What is the purpose of man? This is a broad question but what I mean is what should our goal be on earth? To glorify god? To share the gospel? Possible Something else? I guess the act of spreading the gospel will glorify God.
I suppose that it is to glorify God.
But I’ll be watching that question to see what responses it brings forth.
I think you’ve asked a really good question! Thinking about it will definitely help us!
After all, if we don’t know why we are here, we are going to have a difficult time making good decisions, right?
I also think this is a good question to ask your friends and family. And then listen. It is a great way to deepen your relationships with them. And perhaps they will be curious about what you believe.
Entire books have been written on this subject, but I thought perhaps we could start with a simple passage of Scripture. In Colossians 1:15-18 we read:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
There are a few things I find fascinating about this passage.
First, obviously God is greater than us - God is the greatest! So to give ultimate allegiance or regard to anything besides God simply does not line up with reality.
If there is a five star restaurant and a one star restaurant, it makes sense to give the greater praise to the five star restaurant. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a simple (or more affordable!) meal, but if we’re going to honestly acknowledge the difference, the greater praise will clearly go to the better establishment.
On this basis alone, surely the highest praise of our lives should go to the most praiseworthy of all? That is, God?
Second, the Creator is a wise and good Creator. We learn that, “all things were created through him and for him.” God created us with a purpose - we were made for him.
This is great news! We aren’t made to be God’s slaves, as the Qur’an teaches. We aren’t accidents. No, we are made for relationship with God!
What does it mean to be in relationship with God? I think Jesus put it best (Matthew 22:37-40):
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
Finally, as the Creator of all, it follows that, “in everything he might be preeminent.” It is all things that were created through him and for him, not just us.
This has a great deal of implications for how we take care of God’s creation, how we build and use technology, how we work, rest, and play, our consumption, and so on.
Our purpose for “all things” is, naturally, best aligned with God’s good purposes, so we should humbly and prayerfully desire that everything come into alignment with God’s loving and gracious intentions.
I hope this is a helpful starting point? I wonder what other questions or thoughts you might have on this topic?
Thank you sir. This is very helpful.
Hi Carson, I’m intrigued, does it teach that?
I accept that there is a global and multi-faceted diversity to how the Qur’an is read and interpreted.
That said, I think this article, from the popular al-Islam.org website, argues this interpretation clearly:
Servitude is the key to sanctity and “servant” is the best of names. A perfected human is a servant of Allah (awj) and is effaced in the Divine Identity and the Divine Names.
Slavery is the key to sanctity. The title “slave” is the best of titles and it is because of this that the name of the Prophet (ص) was ‘Abdullah and on the night of ascension he asked Allah (awj) to grant him servanthood.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
Our purpose I believe is to know God and make Him known. That will take a lifetime of learning and living it out for all the world to see.
Caron, IF I understand the context of the page you refer to. Is it not in a way echoing Paul when he says in 1Cor.7:22b “In the same way, if you were free when you were chosen, you are now Christ’s slave.” [ERV]. We are slaves to Christ. The word used as slaves is Strong’s #G1401.
That’s how I am reading it.
Hi, yes, that’s a good point!
Along the same lines, Sam Allberry recently shared this thought:
I think this line of reasoning is entirely Biblical.
However, there is another element to the Bible’s teaching on our identity that we need to bring together with this thought of being God’s servant or slave.
That is the important topic of being God’s sons and daughters.
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. . . . “Father” is the Christian name for God.
Gavin Ortland explains being adopted by God like this:
It means that the true and living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, by grace has made believers members of his family with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that status.
As I believe you know, there are many passages in the New Testament that speak of our “sonship”. Romans 8:14-15 stands out to me:
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
What intimacy! We are given the same language of address to our Heavenly Father as Jesus used (Mark 14:36)!
As we survey the Biblical teaching on God as our Father, it leads me to the assurance that my relationship with God involves a personal knowledge, intimacy, comfort, assurance, protection, and guidance. In addition, it means that I am intended to be like my Heavenly Father in his holiness and purposes. And that I will one day certainly be an heir of the kingdom. Most simply but sweetly, that our relationship is founded on a deep and everlasting love.
I don’t believe that Islam offers a similar relationship between Allah and faithful Muslims. However, I look forward to other perspectives!
Thanks Carson. I agree with you that in Islam there is no personal relationship. (At least I think that’s what And Bannister said in the lesson in the BE elective.) I am a child of God, and that I think is where the last line of Sam’s quotation comes into play, “If an apostle… is a slave, then I certainly must be.”
When I try to recall how some Moslem’s who I used to work alongside in the secular employment, (many years hence) I don’t think that they saw themselves as ‘slaves’ nor ‘children’. But I can’t be sure of that.