Divine Purpose and Definition

Gary Wilkerson

John Piper wrote about what he considered to be one of the most damning, disruptive and culture-changing sentences in the history of the Supreme Court. This one little sentence came from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1992, and he said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning of the universe, and of the mystery of life.”

For us to uphold that ideology, God must be excluded from the conversation.

Saying that any person gets to define what the universe says about their existence and to self-engineer their identity is an attempt to take God out of the picture because he defines who we are. “So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27, ESV).

As Alexander MacLaren, a preacher from the 1800s, wrote, “A man fancies himself showing off his freedom by throwing off the restraints of morality or law, and by ‘doing as he likes,’ but he is really showing his servitude. Self-will looks like liberty, but it is serfdom…. Will and consciences are meant to be guide and impel us, and we never sin without first coercing or silencing them and subjecting them to the upstart tyranny of desires and senses which should obey and not command.”

Every single person instinctively knows God’s righteousness, justice and truth, even if we rebel against this knowledge. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

We have work that God has arranged for us. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

We are built for an eternal purpose. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We have been given a divine definition, duty and destination from our Father. We must not forget that, no matter what sins we fight against in our hearts.