What is life’s meaning? Why did God create man? My normal answer to these questions is that the purpose of everything – from God’s perspective towards man – is love. God created us to be unconditionally loved by Him, so that we as a response could love God, and our fellow men back.
If love is everything’s purpose – what is everything’s (including love’s) ultimate goal? Throughout ages and generations, God’s ultimate purpose behind the creation was only subject to mankind’s speculation. However, Paul brought the final and missing piece of the puzzle, so that we do not need to wonder about this anymore.
The key of understanding this mystery, is to interpret the Bible based on the revelation of the finished work of Jesus. This revelation was given to the Apostle Paul, who received the assignment from God to “fulfill the word of God”:
”of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God” (Col. 1:25)
The knowledge of God in the holy scriptures of the Bible was thus not yet complete, until Paul received a revelation directly from Christ (see Gal. 1:12) regarding the repercussions of the cross and the resurrection. Since Paul through his teachings and writings fulfilled the word of God, the Pauline revelation is the key to correctly understand the rest of the biblical Scriptures.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Paul explains what the ultimate goal of creation is:
21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says, “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor. 15:21-28)
In verse 22, Paul makes perfectly clear that just as all died through Adam, all will be made alive through Christ. That all people “died” through Adam is an accepted fact among practically all Christians. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. However, that “even so” all will be made alive through Christ, is far from universally accepted. This verse is a very strong indication that all men – in the end – will come to the point of saying yes to Jesus.
From verse 23, it is clear, however, that this will take place in a certain order: First Jesus will return to the earth for those who are believers in Him, i.e. those who belong to Him at his coming.
In verses 24 and 25, it is explained that Jesus thereafter will initiate a process that will lead to that all His enemies eventually will change side and be His subjects. Christ must reign until He has put an end to all rule, authority, and power. All will be placed under His feet. How all will be brought under His Lordship, we do not fully know the answer to. Maybe, for the most stubborn ones, this will happen through the purifying heat of the lake of fire. The outcome of this process, however, is that no enemies of Christ will remain.
According to verse 26, the last enemy that will be destroyed is death. This probably means that those who have died without saying yes to Jesus now have repented and received Him. (Remember from verse 22 that all people “died” through Adam’s fall. However, now death itself will be rendered powerless. This must mean that the spiritual separation between God and man, that came about because of Adam’s sin, now is finally removed; most likely because all people at this point have received Him who is Life personified – Jesus Christ.)
When this takes place, we have come to the same point that Paul speaks about in Philippians, when he says that every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – in heaven, on earth, and under the earth:
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:10-11)
After this, i.e. after all people have confessed Jesus as Lord, the ultimate goal of the creation will take place: Jesus, having had all things made his subjects, will Himself be made subject to the Father, that God may be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:24, 28).
You might be thinking: Can this really be true? Will all people really be included? If it is true that every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord – in heaven, on earth, and under the earth – this has to be the conclusion. If “all” truly died through Adam’s sin, and if “all” truly will be made alive through Christ – “all” must subsequently mean all.
When this takes place, everything that was corrupted and destroyed through man’s fall, has finally been eradicated. All humans have at this point come into harmony with the Creator and the creation. God is declared the ultimate winner. God’s love, which always remains (1 Cor. 13:13), and reaches beyond human knowledge and comprehension (Eph. 3:19), will then be obvious to all.
Exactly how life in this “all in all” era will be, we can only fantasize about – with the help of the Bible. Much is still a mystery. However, there are many Scriptures that indicate that it will be completely and totally wonderful!
We all have a choice. Either we can choose to cooperate with the ultimate goal of the creation, or otherwise we can work against it. Today, you can make sure you are a co-worker, instead of an enemy, of God’s ultimate plan and purpose. You can choose to do what millions of people around the world have already done: Lay down your pride, self-effort, and self-righteousness. Make a decision to only trust in Jesus Christ, that He died for your sins, and that He rose from the dead. Confess Him as your Lord. As you do so, you become “born again”. The Holy Spirit moves into your heart and dwells in you from that point. You are now a child of God – fully included in His family.