What is the Meaning of Life
Discovering the Real You 1
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 202 Discovering the Real You #1 by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question we’ve been talking about for almost a year now. And you may remember that we summarized a little in the early part of our discussion yesterday, by saying that we came to the conclusion early on in the year, from the evidence of the order and design in universe, that there had to be a personal intellectual mind of some kind behind this universe. And we examined the evidence that people presented to us that this intellectual mind was like Buddha’s god or was like Confucius’ philosophic god or was like the gods of the Hindus, or the god of Zoroaster.
But finally, we came to the conclusion that all these so called prophets were just men like ourselves, and had no more qualification than we had for claiming to be able to tell us what was beyond the sky. Because none of them had ever been off the earth that they could prove to us, and had come back to tell us what was beyond. Except for one man. And that was that unique human being that lived in the first century of our era, that man called Jesus of Nazareth.
And I’d ask you not to go to sleep when you hear that because we have really mutilated His character and turned Him into some kind of religious cult figure, instead of seeing Him as He really is: a remarkable and unique human being, who showed that He had power to overcome death and to pass through the experience of death and come back from the dead and live in our world. And you remember He ate fish and ate breakfast with His friends, even a month after He had been executed by the Romans in Jerusalem.
And so we concluded as we examined His life and examined the historicity of His life, that is so thoroughly substantiated by really above 4,000 Greek manuscripts, that show that undoubtedly He did live in the first century and in fact He did say and do the things that we believe He did — we concluded that He was really the Son of the Maker of the universe. And He of course explained to us that the reason we were here on earth was to become like Him. That’s what He said, “My Father has made you because He wants you to be His children. He wants others to be like Me, who will live with Him forever, and will begin to develop the rest of the universe with Him.”
And that’s why He created you. And you’re here to become like Him. Now, you may say, “Well, why put us here to become like Him? Why not make us like Him right away?” Well, you can see why. The Maker of the universe is a self-determining Being. That is, He’s free. He has a free will. He’s free to choose to do what He wants to do. Free will is necessary if you’re going to have love. You can’t have love without free will. We’ve all seen that when we’ve looked at totalitarian states. You don’t get people loving anybody in a totalitarian state, because you are forced and made to do everything.
So the only way you can love is if you are free to love. And that’s why the Creator gave us a free will. Now we have done all kinds of things to initiate determinism here in the world and to make it seem that we are all the time compelled and constrained by external forces either of heredity and environment or of other things. But in actual fact, there is still, within each one of us at the very heart of us, a free will. And the Creator of the universe put us on this earth with a free will, to actually choose, believe it or not, to be like Him or choose not to be like Him. That’s it.
You may say, “Ah, He’s mad.” But that was the only way He could take to have any chance of having friends who would love Him and whom He could love, or having children whom He could love or who would love Him. And so He put us here on earth with a free will. And we have been given the freedom to choose either to get to know the
Being that is behind the universe, or to pretend that there is no Being behind the universe, and to do just what we want in it. And that has been the history of mankind from its creation. If you are in any doubt about which way we have gone, it’s very obvious to any of us who look around.
It’s very obvious that we have chosen to ignore Him. We really have. We’ve chosen to live as if there is no God. Most of us are either theoretical atheists or practical atheists. We just assume that there is nobody out there who has any interest in us. There is no one anywhere in the universe, perhaps, that has any interest in us. And if we’re going to survive it’s going to be by the strength of our own right arm. Indeed most of us were brought up that way. Our mums and dads said, “If you don’t look after yourself, nobody will. You’d better get a good job; you’d better get a good education, because you will have to provide for yourself. Nobody else will.”
Indeed all of us like that idea, because we see so often the opposite is depending on the state, and we don’t like depending on the state. It seems to steal our dignity from us. So we’ve been brought up all the time with the idea that we have to provide for ourselves, because there’s nobody out there who can provide for us. And so most of us have lived as if there is no Creator. This has brought all kinds of problems, of course, to us, as we’ve discussed over the year. The agony of trying to ensure security for yourself drives you crazy.
Because finally you have to see that a Howard Hughes, who made better provision for himself than any of us have probably any hope of doing, (you remember he was the American millionaire who based his success on the Hughes tool factory and has become one of the greatest defense suppliers to the U.S. that have ever existed) and yet you remember, he died in a hotel, I believe, in London, with Kleenex tissues stuck to his hands. And he died an emaciated man of seventy, seventy-two. He died virtually of starvation, because he was so afraid. He had the Kleenex stuck to his hands, because, of course, he was always afraid of germs. And yet he so abused himself that he actually died of starvation.
And so we’ve all seen that you can do everything possible from a financial angle to provide for yourself in the way of security. And yet finally there is no security that you can provide. Because apart from anything else, you can always die of cancer or some incurable disease. Besides that, there’s a tremendous insecurity comes to all of us as we think of the poor guys in Australia and wonder why they don’t fall off. And even though we all mumble blithely about the law of gravity, we know that all we’re doing is giving a name to a force that we don’t really understand. And we can’t tell what keeps that force in place. We can’t really be sure that it will stay in place.
And so we realize quickly, that we’re sitting on top of a spinning spaceship that is hurtling through space at hundreds of miles an hour and we’re not very clear who’s holding it up there. And so there is at the foundation of our lives a great sense of being “fiddlers on a roof.” We can’t really tell where we’re going, or where we came from, or what’s keeping us in existence at this moment. And so in all our attempts to establish security by trying to get a little in the Abbey Building Fund, or a little stocks and shares gathered together, or a little in the Mutual Insurance Company, we sense deep down all the time that we never will establish security for ourselves, however much we try.
So, of course, what we do is aim for a kind of partial security. But it creates a dreadful worry and anxiety at the heart of our lives. And of course it produces an attitude of greed often and of worry and anxiety and of desperation and of jealousy that we cannot overcome.
It is the same with our sense of our own self-esteem, because we feel that nobody actually notices how unique we are. And of course you are unique. You probably realize that. You are unique. There’s nobody like you. But nobody else seems to notice it. And so you and I spend a lot of our time trying to get them to notice it,
trying to get them to give us attention and pay us attention.
And of course they don’t seem to notice that we are different, that we are unique, because they’re so busy trying to establish their own uniqueness in everybody’s eyes. And so often we marry with a hope that maybe at least this wife or this husband will give us the kind of attention we desire, and then we discover they don’t really continue to regard us as so remarkable or so unique. And so we get very frustrated over our sense of self worth. And that itself causes a problem which we should maybe talk about a little more tomorrow.