Justify Your Existence (Part 1)
George Bernard Shaw is attributed with saying: "We should all be obliged to appear before a board every five years and justify our existence." What a concept! Of course, this idea can be considered from two perspectives--the physical and the spiritual. Most would attempt to justify their existence on planet Earth from a purely physical viewpoint. They would argue that they are valuable to society because of their occupational skills or because of help they provide to others. They would do their best to minimize the negative affects their existence may have on society (e.g., pollution, crime, etc.).

Although the majority of folks would probably be able to give a logical rationale for their continued existence, I think some would have real difficulty in justifying their life in physical terms. Let's be blunt. There are some people in any society who are lazy and destructive. They are more of a hindrance than a help in most ways. These folks are content to feed off others, take advantage of them, and even abuse them. From the physical standpoint, I wonder how they could defend their existence as worthwhile.

But, what about the second perspective? I believe there is a deeper spiritual view to this idea worth pondering. In a general sense, one could argue that all human life (both the righteous and wicked) could be justified based on the simple fact that all men and women are made in God's image (Gen. 1:26,27), and to be made in the image of the Almighty is certainly reason enough for that life to exist. However, beyond that truth, let us consider what sort of spiritual rationale could be offered in defense of one's existence.

Let's make up a hypothetical man for the sake of discussion. We'll call him Mr. A for atheist. Mr. A is middle-class man with a family that he loves and cares for very much. He works hard and is a law-abiding citizen. However, Mr. A does not believe in God or the Bible. Thus, even though his life is respectable physically, Mr. A is lost in sin. Now here's the deep question: From God's perspective, can Mr. A justify his own existence? I believe the answer is no.

Why would I say that? Well, what is the purpose of life? Is it to accumulate things or become wealthy or famous? No. The Holy Spirit has revealed that the purpose of life is to "Fear God and keep His commandments" (Eccl. 12:13). This is man's fundamental duty in life. This is where true fulfillment, peace, and joy are found. It matters not how honorable a person's life may be physically, if he or she does not respect the Lord and obey Him, then there is a huge void in their life (an emptiness that they may not even be aware of). How can anyone justify their existence if they are not fulfilling their primary purpose in life?

Of course, that brings up the question: Why does God allow Mr. A to keep living when he isn't doing what he has been created to do? Why does God tolerate disbelief and disobedience? He tolerates such because He is a God of love and longsuffering. "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" (II Pet. 3:9). No one who is lost in sin can give a reasonable defense for why they should be allowed to keep living. It is only by the grace of God that He allows them to exist in rebellion to His will. The Lord strongly desires that they be given time to come to their senses and realize what their purpose in life should be (i.e., serving Him and not themselves). God is patient but His forbearance does have a limit (e.g., Gen. 15:16; 18:16ff; II Kings 17:5ff; etc.).

We will conclude our thoughts on this theme tomorrow.