What is the Meaning of Life
The World’s Religions
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 33 The World’s Religions by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? How can you possibly find that out unless somehow you can get behind the world itself, unless somehow you can get beyond this life, and beyond this world, and beyond this earth, unless somehow you can get beyond space, and find out someone there who knows why this world was created?
That’s what we have been saying; that in a sense if you say, “Oh, well, the meaning of life is this, and this, and this. I can see design and I can see purpose in the order of nature. I can see that there must be an intellect behind the universe. I can see that that intellect must be personable in order to make us as persons. This, therefore, is the kind of Supreme Being that must be behind the universe.”
Always, I can answer you, but you’re just a man like me. You’re just giving your own thoughts. You’re just a man like Buddha. You’re giving your own view of things. You’re just a man like Muhammad. You’re giving your own subjective, mystical experience and thoughts. You’re just people like the Hindus who are trying to say what other human beings have said. But none of you have ever got off this earth. None of you have ever been beyond space, further than our space shots have ever pierced.
None of you have ever been somewhere where the Supreme Being, whoever that Supreme Being might be is, and come back to tell us what He really intended. None of you are able to present empirical, touch-and-see evidence that such a Supreme Being exists.
That is our question today. Is there anything that can give us human beings any hope of knowing why we are here on this earth, what the meaning of this life is, what the purpose of it is? Is there anything in our history anywhere that will give us any kind of confidence that some messenger from outer space has landed on our planet and can tell us of a wider universe?
Is there any person in all of our history that is qualitatively different from the rest of us human beings? The fact is all of us respect Einstein immensely. We respect that he obviously thinks there is some Supreme Being behind the universe. We respect Darwin greatly when he ends his book “The Origin of Species” referring to the fact that this is the way the Creator probably created the world.
We respect these men greatly, but we still have the feeling that even though their intellects go way beyond ours, we still feel, “Yes, but finally, they are human beings. Finally, their source of knowledge is the same as ours. They may manipulate it better than we can; they may analyze it better; they may express it more clearly, but finally the source of their evidence and their knowledge about any Being behind the universe is still the same as ours.
So we’re face to face with the question still. Is there anywhere in our history evidence of the breaking in upon our earth of that Supreme Being, in some way that we can respect with our intellects and believe in with our intellects? Of course, the answer is that there is! There is!
There was an amazing time in the history of the world. There was a moment in history when something broke in upon our world from beyond space that was clearly superior to us human beings. Yes, there was a century in the lifetime of mankind when events took place that have in themselves the mark of authenticity as being performed and produced by a Being that is superior to ourselves.
Yes, there is a revelation of the Creator behind the universe that is qualitatively different and superior to any of the so-called revelations that come through Buddhism, or through Islam, or through Zoroastrianism, or through Hinduism, or through Confucianism, or through any of the other of the so-called great religions of our world.
Yes! There was a time in our history when remarkable events took place that bear the very stamp of authenticity upon them, that have within themselves an inherent validity that you yourself can analyze and examine with your own intellect. In other words, yes! There is empirical evidence in our world that there is a Supreme Being.
There is touch-and-see evidence that you and I are able to examine, in the same way that we examined the evidence that Winston Churchill lived and died. So we are able to examine this evidence of a Supreme Being behind our universe. There is clear, unmistakable, historical evidence that reveals to us the very actions of the Supreme Being behind the universe in our own world, actions that we can examine and analyze and that we can discuss together during these coming days and weeks and months.
That’s what I would like to do, if you would be willing, during these next weeks, to examine carefully and in detail and with our intellects and with our reasons, the evidence that there is in our universe a Supreme Being that created the world for a purpose that you and I can know, and created you with a purpose and for a reason that you yourself can know and understand, and can then fulfill.
Where do we look for this kind of evidence? Well, right back where so many of us started the search. G.K. Chesterton in his book “Orthodoxy” says, when he discovered the meaning of reality, he felt like a sailor who started off from home to discover the meaning of life.
He sailed and sailed and sailed, and eventually sailed all around the world, and landed on this shore where he discovered the meaning of life. He suddenly found out he was right back where he started, in England. It was right back where he was first told the meaning of life; he found it right back where he had started the search.
That’s about where we will find the best evidence that exists in our world for belief in a Supreme Being. It’s evidence which comes from the first century of our era. That is, it’s evidence that we have of events that took place about 1900 years ago.
That evidence was gathered together in various books, and in various manuscripts. It was circulated around the world at that time, and then was collected together, and gradually was bound together with other books. They became known as “The Books” and were given, in fact, the Greek title for “The Books”.
If you translate “The Books” into Greek, it becomes the words “Ta Biblia”. That is the collection of books that we have and that we know under another name. Let’s look at them tomorrow in more detail.