Dr.Konstantinos Mouroutis –
Director of New Life Institute-
My dear friends, what is the purpose of life? Why do people live? When people arrive at the final destination of their life’s journey, they ask, “Why did I work so hard? Why did I try to make so much money? Why did I struggle to succeed?” What a pitiful waste of life to die without being able to answer these questions! Many live their lives without understanding life’s meaning or its purpose.
Dear friends, let’s ask ourselves a question. “What is the meaning of life?” Quite honestly, none of us would be able to answer this question so easily. Why is this? Why are we unable to answer what seems to be a simple question? This is because it’s actually impossible to know the meaning of life without first coming to firm grips with our origin, how we came to exist.
Let’s assume for a moment that our existence is explained by the theory of evolution. Bang! There was the big bang. Then, a series of events lead to DNA…then to genes…cells…ameba…and eventually to human beings. Now, how did this all come about? By chance, according to evolution, isn’t that right? But a chance is, by definition, something that just happened without any meaning or purpose. Therefore, to believe in the theory of evolution is to accept the notion that there is no purpose in life. This has grave consequences. Not only do we, as individuals, lose a sense of purpose in our lives, but also, life itself becomes completely meaningless if we were to believe in evolution. According to evolution, we happened to exist, but if it turned out that we didn’t, it would not have mattered.
Without a clear understanding of who God is, we cannot escape this kind of thinking even if we go to church. ‘Why am I here?’ ‘My mom and dad decided to sleep together one day…and here I am!’ This type of thought process can never lead to the discovery of the reason for our existence in this world.
We have learned that genes are essentially letters, and letters have to be created. Letters contain meaning. We human beings are, in effect, a collection of letters. We are not a piece of meat, but a collection of letters.
A gene consists of four bases (a, t, c, g) chemically arranged in varying sequences. A different sequence denotes a different meaning, just like the way it works with the letters. Therefore, we’re not just a cluster of cells, or a lump of protein. No! What we really are is a collection of letters with meaning and purpose! The question is, then, whose purpose do these letters express?
Now, letters (all letters) cannot come to exist by a random chance. They must all be created! Then the answer to the previous question is self-
You see, genes are created to respond differently to various meanings. As we know from Dr. Pavlov’s experiments, when a subject perceives a positive meaning, a positive response is aroused. A negative meaning provokes a negative response. When there is no meaning there is no response. When a dog first hears the sound of the bell “ding,” there is no meaning associated with that sound. And, there is no response. No wagging tails in anticipation of a delicious treat. No happy barking sound. No endorphins to get her all excited. There is no response! None, whatsoever! Without meaning, genes don’t respond. Not until the dog starts associating the sound of the bell to being fed (i.e. giving a positive meaning to the sound of the bell), is she going to start drooling, barking with happiness, and start wagging her tail at the sound of the bell. This is an obvious example of how genes respond to meaning.
Before we get too sidetracked, let’s go back to the subject of the purpose of life. As mentioned earlier, there cannot be true meaning in life if the theory of evolution is correct. But many people do believe in the theory of evolution. Consequently, it is impossible for these to know what the true, fundamental purpose in life is. They each must come up with their own purpose in life. It becomes the responsibility of the each individual to come up with his/her own version of meaning in life. And this is commonly done. ‘My goal in life is this.’ ‘I will accomplish that before I die.’ But quite often, other people’s goals seem very trivial and frivolous. Many times, we catch ourselves thinking, ‘You call that your purpose in life?’ And I’m sure others would think the same way about us. The truth is that the theory of evolution, if believed, would lead all of us down the path of aimless life.
What other theories are there? Well, there is reincarnation. What else? I guess there are many myths and legends in various ethnic groups and cultures that try to explain their origin. ..But none of these theories and myths provides a meaningful insight into the purpose of life.
Let’s take a closer look at reincarnation, which has quite a following around the world. What is at the heart of this philosophy? It is a belief that souls are reincarnated over and over again in an endless cycle. This can only be true if souls are immortal. Thus, to believe in reincarnation is to believe in the natural immortality of the soul. However, to say that souls have existed for all eternity is to reject the idea of creation. Clearly, there is no need to create something that already exists.
So we have the theory of evolution, the natural immortality of the soul, and creation, to explain our existence. Which of these theories are most plausible from the perspective of genetic biology? Of course, it’s the creation! Why? Because we are made of cells, and within each individual cell are the genetic codes written in letters that cannot exist without being created. What, then, is the purpose of life? Can creation tell us what the meaning of life is all about?
You know, I personally believe that to study the Bible, especially the book of Genesis, is to discover the meaning of life. One of you just said that “to live with God eternally” is the purpose of life. I agree with that statement, because it is technically correct. However, the majority of people would not find the statement to be very persuasive. You see, the only people who have walked with God know what it means to live with Him. Otherwise, the statement rings hollow, devoid of any meaning.
Now let’s talk about the meaning of life. Let us turn to the Scriptures. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Wow, it’s a beautiful verse. How does it begin? “In the beginning….” – this is the starting point. Where is the starting point with the natural immortality of the soul? There is none. The theory of evolution does not supply us with any clearer insight into our origin. Why the big bang out of the blue? No one knows. “In the beginning…” Only God, the creator, can provide such a definitive beginning.
What did He begin? The work of creation from nothing! “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This verse contains the real “big bang!” There is an incredible amount of power bottled up in this verse. One minute, there is nothing, and in the next, there are the heavens and the earth. What a powerful beginning! Obviously, there cannot be this kind of beginning without God, the creator. But rather than just focusing on His power, we need to contemplate on His purpose in creation, because knowing why He created us will be necessary to understand the meaning of life.
Why do automakers build automobiles? Why do they build computers? There is a reason and purpose in making these items. The more difficult and complex it is in building a machine, the stronger the reason for building it. There are no machines that are as complex and intricate as human beings. My friends, there must be a compelling reason for our existence.
Generally, simple things exist for simple reasons. For example, a club has a very simple structure. It’s just a piece of stick. The reason why anyone builds a club is to beat someone up, or at least threaten to –
I’m so and glad and thankful that I came to know God. It is only after I met Him that I found the true meaning of my life. Do you know what it was like before I found Him? Well, I was like this incredibly well built ship floating on the ocean – literally just floating around. Where was it going? Nowhere. Just floating in the direction of the wind. Going with the fad when that’s blowing strong. Sometimes going with the pride, and other times, with honor and glory. Well, we can’t leave out the greed. Going back and forth, in whichever direction the wind was blowing, with no real sense of purpose.
You know, there are many different types of winds. Some of us have a lot of grievances buried deep in our hearts as a result of hardship and suffering. Thus, to some of us, the wind might blow in the direction of relieving those grievances. To somehow compensate for the suffering we’ve endured becomes the purpose in life. ‘Oh I suffered too much growing up because I was so poor. I’m going to make a ton of money and spend it to my heart’s content!’ This is an example of a totally superficial purpose in life. It’s completely arbitrary and whimsical in nature. You know what? Let’s not even call it a purpose in life, because it really isn’t. It has nothing to do with the fundamental meaning of life. It’s just one of many winds blowing to and fro. They are all blowing in different directions without a meaning or purpose.
Well, what kind of wind was blowing in my life? It was the love of money. I was just sailing on and making money. Making money was so easy! And it felt pretty good. But deep down inside, I knew this couldn’t be the real purpose in life. I knew I couldn’t look back at the end of my life and say that I had a fulfilling life if I had continued to live the way I did. ‘What, then, is my real purpose in life?’ For years, this was a nagging question in the back of my mind.
We were just talking about the creation. Most people believe, at least partly, in evolution and the natural immortality of the soul, but also say “amen” when a preacher talks about how men are created in God’s image. Our thoughts are so muddled and inconsistent. We believe in Creation, but we also believe in other things that are inconsistent with creation. This is the reason why believing in creation is not helping us to clarify the meaning of life. We say we believe in creation but are still confused about our purpose in life. We may have a vague idea that we are to live with God in heaven in the after life. But, how about our life now?
If God really did create us, there must have been a purpose. And we must gain a clearer insight into the purpose of creation if we are to understand the purpose of life. Why? Because God’s purpose for creation is our purpose for existence! If we accept this logic, then our purpose in life should become clear once we gain an insight into His purpose in creation. This is the domino-
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This verse establishes, for us, the very purpose of life from the beginning to the end. But the verse means nothing to us until we come to understand why He has created us. Herein lies the difficulty that God faces. You see, it isn’t easy for God to make us understand His purpose: He cannot force us to understand His will or to accept it. “No, No! That is not why I created you! You can’t go that way! No, No! Don’t do that!” Someone who respects our freedom to the point of death (the cross of Calvary proves this) would not deal with us in such a manner. This is God’s dilemma. He has to gently reveal His purpose to us without forcing Himself on us.
God gave us the Bible to help us understand His purpose in creation – and thus, our purpose in life. This is the reason the Bible starts with “In the beginning…” This is the reason the very first verse of the Bible had to be, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
I have one daughter, you know. I’ve always believed that it wouldn’t make a difference to me whether my child was a boy or a girl. ‘A son would be nice for my third, but another daughter would be just as well,’ I used to think. But when my child came out, I screamed, “It’s a girl!!” without even realizing it. I was so happy! That was November 6th, 1998. It still makes me happy just to think about it.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Does this verse really come home to your heart now? This was the happiest moment for God. “I have created you in the beginning.” This was the moment we “came out” to the world, sort to speak. Wow! What a happy moment it must have been for God!
Now, let’s try to understand why God created us. What does the Bible say? Is it in the Bible? Can you find it? Well, after a long search, I did manage to find a verse in the Bible pertaining to this issue. It’s Genesis 2:18. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone.’” What does this verse mean? Why would God care if man should be alone? It’s because God knew what it meant to be alone. He had been there. And He’d much prefer to be with other beings that He could commune with. Adam was created in God’s image, to be like Him. Of course, God knew that Adam wouldn’t want to be alone!
But actually, there are some people who don’t mind being alone. Some even enjoy it. They scream out, “Leave me alone!” In fact, all of us probably have felt this way at some point in our lives. When do we feel this way? Generally, it’s when we are feeling critical, angry, or hateful. We won’t enjoy others’ company when we are feeling this way.
Well, when do we want to be with someone? When is this desire the strongest? When we are in love, of course! Being left alone is a miserable experience when we are in love. We’d always want to be with that special person to give and to receive love. It is impossible to experience this love when we are alone. When we are in love, we’d never want to be alone!
God is love. He is not just “loving,” He is the embodiment of love itself! He can never enjoy being alone! It is not good for “Love” to be by Himself. This is why He created –
Genesis 2:18. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone.’” I used to just read through it without giving it too much thought. But love makes everything more meaningful, including this verse.
Now, we are all here together: The families, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are eating, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company. This is absolutely wonderful! It makes me wonder, ‘what if I didn’t have my loving wife?’ My family? My friends? What, then, would my life have been like? None of us are perfect. But just being together with our loved ones, and caring for each other despite our shortcomings –
The first time I was in Canada, my friends dropped me off at Lake Louis, and they all left. I guess the idea was for me to enjoy the beautiful scenery by myself since I had the free time. It’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in Canada. But you know what? I didn’t like it! It really was a very nice place, I’m sure. But I did not enjoy being there all by myself. No matter how beautiful the place might have been, I could not appreciate it. When there was no one to share my thoughts and feelings, the beauty lost its meaning. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would have been like without my loved ones!
God is love. God is at His happiest when He is giving His love to others. This is why He created us. He created us as the objects of His love, in order to pour out His love on us. He is happiest when He is with His loved ones!
You know, a true purpose is closely linked with happiness. Fulfilling the true purpose should make us happy, even if there is no other benefit that can be derived from accomplishing it. Let me explain. Let’s say that I set a goal for myself. I actually hate doing it, but I know that others would be very impressed if I could accomplish this goal. So I’m forcing myself to do something that I hate in order to impress others. The joy comes from impressing others, not from the goal itself. Thus, this goal is a source of stress for me. I’m putting up with the stress in order to impress others. You see, this can’t be a worthy goal. It’s only giving me stress. A true purpose is different. It’s something you’d enjoy accomplishing for its own sake, even if it means overcoming hardships and suffering in the process.
Well, the creation came with its own hardship and suffering. Yes, God is Almighty, but even God could not circumvent this difficulty. God decided to create us in order to pour out His love on us. But there was a potential side effect to this endeavor. Love cannot force itself to be accepted. God would not and could not force His creatures to accept His love. Yet, we are created to be happy and healthy when we receive His love. Now, here is the problem. What if we don’t want to receive His love? Because God cannot give it to us forcibly, there is going to be a big problem. Why, then, did He still choose to create beings that can reject His love? It’s because love is meaningless without the freedom to reject it.
Let’s say that a man is married to a woman. She’s trained to say “yes” to him all the time. That’s how she grew up. From her childhood she was programmed by her parents to say “yes” no matter what. In fact, that’s how her Mom lived her life. Well, there many Korean women who grew up this way. Anyway, she gets married, and begins her life of “yes” with her husband. Her husband says do this. “Yes.” Do that. “Yes.” “Yes, yes” no matter what. She cannot say “no.” Now, how meaningful is her “yes” when her husband knows that she is programmed to just say it? Only when she gains the complete freedom and confidence to say “no,” does her “yes” become meaningful. Real love and happiness can only be found in knowing that you can always say “no” but choosing, instead, to say “yes.” For this reason God created us with the freedom to say “no” to Him.
Consequently, God had to meet the following conditions for His creation.
1) Because His purpose in creation was to pour out His love on us, we were created to live by receiving that love, without which we cannot survive.
2) And yet, we must posses the freedom to reject that love.
These two conditions are at odds with one another. What if we ended up rejecting His love? We would die, because we need His love in order to survive. And yet, He must allow us to reject His love in order to ensure our freedom. This was very difficult problem that God had to resolve before deciding to create us. God solved the problem by deciding to sacrifice His only begotten Son if we’d choose to sin. This is why Jesus is called “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
But what is sin? Isn’t it the claim by the creatures that they can live apart from God? “I have nothing to do with You. I have evolved from ameba.” Or, “ My soul has existed for all eternity. It has nothing to do with Your creation.” “ I really don’t need You. I can live without You.” What are we talking about here? The separation from God! Yes, the essence of sin is our being separated from God. This was the potential side effect of creation: Certain creatures would choose to alienate themselves from God and His love. But to reject His love and to be separated from Him is to die. This causes the reversal of God’s creation, canceling out His purpose of creation for the sinner. This reversal process brings the sinner back to the state before the creation ever began.
Therefore, we creatures have only two options.
1) Receive His love and live.
2) Reject His love and go back to the state of pre-
There are no other options. But Satan tries to deceive us into thinking that there is a third option. He says, “You shall not surely die.” The deceiver says that we can live in sin, in the state of separation from Him and His love. My friends, don’t let him deceive you! We need Him always. We need His love continually. We cannot live otherwise!
Now let’s talk about this in the context of our purpose in life. God created us so that He can pour out His love on us. Why? Because that’s what makes Him happy! He is at His happiest when He is giving us His love. He created us so that He can experience this supreme happiness!
Now, what would God want from us, then? Of course, He would want us to be happy. But how? Well, the same way He is happy – by giving His love to others. This is the only way to experience the true happiness, the very happiness of God. By experience, God knows that the greatest happiness stems from giving love to others. This happiness comes from the very act of giving itself, and not from whether or not anything is being returned. This is not the worldly happiness that comes from making lots of money, having a successful career, or having our egos stroked. We are to be happy as we give love to one another. This is our purpose in life!
This is why Jesus commanded, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” He didn’t pull this commandment out of His hat because it sounded nice. This commandment came about as a direct result of creation. Thus, to understand God’s love is to understand creation. Knowing creation unravels all the confusion about the meaning of life.
You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about creation lately. I knew I was going to give series of lectures on Genesis. And so I meditated upon this topic for a while. “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth.” It’s such a powerful verse, and yet it never meant anything to me before. Then all of a sudden, it just came to me! I realized that this verse contains everything there is to know about life and its purpose.
If God created me and He is love, then He must have created me to be happy like Him! He must have had one simple wish for me. That is, “Kostas, be happy as I am happy.” In other words, “love one another as I have loved you.” Actually, He said something else that also means the same. Luke 6:35, 36 “ But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” “Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
We know that the purpose of life is to love as God loves and thus be happy as He is. Now we need to know what it means to love like He does. You see our human love is different from God’s. We hate our enemies, and love those that love us. But we need to experience His kind of love if we are to get a glimpse of what the meaning of life is all about. What are our feelings toward those who are ungrateful? “You ingrate! I’ll never show you kindness again! Not ever!” If this is our attitude, we’ll never know what the true meaning of life is. Even if we have fully comprehended all the things I talked about today at an intellectual level, and are even able to teach others, we still would not really know what it means to live a purposeful life unless we have experienced this kind of love. It is only when, by the grace of God, we learn to love the unlovable person (who shows nothing but contempt for our kindness) that we begin to “know” the meaning of life. “Aha…so this is what it really means to love. This is what life is all about…”
Therefore, we should not take the words of Jesus as some dictatorial command. “You must love your enemy!” No, as our creator, He is just telling us how to be happy. For this was the purpose of His creation and thus the purpose of our life.
Luke 6:35 “…your reward will be great.”
So what is the reward? Happiness, of course! “Wow! This is the way to live! What joy it brings to be able to forgive and love your enemy!” Experiencing God’s purpose for our life, is the reward.
By experience I have learned that this kind of love makes me happier than all the money I have made and all the fame I have gained in the past. Yet, knowing all this, I still have to struggle against seeking the thrill of receiving man’s applause. Being in the lecture circuit, I am constantly tempted to find happiness in my fame and the adulation of my audience. This should not be the case. But it is. We are all tempted to replace the true happiness with something else. Don’t say it’s not a big deal. It is! Our eternal life depends on it! We must engage in a hand-
The problem is, we cannot overcome in our own strength. How can we forgive and love our enemy? This requires a change in the synapse of our brain. Our brain needs to be rewired, sort to speak.
My friend swindled me out of lots of money. It wasn’t just the loss of money that made me angry: He betrayed my trust and took advantage of our friendship. Any thought of him filled my heart with anger and hatred. A synapse in my brain would cause a negative chain reaction in my body when I thought of him: releasing stress hormones, making my heartbeat faster, discharging free radicals, and clenching my teeth. All these reactions weaken my immune system considerably. It literally shortens my life. But you know what? I couldn’t stop it! Every time his name was mentioned, the chain reaction would start! There was no way for me to get rid of the synapse in my brain that was responsible for this. The power to change the synapse, the power to rearrange my genetic code, the very power to completely change my heart did not reside within me. It took the power of God, His power of creation. He had to give me a new heart to forgive my friend. God had to create a brand new synapse in my brain that would make me happy when I thought about my friend. What a wonderful gift it was!
When you receive and experience such a wonderful power of God, you begin to understand that this kind of experience is far more precious than the whole money of the world. You know, forgiving my friend has brought me far greater happiness than the money which he has taken from me, ever did. It is very difficult to make the decision to forgive the unforgivable. We must wrestle with God all night for His power and strength, if need be. But it’ll be well worth the struggle. But if we just say to ourselves, “Well that’s the biblical ideal, but the reality is different…” then we are throwing away the most precious gift from God, His love, His happiness, and the very essence of His life.
Dear friends, make the decision to experience this kind of mercy just once. It gets easier and easier. Why? Because the incredible happiness that we’d experienced would reinforce itself in us. We instinctively pursue happiness. If we have never tasted this kind of happiness before, then the only happiness we know of are the false ones. We get a temporary fix when we lash out at someone. When we put the “jerks” in their place, there is a sense of relief. If this is the only kind of happiness we’re accustomed to, we’ll naturally pursue it. Hatred and revenge would become our primary purpose in life. What an empty and meaningless life it would be!
My friends, we have a special purpose for being here in this sinful world. We are here to live out the biblical principle. Do you know what it really means to study bible? A true bible study entails learning how to love our enemies. It is not just a study of some fancy theology. It’s learning to be as happy as God. It’s learning the very purpose of creation through experience. We must “taste” the truth, by personally experiencing what it means. Otherwise, it would be of no benefit to us. It would just be a meaningless theory that sounds nice.
Now, we are the only beings in the universe that have the opportunity to follow Him all the way, to be merciful even as our Father in heaven is merciful. Why? Because the earth is the only place in the universe that’s full of “enemies” to love. You see, there are no enemies in Heaven. There are no ingrates in heaven in need of mercy. Being Adam’s descendents, and living in this fallen world, we have every opportunity to learn and experience God’s love and mercy. We have the privilege to go way beyond the mere intellectual knowledge of His love. We can taste and feel it first hand! We have the privilege of sharing it with one another! This is our special purpose in life here on earth.
In this sense, our purpose in life is of higher level compare to those of the unfallen worlds. To be able to love our enemy and experience the supreme happiness of God Himself, is a privilege that the unfallen beings are not privy to. They are all nice and kind to each other. They simply don’t have any enemies to love. My dear friends, we ought to be thankful that we have enemies in our lives. Despite the existence of Satan and his efforts to ruin our lives, we can always be thankful when we are focused on our high calling.
The book of Revelation gives us further insight on our purpose for being here. Rev 22:4 “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” What does it mean to have His name on their foreheads? John is talking about the character of Jesus. It means that His character will be ingrained in us, coded into our genes. And we will be merciful as God is merciful.
Rev 22:5 “And there shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” I did not quite understand the part about “reigning” forever. Jesus is the King! Why, then, would we be “reigning?” And if everyone is “reigning,” then, who are the subjects of this kingdom? The confusion came from the misunderstanding of the word “reign.” In heaven, kings don’t “reign” the way they do here on earth. In heaven, to be the least is to be the greatest. The kings in heaven minister unto others as their servants.
You see, we, the human beings, know what it means to love our enemy the way Jesus did. We have experienced that God-
All of us here on earth are born with high destiny of becoming kings in the new heaven and earth. Wow, What a high calling!
I’m so happy to have found this wonderful meaning of life through the study of Genesis. In fact, this theme unites the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation in a single thread.
I’ve put in a lot of effort in preparing for this lecture. I just hope that you’ll find this lecture helpful in finding the true meaning for your life.