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Q Three simple questions:

1) Why are we here?

2) Why do we suffer?

3) What happens to us when we die?
 
 

A Youíve asked the questions that have puzzled mankind during all recorded history. Philosophers and skeptics have debated these questions without unanimous result. The problem is, where would mere philosophers get the answers to these questions? Nature and our own experience donít offer us anything definitive. In fact, I donít believe we can answer these questions without help. Iím not a philosopher or a great thinker, but in my observations of human nature (including my own) I donít see much success in mastering our universe or much understanding of our circumstances. So I believe the only way we can get the help we need is by looking into Godís revelation in the Bible.

You may be wondering why I think the Bible can be trusted to provide answers.  Well, the Bible says it was written by God and I agree with John Wesley: good men could not have written the Bible—otherwise they would not have claimed God wrote it; bad men could not have written the Bible—otherwise they would not have taught that men were sinners; so God must have written it! I also believe that objective inquiry shows that the Bible has been verified by science, archaeology and history. Finally, the Bibleís authorship and trustworthiness has also been verified in my life.

So what does the Bible say? The reason we are here is to glorify God. Of the hundreds of times Scripture speaks of the Glory of God (His displayed excellence!), a large percentage concerns man glorifying God. 1 Corinthians 11:7 calls man ďthe image and glory of God.Ē Herod died because he did not glorify God (Acts 12:33). The chief reason man stands under the condemnation of God is that he failed to glorify God, according to Romans 1:18-25. Everything God does for man is for His glory. Godís grace toward us glorifies God (2 Corinthians 4:15); the fruits of righteousness are to Godís glory (Philippians 1:11); our salvation is ďto the praise of His GloryĒ (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). Even sickness and suffering can be for Godís glory (John 11:4). 

That brings me to your second question. The existence of suffering and evil is sometimes seen as a proof that God does not exist. After all, if God is good, why would He allow anyone to suffer? Itís important to realize that this universe was not created to include suffering. God created man perfect and his environment perfect (yes, I believe there was a real Eden and a real Adam and Eve) but also gave man freedom of choice. Adam disobeyed God and his sin brought sin and ultimately evil and suffering to all mankind. Suffering was not Godís creation or even His desire. One thing is sure: whatever God has allowed in this world that is bad He has also tasted Himself. 1 Peter 3:18 says, ďChrist also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, so that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.Ē The death and resurrection of Christ has also provided the ultimate solution to all this suffering. For all those who place their faith in Him and accept His sacrifice for their salvation there will be a future where "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4 NKJV). 

That partially answers your third question, but let me add a few thoughts. The Bible is clear that we are not annihilated or go into some limbo after death. We have two choices. God offers us everlasting life if we accept Christís sacrifice in our place as a solution to our sin (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5). We are not told much about what our experience will be in Heaven—just that it will be wonderful! But for those who reject Godís remedy for sin, the condemnation for sinfulness stands and results in permanent separation from God and punishment in the lake of fire: ďThe one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him (John 3:36);Ē ďand if anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).Ē  This is the scriptural destiny for all those who reject Christ.

 

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