Why do we exist? Why does anything exist? Isn’t it really really really odd that we exist at all?
I know, these aren’t questions we typically ask ourselves in the midst of daily, hectic life in the 21st century. We focus on surviving and thriving day by day, year by year. We are occupied with family, work, home, neighborhood, church, our favorite tv show, politics… but the elephant in the room is WHY there is anything at all?!?
It’s a question for the philosophers and theologians, but it can really strike a deep chord of wonder and mystery should any of us ‘common folk’ contemplate the question seriously.
Take a few moments now and contemplate it…
Its fashionable, in our scientifically and technologically advanced age, to refer the question of our existence to facts, figures, data, and observations about the universe we live in. We’ve gotten lots of great insights about HOW the universe works… but very little (if any) on WHY there is a universe at all.
Since the dawn of humankind, we have turned to faith to shape the mystery of existence and our place and purpose in it. Some well-intentioned religious folks look to the Bible and try to argue the facts, figures, data, and observations of science, and fighting about how the universe was made, how long it took, and what the true natural order of things actually is. But, that’s backward… the bible doesn’t tell the ‘HOW’ of existence with scientific accuracy (the people who wrote it were ancients without access to modern knowledge). Instead, it shares with us the ‘WHY’ that is so mysterious and wondrous.
In Genesis, God reveals why anything exists… God willed and wanted it to exist, and determined that existence to be good. God reveals why we exist… God willed and wanted us to exist, and determined our existence to be good:
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:27-31 NRSV)
Let’s be careful here… the language about ‘subduing’ and ‘dominating’ is misleading in the English translation. In the original Hebrew language, the words used for subdue and dominion connote nurturing to fullness.
We exist because God wants us to exist… and promises to continue our existence as we nurture creation and each other into the fullness of God’s will and plan.