Wednesday, April 20, 2016

You Matter Because God Made You

I am currently re-reading a book I received a few years ago. In it the author explores how faith can agree with science and still show that God created the universe, the world and everything in it. In the intro to the third part of the book he says this:
How we view where we came from affects how we view everything else about ourselves, such as whether we're loved or valued or intended for some special purpose in life. When people began to question whether God created us, they also started to doubt that He cared about us. They began to think that we're all just a cosmic accident, people with no real value or purpose in the grand scheme of things. This depressing outlook has dominated the way many people have been thinking about things for the past few hundred years.
The author, in this statement, is unfortunately exactly right. Even more so, it is on display all around us. All we have to do is open our eyes with understanding in order to see it.

Consider the latest movements in social justice. We are told that what you feel and what you want is more important than anything else. We are told this, I believe, because people do not have a sense of identity, and are desperate to have one and to find meaning and purpose in it. We have grown up being taught by science that the universe created itself by cosmic accident without reason, that our planet is a cosmic accident without purpose, and that we are a cosmic accident that just kind of showed up. At the same time, we are taught by our family and society that we are special, that there is a place just for us in the world and that what we want and desire should take precedence over all other considerations. When you put these two sets of teaching together it is easy to see the danger and confusion caused by it.

When you are taught that you are nothing but a cosmic accident while being told you are special, you have to search for what it is that makes you special. Since there is no outside force or being that provides a reason, it must be something within you. I believe this is what has lead to the frantic search for identity and acceptance among those of us who are younger today.

This is how we end up with people defining themselves by what they feel they are or want to be. It is why Nano, who lives in Norway, chooses to live as a cat. It is why many are fighting tooth and nail to allow transgender people into bathrooms not according to their biological sex, but what they feel they are inside. It is why these college students struggle to say that a 5'9" white man is not a 6'5" Chinese woman. I could go on, but you get the point.

The background behind it all is the belief that there is no God; no Creator that created us for a purpose. If that does not exist, then it is up to us to determine our purpose and specialness for ourselves, because otherwise everything is meaningless and hopeless. It is this search, this drive for personal clarity and worth in the face of a universe that is nothing more than an accident, that causes such chaos in how people view themselves.

Unfortunately much of Christendom has not entirely helped matters. Instead of allowing, for example, the age of the universe to be a matter of faith and opinion, many turn it into a litmus test for true Christianity. There is no lack of morality in keeping your mind open and following the evidence where it leads if you are being as honest with the evidence as you can. The is no moral high ground in saying the earth is 6,000 or 6,000,000,000 years old you are still putting your faith in the fact that God has created it all and did so for a purpose. We can certainly debate among ourselves about it, but to make it a test for determining whether someone is or can be a Christian is to erect a barrier to entry which Christ did not erect. The goal, rather than to convince those in the world about the age of the earth, should be to convince them of the Creator of the earth. Because it is only in the Creator that we find purpose, meaning, and our true identity.

The fact of the matter is this: you matter because God made you.

If we are nothing more than a cosmic mistake, there is no purpose for our lives. We get a short time to do what we will, then vanish back into nothing. Chances are almost no one will know who the President of the United States is today within 100 years. What chance do I have that someone would remember me? If that is the case, then when I close my eyes for the last time and am buried in the ground, I will turn to dust and nothing I did will matter to anyone shortly after. Personally, I have no desire to live under that great burden. It is too heavy and too dreary and too useless for me. I would fight tooth and nail for an identity that I felt gave me purpose too if I thought I were in that situation.

But Christians know that is not the case, and I know I am not in that situation. I know that there is a God who is loving, who cares about me, and who is just in all He does. He is a God who is eternal, who exists outside of time, who is not bound by the restrictions that I am. He is also a God who desires my existence not to end with my body on this earth, but who says He will resurrect my dead body, change it into the likeness of Christ, and take me to His side to live in His glorious presence forever. He is a God who says that I am His child. Not because of what I have done or how great I am or because I am a human, but because He gave His Son to die for me so that the price could be payed and He could remain a just judge while at the same time absolving me of all my sins against Him.

That is my identity.That is where I find my hope and purpose in life. Not in what I like or what I do or what I think, but in what He says I am. Regardless of any other factor, it is God alone who defines my identity, and in so doing I do not have to fear losing myself in a sea of nothingness in the gaping maw of space and time. I am accepted by God, made perfect in His sight, and given meaning from one infinitely greater and infinitely stronger than myself. Because He says I have meaning, because He has proven it by His actions, I know now and forever where my identity lies.

The question is, do you?