Drive Created: Why are we here? Part 1
In 1924, British runner Eric Liddell made his way to the 1924 Paris Olympics. As a celebrated track athlete, Liddell had made his way to Paris to compete in several events. When questioned by his sister as to why he has put so much focus and energy on running, Eric says to her:
“I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
Like Bruce Springsteen sang in 1975, we were all “born to run.” We feel this inner compulsion, this inner drive, this inner motivation. We know that we were made for something. And that is because God has made us for a purpose.
In recent times, it has become commonplace to ask the question, “What on earth am I here for?” Popular books such as “The Life You were Born to Live” and Christian versions such as the best seller “Purpose-Driven Life” have filled bookshelves and been read by millions upon millions. There is a sense by many that what they are doing every day and why they are here on planet earth has to be greater than the monotony of their current existence.
For some, the question arises because they lack motivation and drive. Getting out of bed is a chore. “They don’t pay me enough to get out of bed in the morning” is the slogan of some who feel that they are undervalued and underappreciated.
For others, they have more drive and energy than they have time. They wake up in the morning and tackle 30 projects, only to have 30 more come to mind while working on it. There is a sense of energy and drive that soon is consumed with the reality that there is more to be done than there is time in the day to accomplish it all.
So what is this drive that we feel? Where does it come from?
Humanity, we are told in Genesis 1:26-28, is made in the image of God. Simply put, being made in the image of God means that humanity RESEMBLES and REPRESENTS the Creator. This resembling and representing our Creator is at the heart of our drive. We are made like our Creator, and because we are made like him, we resemble him.
But what does it mean to resemble him? It helps to understand how the ancient world may have understood this phrase, ‘the image of God.’ Greg Beale, in his New Testament Biblical Theology writes: “When ancient Near Eastern kings were conceived to be images of a god, the idea of the god’s subduing and ruling through him were in mind,” (p. 30), and this is probably the idea that is here. At the borders of territory, kings would set up statues or images, representing that this was their territory, their sovereign rule existed here. In a similiar fashion, Adam is told that he is to rule or have dominion over creation, and that he is to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The purpose of Adam ruling and multiplying was to spread the representation of God in humanity across the face of the earth, so that the glory of the Lord would cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.
Placed in the Garden of Eden, Adam was told to be fruitful and multiply the earth (1:26-28) and was placed to tend and keep. This language of tending and keeping is the language of a priest. The task of a priest in the OT was to maintain both the physical and spiritual welfare of the holy place, and these tasks are precisely what Adam is instructed to do. The Garden, you see, is the holy Temple of God’s presence, the Kingdom of God’s rule. Adam was created to enjoy and keep this place, but not merely keep up a nice garden, but to fill it with people. And as he populated it, he would need more space. So the garden was to expand. Isaiah 45:18 says that the Lord made the entire earth habitable, but Adam was to go and work the ground and prepare it so as to expand the Garden.
What does this have to do with drive? First, we were created and are born with a sense of expanding, fixing, renovating. We were made as creative beings. Just think of some of the incredible feats of humanity. Enormous aquariums like Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium houses almost 33,000 different acquatic species. Amazing displays are set up, recreating the habitats of dolphins, penguins, sea horses, and jellyfish. What causes us to be creative? We were made like the Creator.
Second, we were made with a sense of beauty. Just consider for a moment how intricately you are made. Every person has unique fingerprints. The little lines that move across your skin are unique to you. And there is a sense of beauty. We find some faces more attractive than others because of symmetry – we see that the proportion, symmetry, and shape of the face are appealing. Or we love combinations of colours. And so we want to paint homes with colourful appeal. Where does this sense of beauty and recreating beauty come from? We were made like the Creator.
Finally, we were created with a sense of order and design. Why do we like our lawns (or farmers’ fields) so straightly lined? Why do we like sleek designs for cars, patterns for clothing? Why do we like to have life to be ordered, with a sense of organization? Why do we want our homes to be tidy, neat, and orderly? Why do we fight against chaos? Because we were made like the Creator.
And because we resemble him, we have a sense of justice, righteousness, love, faithfulness, and integrity. And because we resemble the Creator, we are made with a drive to recreate, to reorder.
So that impulse you feel to enjoy some good music with a great beat? The drive to fix up your car? The need you feel to organize your desk? You were made with a sense of ambition - to honour your Creator by resembling him.