Today’s Readings: Job 23, 1 Corinthians 10
The Purpose of a Thing
When we know what a thing was made for, we know how to use it. Take, for example, a snow blower. It’s a machine with a spiral blade that picks up and propels snow aside, where it will later melt. Its purpose is to clear snow from a sidewalk or driveway.
Now, let’s imagine that we don’t know its purpose. We think it’s for removing trash. As soon as we start using it for that, however, we discover that it’s merely displacing trash beside us. The area still smells and trash will continue building up.
It doesn’t matter if we know how a snow blower is built or how it functions. If we don’t know its purpose, then we won’t use it properly.
The Purpose of a Person
As a human being, I not only want to know how I came to be and what I’m capable of doing, I also want to know the purpose for which I was created. I don’t want to be a snow blower picking up and displacing trash, but rather one that creates safe walkways for people to walk upon.
While I’ve been thinking about our purpose, I’ve been researching natural evolution. I’ve found that there is at least one thing on which Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins and I agree – namely, that the coming into being of the human person is magnificent. In On the Origin of Species, Darwin wrote: “Thus from the war on nature … the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life …”
Yet, our disagreement is acute. Because these extreme evolutionists don’t believe in the unique creation of the human being by a designer, they cannot proffer a purpose for it. In fact, they go to great lengths to deny that such a purpose exists. As Dawkins wrote, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
What they cannot proffer, however, the Word of God can. As Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “ … whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). We were made in God’s image and for His glory (Genesis 1-2, Isaiah 43:7). And there is nothing greater than knowing and living out the purpose for which we were created.