Since the dawn of our existence, humankind has sought answers to life’s most difficult questions. “Why are we here?” “Why is there something instead of nothing?” “What purpose do we serve?”
We pursue these answers, because from our very beginning, we realize that we are somehow incomplete. Be it a lack of knowledge, a lack of purpose, or a lack of understanding, we see in ourselves something that is not whole. And thus we naturally seek completeness.
We have made great strides in government, civilization, science, mathematics, art, psychology, philosophy, literature, music, and much more. We have spent uncountable amounts of money, and sacrificed (sometimes wasted) enormous amounts time. Men have died. Women have perished. And all this effort in the pursuit of truth and answers.
Pose this question to the atheist or skeptic, and they will most likely write off these endless endeavors as no more than the noble quest for knowledge. The search for purpose is our purpose. “We have only one life,” they say. “We must use it to learn as much as possible, progress the species, and pass our knowledge along to the next generation.”
And while the practice of absorbing, analyzing, and then sharing knowledge is a crucially important task of mankind, it still falls short of giving a real explanation as to why we are so hell-bent upon finding the truth — why we are willing to sacrifice so much in its pursuit. What is it within us that tells us we are incomplete? What is the sobering force that drives us to find that completion?
For the non-believer, there is no answer that can suffice. Yet, for the Christian, it is simple. As written by St. Augustine:
“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”
We are, from the moment we are born into this world, on a perpetual search for God.
We are incomplete because we are fallen, imperfect, cut off from the God that bore life from the beginning. The relentless questioning, the pull within our hearts is, at its core, the longing of a broken spirit to find itself once again with its creator.
As C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
So whether we accept it or not, our desire for truth is a desire for God. Our desire for meaning is a desire for God. Our desire for love, for completion, for an answer to the great “Why?” is all rooted in a desire for God, because God is all these things: truth, love, completeness, and existence itself.