Return to 3rd Quarter 2021 articles.
Is Life Worth Living without God?
Humans are the only creation that God made with an eternal soul and in God’s spiritual image (Genesis 1:26–27). Because we have a soul, we have unique qualities that other animals do not have. We have creative and artistic yearnings, which we express in many ways. We can appreciate the complex beauty and design of God’s creation. A sunset moves us, a beautiful scene inspires us, and nature soothes our souls. Higher animals have emotions, but, only humans have the capacity for agape sacrificial love, manifested in unselfish choices we make for the benefit of others.
Even humans who reject God and live without acknowledging him benefit from the spiritual nature he gave us. Atheists can love and need to be loved. They can live good, upright lives, be good citizens, and love their families. But, because they reject God and his teachings, their ability to love sacrificially is limited because all humans have a sinful nature. Without God's influence in our lives, our innate selfish nature will dominate (Romans 7:14–25). If we believe this life is all there is, that there are no absolute moral standards and no Judgement to come, why should we not look out for number one first? Why should we not get all the pleasure and worldly things possible to make us as happy as we can be in this life? The atheist essentially lives to please himself and loves others as long as it benefits him.
In contrast, those who have given their lives to God are devoted to honoring him by serving others on a spiritual journey to become more like Christ. They desire to grow in the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). This focus changes our whole life and makes it about something greater than self. We also have a family of believers to help, love, and encourage us in our journey.
For a Christian, when life gets difficult and even overwhelming, we have a promise from God that he will not allow us to experience more than we can bear. God will always provide a way for us to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13). The atheist does not have that promise and does not have a spiritual support network or the confident hope of eternal life in heaven. So what happens to the atheist when life gets hard, problems overwhelm, and relationships are broken? Where can he turn, and what can he do? That is when he asks, “Is life still worth living?”
— Cynthia Clayton
© Julie Marcussen
Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.