A Perspective on the Meaning of Life and Free Will
By Steve Huedepohl
One of William Shakespeare’s most often quoted monologues begins: “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances…” Shakespeare’s intention for this line was somewhat depressing… we are born, we live through various stages of life, and we die. We enter and exit the world as “players” in an ongoing stage play.
However, when we put this into perspective from the point of view of our Creator and His creation, there is a much bigger and better meaning… the Creation is God’s stage or movie, and we are indeed participants… but for a purpose.
Consider one important question that people need to ask: What is my purpose…. Why am I here… Why do I exist?
Ultimately, the answer is that we exist for God’s good pleasure...
Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (KJV)
Now some find that statement offensive… God created all this for His pleasure!… what about me… I have my own life to live… don’t I have any value? Certainly, and we’ll get to that.
Because of their misunderstanding, God is an arrogant, narcissistic, selfish dictator to some. Therefore, they reject Him because of something that has happened in their life, or because they simply don’t understand His ways. Consider this scripture:
1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (NKJV)
Yes, God did create the universe and all of us for His pleasure, but there’s more… much more. God didn’t just create us and leave us alone to die. He sent His Son to be an example of how we should live, to show us what true love is, and to take on the sin of this world… to feel what we feel, to hurt how we hurt, to be rejected and punished. Then he made a way for us to experience eternal life in heaven, through the death of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ on the cross. He has a wonderful future planned for those of us who believe on his Son.
To those who are angry at God, if they believe he exists at all; to those who would say he sounds like a selfish jerk, consider these scriptures:
Eze 18:23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live? (NKJV)
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (NKJV)
Now does this sound like a selfish, arrogant God? Not at all. Unfortunately however, God knows that everyone will not believe and accept Him:
Mat 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
Mat 7:14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (NKJV)
So what is the BIG picture… consider this:
If you were God and wanted to create a universe with people who would know the deepest depth of what it means to love someone, how would you do it?
Would you create perfect beings with no free will of their own – basically robots? They definitely wouldn’t make any mistakes, but would they be capable of understanding how precious the deepest true love is… the kind of love that would cause someone to give their live for another? You see, the trials and tribulations of life, which I call our “training ground,” help us to understand the meaning of love… especially God’s love for his children.
So God created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and gave them free will to make choices. They were created perfect, but they did have the capability of making choices. Unfortunately they chose to defy God and eat from the one tree that was forbidden in the garden of Eden, which gave them knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 3)
So the whole creation fell to sin at that point… and every person since is born with a sin nature and has also sinned. There is no question that Adam and Eve had the ability to make free choices. 1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Now man has free will, but God gives believers the faith to believe:
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)
And aren’t we chosen by God? Yes we are… BUT he chose us before the creation because he knew that we would choose him after we were born:
Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NKJV)
Now some might say that this conflicts with God’s sovereignty - that God predestined those He knew would choose Him, so that ultimately man is in control with his own free will. However, we have already shown that Adam and Eve had to have free will to make choices. Without free will to choose, they would just be robots. So how would they truly understand what love is? In addition, our Lord Jesus was the second Adam, and was both fully human, and fully God. So if we say Adam did not have free will, then did Jesus not have free will? Yes, He did the will of His father in heaven, but at the same time, He was God on earth.
God is still sovereign because ultimately He knows the outcome of every person, and He knew what they would choose before they chose Him. So ultimately, it’s both – that God is sovereign, and that man has free will.
Now we can better understand these scriptures:
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
Eph 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Eph 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
Eph 1:8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
Eph 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Eph 1:12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (NKJV)