This Saturday, we had a 2-hour Lenten Retreat for our parish youth. The first discussion we had was: "Why were you created?" The following six excerpts, culled from various websites, describe the answers to this question given by a number of religions and philosophies. Can you identify each one? To what extent is each consistent with Orthodox Christianity?
- We are not here for any purpose and the pursuit of this question is futile. We are a very lucky chance effect. We are the product of a set of potentially infinite sequence of events that enabled us to become. Ultimately, without our intervention, we will be destroyed.
- God is in the world and the world is in God. Man is the highest product of evolution. He must discover for himself his place in the world and the true meaning of life. Life is in a constant state of change, it is transient. Even our personality is not constant. “You” are nothing more than the sum of your feelings and experiences. The goal of man should be to escape from this continual state of flux.
- The God who had charge of the earth put the other gods to work…. Tired of their condition and at the instigation of one of the gods they went on strike. After a fierce disagreement, a mediator proposed a compromise. They would create man to bear the burden to that the gods would be free.
- God created man to worship Him. He made this life to test our faith in Him along with our charity toward each other. Should we pass both tests we are granted entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Should we fail… well, you know what happens then. … By nature man is spiritually weak. However there is a seed inside all of us that could blossom into greatness were we to follow the tenets of the religion.
- God did not need to create man, but He did create him for a reason. Man is created for God's glory: by our existence and the fulfillment of His will, we passively reflect His glory. … From the very beginning, although he did not need us, God created us with a goal, one that involves us (making our every action important) and is guaranteed by his unstoppable, insatiable desire to see himself glorified.
- God did not need to create man. He was complete and entirely blessed by Himself. Even before creation, he lived the blessed life of love. The Father, and Son and the Holy Spirit lived in mutual love one for another. But to love means to share, and God created man because of love. By voluntary choice God created the world in ecstatic love, so that there might be besides himself other beings to participate in the life and the love that are His.