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The Three Big Questions

     Are you a seeker of truth? Do you long to comprehend the mysteries of God and His universe? If your answer is “Yes,” you are probably asking yourself the following three questions—
     “Who am I?”
     “Why am I here?”
     “Where am I going?”
     Most human beings answer the first question, “Who am I?” by addressing their family, cultural, or national identities (e.g., “I’m a Jones; I’m a millennial; I’m British”). As they grow older, they add to this list by identifying with certain beliefs, philosophies, career choices or movements (e.g., “I’m an existentialist, I’m an environmentalist; I’m a chiropractor; I’m a conservative; I’m a humanist”). Yet, even after all these pieces are in place, there is still a major puzzle part missing—the absolute identity we inherit upon forming a relationship with the Creator.
     When asking the question, “Why am I here?” the list fills up quickly with normal human activities like education, jobs, material gain, marriage, children, buying a home, pursuing a career, etc. But none of these are ultimate answers. They only deal with temporal pursuits and acquisitions. There must be something more.
     Finally, the big question that looms over all of us is like a dark cloud hovering over our minds: “Where am I going?”  When venturing beyond the borders of time to gaze into eternity—we need assurance, not just plausible theories. We need a spiritual encounter that gives us absolute confidence, not just flimsy theological concepts.
     Darkness is a good description of the condition of our minds before discovering the truth. We are born in darkness—the darkness of sense-consciousness. Initially, we’re able to define life only by the limited input that comes to us through the five sensory gates. Many years are spent, from infancy through adulthood, in the development and maturing of these senses. In the process, human beings tend to relate to themselves only within these experiential boundaries. However, it is such a mistake to stop at these gates, for if our motivation is only toward the gratification of bodily cravings, how empty is that most important and most enduring part of us!
     Life in this world teaches us that daylight always follows the darkness of night. In like manner, no person confronted with the spiritual darkness that drapes humanity should despair, thinking that light-producing answers are not available. In a spiritual sense, light also follows darkness, for those who hear the truth and have an opportunity to embrace it.

     How insightful it is that all living things—the child in the womb, the embryo in the egg, and the tiny sprout in a germinating seed—enter this world in a bowed position! Maybe, just maybe, this is a subtle hint from the Creator that we have all been created for one primary purpose: to ‘bow’ before him adoringly all the days of our earthly sojourn.
     Though some have dared to question his existence, nature herself imprints on the minds of men the idea of God. It is impossible to meditate on the intricate beauty of a flower, the complexities of the human body, or the vastness of the universe without being filled with awe toward the magnificent One who fashioned it all. From microcosm to macrocosm, creation sings an inspiring song. No wonder an ancient worshiper wrote these beautifully crafted words:

     The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. (Psalms 19:1-3)

     Yes, this “declaration of dependence” is heard around the globe—by the simplest and the most advanced among us—who have ears to hear. Internally, some of us truly sense—we know—to be complete, we must discover our true Source.
     Out of this depth of longing, religions are born. Since they usually begin with a similar initial desire, surely all religions must be legitimate paths to the same God—right? That sounds logical and loving, but is it true? One way to test the supposed “unity” of all religions is to present the three big questions to the followers of different worldviews. The responses will be remarkably different. For instance:

     If you ask the question, “Who am I?”:

  • A Buddhist may say: “You are the mere product of cause and effect. You are not a creation of God. You are an animal with a mind, yet you have the potential of making moral decisions that result in both good and bad consequences long term. Do not entertain the thought that you will live forever, because at death, you will cease to exist as a unique human personality. You do not have a soul. However, you can become a Buddha if you progress spiritually.”
  • A Gnostic may offer: “Matter is evil; it was created by a lesser god, a demiurge named Jehovah. Therefore, your material body is evil. To overcome, you must discover the spark of divinity within yourself.
  • A Hindu might propose: “Your true self is God; your individual soul (atman) is an expression of the Oversoul (Brahman). Because you have evolved through tens of thousands of reincarnations, individual personalities along that journey are not the real you.”
  • A Muslim might advise: “You only have two parts: a body and a soul. No human being can become a child of God. God has no offspring. God does not dwell in people. You are merely a human being called to be a servant of God.”
  • A Scientologist might insist: “You have three parts: a body, a mind and a thetan (pronounced thay’-tan). Thetans originally consciously existed in a pre-incarnate state with unhindered, godlike abilities, but then became trapped in MEST (Material-Energy-Space-and Time). You must rediscover your thetan, your higher self.”
  • A Shintoist would suggest: You are a descendant of the kami (the gods) so you have an inborn nature that is good and divine, and it will manifest once the defilement of evil is removed.
  • A Taoist might propose: Within you there are ten souls: three hun souls made up of yang ch’i (the superior spiritual and intellectual essence of a person), and seven po souls, made up of yin ch’i (the interior lower aspect of the human nature).
  • A Zoroastrian would advise: You are a triune being, made up of a body, a soul, and a fravashi (a ‘higher self’ that is in union with Ahura Mazda—god of righteousness). The fravashi is the presence of Ahura Mazda in every human being. It is your conscience. To live correctly you must consult with your fravashi.

     A Christian (a follower of Jesus) would respond to the question, “Who am I?” in the following way:

     You are born into this world with a fallen nature and are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. At that point, your identity is that of a sinner, a child of darkness. However, upon accepting Jesus’ death on the cross as your means of forgiveness and salvation, and receiving the resurrected Savior into your heart—you are born again, and the Spirit of God comes to dwell within you. At that moment, you become a child of light, a child of the Almighty God—not just in theory, but reality.

     If you asked the question, “Why am I here?” adherents of various religions might give the following answers:

  • The Buddhist: “You must follow the noble eight-fold path to achieve nirvana: freedom from egoistic clinging, delusion and suffering. That is your goal in life. The best way to accomplish that is to become a monk who withdraws to a life of contemplation.”
  • The Gnostic: “You must strive to achieve enlightenment by acquiring gnosis (esoteric knowledge of the mysteries).”
  • The Hindu: “You must become a perfected human being in order to be released from the cycle of rebirths and the effects of karma. That is your goal in life.”
  • The Muslim: “You must fulfill the five pillars of Islam and follow the Quran to be saved. That is your goal in life.”
  • The Scientologist: “You must become a “clear” (free from engrams, which are negative, subconscious perceptions). Once you become a “clear,” you must participate in the process of “clearing” the planet. These are your two primary goals in life.
  • The Shintoist: “You will achieve salvation is you appease the gods, if you show worshipful reverence toward departed ancestors, and if you keep the rules of Shintoism. These are your three main goals in life.”
  • The Zoroastrian: “The fate of every person is determined by whether he or she yields to Ahura Mazda (the god of righteousness) or Angra Mainyu (the god of evil and darkness). Your goal in life is to do the former.”

     A Christian (a true follower of Jesus) might respond to the question, “Why am I here?” in the following way:

“Once you are born again, surrendering your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, your goal is total dedication: living a life of holiness, worship, sharing the Gospel with others, and prayerfully seeking and fulfilling the will of God. God has a specific purpose for you that will enable you to serve others. In doing so, you will bear fruit eternally and your time on earth will give glory to God.

     If you ask the question, “Where am I going?” the answer will involve many different viewpoints:

  • Some religions and modes of spirituality teach multiple reincarnations, while others teach just one life and a final resurrection. Some teach neither reincarnation nor resurrection, but an evolution of your soul on higher spiritual planes.
  • Some teach that you will ultimately become a formless, omnipresent spirit, absolutely one with an omnipresent, impersonal, universal Life-force and level of consciousness. Others teach that you will have a celestial form and an everlasting relationship with a personal God.
  • Some teach that souls pass through multiple temporary hells and heavens on their evolutionary, spiritual journey; others teach a permanent destination eternally.

     A Christian would offer:

     At death, sincere, yielded children of God who have made Jesus Lord of their lives will immediately go to paradise (heaven). The Scripture says, “to be absent from the body” is “to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). When Jesus (Yeshua) returns at the end of this age in all His glory, the souls of departed saints will return with Him. At that moment, their bodies will be resurrected and glorified. Simultaneously, believers who are alive when Jesus returns will be translated and changed into His image in a moment. He will then set up His kingdom on this earth in a fully manifested way and His people will reign with Him in a world that is restored to paradise beauty and perfection.

     A fourth and final question

     At this point, to reach a dependable conclusion, it is necessary to ask a fourth question: “Is truth subjective or objective?” The answer determines how we sort out the various opinions offered in different religions. Can statements that contradict one another all be right? The popular, pluralistic view is that all these ideas, though they seem to disagree, can all be correct (the old saying is, “You can have your truth and I can have my truth, and we can both be right simultaneously”). Is that even possible?Let’s answer this last question with a fitting analogy.

     There is only one solar system containing the planet Earth. However, different ideas have been offered over time regarding its nature. For instance, in the second century, an astronomer named Ptolemy promoted the idea that our solar system is earth-centric: that the sun, moon and other planets all revolve around the earth on a backdrop of unmoving stars. About a thousand years later, the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus offered an opposing view: that the solar system is heliocentric (sun-centered), and that all the planets revolve around the sun.
     Both these ideas cannot be true simultaneously. If one is right, the other must be wrong. Of course, modern astronomy has proven Copernicus’ view to be the correct one, even though it was initially scorned and rejected. Had Ptolemy and Copernicus lived at the same time, and were it possible for them to dialogue concerning their beliefs, Copernicus never would have suggested to Ptolemy:

     “Truth is relative. Truth is subjective. You can have your truth and I can have my truth and we can both be right.”

     To even consider such a merging of ideas would have been absurd. One idea had to be accepted at the expense of the other being rejected. Was Copernicus unloving, opinionated, or intolerant just because he offered an alternative to Ptolemy’s beliefs? Absolutely not! They were both truth seekers—and the truth won out in the end.
     So also, those who find the path of ultimate truth spiritually are not to be labeled unloving, judgmental, and narrow-minded because they zealously wave their banners high. Quite the contrary, they are duty bound to guide others to the same hidden trail—out of sincere love for the truth and compassionate love for others. The root motive is not prideful divisiveness; it is humble-hearted concern.
     In the natural world, science has proven that truth is objective, it is the same for all, whether acknowledged or not. Facts are facts; they are not birthed by personal opinions; they are discovered by passionate seekers. It makes sense that in the spiritual world, truth is objective also.
     Those who discover it are blessed to find fulfillment, peace and transformation in their lives. How can they be silent? Such insights must be shared. That is what this website is all about. Out of love, revealing the truth that can guide any person through the darkness of the night to the dawning of a new day. And it is so simple.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

He meant what He said. Ask Him to reveal Himself. He will.  

Leave a reply

8 comments
  • This was so informative especially since I am the only Christian in my home. I’m a mother of 3 grown kids and a husband all of whom believe in Buddhism. I pray for them daily and leave them at the foot of my Lords cross ✝️

    • Thank you Brenda for visiting our website. I claim 1 Corinthians 7:14 for you. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” This is just one of the 65 promises God has given your children like: Deuteronomy 30:6 and Isaiah 49:25. God bless you!

  • In John 14:20 Jsus says: “Don’t you know that I am in the Father and the Father is in me and we are in you.”

    Please explain this. Also, how do we experience it?

    Why do we react with with amazment and resistmennt to this comment straight from Jesus’ lips?

    • Tom, thank you so much for visiting my site and sharing your heart. If you read the quote you mentioned in context, if changes the interpretation dramatically—from a present possession to a future happening for them. Let me quote six Bible verses, five of which precede this statement:

      Joh 14:15  “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 
      Joh 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 
      Joh 14:17  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 
      Joh 14:18  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 
      Joh 14:19  “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 
      Joh 14:20  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 

      Please notice verse 17—Jesus makes it clear that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, exists apart from the world and from the disciples (He is external initially in our lives). In verse 17 He is “with” the disciples, but Jesus declares that at a certain point in the future, He will be “in” them. As indicated in the next verse, prior to that indwelling—spiritually speaking—all of us are orphans. We become sons of God when God sends forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts (see Galatians 4:6). That is a specific spiritual event; it happens when we are born again (John 3:1-7).

      Going back to this passage, Jesus indicates that this indwelling will take place after He departs for a little while (John 16:16). He died and departed from this world (His soul) for three days and nights. Then, after the resurrection, and after spending 40 days with His disciples training them in the nature of the Kingdom of God, He ascended to heaven. Ten days after that, He sent the Holy Spirit to them in the upper room. This “indwelling” was not something internal that was awakened; it consisted of something external that entered their hearts (the personal presence of God). That’s why (in the beginning of the verse that you partially quoted) Jesus qualified his statement by saying, “In that day.” He was referring to the day that the Spirit of God would come to dwell within their hearts—hearts that had been washed clean from sin by the blood He shed on the cross. Anyone who truly experiences being born again will comprehend why Jesus said these words to them (words that we inherit as well):

      Joh 14:20  “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

      In the “day” we give our hearts to the Lord Jesus and have an authentic encounter, we know that the Father is in us, the Son is in us and that we are in Him. Oneness with God only comes with spiritual rebirth – and that spiritual rebirth is only available through Jesus. No wonder He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

      I believe you are a seeker of truth, Tom, or you would not have taken time to read the article on my site. I urge you to pray and sincerely ask the Lord Jesus to come to you and affirm the correct path to truth and to God. He promised He would manifest Himself to those who love Him in the very next verse:

      “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21) I pray that this verse will be fulfilled in your life.

  • Really enjoyed this post…I have some sincere questions as a seeker who only recently came upon the Bible… How can we truly know the truth from the place that we are in? We are fallen and have lost our sight… How do we know the Bible contains the full Truth and that there haven’t been distortions placed in there by the dark forces to control us in believing in a “savior.” What if, hypothetically, it’s not what it really is and there is a lot of context missing? Is there any possibility of following down a wrong path? How do we know that we are not being fooled into believing what we believe?

    Thank you for your insights.

    • Krysta, thank you for visiting our site and sharing your heart. The answer is very simple. Once you have a personal encounter with Jesus, your are assured of the validity of the book that reveals His story. You may not understand all of the mysteries of life and eternity completely, but once you know Him, you are secure in trusting that HE KNOWS and that He will carry you to your destiny.

Written by Mike Shreve