Who Am I? Where Did I Come From?
What’s My Purpose Here? Where Am I Going?
These questions, to varying degrees, have vexed all of mankind. There seems to be a need to know these things in each of us. They are reasonable questions that we all have asked. Parents often give us our first answers to these questions. Whatever they may teach us, it still seems that we must find answers for ourselves. Real peace and contentment in this life only comes when we are assured of these answers.
You are a person—a human being. Therefore you are mortal; you are aware; you can reason; and you can choose. Your characteristics, physical and psychological, are also a part of defining who you are. You are not an inanimate object but a sentient being, albeit not governed by instinct. Through your awareness you learn, then reason, and then choose. You are a person.
You came from your parents. And they came from their parents. But where did it start? Using all the abilities that you have, be aware and learn. Then consider, then reason and then come to a conclusion. If your awareness and reason convince you that you just happened then your conclusion must be that there is no purpose in your being and you can stop reading here. If your awareness and reason convince you that you could not have just happened, then you must be the result of the actions of an intelligent and powerful entity.
The third question deals with the why of your existence. It seems that this entity would have a purpose in your creation. Once again awareness and reason are your means to discern that purpose.
Maybe history can help us. The most ancient history tells of a creator God. The most gifted thinkers—Isaac Newton, Einstein & many others all attest to the reasonableness of a creator.
And though there are many religions today, most only offer a disciplined way of living. The Muslims, the Jews, and the Christians each address the prospects of an intelligent and powerful God. It seems reasonable that this creator would have a purpose in our being. All three of these religions teach that we are to worship and serve this creator God. Could that be the reason for creation?
The Muslims teach that they serve the God of Abraham (the same God the Israelites worship), they being descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael. But the problem being that these two religions offer a very different understanding of the character and plan of God. Although the descendents of Ishmael were never a part of God’s plan to birth the Messiah, they were never out of God’s favor because of a wrong pedigree. The Muslims teach that Mohammed, their founder, is the last prophet. He taught that man’s purpose is to worship god. His teachings pictured the Muslim god as very different from the god of Judaism or Christianity.
The God of the Israelites (the Jews) favored them, but only for a purpose. That purpose being that through them one was to be born—an anointed one; the Messiah. Israelites seemed to have adopted a misunderstanding as to the reason for God’s favor. They began to think God’s favor was upon them because of their bloodline—their pedigree. According to their prophets (one who speaks for God) Messiah was to be sent to the entire world, not only to Israel. According to their prophets, because of the continued sinfulness of the Israelites, God’s favor ceased. But God’s purpose—to birth the Messiah through the family of Israel continued.
Christians see Jesus as the Messiah; as a manifestation of the Creator God, the God of the Israelites. They see Him as God manifesting Himself and His love for mankind even while they are in rebellion. This love is shown by His suffering and experiencing death as a substitute, paying the sin debt for all mankind. By His Spirit He speaks to mankind’s awareness and reason and thereby invites all to receive his redemption. Those who receive this redemption are forgiven for past sins, empowered to resist sin, and after the judgment are to be free from sins presence and adopted into God’s holy family. This understanding of the Messiah and His plan is not accepted by the Muslims or Jews.
Each of these three teach that we all are to have part in a day of judgment. On this day there will be a resurrection of the dead and all will be judged. Muslims and Jews, excluding the Messiah and His redemptive sacrifice, offer no other reasonable atonement for mankind’s sin debt. Jews, because they believe they are favored, expect world dominion. Muslims expect carnal gratifications to be greatly multiplied for them if their good outweighs their bad. Dominion and carnal gratification are not sought after by the Christian now or in the hereafter. The Christians, because of the Messiah’s redemptive plan and their acceptance of it, see their reward as finally being free from sins presence and receiving eternal life with the creator as adopted children.
Great atrocities have been carried out in the name of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Religions have always been polluted by misguided men. It appears that each of these three have roots in the same history, but have all contributed to pollution of the truth. Nevertheless there remains a remnant who have sought after, found and walk in the truth.