Creator? Big bang? Accident? Purpose? No purpose?
By Rick Wolf, Founder of Soul Survivor Outdoor
The truth is you’re not an accident! You were created on purpose with purpose. You are loved! This is the message of the Bible. It is at the core of our true identity, of who we really are, and were created to be. It is the primary message delivered by Soul Survivor Outdoor to active duty military service members at outdoor adventure events.
John 3:16, a verse most are likely familiar with says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son.” He gave us His son! Amazing! Why would He do that? Think about that. If you haven’t heard this recently, or you haven’t heard this at all, there is a reason it sounds intriguing. That’s because it’s true!
Like it or not, believe it or not, we will all one day die. That’s pretty obvious, but most people live as though they will be on this planet forever. We will all slip into the dust of history, never to be heard from again on this side of eternity. In the Bible, the book of James describes it this way, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” What will be left of who we are, of who you were? What will be your legacy? Will it even matter? How we answer these questions is of the utmost importance and forms the foundation for what we believe, how we act, and how we live.
If we are honest, we’re faced with the fact that our lives don’t hold much meaning if everything is simply a product of random chance. Even secular research indicates the levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and suicide are higher among people who hold to a creatorless belief system. A recent study by Dr. Kopacz of the Veterans Administration, shows veterans who attempt suicide have a lower emphasis on spiritual fitness than those that don’t. Another study showed “negative spiritual coping” is associated with increased mental health related diagnosis and the severity of symptoms exhibited by patients.
If as the Bible declares, we are created by the God of the universe, that our identity and value come from Him, that our lives are defined by His purposeful act of creation, and a life of purpose He has created for each one of us, then one’s outlook on life is different. People with a faith mindset are likely to cope better, live lives less impacted by stress, and generally respond better to issues that produce anxiety. People of faith are also less prone to thoughts of suicide.
However, there is a widely held competing viewpoint. It too has the potential to shape our thinking and how we act and live. This viewpoint lacks a creator and suggests that all of creation is essentially a cosmic accident, a product of evolution, of billions and billions of years of random selection, a series of random events, that brought about what we see today. This philosophy is taught with religious fervor throughout western culture. The primary delivery method is from public schools, but it doesn’t stop there. It is taught in virtually every form of media; movies, television programs, etc. This philosophy leaves us wanting for answers. And, this philosophy is a lie!
The Biblical viewpoint is clear about the Creator, “in the beginning was God.” This viewpoint declares that there is a loving Creator behind humanity and everything else in creation, that we are designed with intent, forethought, and are created on purpose and with purpose. It is a viewpoint that is currently unpopular and is typically not taught. It is said to be unscientific.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, both worldviews impact how we think and act on a daily basis. Those who hold to a worldview with no creator, are ultimately faced with an identity crisis and struggle to find answers to basic human questions of existence. It shouldn’t be surprising that adherence to this belief system increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
If we are a cosmic accident, then what informs our identity, our decisions or our self-worth? Is identity found in race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, career, education, financial status, political affiliation, how we “feel” about something, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the phone we own? The simple answer is yes. In this worldview identity is built on what a person thinks or feels about themselves, how others think or feel about them, whether culture, community, or tribe values them or not. What happens when that value is no longer relevant, taken away, becomes outdated, worn out, when we change our minds, or one feels differently about it? Do people really even have value?
The aforementioned point of view, one with no creator and no fixed moral absolute, has an ultimate outcome that is dangerous. This might seem extreme, but there really are consequences to what we believe. It’s dangerous because, in this belief system man and popular opinion are the final authority. This is already being played out in society. There are those who are deemed less valuable or are perceived to have no value, who are not granted the opportunity at “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Societal views on abortion, which are not only acceptable but praised, are an example.
Created on purpose with purpose. This viewpoint produces a different result, a different outlook on life, and how we think and act. This in and of itself doesn’t mean the questions asked about identity or one’s value are never asked. This worldview does, however, provide a framework for answers. In this system of belief, answers are not subjective, they are not based on popular opinion, and the “right” answer doesn’t change from generation to generation. When the God of the Bible is the basis of belief, we can be sure that our value is intrinsic and does not depend on our own or anyone else’s opinion of our worth or value.
When we start from a Biblical perspective, we start from an entirely different vantage point relating to identity. From Genesis on, the theme is of purposeful and deliberate creation by a loving Creator. Genesis 1:26 says that we are “made in God’s image.” We read that God formed us out of the dust, and He Himself breathed life into us. Think mouth to mouth resuscitation. Sound strange? Maybe. But think of it! Random accident, or made by a God who has a personal and intimate interest in each and every one of us? It is staggering to think and understand that we have a God who actually cares and loves us.
I have a degree in design. It therefore makes sense to me that before anything is constructed there is a concept or idea, and before any building materials are purchased or assembled, there is a detailed set of drawings. The more complex the project, the more detailed the drawings.
This is the concept of intelligent design, that the thing, object, plant, animal, human being, has a designer, a creator. This is what is portrayed in Jeremiah 1:5 which says “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” The book of Jeremiah goes on to say of Jeremiah that he had “a future and a hope.” In the book of Zephaniah, it says that “the Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves,” and that “He will take great delight in you.” This is an entirely different notion than being a random accident, the outcome of an evolutionary process.
Everything in our world cries Creator! In Romans 1:20 it says that “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” One doesn’t have to look far to see the intricacy of design in everything around us. Every living thing has DNA, the code, the design, the building blocks for creation.
And yet, the majority of our world believes we are products of random chance. Amazingly, those that adhere to this way of thinking would never look at a cell phone, computer, car, building, or any other created thing and think that it was a random object without a designer or intelligence behind it. This belief is firmly held even though man-made objects are infinitely less complex in structure than a single blade of grass. This thought process, that man-made objects are designed and created, but that all of nature is an accident, not only takes more faith to believe than believing in a Creator but is detrimental to the human soul, as previously indicated and substantiated by research. It is also the height of human arrogance.
Conversely, when identity is rooted in the God who created us, and nothing else, not what we think of ourselves, not what anyone thinks, not whether we are successful or not, our value is intrinsic. In this system, all of humanity, man, woman, child, black, white, brown, are created equal. As the Founding Fathers said more than 200 years ago, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator…” This is unshakable truth!
The Bible is replete with examples of the value God places on His creation. It is also clear that we are God’s design, His creation, and not an accident. From the Old Testament… We are made in God’s image, Genesis 1:26. God breathed life, Genesis 2:7. God knew us before we were born (had our design in mind), Jeremiah 1:5. God delights in us, Zephaniah 3:17. From the New Testament… God sent His own Son to earth to save us, John 3:16. God wants us to know the truth, John 8:32. God wants us to enjoy life and have life in abundance, John 10:10. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, 2 Peter 3:9.
This is profound! God sent His Son. It’s why the Bible is called the “Good News.” However, it’s only good news if we accept it. The Bible is clear about our condition, our sin, and there really is only one way to deal with it. I think the Message, a modern Bible translation, says it best in Romans 2:3-4, “Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.” If we are to be set free from our sin, to find our true identity, we need to align our lives with what God has said. Though “God loved us while we were sinners 1 John 4:10, God has also given free will to choose to believe and receive the free gift of His Son. When we “confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord,” Romans 10:9, we become partakers in what Jesus calls “life more abundant.”
The fact that humanity has intrinsic value as established by our Creator, resonates with most people. This should come as no surprise because it is the truth. When this message is thoughtfully delivered to individuals or audiences that have heard repeatedly that they are essentially an accident, they tend to listen. This is our message and one every Christian can share with a world that lacks true identity and life without hope.