Three simple questions:
1) Why are we here?
2) Why do we suffer?
3) What happens to us when we die?
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
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
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.