Why am I here? is a timeless question, inevitably tied to questions of purpose and personal worth. It’s an important question to ask, and the answer one arrives at determines how one thinks of himself and interacts with the world.
Some people advocate the idea that humans came about by impersonal, evolutionary processes and that life is just an accident. If that’s the case, then there’s no real reason for why we are here—life has no ultimate purpose. The Bible says otherwise. Genesis 1:1–27 describes how an intelligent Creator purposefully made all things in six days, including the first man and woman. God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (verse 26). The Lord created mankind to bear His image and rule His creation, but the first humans chose to disobey God and brought sin and death into the world (Genesis 3:12–19; Romans 5:12). Since that time, mankind has been estranged from God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23). Without an anchoring relationship to the Lord, we are left wondering who we are, why we are here, and what our purpose is.
Why am I here? To glorify God. Ultimately, God created us for His glory; our purpose is to glorify Him and, in this fallen world, to make Him known to others (Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 28:18–19). Human beings are not accidents; we are not here by chance. Many passages in the Bible make it clear that the purpose of humans is to give God praise and glory, for He created us and gave us life (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Revelation 4:11). Augustine of Hippo sums up our purpose and our deep desire in his Confessions: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee” (1.1.1).
The general reason why we are here—to glorify God—extends to each of us specifically. Psalm 139:16 indicates that God’s purpose for us is as precise as it is personal: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT). According to this verse, God is in control of three things that intimately concern each of us: 1) the beginning of each life, 2) the length of each life, and 3) the exact plan for each life.
Why am I here? To be reconciled to God, who “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment for our sins upon Himself (Romans 5:6–8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Through His resurrection, He conquered sin and death and made it possible for us to have a relationship with God, thus restoring the relationship that was fractured at the fall of mankind (2 Timothy 1:10; Romans 5:10). By repentance and faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are set free from sin. The Bible describes God as “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Why am I here? To serve the Lord and obey Him. “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, BSB). There is no higher purpose than being a servant of the King of the universe (see Psalm 84:10).
Why am I here? To prepare for eternity. Those who are confused about why they are here may end up pursuing pleasure or wealth or fame as the goal of life, but all of those things are vanity, as the book of Ecclesiastes attests. Part of why we’re here is to ready ourselves for the inevitable journey we must take after death: “People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Jesus promoted an eternal perspective, asking, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:36–37).
In knowing, glorifying, and serving the Lord, we have the answer to why we are here. In all that we do, even in everyday tasks, we can glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Since the Lord uniquely made each one of us, we can glorify Him in ways unique to our personalities, talents, and gifts (see Psalm 139:13–14; 1 Peter 4:10–11). Because God created us, loved us, and redeemed us in Christ, He is worthy of all praise and glory, and our lives should be a testimony to His grace and goodness.