Is There a Purpose of Life?

Published 21 Dec 2016

This is the common question of every inpidual who tries to find meaning of his existence and a very fundamental question that every inpidual should ask themselves to understand the principle behind the purpose of human life. We can view the purpose of human life according to rational or humanistic approach or the religious or theistic approach. Life is a gift from above and its Creator makes him exists for a pine purpose. Yes, there is definitely a purpose of life. Its purpose is to live life to the fullest and makes the Creator blessed of what his doing. Life is not just all about being born, get married, have a family and die but to explore and enjoy how beautiful life is when it will be lived rightfully and fruitfully in accordance to man’s conviction (Drotar, pp. 36-39).

The rational or humanistic approach espouses that the idea of the purpose of life is generated by the experience of being alive and of experiencing the elemental fear of its extinction. Life’s purpose is the most primordial experience.

A sincere non-religious person may concede that there is a supreme being that governs our lives. But for a totally non-theistic person, the purpose of life will be difficult to prove. One can easily say that life has a source, and that life does not only originate from our parents or even from our ancestors, but from a being that is pure in heart and who has given us this special gift.

The principle of the purpose of human life is not only a universally accepted truth, but has served as a rule or norm in every inpidual’s way of living. This norm guides certain actions or practices performed by people. This is the reason why in spite of life’s difficulties some health workers are truly professional and hardworking in delivering health services to the people (Gregersen, pp. 98-107).

Moreover, we develop general sense of value which means an awareness that we should do good and avoid evil. A sure sign of this general awareness is the fact that people argue about right and wrong. There will be no debate if we do not experience the responsibility of choosing between good and evil. Our desire to do the right thing reflects this general sense of value.

As we search to discover the right course of action, we probe into life purpose and the world search for truth. If we are honest in our search, then we turn into a variety of sources for wisdom and guidance (Behe, pp.121-124).

After searching for the truth, the time comes when we are able to make an actual concrete judgment and a specific decision. In addition, we must follow our decision only after we have done our best to search for the truth concerning the issue facing us. Following our conscience does not mean doing what we feel like doing. What it means is the hard work if discerning what is right and what is wrong.

We must be reminded that our conscience (may determine our purpose) can go astray without losing its dignity. A person can do his/her very best in search for the life purpose but can still miss the mark. As a result, the decision reached might not be the best which will lead to our human fulfillment (Hardy, pp. 64-66). Nonetheless, the inpidual must follow this decision, on the condition that the person really tried to discover the life’s purpose.

To be able to attain life’s purpose, an inpidual should obey his conscience. This principle is actually true but it should be properly understood. Sincere people often get into trouble because they faithfully obey their conscience without being critical of the validity of their decisions. Formation of conscience is important here.

A mature moral decision is not only a decision to make a good deed that “we ought to do” but also a “choice made in good faith o make what we want ourselves to be.”

The dignity of the human person implies and demands the rectitude of the moral conscience; that is, its being based on truth. One must seriously seek a right conscience or, in other words, one must try to make sure that one’s moral judgment is right (Life’s ‘Comings and Goings’ Are in God’s Good Purposes ). This can be achieved by:

  • diligently learning the laws of the moral life (through spiritual formation) just as players must be interested in knowing well the rules f the game.
  • seeking expert advice on difficult cases (spiritual direction) just as doctors hold constitution when the diagnosis of a serious illness is not clear;
  • asking God for light through prayer;
  • removing the obstacles to right judgment such as habitual moral disorder or bad habits; and personal examination of conscience.

Ask yourself these two question:

  1. What bad things have I done for the day?
  2. What good things have I done for the day?

Formation of one’s purpose precisely refers to the careful preparation of judgment. A person is called prudent when he decides according to that judgment. Among the above listed conditions for reaching a right judgment, two can especially benefit from a remote preparation: 1.) the intellect’s knowledge of moral laws, and 2.) the will’s removal of obstacles (Leichtentritt, pp. 46-52).

Thus, the formation of life’s purpose is a long, and comprehensive process that will later facilitate an immediate and right judgment in any concrete situation.

Another way to attain life’s purpose is to make moral decisions. Choosing the action that does not fully promote humanity is not an easy task. Moral dilemmas confront us with profound complexity. Some persons judge artificial conception and contraception to be contrary to human nature. Others see them as compassionate use of technology to help nature (Nussbaum, pp. 21-25). Our culture suggests a variety of means to resolve these difficulties.

Now, we should carefully consider the process of making moral decision, the process of answering our initial question, “What I ought to do?” The answer to this question often brings conflict in us, and life presents situation where decisions are not so clear-cut.


  • Behe, Michael J. The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life . Pp. 121-124. First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, June 1999
  • Drotar, Dennis. Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents: Implications for Research and Practice. Pp. 36-39. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ. 1998
  • Gregersen, Niels Henrik. From Complexity to Life: On the Emergence of Life and Meaning. Pp. 98-107. Oxford University Press. New York. 2003.
  • Hardy, Thomas. Life’s Little Ironies. Pp. 64-66. University of Oxford. New York. 1999
  • Leichtentritt, Ronit D.VALUES UNDERLYING END-OF-LIFE DECISIONS: A Qualitative Approach . Pp. 46-52. Health and Social Work, Vol. 26, 2001.
  • Nussbaum, Martha. The Quality of Life. Pp. 21-25. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 1993.
  • Life’s ‘Comings and Goings’ Are in God’s Good Purposes . The Washington Times, March 1, 1999
Did it help you?