There can be short term purpose (get food from the grocery store), and long term purpose (what should I do with my life). I am only interested in long term purpose.
Strict interpreters of materialism will assert there is no long term purpose to life. And they are right, if there assumptions are correct.
From the Christian side of the aisle, there are actually many different purposes advocated. Which are true?
- "Your Best Life Now" - Also known as the prosperity "gospel". Very popular today. And very un-Biblical.
- Get people saved. This is a noble goal, and we should try and see as many people saved as possible. But it is not God's purpose for us. A simple check, if our purpose was to get people saved, then either all people are saved or God's purpose is thwarted.
- To Glorify God. You won't find this stated explicitly in the Bible (although it is in the Westminster Shorter Catechism). But a thorough reading of the Bible will make it clear. It answers many questions:
- Why did God create the universe? Does God need us around to be happy? No. We were created to glorify God.
- Why is there evil in the world? To remind us of our need for God, and to allow God to punish evil doers (demonstrating that He is just).
- Why do some people go to Hell? See answer 2. God is just, and punishes those who break His laws (which is everybody - see the Ten Commandments).
- Why do we need Jesus (why is He the only way)? Why did Jesus die? Jesus' death pays the price for breaking the law for those who believe in Him. This allows God to be glorified by demonstrating His mercy (not giving punishment that is due) and grace (giving gifts that are not deserved).