Seven Big Questions: Does Life Have A Purpose? Part Two

books on wisdom christian books Sep 18, 2022

Enjoy this edited excerpt from The 7 Big Questions, Bruce's latest book coming out on Tuesday, October 4. 


In summarizing the message of Solomon's book, one Bible commentator writes, "Ecclesiastes urges its readers to recognize that they are mortal. They must abandon all illusions of self-importance, face death, and life squarely, and accept with fear and trembling, their dependence on God." 22 Solomon unapologetically delivers us from rose-colored delusions about finding purpose in the pursuit of pleasure, success, or wealth and instead points us to the only one who makes life coherent and permanently fulfilling. In God, Solomon tells us, we can find life's purpose. After running down nearly every earthly avenue to find meaning in his life, Solomon looks up to find purpose beyond himself. If God is our ultimate creator, then it makes sense to ask the creator the purpose of his creation. It's sensible to ask the inventor the reason for his invention. 

Solomon finds a conviction that God made this world and gave us directions for how to live well in it—what Solomon calls "[God's] commandments." Not only this, but God put eternity in our hearts. If the grave is not the end, then how we live matters now, but eternally. Life's ultimate purpose transcends our brief time on Earth. While Solomon never gives a clear statement on life's purpose, he points out the path of discovery for us. He warns us of where we will not find meaning and guides us to where we will. He shares that he found his purpose in deep reverence for the God he knew, and he found his hope in the 

the expectation that one day God would set right the world through divine justice. 


With humble confidence, I surfaced from my struggle with feelings of meaninglessness in those dark days of doctoral work. After examining many other points of view, I came to a place of acceptance regarding the limitations of human knowledge. If there is a higher power, I am not it, and I cannot fathom all that has been and is being done in the world. There is much we cannot know. We don't know exactly how our bodies extract all the nutrients from the food we eat, but we know enough to eat healthy food to help our bodies function. We don't know everything about life or why some things happen, but we can know enough to seek life's purpose beyond us. 


Of course, all this assumes there is a God out there. But what if there's not? If there is no God, then he certainly can't have a purpose for life. So which is it? Is there a God, or is there not? 


22. Duane A. Garrett, The New American Commentary—Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1993), 278. 


Want weekly wisdom delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up today!

Want weekly wisdom delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up today!