What is the Meaning of Life
Man Made in God’s Image
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 80 Man Made in God’s Image by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the reason for our existence on this program each day. We’ve been discussing the frustrations that many of us feel in this present life. We feel that people don’t give enough attention to us. We feel so often that our wives or our daughters or our fathers or our mothers don’t love us enough and we feel great frustration when we try to establish the kind of financial security for ourselves that we believe we were made for.
Of course, we feel great dissatisfaction in relationship to the happiness that we think we should have. We all try to meet these needs of various kinds from the people that we get to know or the people that we’re married to, or the people that we work with. We still find that they don’t give us the kind of attention that we feel we ought to have. We do sense a great need for worth and value and yet, we continue to sense that we don’t feel valuable and we don’t feel worth very much.
So, we travel along through this life with a great deal of unmet needs and unfulfilled needs. Yet, we become more and more perverted ourselves as we try to fill these needs, because we get angry with people when they don’t give us the attention or respect that we think we ought to have. We become frustrated and resentful with our relatives (be they wives or parents) when they don’t give us attention or the love or the respect that we feel we should have.
We certainly feel increasingly an irritability and a great sense of anxiety when we find ourselves unable through the money that we earn or the jobs that we have to give ourselves the kind of security and food and shelter and clothing that we believe we were made for. It seems that we are living in a continual fear of another depression or a general strike. So all of us have many of the same feelings.
We seem to have great needs deep down that are not able to be met by the people and the things and the circumstances in the world itself. What we have been saying is that the only human being that has ever given sufficient evidence to a reasonable rational mind that He has actually left the earth and has been in outer space and has communicated with the Being that is Supreme and that created the whole thing in the first place — the only man, that is, Jesus of Nazareth, that has done that — has explained to us the reason we feel this frustration is we were made by His Father to be His children and to love Him, and to live with Him forever and to enjoy His company. That’s the purpose of our creation and our existence and we don’t recognize that.
In fact, we don’t really believe that there is a God. So, we find ourselves in the situation where we’re a little fly on the surface of a spherical spaceship that is charging through space at hundreds of miles in an hour. We’re one of four billion little flies. We feel we’re unimportant, therefore, and we try to get all the other 4 billion little flies to think we’re important. They won’t because they’re all trying to do the same things.
In the same way, we’re trying to establish a sense of security when we’re really in a “Fiddler on the Roof” situation on this spaceship flying through space, spinning around on its own axis, and we don’t really know where it’s going. So we find a great sense of inadequacy, a great sense of anxiety from that situation. This man Jesus said the reason is… that isn’t reality.
You’re not on a space ship that is flying nowhere. You’re not just a little fly that is unimportant. You’re not the product of time-plus chance, or an impersonal, evolutionary process. You are in fact made by My Father
and My Father is like Me. If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father. He’s a dear, warm heart. He made you because He wants you as His friend. He wants you to be with Him forever.
He has all kinds of things that have to be done in this universe. He has all kinds of things by which to set forth the wonder and the glories that are in His own heart. He wants you to be part of that, and that’s why He made you. That’s why He put you on this world. That’s why, actually, He made you like Himself. That’s why at the beginning of the Bible, you remember, if you think of the early chapters of the Bible, you think particularly of Genesis.
Most of us, however cynical or skeptical we are of this whole religion thing, we’ve all read the early record of creation. Without going into the explanation of the origin of that record, which is just as intelligent and intellectual as the arguments we examined for the Divinity of Jesus, you remember that the record runs like this in Genesis 1 and verse 26:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image after our likeness,” and that’s why He said that. He turned around, presumably to Jesus, who existed before the world was created. He said, “Look, My Son, let us make man in our image after our likeness.” And that’s why He did it. He wanted people who were like Him. That’s why you, actually, are made in God’s image. You are. You have the same capacities as the Creator of the universe has. You have the same capacities as the Supreme Being behind the universe has. That’s why He made you like that. He made you in His image.
There are reasons for that. I mean, you cannot have much friendship with a little Yorkshire Terrier. You can play ball with him. He really enjoys you throwing the ball and bringing it back to you. He really enjoys lying over on his back and allowing you to tickle his tummy. He enjoys having a good meal and sleeping it off. But he’s very poor at discussing Beethoven’s Fifth. He’s not very good at discussing the structure of a sonnet. He’s not very good at discussing the theory of predestination or relativity. He’s not very good at helping you with analytical geometry. He just cannot engage in much real fellowship or friendship with you because his capacities are limited.
In other words, a superior form of life can’t have much friendship with an inferior form of life, unless that inferior form of life has some of the capacities that that superior form of life has. That’s why God made us like Himself, so that we could really enjoy Him, so that He could enjoy us. Now, the interesting thing is that He made us in the same form as He, himself has.
He is quite a complex personality. That’s why in the second chapter of the Bible you get this kind of statement. It’s put in very physical terms partly because the Hebrew language is a very physical, in a sense a cruder, language than Greek. It cannot make all the fine aesthetic distinctions that Greek can. It tends to talk in very physical and material terms. So, that’s one reason why the account of man’s creation at the beginning of the Bible tends to us to look a little crude.
Another reason was it was given to man in his childhood. Man in his childhood understood things in different, simpler forms. So, here’s the way God put it to us. “Then, the Lord God (it’s Genesis 2:7) formed man of dust from the ground.” The word for dust is “aphar” in Hebrew. The word for ground is “adama”. “Adama”– which is where Adam came from. God took us and made our bodies first. It’s just dust.
You remember every time you’ve been to a graveside you know that the minister throws soil on the casket or the coffin and says, “dust to dust, earth to earth, ashes to ashes.” You know fine well, if you dig up that old body, maybe a hundred years later, all you have is a box full of ashes or dust. The body actually is very poor stuff. It lasts for about seventy or ninety years, then disappears in the earth.
That’s the physical part of us. Actually it doesn’t mean too much. Then it says, “God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” The Hebrew word is “ruach”. It’s the word for breath, or air, or it’s the word for spirit. God actually put into you His own life form, His own Spirit — the thing that makes him God, the thing that gives Him life. That’s what makes you tick.
That’s what makes your heart beat. That was the beginning of your creation. Let’s talk a little bit more about the way you are made and the capacities you have tomorrow.