B: So here I finally come back to something that was referred to when I first turned on this fire hose of opinions that I’ve been drenching you with, which is the purpose of our lives. I said about that time that without there being a God of some kind, life is purposeless, which led to my assumption of the existence of a God. The next question – which perhaps I have tried your patience in evading – after a beginning like that, would be “what in the world (or really, the universe) is that purpose, confound it?!”
A (yawning): Sure, if you say so.
B (sighing in disappointment): Well, at least you should have been expecting an answer. But to answer the question in question, that is, what is the purpose of our lives – well, wouldn’t it be natural to suppose that the One Who created us should be the One with the purpose for our lives? As the potter has a purpose for the clay he shapes, surely so must God have a purpose for the people He makes. Of course, as we are somewhat autonomous individually, due to God’s great gift of agency, we can decide on just about any direction we want our lives to pursue, even if it may not be consistent with whatever purpose God had for us when He made us. But seeing as how God is omniscient, knowing us as well as He knows the universe and far better than we know ourselves, and that He loves us perfectly and therefore wants our happiness just as much as we do, wouldn’t it seem a good idea to consider the purpose that He had for our lives when He created us?
A: Is it the same purpose for everybody? If so, I’m out. I’m fine doing my own thing.
B: My belief is that in some ways it is the same, but in many ways it differs from person to person. This recent discussion about God’s commandments, for instance – the ones which are the same for everyone, I mean – shows that He wants us all to become the same kind of “moral” creature: one that wouldn’t kill, steal, lie, lust, hate, commit adultery or other whoredoms, etc., and one that would love and serve his fellow man, sacrifice for good causes, raise a good family, improve himself mentally, spiritually, physically, etc. These are the “general” commandments that we should all keep, regardless of who we might be.
But might there be some “individual” commandments that we each have? And just as the “general” commandments lead us to general happiness, both for ourselves and our society, could these “individual” commandments lead us to further individual happiness?
A: How am I supposed to know what “individual” commandments I have? Can I just make them up myself?
B: Obviously not. One can see that could easily lead to an undermining of the “general” commandments, since all one would have to claim is that one of his individual commandments is to disobey all the general commandments. So you’d have to find that out from God yourself, and you can do that through the Spirit. If you really have the Spirit, then you’ll find that any individual commandments God may have for you should, in general, be consistent with the general commandments that He’s already given.
I thoroughly believe in the idea that each person has an individual purpose. The idea probably raises the morale for someone wanting to know what he should do with his life, besides be a good, moral person, which may seem like a drab thing by itself, at least on the surface. Something specific tailored for each individual seems to help that individual see his purpose more easily. And it’s easy enough to see that we all have differences, each difference being either a strength or weakness, serving as either a boon or a thorn in our side and working to bring us and others closer to God either way. This is thus seen to be inspired of God – yes, God gave us our differences in an effort to accomplish His work of helping us be as happy as He is. Someone once put it this way: God “did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world.” We have differences because they help us have God’s happiness. One person’s talent may lead him to do incredible things for the good of humanity, which could inspire many others to do more incredibly good things. Another person’s unique struggle may similarly inspire others to be better people. If there was nothing unique about these things, they wouldn’t have the desired effect of bringing people closer to God.
So we might each have an individual purpose in our lives. We can generally determine this easily enough on our own, by examining our own strengths and weaknesses. If we want to be more precise about it – an endeavor I would highly recommend – it’s up to us to find out from God, through the Spirit, what else we might lack.
But perhaps we can also ascertain more precisely what the more general purpose(s) may be for our lives…TO BE CONT’D NEXT TIME FOLKS