Thankfully, the trajectory of the Bible is one of hope and redemption, not doom and defeat. Even in pronouncing curses after the Fall, God made the first promise of the coming Messiah who would defeat sin and restore humanity (Genesis 3:15). The Old Testament thereafter thrums with prophecy and anticipation of God’s promised Chosen One who would make all things new again.
In the fullness of time, Jesus Christ entered history as the long-awaited Messianic King and Savior. Jesus came to redeem us from slavery to sin, restore us to a right relationship with God, and give us new, abundant, and eternal life. As the Son of God, Jesus lived the perfect life we failed to live, died the death we deserved because of our sin, and rose again victoriously over sin, Satan, and death.
A key Scripture passage that teaches about God the Father sending Jesus to restore humanity’s purpose is John 10:10. Jesus said:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)
Satan, through deceit and temptation, had stolen away God’s purposes for human life. But Jesus came to undo Satan’s work and give us the fullness of life for which we were created. Through faith in Christ, we can be reborn, restored, and revived to truly live as God designed.
The apostle Paul explained further how Jesus redeems us from the futility caused by sin and restores our place before God:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV)
Because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, those who trust in Him are spiritually reborn with a new purpose empowered by God’s grace – to live holy lives of good works that please Him. Our lives are redeemed from futility back to meaning, purpose, and hope in Christ.
The Mission: Fulfilling God’s Purposes for Our Lives
When we understand all that God has done through creation, redemption, and restoration in Christ – we now can truly know why we are alive as followers of Jesus. In the New Testament, we find many passages that outline the purposes God has for those who are His children through faith in Christ. These purposes give clear direction on how we are meant to live. Here are some key truths:
For God’s Glory
God created us and saved us for His glory above all else. Isaiah 43:7 declares this ultimate purpose:
“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7 NKJV)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism echoes this in its famous first question: “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Our primary purpose is to glorify the Lord in all we do and delight in relationship with Him.
To Do Good Works
Along with glorifying God directly, a major way we fulfill His purposes is by doing the good works He has prepared for us. Ephesians 2:8-10 explains how this works:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV)
The good works we do give glory to God by showing His transformative power and grace. He has tailored good deeds for each of us to fulfill.
To Go Make Disciples
One of Jesus’ clearest callings for all who follow Him is to spread the Gospel and make disciples across the world. This Great Commission is recorded in Matthew 28:18-20:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV)
Fulfilling the Great Commission through evangelism and discipleship is central to living out God’s purposes. We obey this command when we give our lives to missionary and ministry callings.
To Bear Fruit
In addition to good works, God wants us to bear spiritual and moral fruit through walking closely with Him. Galatians 5:22-23 describes the Fruit of the Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)
As we yield to the Spirit’s work in our lives, these virtues bloom – bringing glory to God and blessing to the world. Bearing fruit aligns our lives to God’s ultimate purposes.
To Find Joy and Contentment
God also wants His children to experience the joy, peace, and contentment that comes through loving Him and seeking His kingdom above all else. Psalm 16:11 expresses this blessing of wholehearted devotion:
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)
When we find satisfaction in Christ alone, our lives yield a bounty of deep joy and contentment. We were designed to find Him supremely worthy of our worship.
Living with Purpose and For Eternity
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we have been created and called to live for so much more than just what this world has to offer. When we place our faith in Christ, we are born again into a glorious inheritance in eternity. The apostle Paul proclaimed in 1 Timothy 6:17-19:
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV)
Our good deeds, generosity, and investments in God’s kingdom lay hold of the eternal life to come. The way we spend our time, talents, treasures, and lives on earth has consequences for eternity.
Knowing that our labor in the Lord is never in vain should encourage us to obey God’s purposes wholeheartedly. The life He has gifted to us is immeasurably precious and significant. We can walk in courage, joy, and purpose because God created each of us as unique image-bearers of Christ and has an individual calling for us to glorify Him. Our lives are eternally secure when placed in the hands of our loving Creator and Redeemer.
Conclusion: Live a Life Worthy of the Calling
To wrap up this comprehensive survey of what the Bible teaches about why we are alive, I want to share one more relevant passage. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church:
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 NKJV)
Because of God’s glorious calling on each of our lives, we are challenged to live lives characterized by humility, patience, love, and peace. As redeemed image-bearers called to bear eternal fruit for our Creator’s glory, we must walk worthy of such a noble calling. When we grasp how and why God made us, we gain motivation to live for Him with passion and purpose.
My prayer is that this extensive study of what the Bible teaches about why we are alive has provided a solid theological foundation for understanding your God-given purpose in life. We have explored this question from Genesis to Revelation and found that to glorify Christ, do good for others, fulfill our vocations, share the Gospel, and store up eternal riches are at the heart of God’s call on every believer’s life. May we embrace these truths and make the most of each day we are given for the glory of God!