What is the Meaning of Life
Sorry, Video Not Available.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 78 Love’s Substitution by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the reason for our existence. That is, we’re trying to answer that massive cosmic question, why are you here? Why are you here on the earth? Why is the earth here? Why are all of us here? What’s the point of this whole thing? Is it just a tale told by an idiot? Are we just the result of some mindless time-plus-evolution experience or is there any meaning to it all?
Of course, we’ve talked for a long time, you remember, some months ago, about the fact that there is great meaning in life itself. That is, there seems to be a great deal of evidence of design and of plan, of conscious, deliberate conception and purpose in our present world. You remember how we discussed the reasons we have for believing that there has to be some personal mind behind this whole thing.
It’s the only way in which we can explain the existence of our own personal minds. Because we know that this kind of order and intelligence does not come from just chance. That it doesn’t matter how many parts of a watch you throw into a washing machine and how long you allow that washing machine to turn around, it will never produce an assembled watch that has order and purpose in it. Any kind of order and design in any entity must come from the deliberate planning of some intelligent mind.
Then, you remember, we discussed the question of whether that intelligent mind had ever communicated itself to us. We examined the various religious men that have claimed to be able to tell us about that mind. We saw that they all shared the one great limitation, that they were human beings like us. What did they know that we didn’t know? They’d never been off the earth. They’d never been beyond the sky. How could they tell why the world was here? It was like a goldfish inside a goldfish bowl, trying to tell how the goldfish bowl came to be there in that spot.
The only person that we discovered in all of the history of mankind that has ever even broken the death barrier — that is, that has died and come to life again, and lived here on earth for more than a month, then disappeared completely — and the only person who has ever given us any kind of intellectual assurance that He had actually been able to get off the world and get out into space, and be able to understand what is out there, is the man, Jesus of Nazareth.
So, we’ve been discussing now for a few weeks, the explanation He has given us about life itself. One of the things, of course, that He has brought home to us is that we are all pretty dissatisfied and discontented with our lives. In fact, most of us are, in some way. We all have little satisfaction. We all have little things that we enjoy. Many of us find life very frustrating. We feel deep down that we were made for a kind of perfection. Yet, that perfection seems far beyond our reach; not only perfection of our own behavior, but especially perfection of happiness. We feel we were made for some incredible combination of serenity and of excitement that somehow, we feel unable to find.
It doesn’t matter how exciting the relationships may be that we manage to get into. It doesn’t matter how stable our home life may be at times. We seem to still fall short of the happiness that we feel we were made for. It’s the same with security. I mean, we’re all concerned about the economy. We’re all concerned about the way the world’s economy is going. But, in the midst of it, is our own personal economy.
We feel we were made to be free from the anxieties of always trying to get the next dollar or the next pound gathered together. We feel we were made for the stability that at one time we felt when we were little
children and had all those problems in our father’s and our mother’s hands. We feel somehow we were made for that kind of security and stability.
Yet, the psychologists tell us, “Ah, you’re just being children. You’re just trying to get back to your childhood.” Yet, deep down, we feel a bit like the English Poet, Wordsworth, that maybe that is the happiest time. Maybe we were made for that kind of stability. That persists even until old age. We still feel we were made for that. We feel, of course, that we were made to feel in some way that we are unique. We ARE unique actually. Nobody else seems to notice it. We feel we were made for someone to acknowledge that. So, we tried to get that kind of acknowledgment from our wives, and from our children, and from our bosses and from our peers.
Yet, it always seems to fall short of what we feel deep down we were made for. So Jesus said, “You have these great feelings inside you. These great needs. Yet, you always seem to find frustration in fulfilling them, because you’re just flesh. You’re just material. You’re trying to fulfill them from material things, from flesh, from things you can see and touch.”
“You’ll never do it,” He said. It doesn’t matter how you try. It doesn’t matter how many things you get. It doesn’t matter how you try. It doesn’t matter how many people think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. It doesn’t matter how happy the circumstances are for awhile. You’ll never get what you really need, because what you really need is love. Not love of just some other man or woman.”
“What you need is the love of the dear person who is My Father.” That is what Jesus said. “The dear person who made Me, who begot Me, made you. He made the world. He actually loves you. He actually cares about you. You’re made for His love. That’s why you’re made. You’re made for His love. You feel frustration, because you don’t experience that love.”
You’ve tried to find it from the world’s love, or from the love of other people, or from the little bit of satisfaction that things bring you, or the little bit of excitement that circumstances bring you. You’ve tried to substitute for that love the things that that love incidentally brings as a by-product. So, you’re trying to go after the by-products and hope that somehow you’ll get the real thing that you need. The real thing that you need is the love of the dear Person who made this whole world. That’s what you need above everything else. So, when you go after the other things, you’re missing them.
What we shared yesterday was, of course, all the best things in life are free. Those are the gifts that your dear Creator has given you: your fingernails, your lips, your teeth, all the things that it takes thousands of dollars or thousands of pounds to substitute man-made items for. Those things have been given to you by your dear Father who loves you. Of course, some of us have kind of begun to grasp that. We’ve begun to get hold of the idea that there is a Supreme Being, and that He may have a kind of affection for us.
He may not be simply an impersonal force, or an “Ã©lan vital” or an impersonal evolutionary process, or a combination of time-plus-chance. He may not be those things. He may be what Jesus said He was. Jesus said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Look, if you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father. The Father is like Me. He has My kind of nature. He has my kind of character. He has my kind of personableness. He has my kind of understanding and love of children. He has my kind of compassion for poor lepers, and for Lazarus and his sisters when he died. My Father is like Me.
Some of us have begun to think that that might be true, because undoubtedly He has made some beautiful things, hasn’t He? I mean, have you ever seen a little Yorkshire Terrier lying over on its back and having its tummy tickled? That’s quite a sight. Have you ever seen a little baby smiling at its dad? That is quite a sight.
Have you ever seen the first little robin red-breast? That is quite a sight. Whoever made these things is quite a person, isn’t He? Whoever made Danny Kaye, whoever made Jerry Lewis, or whoever made Harry Secombe, that is quite some person.
That dear Person is the One who has made you and made me. That’s what Jesus said. He’s our Father. He’s your Father. Let’s talk a little more about this tomorrow.