What is the Meaning of Life
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 162 Who are we Inside? by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That is, why are we alive and how were we meant to live? How was our behavior meant to operate in our personal, business and educational lives? Those are some of the questions we are trying to answer on this program through our discussions together. What we have concluded so far over these past six months is that we were made by an intelligent mind.
That’s obvious because of the design and order that we, along with Einstein, perceive in our natural world, in our human world, in our mental and emotional world. We can see in the chart of elements that order that is built into the physical world itself. We can see in the structure of the DNA molecule that the whole natural universe did not come about by time plus chance, but through deliberate, intelligent planning and design. Simply, we do not find order in the design in our world, unless we can trace it back to the activity of an intelligent mind.
So, it is obvious to us, as we have been discussing during these six months, that we were created by an intelligent person, at least as personable as we are; otherwise, He couldn’t have created persons like us. Of course, we’ve been discussing together His Son in the first century of our era. We examined His life to see if it was historical, and if He was a historical person. We’ve examined His life also to make sure that He wasn’t some kind of crazy lunatic.
But this man Jesus has explained that His Father has put you here on this earth, and made you like him with the same capacities as he has. He did that so that you, during this life of 70 or 80 years here, would become utterly like Him inside in your own character, by your own choice. It’s so that you could begin to take part with Him in an infinite development of the universe after this life is over.
Of course, for that reason, He has made you unique. There is nobody else like you in the whole universe. There never will be and there never has been. It is your responsibility in this life to fulfill the plan that He has in putting you here. That’s why you are not just any telephonist; you’re not just any telephone operator; you’re just not any president of a company; you’re not just any secretary or any electrician.
You are a unique electrician. You are a unique joiner or carpenter. You’re a unique charwoman. You’re a unique maid. You’re a unique master. You’re a unique lord of the manor. You’re a unique princess or a unique prince. There is nobody like you. The Creator made you absolutely unique. You’re different from everybody else. You can know Him in a way that nobody else can know Him. Actually, He can have a relationship with you that He can have with nobody else in the whole universe.
So, it is a remarkable situation which we face. But in the light of that, how are we meant to operate in this present life? That’s a question that many of us face day after day. We read all kinds of psychology books, and all kinds of articles on temperament, yet we are still left with the question, how are my mind and emotions really meant to work? How are they meant to work together? How am I meant to use the abilities of my personality?
Well, the Creator was good because He did give us His own plan for our personalities. In that plan, you may remember, He explained in various places in the Bible, (and if you want to look those up, you can write to me, please, and I’ll give you the references. But so that I won’t seem like some mad evangelical type here, I won’t quote a lot of Bible verses and throw them at you.) I’ll just say to you that in various places in the
Bible, the Creator of the universe indicates that we have been given three different levels of life.
We have a physical level, which is obvious, our body and its five senses through which we perceive the outside world and through which we experience other people and other things and other circumstances and events. Then inside that, as if that were an overcoat, inside our overcoat, is a suit that is our soul. That is the psychological part of us.
The Greek word for spirit is “psuche”, which becomes psyche through Anglo-Saxon sign changes and becomes what we know as psychology and psychiatric…all those terms. The soul is the mind, the emotions, and the will. Then inside that, like a shirt inside a suit is our spirit. Our spirit is the part of us which is related to God. While the soul is the part of us which is related to ourselves; it’s the self-conscious part of us.
The soul is the part that that person referred to when they said, “Our brain cells are the only ones who can think about themselves.” Our soul is able to think about itself. We are able to examine our thoughts. If I asked you, “What are you thinking?” you could tell me what you’re thinking, because you can look in and see what you are thinking.
When I ask what you are feeling, you are able to tell me what you are feeling at his moment. You can tell whether you are feeling sad or happy, up-beat or down-beat, because you can look inside at your emotions. Similarly with your will, if I ask you what you want to do, you can examine your will and see what you want to do. But, when it gets to the spirit, that is, the inside of you, that part of you has to be practiced and exercised by faith. It is the deepest part of you, and yet is a part that you are not immediately aware of and conscious of. So, your spirit is the part of you that relates to God.
We are meant to operate in a certain way with that spirit, and soul, and body. What we did a few days ago was to examine the make-up of the spirit. We saw that our spirit is the real you. It’s you as you really are. It’s you when you’re alone. It’s you when you are not compelled or constrained by any external pressures of responsibility, obligation, duty, and desire to please somebody else. It’s you yourself. “What you are when you’re alone, that you are and nothing more.”
Your spirit is the real you. It’s you as you really are. The Creator of the universe made you with a spirit because He made you unique. Your spirit is the root of your uniqueness. It’s the root of your uniqueness. When we talk about Churchill’s spirit, we mean the whole attitude of the man, the thing that made Churchill, Churchill. That’s what your spirit is. It’s what makes you, you. It’s you, yourself, deep down, the real you.
Now, of course, we were meant to live with that spirit of ours in relationship to God, in a relationship with the Creator of the universe. If we had that relationship, your spirit would be alive, and you yourself would be alive. Most of us, of course, have spirits that are miserably dead. Long ago we ceased to remember who we were. That’s why it’s still popular to ask that question, seemingly a dumb question, “Who am I? I don’t know who I am. I have trouble with my identity.”
During the old Second World War days, we would have said, “Just look up your identity disc, and you’ll see who you are.” But, still, that question is asked today, and increasingly it’s necessary to ask it. We have almost lost ourselves, most of us. Most of us can’t really tell who we are, because we have become such chameleons. The chameleon, you remember, is the little animal that turns the color of its environment. Whatever it’s surrounded by, that it becomes. So many of us are chameleons.
We become what we are expected to be. We become the kind of people that please our teachers, because that gets
us points that will get us on in our career. We become the kind of people that please our boss, because that will get us a promotion. We’ve become the kind of people that will please the person standing opposite to us in the tube [underground train], because that will keep us out of trouble. So, we become little, smiling, cookie monsters who will do anything to get a cookie.
We become little people who like to be petted and patted, and stroked and praised. We do whatever is necessary to get that kind of response from others. We have long ago lost any sense of what we are. Many of us, when we have tried to become what we are, have instead become monsters. In fact, that’s what we human beings have become through wanting our own way and through ignoring the Creator.
So, our spirit is the very heart of us. It’s the very root of us. Now, how were we meant to operate in regard to our spirit? How was our personality meant to operate in relationship to our spirits? Well, let’s talk a little about that tomorrow.