I hate to say it but there is likely still a cassette recording in someone’s possession that proves this was one of my favorite questions as a kid. I don’t have a lot of experience with children, but I understand I was not unique in this. It’s something we all want to know about everything. That questioning never really stops. As we grow up, sometimes we learn the answer. Other times we conclude that we cannot or do not want to know it.
We are always searching for reason. We want to know the purpose behind everything that happens and everything that is. When we are young, most of the time the answers are easy. Someone else has already learned them and all we need to do is ask, but soon we learn some questions are harder to answer. The scientists, the theologian, and the philosopher all seek to answer the question of why. Some decide we don’t need to know, but are then compelled to tell us why we don’t need to know why..
It is a question that when asked about things that really matter defines what life is about. Why are we here? Why do we choose? Why is there evil in the world? This is a new line of thought for me, and I claim none of the aforementioned titles; but it seems to me the world we live in can be explained by answering these three root questions, all leading back to the one, “why?”
Maybe the best answer for such an all encompassing question is also one word, “God.” I would prefer Yahweh, since that is the name of the one true God and ultimately descriptive in itself. It means “I Am” and that He is explains everything else. He does not need a reason because He is the reason. For many this is not a good enough answer. It claims to explain everything while seeming to explain nothing. We’re looking for proof. It is hidden in plain sight. New discoveries are made all the time that show for anyone willing to see that what God said through Paul is true.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Rom 1:20 NASU)
Here we have THE ANSWER, but we want more specific answers. I believe they are contained within the nature of Yahweh. The first question, “why are we here,” also has a single word answer, love. Odd as it may sound, love also answers the third question and on one level the second also. Evil must exist so that we can choose good. To understand why I’m saying these things, take a look at this article, entitled God, Man, and Love.
We live out our lives on that second question. More pointedly, why do we do what we do? I’ve written before of my wife’s favorite pair of questions, “what are we doing and why are we doing it?” I think the latter is most critical. I have known people who do good things for evil or selfish reasons. (I would consider evil and selfish redundant terms.) We see it in our personal lives, and we see it in governments. Much of the supposed good our own country has done over the past century has in fact been evil in disguise. That’s another topic for another time.
Let’s make it personal. Have you ever had something done for you or given to you out of impure motive? How does it feel? Wouldn’t you have rather gone without? If we are honest with ourselves we will see that we have done likewise. Motivation is always the key, particularly among those with whom we claim to share love. You expect restaurant staff to serve you out of duty. You pay them to do it. You expect your spouse to serve you out of love, and you do the same. If either of you loses the motivation of love, the relationship begins to break down. It is the same with God. He is not as concerned with what you do as with why you do it.
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. (1 Cor 13:1-3 NASU)