Why do atheists get so emotional about opposing Christians and creationists? If it doesn’t ultimately matter, what’s the point? Of course, the Bible does explain that it’s a spiritual issue and that those who reject God “suppress the truth” (Romans 1)—a very active suppression because in their heart they know God’s Word is true.
We Will All Be Dust
An article in New Scientist, by Teal Burrell, summed up this thought well. She described the health benefits that come from having a purpose and meaning to your life. But she begins by saying,
As human beings, it is hard for us to shake the idea that our existence must have significance beyond the here and now. Life begins and ends, yes, but surely there is greater meaning. The trouble is, these stories we tell ourselves do nothing to soften the harsh reality: as far as the universe is concerned, we are nothing but fleeting and randomly assembled collections of energy and matter. One day, we will all be dust.
One day, but not yet. Just because life is ultimately meaningless doesn’t stop us searching for meaning while we are alive. [emphasis mine]
If our lives don’t matter, and no one else’s life matters either because we’re all just going to die and be dust, then there is no purpose or meaning.
She then goes on to show that research demonstrates that “something to live for” has many health benefits such as preventing heart attacks and strokes, helping you sleep better, and even extending your life. Yet she acknowledges that life has no ultimate purpose or meaning! (Of course, we know this is only true apart from God.)
This means her article has no ultimate meaning or purpose, so why did she bother to write it? She claims life has significance in the “here and now” and that we can search for meaning while we are alive, but this is inconsistent. If our lives don’t matter, and no one else’s life matters either because we’re all just going to die and be dust, then there is no purpose or meaning. And any purpose or meaning we manage to create is just an illusion and will never be remembered.
All Is Vanity
The author of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes says the same thing. After trying to find meaning in things like power, money, and relationships, he cries out “Vanity of vanities . . . all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 12:8). There is no ultimate meaning and purpose to be found here on earth. But he ends by saying,
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Designed for a Purpose
There’s a reason that having a meaning and purpose improves our health—it’s because we were designed to have a purpose! We were created in the image of God to glorify Him, and we do that by obeying His Word and sharing the gospel with others (Matthew 28:19).
Life has meaning and purpose because Christ lives. Because He came, died, rose again, and offers eternal life to all who will believe, we have true and lasting hope, meaning, and purpose. Life is not about the brief and fleeting time we are on planet earth. We were designed for eternity, and our purpose here on earth, and in heaven, is to praise and bring glory to the only One worthy of our praise—our Savior, the Lord Jesus.
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:9–10 ESV)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25 ESV)
For more information on the meaning of life, I encourage you to read “What Are the Most Important Questions?” an article by AiG’s Scot Chadwick on who God is and what He wants from you.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.