What is the Meaning of Life
God’s Remedy for Evil in Mankind
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 123 God’s Remedy for Evil in Mankind by Ernest O’Neill
You come into the office and it’s a beautiful, sunny morning, and the whole world seems to be smiling upon you. You think to yourself, “What a day! What a great day!” As you come through the door your colleague says to you, “By the way, Bill, I told the boss that you forgot to put that sales slip in as you promised last Friday.”
And suddenly, there rises inside of you an anger and a resentment that you cannot believe. You burst out at your friend and before you know it, you’re into a verbal scrap that destroys the whole day for you. Has that ever happened to you? Or, have you ever been sitting at home and your little guy of three or four years of age is playing on the floor and you think what a lucky dad or a lucky mother you are? You just have a little angel there.
Suddenly, he pulls down on a tablecloth and brings it onto the floor, crashing that vase that your mother or your father left you when they died. Before you know it, you’re up, you’ve hit him and he is crying and you’ve destroyed the peace of that domestic scene. Have you ever had that kind of experience where you find rising within you a temper and an anger and a hatred that you cannot believe exits inside your own breast? That’s what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about that monster of self that most of us know about and most of us manage to keep down and cover over with a civilized veneer of mannerliness and thoughtfulness for others. What we have been talking about is the explanation of that. It seems like such a strong urge within us that it’s more than just a matter of understanding it and correcting it.
Most of us do understand it and most of us have tried to correct it. We found that it is stronger than ever now that the years have gone. The problem is, where does it come from and how, on earth or in heaven, can we get rid of it? What we have been saying, is that it comes from an attitude to life that we have.
In this life you perhaps take the attitude that what we have around us has come about by evolution plus time. That’s it. It’s just the result of protons and neutrons colliding with one another and some kind of evolution taking place, and this resulting order about us coming about by chance. If you believe that, of course, you realize that you are on your own…absolutely. If there is no one who originated this universe around us, if there is no one who planned all this, then we are absolutely on our own.
That’s a hideous situation, because there are five billion others in this world, and they’re all trying to get enough food, clothing and shelter for themselves. What we have to do is make sure that we get our own share. That results in tremendous drives: drives of ambition, drives of anxiety, drives of hunger, drives of covetousness, drives of jealousy and all kinds of desires and fears that we may not get what we need in the way of material possessions.
That produces a tremendous selfish urge within us. It is that that lashes out at others. On the other hand, if you believe that the order you see around you in this world, the grass that you see, the beauty of the flowers, the design of the daffodil, the amazing grace of birds that were not designed by Boeing or by British Air or by Caledonian or anybody else — if you think of the mind that is not designed by Cray, or my Compac, or by IBM — you conclude there has to be an intelligent mind behind all this and He must be as personable as we are in order to make us persons — then, of course, the situation is entirely different.
Then it means that He planned all this and He planned your existence. Therefore, He has provided for you, as He said, through the Man, you remember, that we studied who existed in the first century of our era and said, “Look at the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they reap, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass of the field that today is alive and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will He not much more clothe you?”
If you believe that there is a personal Creator, then you have to come to the conclusion that he knows you’re here and that He’s going to provide for you and He’s going to provide for you at times through your job and at times despite your job. That brings a great restfulness and relaxation into you, and a freedom to actually be concerned about other people because you know He will take care of you.
That, we have been saying, is where those two attitudes come from, where that tremendous selfish urge comes from and where that unselfish urge comes from. If you’re like me, you have both. At some times, you are very, very nice. At some times you are very, very bad. When you are nice, you are very, very nice and when you are bad you are horrid. Most of us are in that situation.
The explanation is that that comes from a nature that is within you that is known in theological and philosophical circles as the evil nature. Sometimes it’s the sinful nature. The big thing is it’s as old as the race itself, because some of us men and women from the very beginning of time have lived as if there is no Creator. So, we have bred into our children a sense of fearfulness.
We have encouraged in them the feeling, “Look, son, nobody will look out for you but yourself. There is nobody in this world, in heaven or in earth to watch out for you but yourself, so you’d better take care of yourself.” That has been bred into us generation after generation after generation. Moreover, as we have begotten each other, we have begotten people with our own fears, and our own agonies and our own neuroses.
Down through the centuries there has come into you an evil or a sinful or a selfish nature that is as old as the race itself and far, far older than you. That explains why you find it so impossible to control that temper, so impossible to control that covetousness and that greed that you find within yourself. It’s something that is almost superhuman in its demonic intensity. It’s not only a drug addict that feels it. It’s not only an alcoholic that feels it.
It’s not only a homosexual that feels it. It’s not only a lesbian that feels it. It’s not only a constant, mendacious liar that feels it. It’s not only a lustful prostitute that feels it. It’s YOU! You feel an almost demonic intensity within you that makes you criticize, be sarcastic, be angry, be resentful, in a way that frightens you. Indeed, at times, you feel you’re going insane because the urges are so strong.
It’s because you’re dealing with a power and a nature that has been bred into you down through the centuries. You have actually inherited a sinful nature, a nature that is built on the premise that there is no God and therefore, you had better ensure your own security, your own significance or self-importance or value, and your own happiness by the power of your own will and the insistence of your own right arm. So, that is what rises within you.
Now, what we shared some weeks ago was this…there is a Creator. There is a Maker of this world. There is a dear God who is your Father and who did create things like the chart of the elements and who did create the DNA molecules and who did create the protons and the neutrons and who did create the universe and the orbiting stars and the seasons and the sun and who did create the birds and the animals and the rivers.
He actually loves you. He knows you’re here and He knows your name. He has actually counted, as His Son said, the hairs of your head. He foresaw that you would be at the end of this long line of human beings who were dominated by this sinful nature. He foresaw that. He foresaw that we would use our free wills to refuse to trust Him and to trust ourselves instead. To refuse to depend on Him and, instead, depend on the things that we have in the world for our security… the opinions of people for our reputation and our self-worth…the circumstances that we enter into for our happiness.
He foresaw all that. Actually, from the very beginning of the universe, indeed the old book called the Bible says, from before the foundation of the world, He put you and me into His Son Jesus and He destroyed that old nature of ours and He recreated us new with only the good nature that we originally had when He made us. He did that. That’s a fact.
That is the basis of our deliverance. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about that incredible event.