What is the Meaning of Life
Is the Bible History?
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 184 Is the Bible History? by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are we alive? That’s the topic we’re discussing and we’ve been talking about it now for over 9 months. In fact, I think this is broadcast #184 that we’re on today. And what we’ve talked about really is the origin of the life that we have here. And we’ve been talking in the early months of this year about whether the creation took place by a directionless evolutionary process or whether it took place through some kind of programmed or planned development.
And of course we’ve concluded with Einstein that the order and design in the universe presupposes an intellectual mind that designed and planned it and we concluded that the intellectual mind must be at least as personable as we are in order to make us persons. And then you remember we proceeded to examine some of the people that have claimed to tell us what the Creator of the universe was thinking about when He made us and what He had in mind for our lives and therefore what the purpose of our lives is.
And we examined people like Buddha, and Zoroaster and Confucius and the Hindu scholars. And discovered that they all had the same limitations; they all were just human beings, had never left the earth any more than any of us had, but died and were buried like the rest of us. And they all differed from the one remarkable man that lived in the first century of our era. He was a man that actually didn’t die like the rest of us. He did die, but after three days, He came alive again and lived for more than a month here on the earth.
And such is the historical evidence and the documentary evidence that is available in places like the British Museum, that we came to the conclusion intellectually that He must actually have been a historical figure. That he actually did live and say the things that He is said to have lived and said. And we realized that as we began to look into the history books that tell of his life, we were dealing with history that was more reliable than that of the Caesars or than that of the Roman or the Greek emperors. And so we concluded that this man really was the Son of the Maker of the universe.
And so we’ve been discussing and studying His explanation of why we’re here, because we reckon He’s the only one who really knows. It has to be somebody who got beyond the furthest star that we can see with our radio telescopes. It has to be somebody who has succeeded in doing, you remember, what that dear author said he wanted to do…”Stop the world, I want to get off!” It has to be somebody who has managed to stop the world and get off it and come back and tell us what it’s about.
And so we’ve concluded that that’s what this man Jesus has done and that His explanation of the meaning of our lives is the one that really counts. Because all the rest are limited within this temporal space-time frame that we all endure. And only His breaks out of it. And of course what He has said is that we were meant to live our lives by the direction of the Maker of the universe. That the Maker of the Universe made us with three levels in our personality and the innermost level is the spirit. And the spirit is the part of you that is the real you.
It’s you as you really are, underneath, away from all the things that your mother or your father want you to do — away from what your wife or your children want you to do, or what your boss or your teachers want you to do, what your desperate necessities in this life make you want. It’s you as you really are. You, independent of all those desires and drives and pulls and shoves, it’s you as you really are — that’s your spirit.
And the Creator intended you to get to know Him through your spirit — through the real you to get to know Him
and to find out why He had put you here and then to pursue that. And of course if you had done that then there’d have come to you a great sense of identity and self-worth. And of course you would have filled your own mind and emotions with the plans and the desires that He had for you and they would be utterly satisfied and fulfilled, because of course He made you for a set purpose and if you fulfill that purpose, then you are really fulfilled.
And on top of that, the world itself would have been filled with not only the thinking of the Creator, but His life. So we would have a universe that probably did not have earthquakes in California and did not have oil spills off the Santa Barbara coast, and did not have mining disasters in Wales, and did not have cities that were so cluttered and filled with impure oil and with machines that make more dirt. That we would have had a world that was nearer the paradise that we all dream of.
But of course, we determine to “forget it”. We’re going to live this life on our own; we’re not going to live from the inside out, we’re not going to refer to our Creator. We’re going to do what we think we ought to do. We’re going to get from this world what we need and that’s what, of course, began to happen to us. We looked around and we saw, “Now wait a minute. There’s nobody here who cares about me but myself. And there are billions of us trying to get the limited resources on this world, on this earth to keep them alive, so I’d better grab what food shelter and clothing I can.”
And so, that became the dominating drive in our lives. We began to be dominated by the need for security, for physical security first of all: for shelter, roofs over our heads, for clothing to keep the cold out and for food to keep us alive. We never got past the point of saying, why do we want to stay alive? We just felt, “Oh, we ought to stay alive.” And so we have dedicated our lives to getting all the food, shelter and clothing we possibly can and get what security we need.
Actually, deep down, we want more than security. Deep down we’re missing the great sense of stability and love and care that we were intended to get from our Creator. After all, there’s no security like the one you have of walking through your factory with the hand of the Creator of the universe in yours — I mean, that’s security! There’s no security like going up the Matterhorn with the one who made the Matterhorn right beside you. That’s security that nothing else can give.
And of course, we were all the time trying to find that kind of security; getting all the food, shelter and clothing we could. What we were actually after was a deeper thing than security â€“it was love. Because that’s of course what the Maker of the universe feels towards you. Now, you may be cynical and skeptical and all that but actually, He does. He loves you — that’s why He made you. Why do you think He’d go to all this trouble if He didn’t love you? So, He does love you but we turned our backs on Him and of course we missed out on all that.
The result was we had to get the security that love provides from somewhere else. And so, that’s why we’re all scrambling. You know we’re all scrambling. You know how it goes. You scramble for this week’s wage and then you fight for next month’s wage and then you try to fight to get a raise and then you try to do something with the money that will, in fact, ensure that you have something when you retire and you spend most of your life worrying and fretting.
That’s what old Auden said you remember, “In headaches and in worry vaguely life leaks away.” And so it does. “Vaguely, life leaks away.” To get the car, then to look after the car, then to repair the car, then to replace the car. It just goes on and on forever. Old Wordsworth is right. “The world is too much with us; getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours.”
That’s true. We’re a pretty miserable bunch, all going after the old dollar or the old pound or the old shilling — whatever it is. And we do that because we desperately need the security that we were meant to have by knowing the Maker of the universe and by really realizing that He was our own Father.
We did the same thing of course, with happiness. We felt we’re only here for a few years, so we’d better get what happiness we can. And so the search after happiness has become a dominating and enslaving thing for most of us. We’ll do anything to get happy — you know it! I mean we’ll destroy our own bodies to get happy, because the only way we can really get happy is blotting out all the misery around us.
So, after you’ve gone from the wine to the hard stuff and and after you’ve gone from the hard stuff to the crack and then from the crack to the heroin, then from the heroine to the cocaine, it’s hard really to get completely blotted out unless you take the final step. And some of us, even among our own young people, are taking that step. Because it’s impossible to find the happiness and the fulfillment that we were originally going to get by simply doing what the Maker wanted us to do with our lives.
And of course the whole problem of self esteem is a dominating one. Most of us feel worth nothing. We feel we’re nothing, we feel we’re just a cipher; we’re just a consumer statistic. And of course we determine, no we’re not! We’re not! We’re significant! We’re unique! We’re unlike anybody else and we’re going to make everybody else realize that. And of course the sight of 5 billion of us trying to make the others respect them is pretty hideous.
On top of all that, what is happened is we have gone dead inside. Our spirits have gone dead. We’ve forgotten who we are. We can’t remember who we are. We’re busy being pulled like little puppets by all the strings of needs for security, for significance, for happiness that surround us.(cid:9)And that’s the situation most of us find ourselves in. Most of us find we’re dead, even though we’re alive. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.