Editor's Note: The release of the new film Captive has generated renewed interest in The Purpose Driven Life. The film tells the true story of the kidnapping of Ashley Smith by murderer Brian Nichols and how God intervened. The book plays an important role in the story. Below is an excerpt from the book.
YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT.
Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it.
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! The Bible says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.”
God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality. The Bible says, “You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!”
God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose. The Bible says, “From one man he made every nation, . . . and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It’s all for a purpose.
Most amazing, God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. It doesn’t matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom “you” he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you.
While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God’s purpose took into account human error, and even sin.
God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind. God’s motive for creating you was his love. The Bible says, “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.”
God was thinking of you even before he made the world. In fact, that’s why he created it! God designed this planet’s environment just so we could live in it. We are the focus of his love and the most valuable of all his creation. The Bible says, “God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made.” This is how much God loves and values you!
God is not haphazard; he planned it all with great precision. The more physicists, biologists, and other scientists learn about the universe, the better we understand how it is uniquely suited for our existence, custom-made with the exact specifications that make human life possible.
Dr. Michael Denton, senior research fellow in human molecular genetics at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has concluded, “All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition ... that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as its fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality have their meaning and explanation in this central fact.” The Bible said the same thing thousands of years earlier: “God formed the earth.... He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”
Why did God do all this? Why did he bother to go to all the trouble of creating a universe for us? Because he is a God of love. This kind of love is difficult to fathom, but it’s fundamentally reliable. You were created as a special object of God’s love! God made you so he could love you. This is a truth to build your life on.
The Bible tells us, “God is love.” It doesn’t say God has love. He is love! Love is the essence of God’s character. There is perfect love in the fellowship of the Trinity, so God didn’t need to create you. He wasn’t lonely. But he wanted to make you in order to express his love. God says, “I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you.”
If there was no God, we would all be “accidents,” the result of astronomical random chance in the universe. You could stop reading this book, because life would have no purpose or meaning or significance. There would be no right or wrong, and no hope beyond your brief years here on earth.
But there is a God who made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning! We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives. The Message paraphrase of Romans 12:3 says, “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us.”
Source: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.