Why Are We the Way We Are?

Have you wondered why we humans behave and react the way we do? Why aren’t we, for example, like Mr. Spock from Star Trek, with no emotions and only logic to guide us? I believe it’s because our emotional and mental makeup has been “fine-tuned” for a relationship with our Creator. We are the way we are because God made us in his image to engage with him. Every aspect of our nature has been precisely configured for the divine.

So in what ways have we been “calibrated” for God?

  • Our need for love. The human psyche can’t function in a healthy way without love. All we have to do is look at the prison population and see the percentage of inmates who grew up without a loving home. The #1 topic of songs and poems is love, reflecting the longing of the human heart. We can’t get enough of it. And how is God described? He is love.
  • Our need for purpose. One of the most commonly asked questions is “Why?” We search for meaning in things big and small, from the function of a new gadget to the purpose of the universe. Everything we make has a reason, and so we wonder about the reason for our existence – which only our Maker can explain.
  • Our need for a Creator. Human beings are inherently religious—all cultures throughout history have worshipped a divine being or beings. Atheists have always been a minority. But even then, some substitute God with another type of higher being, such as “mother nature” or “the universe.” As Pascal wrote, we have a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts.
  • Our need for relationships. People are social creatures. We hate being alone – even in prison, the nastiest punishment is solitary confinement. For many, the worst part of the COVID pandemic is social distancing. We long to be loved and accepted, and we typically base our happiness on the quality of our relationships.
  • Our need for transcendence. That is, our desire to be part of something beyond or bigger than ourselves. Why is it so easy to recruit people to join a movement, a revolution, an army, a demonstration, or an uprising? Because we want our lives to count for something more than just our own existence. We yearn to make a mark for all posterity.
  • Our need for justice and fairness. Children are quick to notice when something isn’t fair and never fail to tell their parents. No one taught them. They have an innate sense of justice. Unfortunately, as we grow older, we often learn to drown it out, but something within us – put there by our righteous and just Creator – still cries out when we see injustice.
  • Our need for joy. Research has shown that a happy, positive outlook on life has a significant impact on our health. Stress is a major factor in developing cancer and chronic illnesses. So even our bodies are telling us that we can’t function correctly without joy. God wants us to be able to rejoice in him, just as he delights in us.

One or two of these attributes could have happened by chance, but all of them together? (And this list is hardly exhaustive). Of all the ways we could have turned out, we end up being exactly how we need to be if we are to have a relationship with God. I don’t believe in coincidences.

Okay, but how does this impact our lives? Most of all, knowing why we were created helps us to have the right priorities in life. Anything that interferes with our connection to our Creator ultimately hurts us. But when we live according to our purpose, committed to having and deepening our friendship with God, no matter what path our journey takes us, we know we’re going in the right direction.

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