Can we be Content Without God?
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I was recently asked, “Do we really need God to be content in our daily lives?” In one sense, you don’t need God if you just want to enjoy life. There are plenty of people that go through life never really feeling the need to draw closer to God. For example, Denmark is one of the most difficult places to evangelize and do missions work, because the people are so happy, they don’t see the need for God. However, this totally misses the point of what we’re discussing.
Firstly, if your only goal is to live a decently happy life in the moment, right now, then yes, it’s possible to do so without God. However, there are a few problems. For one thing, many people do not live in a situation where it’s possible to be happy on their own. This can be because of political unrest, poverty, abuse, or even just going through a difficult time in life. In these cases, the biblical concept of contentment is incredibly beneficial, and requires God. There have been countless people that have gone through intense suffering, but because they rely on the Lord, God actually comforts them through the suffering, and brings them out of it. Not only that, many of these people grow through these situations, and become incredibly virtuous and noble people. I’ve met some of them, and I’m almost jealous of what they went through (I must confess it’s only “almost”, because I’m just scared of going through things like that myself).
Secondly, if we leave the discussion at only talking about the here and now, then we’ve missed a lot of the point of human life. Our lives don’t end when the body stops functioning. If we do continue after physical death, then don’t you think it’s important to know what God says about such things? Isn’t it worth it to develop a relationship with the God who will be determining your fate? Isn’t it worth it to think about these things, considering it’s your eternity on the line? We can recognize that we have all sinned, and God tells us that the consequences of sin is that you die, not just physically, but spiritually too. God has told us that the only way free of this is to put your faith in Christ, so that He can pay for your sins, and you can be forgiven. If we don’t do this, we pay for our own sins, and are punished with hell. It very quickly becomes completely irrelevant whether I’m capable of living a few decades in relative happiness, if my eternity is in hell. It’s far more important to think of this in terms of your eternal destiny, in which case, yes, God is completely necessary.
Thirdly, it has been argued many times that humans naturally have a predisposition to worship, and even the idea that we desire eternity. I’ve even heard atheistic philosophers admit that when they observe nature, they naturally want to thank something or someone for it; they have a natural tendency to worship, even if they refuse to acknowledge the Creator. We also all have this nagging sense of a desire for eternity and heaven. Even when philosophers try to negate this by saying living forever would be bad, each of us does still have this desire not to die when our time comes. We all recognize death is a bad thing. We have hopes and dreams that we want to carry out. It’s natural to feel like the idea of heaven is something to look forward to, and hope for. Why do we have these hopes built into our very natures, if there’s nothing in the universe that can satisfy those desires? I think the reason we have a desire for heaven and eternity is because we were made for these things. So, again, God is completely necessary to truly satisfy ourselves.
Lastly, even if you feel relatively happy right now, I can guarantee that placing your life in God’s hands increases your happiness and contentment. It gives meaning to the suffering we all inevitably endure, it gives us a source of comfort, and even more than this, it gives us a purpose to life. Each human can create their own purpose, but it’s still ultimately meaningless. If, however, you submit yourself to God, He is the one who created you, and thus, He’s the one who instilled real meaning and direction in your life. If we abandon God, and leave Him out of our lives, we can never truly be fulfilled, and never truly have a real purpose to our lives. Countless atheistic philosophers have arrived at the conclusion that life is absurd, there’s no point to it all, we have no inherent value, and morality is non-existent. They arrive at these conclusions because of their presupposition that God doesn’t exist. If God does exist, however, humanity has great purpose and value because we were created by God, and in the image of God. When God created us, He made us for a reason, which means we objectively do have a purpose to our existence. We were literally created to fulfill that purpose, and made in a way that fulfilling it will satisfy us. Again, we can only be truly satisfied when we find our rest and contentment in God, and this is only done by acknowledging that we are sinners in need of God’s help. We need to put our faith in Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sins, and then turn around, and start living for Him.