The Purpose of Life

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He created a plan for us to grow, live by faith, and return to live with Him someday.

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Before you were born, you lived with God, your Heavenly Father. He knew you, loved you, and taught you about the choices that would lead to lasting happiness. This period is called the premortal life. God wanted us to come to earth to gain a physical body. Here, we face challenges and situations that help us learn and grow so we can become more like Him.

God knew that we would make mistakes, so He chose Jesus to come to earth and suffer for our sins. Jesus's sacrifice allows us to be forgiven and cleansed of our sins so we can live with God again someday. As a result, we must have faith and learn to choose between right and wrong.

Life isn't easy, but hard times let us appreciate happiness and peace. Jesus suffered and died for our sins. When we die, our spirit and body separate.

1. You’re not waking up excited in the morning.

Our spirit goes to the spirit world. It is a place of rest and happiness for those who have made good choices and a state of hell for those who have made bad ones.

The spirit world is not a final destination or judgment. In fact, because God is so loving and fair, those people in hell who never knew about Jesus are taught His gospel and given the opportunity to accept Him. Jesus overcame death so we can all live again. This is called the resurrection.

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When we are resurrected, our spirits and bodies reunite. Our bodies will be perfect and will never die again. Jesus will judge us according to our actions and the desires of our hearts.

Meaning in Life - Do You Want to Know Your Purpose in Life?

He will be as merciful as He can. Because our actions and desires vary, heaven includes different kingdoms or degrees of glory. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus reside in the celestial kingdom. If you live by Jesus's teachings and are cleansed from sin by His sacrifice, you will go there.

People who refuse to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ but who live otherwise honorable lives will receive a place in the terrestrial kingdom. Those who continue in their sins and do not repent will receive a place in the telestial kingdom. God sent us to earth to learn and grow through experiences, both pleasant and painful. When we accept Jesus and follow His example, we become less selfish and can enjoy greater love, peace, and joy. God sent Jesus to save us from our sins.

For example, some say that creativity offers purpose, while others believe that virtue, or a moral life, confers meaning. Subjectivists—Landau among them—think that those views are too narrow. If meaning happens through cognition, then it could come from any number of sources. For subjectivists, depending on who and where we are at any given point, the value of any given activity varies.

Life is meaningful, they say, but its value is made by us in our minds, and subject to change over time. Landau argues that meaning is essentially a sense of worth which we may all derive in a different way—from relationships, creativity, accomplishment in a given field, or generosity, among other possibilities.

For those who feel purposeless, Landau suggests a reframing is in order. You could theoretically derive meaning from other endeavors, like relationships, volunteer work, travel, or creative activities, to name just a few. He points to the example of existentialist psychologist Viktor Frankl, who survived imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps in World War II and went on to write a book, Man in Search of Meaning.

Frankl noted, too, that others who survived the camps had a specific purpose—they were determined to see their families after the war or to help other prisoners live, maintaining a sense of humanity.

Jesus is the way to lasting happiness and salvation

Landau argues that anyone who believes life can be meaningless also assumes the importance of value. In other words, if you think life can be meaningless, then you believe that there is such a thing as value. As such, we can also increase or decrease the value of our lives with practice, effort, action, and thought.

What Is My Purpose in Life?

He notes too that things change all the time: We move, meet new people, have fresh experiences, encounter new ideas, and age. As we change, our values transform, and so does our sense of purpose, which we must continually work on. Surely there must be more to existence than simply assigning a value to what we already have and thinking differently if we fail to recognize purpose in our lives.

In fact, there are even less complex approaches to meaningfulness. While that may sound coy, many philosophers offer similar responses, although few as pithy. It can be disconcerting, perhaps, to have such an easy answer. And detractors might argue that nothing can matter, given the immensity of the universe and the brevity of our lives.

But this assumes our purpose is fixed, rigid and assigned externally, and not flexible or a product of the mind. There are other approaches, too. Casey Woodling, a professor of philosophy and religious studies at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, proposes in Philosophy Now that the question of meaningfulness itself offers an answer. Reflecting on why we pursue those goals is significant, however.