What is the Meaning of Life
What are we Living For – Ourselves?
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 201 What are we Living For – Ourselves? by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? What do you think is the meaning of it? What does the whole thing mean? This business of getting up every day, dressing and eating and going out to work, driving that car you’re in day after day and coming back with whatever money you’re able to earn, and then trying to save a little, then eventually trying to provide for your own retirement? What do you think it all means?
And if you’re like me and many of us out here you probably answer, “Well, I don’t know what it means. I can’t see, to be honest with you, much reason in it. I just do what I’m doing because there doesn’t seem much else to do. Maybe there’s a Man upstairs somewhere. And maybe there’s some sense in it all, but if there is, it’s not very obvious from the way the world is going today. So, what is the Meaning of Life? I don’t know what the meaning of it is. I suppose you’ve to leave the world a better place than you found it, or you’ve to be kind to your neighbor, or do all the things that we’re taught to do when we’re small. I don’t know what the meaning of it is.”
Many of us probably would answer that way. What we have been saying over really the past year is that there is indication of meaning in life, even in the very nature of the life that we live, and in the nature of the world in which we live it. We’ve been saying that there is order obviously in the orbiting of the planets. They aren’t just running around there by chance. They aren’t colliding with each other every other day. Even our world, however unreliable it is in so many ways, is very reliable in others.
The sun does rise at the appropriate time every day. And we actually time our own watches by it. And we make our rocket shots into space on the basis of the fact that certain planets will be in a certain position at a certain time and lo and behold they are. We plant our seeds each year believing that the seasons will occur more or less as regularly as they did last year and they do. We actually carry on our everyday life on the assumption that our blood will keep circulation over miles and miles of arteries and it does. We assume that this old heart, this muscle, will keep pumping day after day, week after week, month after month, and it does.
So, there are many indications of order in our world, and you remember that early on in our discussion this year we came to the conclusion that there was enough evidence, there were enough instances of order to take the position that Albert Einstein did, that there must be an intelligent mind behind the universe. And we concluded of course that He must be a personal mind, because it takes a person at least as personable as us to make us persons. A dog couldn’t make us. An inanimate object couldn’t make us. A lower form of life can’t create a higher form of life than itself. So, we concluded that there had to be a Personal Mind somewhere in the back of it all.
We did agree that there were many strange attempts and claims to tell us about that Personal Mind. And we examined the lives of people like Buddha, and Zoroaster and Confucius and we looked at the manifold Hindu prophets that there are. And we came to the conclusion that they were just like us. They were human beings who died like we did and were buried and their bones could be dug up. And there was no indication that they knew anything more about what was beyond the sky than we ourselves did — until the birth of a remarkable human being at the beginning of our era. As we examined His life, we saw that He was not an ordinary human being. That He in fact had power to destroy death. And He did do that.
We examined the documentary evidence, such as the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Alexandrinus in the British Museum. We examined the documentary evidence that lay behind the history of His life and we discovered that of
course there were far more manuscripts lying behind His life, than lying behind the life of a man like Julius Caesar or Plato. And we discovered that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, undoubtedly lived as the history books said He lived and did and said the things they said He did and said.
And we came to the conclusion that He was in fact what He said He was. He was related to the Creator, the Maker of the universe, in a unique way — in a way that neither you nor I have been — in that He existed with Him before anything was created. In other words, He was preexistent. And He appeared here in about 4 or 5 BC and lived until about 29 AD when He was executed. And He showed that He had power to overcome sickness and to control the powers of nature and to actually raise people from being dead. And He Himself rose from being dead and lived on our earth for more than a month after He had been executed.
And we came to the conclusion that He was really the Son, the unique Son of the Maker of our world. And He, of course, explained to His followers and through them to us what the meaning of life is. He made it very clear to us that His Father, the Maker of the world, made you, by deliberate choice of His will, for one reason. He wanted you to be His child, His son or His daughter. That is, your earthly father or your earthly mother are just shadows or are just pointers to a relationship that He made you to have with Himself. And that’s why He made you.
And He made you like Himself. He gave you a mind and emotions as He has. He gave you a will as He has. He gave you a body as He has in a sense, though it’s not a physical body and He gave you a spirit, an inside heart of you that is particularly you. And that’s what His spirit is. It’s the very essence of Him Himself. And you remember how often we’ve said that the spirit of Churchill is the essence of the man. And you have something inside you that is your spirit. You can’t take it out and look at it. You can’t analyze it but it is your spirit.
It’s the thing that makes you, you. It is your very own self, the very heart of yourself. And He made us with the same capacities that He has because He wanted us to be His children, or His friends. He wants us to live with Him forever and to do all kinds of things in connection with the development of the huge infinite universe that we see out there beyond the stars. And that’s why He created us. That’s why you may remember one verse, even if you don’t read the Bible or haven’t read it a lot, you probably remember one verse that runs, “All things work together for good to them that love God.”
It’s in a book called Romans in the New Testament and it’s chapter 8 and verse 28. And that’s the way it goes. “All things work together for good to them that love God.” And of course we’re all used to saying, “Oh, yeah, all things work together for good, you know, to make me happy, rich, wealthy and wise.” Well, no, the purpose that they work together for is defined a few verses later. I think it is something like Romans 8:29. And it says, “That they may be conformed to the image of His Son.” And that’s why we are here on earth, that we may be conformed to the image of the Maker’s Son.
That is, that we would become people like Jesus. Now you have to clear up your mind of wild ideas that you have about Jesus. He wasn’t the kind of dreamy mystic that everybody paints Him as being. He was a very realistic, down to earth man, who was very kind and very tender hearted but was also very strong. And we are here to become like Him so that we can be at home in His home, so that we can live with Him forever, so that we can enjoy Him, so that He can enjoy us. That’s why the Maker of the world made us.
And that’s what we’ve been saying over these months. And of course, what we have mentioned is that we haven’t really cooperated too well in that. And that’s what we’d like to talk a little more about tomorrow.