Why Does Life Exist?

My son is 6.

Tonight he asked me A BIG question.

It was bedtime. We had just finished saying prayers when he asked, “Why does life exist? Why is all this happening?”

I asked him, “What else could be happening?”

He said, “Nothing. There could be nothing.”

I said, “Well, aren’t you happy there is something instead of nothing? I mean, here we are, and I’m happy to be here talking to you right now. Are you happy?”

He said, “Yeah, life is fun. I like it. I’m glad it’s here. But when you get old, it doesn’t look like it’s as much fun. When you’re old you just think about dying a lot more, right?”

I said, “Sure, I think about it more than I used to. But the important thing to remember is… someday we will all die, me and you and everyone else we know, all that matters is we do something good with the time we have right now.”

He said, “Like laughing right?”

I said, “Yes”

He said, “Poopy Butt!” and squealed in laughter.

I said,  “Good Night, I Love You.”

33 thoughts on “Why Does Life Exist?”

  1. Steve, your son has been reading too much Leibniz recently. It was him famously asked: Why is there something rather than nothing?

    Maybe you can answer him: So that you have something to learn about. If there was nothing instead of something, there would be nothing interesting to discover, nothing new to find out about, and how boring would that be!

  2. Dushan,

    Neither of us has read Leibniz. Just an interesting little conversation we had before bedtime. I’ll tell him what you said. There is something so we have something learn about and discover. But even that answer implies that something or someone wanted us to have something to see and discover. And that brings theology into the discussion.

  3. Great Post.
    children has the same philosophical questions that we all have. A father that is honest about life is highly commendable in my eyes.

    not much of a writer but I was deeply moved by this post.

    finally poppy butt. makes me laugh. shows you huimor is ageless.

  4. Steve, I think that was an excellent response to a very intelligent and inquisitive kid. The fact that your son even asked such a question is great. Most little kids just want to know if the can get the latest Nintendo game…
    And to the critics above… please he’s just a kid, relax and take the story for what it is.

  5. The moment you step away from the ‘how’ into the ‘why’, you are knocking on the door of theology. It’s not likely that ‘hard science’ will ever have a satisfying answer for ‘why’. That’s not its purview.

  6. Wow. I was shot here through the miracle of stumble upon, and this post just hit me like a brick to the face. What a wonderful, thoughtful little nugget of goodness this post is.

    This seems like one of those moments where suddenly everything makes sense. There is nothing more to understand. Everything is summed up in “Poopy Butt!”


  7. Dushan,

    But that’d be an incorrect statement. If there were nothing, it wouldn’t be boring, for there wouldn’t be anyone there to be bored. On the other hand, as there is something instead of nothing – it doesn’t exist there to make our lives funnier and more entertaining. It just exists. It’s just out there.

  8. Way to pass up an opportunity to teach him the anthropomorphic principle.

    “If there were nothing, then we wouldn’t be here to wonder why there is nothing. So there has to be something.”

    Of course, kids tend to answer deep answers like that with “but why?”

  9. Life goes on. You get old. Life changes. you leave the body. and life
    goes on. And when it does go on, then you find out why and you find
    out that it’s worth all the trouble and that you can make it just the way you want it. And you find out that the way it has been for you is that way because you made it that way. After you die Life goes on in a different way that is nicer in a lot of ways that you will enjoy. Life is eternal.————-

  10. When you’re on the other side, you may see people who aren’t enjoying life but that’s because their attitudes made it that way.——Doug

  11. Nothing can’t exist actually. Even the vast emptiness of space is made up of something. Take the number zero for example; it has no meaning without something to relate it to.

    Some people use the “Why isn’t there nothing?” argument as a means to justify the existence of God. But it’s just as easy to ask “why does God have to exist?” It’s just as easy to say “the universe just exists” as it is to say “God just exists”.

    Ok, I’m gonna stop babbling and go to work now…

  12. Look at what we already have that we value. these things are the reason
    for life. Build on that, on those parts of life that make sense. Life is its own reason for being. Don’t look for some other reason. simply enjoy it and know without a doubt that you are treasured and loved. And create your own reasons for living and enjoying life. Life is no mystery. We already know what we need to know. Give in to joy and feel as good about yourself as i am sure God feels about you. Love yourself openly and without
    restriction. Forget religious conservatism and be positive about how you are toward yourself. Love life and be free. Be happy. there is no way (TO)
    happiness. Happiness(IS)the way. Let go of doubts and fears.They are unnecessary burdens and baggage. BE JOYFUL——Doug

  13. This is a nice story, but when I was a kid thoughts like this troubled me to no end. And even though another commenter said you were being honest with him, I would have much appreciated if my parents would’ve honestly just said they didn’t know.

  14. Life exists because it is normal for it to exist. I accept it on that basis.
    The way it goes, I see no other answer as being common sense.
    My answer is as good as anyone elses. Is it not normal for life to exist?
    It seems to go on without interruption, doesn’t it? That is, until you die.
    Therefore we have another question to ask, don’t we? Does life go on after
    death or should i say, so called death, and that question will be answered
    after we die. This leaves us with nothing more to discuss for the time being,
    doesn’t it?——Doug Rosbury

  15. In my opinion, life is not “out there” It is “in here” Life is the “within” of things. If life is “out there”. “Then what is “In here”? Life is at the center of all things. As a matter of fact you can very well say I am Life. I say that because my thoughts are within me and when I speak it comes from within and when i hear, I hear from within and when I see, I see from within.
    I am life in the presence of Doug and you, of course ,in the presence of you. What happens when we die? The question is meaningless because we don’t. How can life die for it is eternal?——-Try these comments on for size
    and see if they fit——Doug Rosbury

  16. I read this article in hopes that I would get help for my presentation about how to deal with questions. My question was “why does humanity exists”. This article led me to a conversation with my brother and in the end this is what we had to say about humanity’s existence. We exist because God made us to be a witnesses to his perfection and then He gave us a chance to have ‘no sin thourgh Him’.

  17. Why do we want to know about life? Do our answers make us feel any better? Are our answers accurate or are they just wild guesses?
    I think it’s better to practice feeling good about life and as we practice, to really learn to feel good about life. To ask all our questions is to condition ourselves to have doubts because we must know that we don’t know, and
    this leads to a feeling of being tired of asking pointless questions. Dont we already have socially valid reasons for making life seem worthwhile? If each one of us would practice those reasons and ways of making life better for all of us, the answers we seek would be self evident. How about simply
    being people who mind their own business and not interfere with other peoples business? Wouldn’t that be a welcomed way of living and give
    reasons for life being life? That would be a really good answer to any
    question, wouldn’t it?———Doug Rosbury

  18. Any of us can be as respected as is Liebnitz. Why do we set this one person aside as an authority on life? Each one of us has a channel and is a channel to wisdom. Don’t we all wish for that kind of respect? Then let’s give it to each other.——Doug Rosbury

  19. i agree that part of living is giving people the respect that they deserve, but i cannot agree that thats why im on this earth, it seems a little too shalow.

  20. Mr. Ellison, Don’t minimize the importance of respect. Perhaps we do not
    realize that respect for another person has significance with respect indeed
    to why we come to earth in the first place. Respect for someone requires
    a knowledge of Gods plan for humanity that makes possible, work of a highly intelligent nature and qualifies us as being true partners with God in
    the working out of His plan. We should be aware of the result in this world
    of a lack of respect leading to all manner of evil acts which go against the
    intended results of the plans of God. Contrary to an attitude minimizing
    the importance of respect, our main responsibility, in my opinion is to learn
    to work together toward the objective of a world unified under the will
    of God. without respect in its highest significance, we have what we
    currently observe happening in many parts of our world. Our task is
    to seek positive alternatives through respect for each persons beliefs
    and opinions and privacy toward ever higher paradigms of cooperative
    achievment. Respect, in this work is the central principle. —Doug

  21. hey
    how r yall doen
    and so hows life?
    this conversation is interesting !!
    but its not something to discuss
    really its upto god to decide these things
    so just be gratefull that ur alive

  22. Doug Rosbury i have read ur comment and realised u do have a point
    but to reply back to it i must have the same intelegance as you !!

  23. Destiny, All you need is common sense. Follow your own heart. It is not
    necessary to be like me. Just be yourself. That is the one that God loves.Go to The great spirit with simplicity and the trust of a child. Please
    don’t compare yourself to me or to anyone. you are perfect as you are.
    “Come unto me as you are for you are loved”—Jesus

  24. I don’t think we have time to persue the question, “Why does life exist”?
    So freakin what? Life is our bus, taking us somewhere. Do we analyse
    and ask, “Why does the bus exist When we are on our way to work or our car or as the case may be, our bicycle? No we do not. we’re just glad to get there! For me, life works to accomplish the accomplishable. It’s quite enough that it works and a miracle that it exists. So (“Why does it exist”?)
    Give me a break. Pay attention to the quality of your ATTITUDE and
    be a part of positive change and contribute a progressive and positive
    example to societys need to get on with growing up and forget such trivial
    speculations such as “Why does life exist?” Dump your egotism and Give us all abreak.——-Doug Rosbury

  25. Why does life exist? Maybe because God created it??? Your son is a little genius… congratulation! Then maybe tomorrow he will ask: is it egg first or little chicken first?? LOL

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