I feel your questions on a spiritual level, friend. These are the types of questions I've struggled to answer myself for years. And I'm excited that I can share with you some of the hope that I discovered in those searches.
How and why were humans made in the first place? In the beginning, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26-27). The chapter concludes with how God "saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).
So using these verses from Genesis 1, we find that God made people to reflect His traits ("Let us make man in our image"), and that our creation was objectively Good. We can go further into the philosophical rabbit hole of what defines good or evil, but for simplicity, we'll use the baseline that God is the definition of Moral Good, and anything that goes against God's wishes or design is Evil. Throughout Genesis 1, we see that ALL of God's creation is "good," and that God values art and creativity because He crafted the world as beautiful, unique, and vibrant.
Because we were made in His image, we are a reflection of God's desire to create artistically and to bring about order wherever we are. God created us because He wanted to, because we give Him joy. By pursuing the desires He placed in us, we bring Him glory.
That's a huge philosophical info-dump, I know. But if you're asking this question, I'm assuming you don't want the trite answer of "We exist to serve God." Because 1. That is extremely simplistic, and 2. That answer negates the nuances and "muchness" of our existence as beings of free will.
This is a big question too, and one that has been asked through the ages. The answer requires us to first address what sin is, and why it's in our world.
Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve used their free will to disobey God (Genesis 3). When that happened, sin acted as a virus that corrupted the "base code" of all the goodness God created. Sin didn't erase goodness, but it broke, twisted, and tarnished goodness. It's like you have a brand-new phone that is gorgeous and perfect and it doesn't lag—then you drop it in the toilet. From that point on, your phone glitches and works poorly. (And if you're unlucky, it smells too.) The phone didn't BECOME a piece of trash or poop, but it doesn't work as well as it was created to—not anymore. That's what happened to humanity.
Now, because of Adam and Eve's long-ago free will choice to disobey God, there's a lot of pain and confusion in our world. And frankly, being born into this world is the result of someone else's free will—not our own. As such, being born is not repression of free will, but rather, it is showing God's full support and endorsement of free will.
That said, God is well aware of each soul inhabiting each human baby. He knows each one of us individually before we're born and knows what's going to happen in our lives (Psalm 139:13-16).
OK, let's assume that, yes, life does, in fact, have meaning. And let's also recognize that sin doesn't erase goodness but actually twisted goodness. Assuming these two truths, we can actually find quite a bit of meaning, purpose, and existence in our lives. Every soul is a work of art. Unfortunately, some of those works of art get placed around people who don't appreciate them. Again, that doesn't negate the VALUE of the art, but it does make it more difficult for us, as the art piece, to see our value.
We all have talents, skills, and gifts. We all have a specific draw in our spirits to express love and show the world around us, "Here is something beautiful, even if you've only seen it perverted."
My friend's mother passed away penniless, half-paralyzed, and riddled with cancer, because she didn't have the funds to get her health issues checked until it was too late. And yet, my friend speaks of how her beautiful mother continued to give words of comfort to her own nurses and daughters, and how she showed love and care in ways that touched the souls of everyone she encountered—up until her last day.
The thing is... We all exist for a reason—even if we don't know the specifics of said reason. God has gifted us hope through salvation and a creative, vibrant spirit to pursue art, science, charity, gentleness, and more.
We are free to use that free will to combat the darkness (also brought in by free will) by choosing to love our neighbors, spread encouragement, grieve with brokenhearted friends who've been hurt by the darkness, and generally be a living, walking, work of art by the Creator of the universe who reminds others that pain and suffering isn't the final chapter in the book of existence. We all have those dark moments and some moments last longer than others certainly, but just like any good story, the conflicts we're dealing with now will eventually make way for restored goodness and beauty the likes of which we cannot even imagine.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." —Revelation 21:4
September is an avid film nerd from growing up on weekend trips to Universal Studios Hollywood. She is passionate about the intersections of Christian spirituality, faith, and storytelling in popular culture. Outside of 412teens and digging up obscure horror flicks from the 2000s, she works as a freelance developmental editor and acquisitions consultant while comforting her clingy feline floof, Faust, from the anxiety of existence.