What is the Meaning of Life
Look to God for Security
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 109 Look to God for Security by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program at this time each day about the meaning of life, about why we are here, what you’re doing here, what the purpose for the education and all the working, and the eating, and the sleeping, and the marrying and the having children…what is the point of it all? What we have been sharing is an explanation of that reality that we have heard from the most remarkable human being that ever lived, the man that lived in the first century of our era.
Particularly what we have been doing in the past few weeks is matching that explanation of reality up with some of the bewildering phenomena that we have come across in our own personal lives. One of those is known as the “Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome.” It takes its name from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson about the respected, and kindly, elderly, generous doctor Jekyll who was the friend of the poor and needy in a certain area of London.
That is, he was a friend of the poor and needy until he began to discover within himself certain urges to anger, and hatred and selfishness that he had never believed had existed within him at all. Gradually, this alter ego so took control of him that he became weary in trying to suppress it so that he could keep his good side uppermost. At last, he invented a drug, you may remember, that gave a physical expression to this alter ego that would give him at least freedom from the strain of suppressing it.
So was born that character known as Mr. Hyde, an ugly, violent, hunchback man who roamed the streets of London, and murdered and assaulted the poor and needy. Eventually, the Mr. Hyde character took over from the Dr. Jekyll character completely, so that Jekyll had no alternative but to commit suicide. What the story, of course, does is highlight an experience that all of us have had ourselves, because there isn’t one of us listening today who hasn’t had an experience of an ugly side to our nature which we cannot possibly explain.
When we most want to be kind, and gentle and understanding and loving to our relatives and our friends, we find within us often a surging up from deep down in the darkest parts of our hearts an ugliness and a hatred, and an anger and a selfishness that we cannot control. Indeed, many of us wonder if we are not going insane, so strongly does this temper at times rise within us. We cannot believe that it is us at all.
On occasion, we wonder whether we are not actually schizophrenics, if we’re not actually split personalities, so strong, so violent and so contradictory is this character or this lion within us, that rises up at times and is most inconvenient to us. Probably all of us have felt that even when we haven’t allowed it to express itself as Jekyll did. We have felt a motive life that is murky and that is very selfish compared with the outwardly generous attitudes that we express in our words.
So that is a phenomenon that is quite difficult to explain. What we have been saying is that it comes from the very heart of the reality of our creation and our origin. We have been sharing that the Creator that made us (and of course there has to be a Creator; we’ve discussed that over the months and if you want to hear those discussions, by all means write and ask me, and I’ll send you some cassettes of those early broadcasts), but we have discussed the origin of the world in the light of the fact that we are such personable people.
We have said that an animal cannot make a person. Or, an impersonal process cannot produce a person. There has to be somewhere back of the universe, a mind and an intellect that is at least as personable as we ourselves are. The suggestion that there is an intellect behind the universe comes from the fact that
there is so much design and order built into our universe right from the occurrence of the seasons regularly year after year to the more complex structure of the DNA molecule.
There is evidence all around in the chart of the elements, and the orbiting of the stars and the planets, that the whole thing was designed and planned and has not come about by time and chance. We’ve been sharing how the man that lived at the beginning of our era, the man called Jesus, explained that the Creator of the universe was actually His Father. He created you because He loves and He wanted to love you and He wanted you to love Him.
He wanted you to live in a friendship with Him and to live your ordinary, everyday life in personal relationship with Him, trusting Him for the things that you needed in this life. Of course, Jesus and His followers (indeed, His predecessors in the old book that is called the Bible), explained how we as a human race rejected that whole idea. We didn’t like the idea of living in dependence on some invisible Creator. We determined we would use the world for our own purposes in our own way.
We determined we would substitute for the love that we now missed from this Creator — we would substitute for it the attributes that we felt that love had. We would substitute ways to meet those attributes and to reproduce those attributes from the world. Of course, any of us who have had a good father and mother know that if they love us, we have a great sense of security. We have no trouble at all wondering where our next meal is going to come from. We knew they loved us and would provide it.
Nor have we any problem with thinking we’re important, because they make us, of course, as the very apple of their eye. We immediately had a sense of identity and self worth. Nor have we much trouble with finding happiness, because our greatest happiness is to be with them and to be in a real relationship of love and trust with them. So, those were the attributes that the love from our Creator provided for us.
We would have a great sense, of course, of security, because the Father of us all was the Creator of the universe. He owned the cattle on a thousand hills. He owned all the daffodils and the tulips, and all the gold in the gold mines and the coal in the coal mines. So, we would naturally have a great sense of confidence that He would look after us. If we did what He put us here to do on the earth, then He would certainly take care of us.
We, of course, would obviously have a complete sense of identity. We would know exactly who we are because of His love. When we realized the hairs of our heads were numbered by Him, we would have no trouble with whether anybody thought much of us or not. If the one significant other thought the world of us, what did we care what anybody else thought of us? So that was the way our Father planned for us to live. When we rejected this whole idea, we had to find substitutes, so, we turned to the world of things.
We tried to get from things that are in the world the security that the Father’s love would give us. We have tried to amass enough things to give us a sense of security. We tried to amass enough money, so we would have sufficient food to last us to the end of our lives. We’ve tried to amass enough money to provide us with good shelter, good home; good clothing that would make sure that we continued in this life satisfactorily until we died.
We have begun to depend on our jobs and our salaries, on the way our bosses treat us, on the way the economy goes for our security. All of this is, of course, very unreliable, as we have seen. That is part of the problem we have. When we find that we are about to lose our job, we find surging up within us a Mr. Hyde that will do anything to keep the job. If we find someone scrambling over the top of the heap over us, there is a jealousy and an anger rises up that, of course, expresses that uncertainty we feel. Because we are
beginning to depend on the world instead of the Father’s love for our security.
We’ve discovered that a great deal of this Jekyll and Hyde experience comes from the fact that we are now living in dependence on the world of things, and people and circumstances, instead of on the love of the Creator Himself. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow so it may shed some more light on your own behavior and experience.