“This series attempts to answer the questions ‘why are we alive?’, is there meaning and purpose to our lives, the problem of sin and selfishness, where our security comes from. The 10 minute talks will establish our uniqueness as God’s children by arguing for God’s existence, order and design in the universe, historicity of the Bible, Jesus’ divinity and resurrection. This is the groundwork for all of reality which ultimately enables us to find true happiness, security and redemption through God’s individual love for each of us.”
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Review of the Evil Nature Problem -
ï»¿WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Review of the Evil Nature Problem
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking on this program on the meaning of life for several months now. We tried to go right back to
the meaning of the origin of the world. We’ve discussed at some length, as those of you who have listened in
during the months know, we’ve dealt over some months in detail with the argument as to whether the world was
originated by time plus chance — a vague, evolutionary process — or whether it can be, because of the design
and order in the universe, that it is tied to the existence of an intelligent mind.
Then, you remember, we tried to look at history and discover whether that intelligent mind had communicated
with us in any way. We studied the lives of people like Mohammed and Buddha; they’re the other great
religious leaders. We studied especially the life of an unusual man that lived in the first century of our
era. You know how we then eventually ended up by looking at the documentation behind that ancient book that
so many of us have forgotten about long ago, the book that is known in Greek as “ta biblia” or “the books”
which is translated into English as the Bible.
We looked at the documentation behind that and the historicity of that book and the Codex Alexandrinus and
Sinaiticus, and Vaticanus manuscripts, that substantiate the historicity of that piece of our era and our life
here on earth. We eventually came to the conclusion, you remember, that this man did live the life that the
Bible says he lived.
Then, you remember, we studied his life from the point of view of finding out, was he a lunatic? Or was he a
madman or was he a liar or a deceiver? Or was he a legend? Or was he real? We came to the conclusion that
he was real. He actually was more than an ordinary man, and was in fact the Son of the Creator of the
universe. If you want to go over some of those arguments or discussions, I do encourage you to write to me
and I’ll send you some of those cassettes from back in those studies.
But we’ve reached the point now where we’re looking particularly in connection with the meaning of life at a
phenomenon that all of us know so well in our own personal lives, the meaning of that phenomenon, and the way
of deliverance from that phenomenon. The phenomenon of course, is the dual nature that all of us know so well
— the old Jekyll and Hyde syndrome that we experience every day.
We try to keep our temper with somebody who’s just pulled into the traffic line in front of us.We find that
suddenly our superficial veneer of civilization disappears and we become raving lunatics, as we wonder to
ourselves why he dared to cross the front of our car like that. Or, when we go home at night, all determined
to be kind and generous to our wives and to our children, and someone, of course, gives us some piece of bad
news, or the wrong piece of mail reaches our hand before we sit down to our dinner, suddenly we become the
very opposite of what we intended to be.
That’s the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. It’s the discovery that inside our good nature there seems to be an evil
nature that we cannot control. It seems demonic in its strength and its power. Most of us try the sensitivity
group approach. We try psychological groups. We try psychoanalysis. We try reading the books on how to
control your temperament. We try listening to the broadcasts on the power of positive thinking. From time to
time we think we’re getting the upper hand of this nature of ours that seems so evil and so filled with self.
But as the years go by, gradually we realize that we’re not getting the upper hand of it at all. It’s just
becoming more subtle and we’re becoming cleverer in our repression. So we have come to the conclusion that
there is just no way out of this hypocrisy which seems to be at the base of our lives. Yet it so often spoils
We look at our wives. We want to love them with a pure and a clean heart. We want them to know that we love
them, yet there comes up before us pictures of some other woman or some other scene, and we find ourselves
filled with lust at a time when we want to be filled with love and kindliness. Or, we express loyalty and
faithfulness to some friend, and at the same time we find rising within us a desire to take advantage of the
friendship and to lie to him.
So we discover within us a dual nature — a good nature and a bad nature, an evil nature and a kindly nature,
a loving nature and an unloving nature, a patient nature and an impatient nature. We wonder if two such
beings can exist within the one body, except that we do know it. We begin eventually to think we must be just
schizophrenic; we’re so split in our personality.
Of course, we’ve been studying that phenomenon, and studying what the meaning of it is. You remember what we
have said is the the meaning of it is found in the very setup of the whole of creation. If you take the
attitude that creation is just a meaningless “blip” in the infinite universe, caused by an impersonal,
evolutionary process, and that there is no God and no meaning to life, then you’re faced with the fact that
you’re one of four billion other people in the world trying to scramble for as many of the material resources
as you need to keep body and soul together.
You’re filled immediately with all sorts of anxiety, angst, fretfulness and at times avarice and greed to get
your share. That, of course, fills you with all kinds of desire to do the other person down, if it’s to your
advantage. Therefore, you find that there are strong desires within you that you cannot control. Now, in fact
what we’ve said is that the bulk of mankind has been living that way from the beginning of the world.
There are great numbers of men and women down through the centuries who have lived as if there is no Creator
at all and as if they have to depend on themselves to survive. So they have developed and bred into their
children and children’s children, into your forefathers and my forefathers, a strong self-nature that wants
its own way whatever it costs anybody else to get its way.
On the other hand if you can take the attitude that there is a God, that there is a Creator, that has made
this world and he’s made you, he knows your name, and he’s counted even the hair on your head as his Son said
in the first century, then you begin to realize that you can trust him, and you can depend on Him. He has put
you here to do a job and he will provide for you either through salary or wages or at times apart from salary
But as long as you do what He has put you here to do, to play the violin or to lay bricks, to brush floors or
to paint pictures, as long as you do what He has told you to do, He will somehow manage to provide for you.
Then there comes into your heart and into your attitude a great spirit of relaxation, an attitude of trust and
a readiness to be generous and loving to other people, because you know the Creator of the world will watch
So, there develops within you a good nature, a nature that is filled with kindliness and a love and a concern
for other people. What we have said is, of course, that we have inherited this evil, selfish nature. Yet there
are elements of the good nature that we find within ourselves from time to time. All of you know what it is to
have generous feelings towards another person, to have a desire to help another person. We all know what that
Yet we find within us this evil, selfish nature that is anxious to do the other person down if it’s to our own
advantage. What we’ve said is, we’ve tried to overcome the evil nature. Most of us have. We’ve tried for
years and years and years but it seems it’s impossible. The reason is it’s as old as the age itself. It’s as
old as the race itself. It’s as old as human nature is.
It has been bred into us for generations. In fact, it actually possesses a superhuman power now that is
connected up with all kinds of attitudes that fill our world. That’s why we can’t overcome it. It’s bigger
than you. It’s not just you. It’s not just a little shortcoming in you. It’s a strong power that’s abroad in
our world today. In fact, the Creator knows that. What we have said is, the Creator, because He knew that
there would be this kind of power perverting our personalities, planned for a deliverance for us.
He knew what you would decide to do. He knew what I would decide to do. He is cleverer than any computer. He
was able to foresee that we would decide to live in this world as if there was no Creator, and that we would,
in fact, pervert our personalities together with our forefathers to the point where the tendency towards anger
and envy and pride and lust was so strong that we would not be able to resist it. He in fact foresaw that and
in the second second when He conceived of our creation He conceived of destroying us and remaking us
That is the amazing cosmic miracle that took place before the foundation of the world. He, in fact, did that.
He destroyed us and remade us in His Son Jesus. Because of that, we are able to choose to live either one way
or the other. We are able to be freed from this self-nature or we are able to be enslaved to this
self-nature. It is really our choice. It is up to us to decide one way or the other.
You may say, “Well, is that all it takes to bring this cosmic miracle that took place in eternity into time?”
No! There is something else. There is something else that connects up with even old H. G. Wells “Time
Machine” that is miraculous in its outworking. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
Holy Spirit in our Lives -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Holy Spirit in our Lives
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life. What is the meaning of life and why are you here? What is the purpose
of our existence? We have been talking especially about the kind of problem you face if you have become
addicted to alcohol. If you have become addicted to alcohol and decide to stop drinking, you find an
impossible series or network of responses that have been created in your personality that seem to be almost
You determine that you will not have another drink, yet your whole emotional and physical make-up have become
so used to alcohol and the relaxation and the pacification and the apparent freedom that it gives you from
worry and anxiety, that you see that your own personality is your own worst enemy. It seems as if your
personality has become suited and fitted to operate on alcohol. Just as an automobile will only operate on
certain kinds of gasoline or petrol, so it seems to you that your personality has become so used to alcohol
that it cannot operate any other way.
So, you often think to yourself, “If I could only change this personality. If I could change the very chemical
makeup of my blood, if I could have a whole new body, and a whole new mind, and a whole new set of emotions,
then perhaps I could have done with this alcohol.”
Of course, it’s the same with any addiction. Even if it’s an addiction to heroin, or if it’s an addiction to
crack, of if it’s an addiction to opium, or if it’s an addiction, strangely enough, to bad temper or to anger
or to resentment, it seems that when you determine to stop doing the thing that you decide is not right for
you, you discover that your whole personality seems to be bent so in the direction of that particular vice,
that you feel the only way you can possibly do what is right is if you can check in this personality and check
out a new one completely.
That is the problem that we have been discussing. What we have been saying, of course, is that the Creator who
made you has a plan. (And there is a Creator who made you. Your personality didn’t come about by chance. You
know that things that are much less ordered and complex in your personality require an intelligent mind to
produce them. So how much more does your personality require to produce it?)
The Creator, when He conceived of your existence, determined that he wanted you to be able to share the
greatest thing that He knows. The greatest thing He knows, of course, according to His own revelation of
Himself to us through His Son, is love. He determined to make you capable of love. But the only people capable
of love are people with free wills. He knew that He had to make you with a free will and He did that. The
moment, of course, He knew that He had to make you with a free will, He knew that you could use that free will
to choose to live as if He didn’t exist.
Once you did that, you would begin to create all kinds of complicated networks in your personality such as we
just discussed. It would create in you certain attitudes of mind, and emotions that would be filled with
frustration as you tried to get from other people what you were originally meant to get from Him. It would
fill you with all kinds of complexes and all kinds of twists and crooked ways in your personality as you tried
to get from the world the kind of security that you could only get from Him alone.
He knew that He had made you for the love of an infinite person who is infinitely wonderful, and as you tried
to make do with the love of an ordinary human being in place of that, He knew that it would create all kinds
of attitudes and responses in your personality that would be filled with frustration and filled with
dissatisfaction, and would require all kinds of perversions, both sexual and emotional, in order to try to
fill the gap.
Immediately when He conceived of that, He conceived of the need to remake you completely.(cid:9)And this is what He
did. This is what an old book called the Bible says that He did. It says that there was a Lamb that was slain
from before the foundation of the world and that Lamb, of course, was His Son Jesus. Another verse in that
Bible says that, “Christ died for all; therefore all died.”
In fact, what God, the Creator, did was He conceived that you would choose to live without Him, that you would
choose to go your own way, that you would as a result pervert your personality and twist it to the point where
the only way you could be free to do what you felt you should do and what you thought was right to do, is if
He actually destroyed that personality and recreated it anew and that’s what he did in His Son in a cosmic
miracle in the midst of infinity.
In timelessness, He recreated you and made you new, so that He sent you into this world with two
personalities, in a sense. Really one, but He sent you with the ghost of the old one still alive. That is the
one that you have when you try to stop drinking. That’s the one that you have when you try to stop smoking.
That’s the one that you have when you stop the sexual perversion that you’re involved in. That’s the one that
you have when you try to stop being bad-tempered. He allowed that one to continue to exist so that you would
see the consequences of that choice.
But, He also created a new one in His Son, in timeless eternity. Your old self was crucified with Him. That
timeless, beautiful, and pure and perfect personality is available to you and that’s the real one that
actually does exist. What we’ve been talking about is how that personality is made existent in this present
life. Of course, the amazing thing is that you either need a time machine, such as H.G. Wells’, that can
actually bring eternity into the midst of time, or that can bring the miracle that occurred in the first
century on the cross at Calvary, or that occurred millions of years before that in timeless eternity.
You need a time machine that will bring it into this present time, or you need some power that will do it
supernaturally. Now, that is what the Creator has provided. There is a power in this life that is given the
name of Spirit and it is called often the Holy Spirit, because it brings a holiness into your life. This Holy
Spirit is God Himself. It is the Creator Himself. It is the infinite Being Himself.
This Holy Spirit is able to take the miracle that God created before He even made the world, the miracle
whereby He renewed you completely in His Son and remade you and destroyed that old self-nature. This Holy
Spirit is able to take that miracle and bring it into time, right here in this present generation in this
present century, in this present day. It is this Holy Spirit that does that miraculously.
So, you are right if you say, “Well, whatever He did in the first century, I can’t have it in my own life
today, because I’m in time here in the twentieth century and He did this back twenty hundred years ago. If
you’re right, He actually did it millions of years before that. How do I bring that into my life?” You don’t!
But He has provided a power, a dynamic. It’s actually a Person. The Holy Spirit is actually a person. It’s the
third person of the Godhead. He is able to take that miracle, that God wrought in His Son Jesus in you, and He
is able to bring this into your life today as you sit in this car at this moment. As you sit in your room at
this very moment. As you sit in your office chair and look out the window, the Holy Spirit is able to make
real in you this tremendous deliverance that the Creator worked for you in His Son.
In fact, He made you twice. He made you, first of all, with a free will, and then He foresaw what you would
use that free will to do to pervert your own personality. He took that perverted personality and He remade
it in His Son. Then He made available the Holy Spirit who is able to actualize that cosmic miracle in your
personal life at this very moment.
What does He need you to do, in order that He should do that? You need to want it. You need to be willing for
it. You need to begin to respect the Holy Spirit and to ask Him to make this effective in you. If you do that,
He will change you this very moment. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about it.
A New Creation in Christ -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
A New Creation in Christ
by Ernest O’Neill
You are in the middle of a bright little discussion in the office, and someone is expressing their views very
strongly. In the course of the discussion, they say something that you utterly and absolutely disagree with.
You open your mouth and you’re about to explain your position. Then your little eye (that is always looking
out to see who approves of you or who agrees with you, or who doesn’t agree with you, or disapproves of you)
looks out and catches sight of the boss.
Suddenly, you realize that he agrees completely with the last speaker. Just as you are about to open your
mouth and express what you really think, you feel that fear coming in and that concern for your reputation in
your boss’ eyes and, indeed, for your job and your promotion. You shut that old mouth of yours, and just keep
Maybe you do that a number of times. You try each time to rationalize, “Well, I’m just watching my “p’s” and
“q’s”. I’m just making sure that I’m not imprudent or stupid in regard to my professional advancement.” But
deep down in your heart, you realize that that often works in your personality, just exactly that way. You are
often about to express and explain what you really do think about something, but your little eye seems as if
it has a natural twist in it.
It seems as if there is a connection between your eye and your heart and your mind at moments like that, and
you automatically look out to see who is going to agree with you and who is going to disagree. In the light of
that you determine whether you’re going to explain what you really think or whether you’re going to shut your
mouth and pretend that you think differently.
Gradually, of course, you feel more and more of a hypocrite and more and more of an actor. Indeed, you feel
more and more like a coward. You come to a point in your life where you begin to wonder who you are anyway.
Are you just a little dog that wants to please everybody else? Are you just a little puppet that is pulled by
the strings that everybody else operates? Or, are you a man or a woman at all?
Of course, the situation is even more pitiful and desperate when you determine. “I am going to speak my mind.
Whatever it costs me, I’m going to speak my mind.” You start trying to do just that very thing. Those moments
come when you feel that you should say what you really think, and lo and behold, it seems as if you are
paralyzed. Your personality has become so used to looking out to see who agrees with you and who disagrees, or
to see what effect this is going to have, or what possible ill consequences it could have for your
professional career, that you find it impossible virtually to express what you really feel and what you really
So many of us become robots that are governed by our environment. We find that our personalities have got into
certain ruts that we seem unable to change. It’s at that moment that we wish that we could be changed
completely. It’s at moments like that, that we say to ourselves, I wish I wasn’t the kind of person I am. I
wish I were different. I wish I could start life all over again. I wish I could be changed completely and
could be like ‘so and so’, or could speak out like that person or this person. I wish I were different. It’s
at that moment that we just wish that a miracle would take place that would change us completely.
What we have been sharing, of course, on this program is that, in fact, that has taken place. Your wish for a
complete change of personality occurs in you, because that very event has occurred. The truth is that the
person who made you…(and there is a Creator who has made you. That’s why you have such an amazing mind, such
incredible photographic capabilities in your eyes as you possess. That’s why you have so many abilities that a
computer doesn’t have in your thinking and your reasoning abilities. There is a Creator who made you.)
He foresaw that you would gradually through fear induced by the fact that you felt you had to depend on what
people thought of you for your prosperity and for your promotion, rather than on Him, He foresaw that you
would, in fact, twist and pervert your personality to the point where it wouldn’t do what you wanted it to do
— where you couldn’t even be what you knew you ought to be. He foresaw that. He foresaw that before He even
put you on this earth.
If you ask how he could do that, it’s easy. He has an infinite mind. He doesn’t tie Himself to future and
present and past. He sees all of time as one great present moment. In that moment that He conceived of your
existence and conceived of your freedom of will and conceived that you would misuse it to pervert your
personality so that it became the opposite of what you wanted it to be, He conceived of the need to remake
you. And that He did.
He did it in His Son, in His son whose name is Jesus, even before He put you on this earth. He remade you
completely. If you say, “Well, why did He leave me with this twisted, perverted personality? So that you would
see that that was the personality you could have if you chose to live independent of Him. But, He made you new
in His Son. He has remade you and given you a completely new personality that is free from fear of your boss,
or fear of what other people think or fear of what they can do to your promotion or your career. He has remade
you and given you a completely new personality.
That personality can be actualized in your life today. If you say, “How?” Through a miraculous, dynamic power
that He has put into the world. It’s the power that makes the sun set as beautiful as it is. It’s the power
that makes the lake as peaceful and as calm and serene as it is. It’s the power that links our eyesight with
the objects that we see. It’s the power that makes beauty, and that enables us to understand other people
without even seeing them, just by hearing their voice. It’s the power that moves the winds and the breakers
break so magnificently on the Hawaiian shores. It is a power called the Holy Spirit.
It’s a life that links up everything in this life together with the Creator. That power, which is really a
person, not just a power — He’s the Holy Spirit, a person. He’s the third person of the Godhead. He is able
to take the miracle that this Creator has wrought when He remade you in His Son in timeless eternity and He is
able to make that actual in your life at this very moment. He is.
The Holy Spirit is able to bring out of timelessness into time the new personality that the Creator gave you.
You can experience that new personality day by day. How? It’s amazing, but simply by faith. Faith is first of
all believing that the Creator has actually done that. That’s based on the death that took place in the first
century, of Jesus, the Creator’s Son.
It’s based on a verse in that old book called the Bible, which is Romans 6 and verse 6, if you ever want to
look it up. It’s the book of Romans in the New Testament and it’s chapter 6 and verse 6. It says that,” We
know that our old self” ( that old self that is scared of your boss, that is scared of what other people think
of you, that keeps your mouth closed when you want to speak out and say what you really believe), that old
self “was crucified with Christ.” That’s what the verse says.
Our old self was crucified with Christ. Crucified not only in the first century, but in timeless eternity
before that. Because the Lamb was slain from before the foundation of the world. The Holy Spirit is able to
bring that miracle out of cosmic eternity and timelessness and make it real in you this very moment, if you
simply have faith. That is, if you believe that God has done that.
Secondly, if you begin to respect this Holy Spirit and listen to Him and obey Him and trust the intuitive
impulses that he puts within you, and speak out when He tells you to, irrespective of what the consequences
will be, trusting that he will take care of them.
If you begin to respect this Holy Spirit and begin to let Him constrain the actions of your life, instead of
letting other people and their opinions constrain the actions of your life, if you are ready to govern your
behavior by him and his directions, instead of by the constraints and the compulsions that come upon you from
the fear of what other people think of you, then this Holy Spirit will bring this new personality into you and
will recreate you completely anew and enable you to live a life that is free from self and free from fears
You can do that this very moment. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about it.
Freedom from Worry and Anxiety -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Freedom From Worry and Anxiety
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever been worried about money? Have you ever gone to sleep one night knowing that you had an
overdraft at the bank and that it was beyond anything you could handle and you couldn’t see a way through it?
You know how the night passes. You get to sleep for an hour. Then you wake up utterly preoccupied with the
overdraft. Then you start thinking through it and you try to work out how you’re going to meet the overdraft.
You see that you can’t do it.
Then you begin to philosophize and persuade yourself that you’re not doing yourself any good by worrying and
being anxious. You’d be better to get some sleep, so that you were more fitted the next day to do something
that would help to get some money to deal with the problem. Then you find yourself going through the whole
situation again in your mind, trying to work out if you can do anything.
Then you tell yourself, “No, you can’t do anything. You’re only making trouble for yourself by being worried
and anxious. This is just senseless. You can’t do anything by thinking about the problem.” So at last you get
down to some kind of sleep for about fifteen minutes or half an hour. So, the night passes in off-and-on sleep
and off-and-on wakefulness.
You get up the next morning utterly worn out. You go to work and try to concentrate on what you’re going, but
your mind keeps going back at every opportunity to the problem of the overdraft. It seems as if something has
got a grip on your mind that is stronger than you yourself. You can’t understand why it is. You can’t
understand what to do about it, but somehow you can’t stop yourself thinking about that worrisome financial
position that you’re in.
You begin to wonder, is your mind under your control at all? Or, is it absolutely out of your control. Here
you are doing everything possible to try to stop worrying and yet you find your mind repeatedly going back to
the issue of this overdraft. Even though you know all the worry and anxiety in the world won’t do a bit of
good, yet you find the mind goes back to it repeatedly.
You come to the point where you wonder, “Am I going absolutely crazy? This is ridiculous. Even though I have
an overdraft, there are ways in which, if I sell my house, or I sell my car, there are ways in which I somehow
can get through it. Yet my mind seems intent on almost torturing me, by going around and around the same
circles again and again and again. Why is that?”
It seems as if there is part of you that can see this isn’t sensible. Yet, there is another part of you that
seems to be fascinated and mesmerized by the hideous position that you find yourself in financially. Why does
that kind of situation occur with so many of us? Almost any of us could tell the same story as we’ve outlined
to each other just these past few minutes. Why is that so?
Well, the fact is that there is in your personality something that seems almost intractable, something that
makes you feel there is no way that I can clear myself from this worry, unless I get this twist out of my
personality, out of my mental makeup. There seems to be some crookedness, some flaw that has begun to work in
my mental makeup that prevents me even being able to control my mind. It seems that even though you exercise
your will to control your thoughts, yet your mind refuses to be controlled. It is as if it is running out of
What we have been sharing, of course, is that the reason for that is there has occurred in our personalities a
basic perversion that was not there at the beginning. In other words, we were, as Wordsworth describes in his
poem, “we came trailing clouds of glory behind us”. As little children we came with minds that would work the
way they were meant to work, that would work under the control of our wills.
But as we lived more and more in dependence on the things that we could obtain in this world to establish our
security, as we depended more and more on a reasonable bank account, for a good job, for money, as we depended
more and more on our clothing and a good supply of shelter for ourselves to establish our security, so we
became more and more entangled in attitudes and compulsions that govern the whole society of mankind.
Until, we have reached the point where when it gets to a matter of money, we are almost controlled by outside
feelings and outside attitudes. It’s the same kind of thing that takes hold of Wall Street or takes hold of
the City, when the economy begins to get shaky. It’s as if there is a corporate psyche that begins to get
twisted. It’s as if there is a corporate neurosis that takes hold of us all and makes us worry illogically
about certain issues.
It’s that that has taken hold of many of us. In fact, you might say all of us. We have developed certain
twists in our personalities that prevent our minds working in the same logical fashion they were meant to when
we first came to the earth. Many of us think, “This is crazy! It seems as I myself am twisted. It seems as if
I almost have to be changed utterly and completely. It seems as if I almost have to check this mind in and
check out a new one. If I could only go and trade it across the counter for a completely new mind that would
work sanely and sensibly, then perhaps I could exercise my will freely.”
It’s interesting, but that is exactly our situation. In fact, what has happened is, so many of us have lived
so dependent on the things that we can obtain in the world and the things that we can obtain from the world
for our security, that we have come to the point where we are absolutely unable to operate in a sane, sensible
fashion with the twisted, perverted mental apparatus that we now have.
What we have been saying is that the one who made us, the Maker of the world, the one who made you and made
your mind and made your body, that Person knows that that was going to happen to you. He knew that you were
going to so depend on the things that you could obtain in the world for your security that eventually your own
mind would become twisted and would become perverted itself. It would have to be remade completely. This is
what He did in a cosmic miracle that He worked before even He put you on the earth.
You were not only a twinkle in your father’s eye before you were born, but you were a concept in the Creator’s
mind. He had conceived of the perversion that would take place in your mind during this lifetime. He at that
moment recreated you in His Son. That’s what a certain verse in the old book called the Bible says. It says,
“Our old self was crucified with Christ.” (Romans 6:6) It means that the old mind that you have developed
over the years was destroyed in Jesus before the foundation of the world and you were recreated completely
There actually is a new you that is available in timelessness and you are able to receive that new self, hid
with Christ in God, into your life today. You can. It’s amazing! It’s the only way you can ever be free from
that psychological twist that has developed in your whole being. It is the only way you can receive again a
mind that will work properly and that will work in a balanced way. How do you do it?
Well, the only way possible for this to become real in you is as we’ve said in previous days… through faith.
Through believing that the Creator has, in fact, remade you. That’s what it really means when people say that
you must be born again. That’s what they really mean. You must be made over again. That’s what God the Creator
has done just in a cosmic miracle in timelessness, in the Lamb that was slain from before the foundation of
the world. How do you enable that to become real in your own life today? Through faith.
What is faith? Faith is believing that the Creator has actually done this for you and then, trusting the Holy
Spirit, His own life power, to make that real in your life this very moment. It’s amazing, but that can take
place now if you believe it and if you begin to respect this supernatural Spirit of God to make that
deliverance real in you, this very day. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
What is the New Birth? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
What is the New Birth?
by Ernest O’Neill
Many of us these days are just plain frustrated. We have certain attitudes in our own personalities that we
are unable to change. They are spoiling our lives with our wives and our children and many times with our
other relatives. Certainly they’re spoiling our lives with our colleagues at business or in the factory. We
don’t know how to overcome these wrong attitudes.
Some of them are attitudes of inferiority. Some of us are horribly inferior, or feel inferior, compared with
other people. We feel we are little nothings. We feel we are unimportant. We feel we don’t mean anything to
Others of us feel totally incompetent. We feel we can’t do anything right. We are always doing things wrong.
We’re always failing. We are unable to tackle anything that is really important. In all kinds of ways, there
are many of us that are just frustrated to death with ourselves. And it’s not just with ourselves. We can be
frustrated with our circumstances. We can be frustrated with other people, but many of us are just fed up to
the teeth with what we ourselves are.
Indeed, we have come to almost hate ourselves and despise ourselves. Often we feel we would get rid of
ourselves if only we had the courage to do it, because we feel that that’s the only thing that will solve the
problem. We feel the only way to get rid of these ridiculous situations that we create is to get rid of the
cause of that situation. Usually that is us, ourselves.
What you need to realize and hear, if that is your situation, and many of us feel that way in these days — if
that is your situation, you need to hear this very plainly: that has already been done for you. It has. That
has already been done for you. If you say to me, “What has already been done for me? Suicide? You mean
somebody has already killed me?” Well, not suicide. But, yes, somebody has already killed you. In other words,
the you that you are experiencing at this moment is not the you that any longer actually exists in reality.
That you, that was before in the foundation of the worldâ€¦ (and I know this all sounds strange, but please
keep listening to me for your own sake. I feel for you, for the very things that you feel are the very things
that I feel and others feel. So do keep listening.) But the truth is that long before the world was created,
that you that frustrates you to death, that you that feels so inferior, that feels that it is unable to do
anything, that was actually destroyed. Before you were even born, that was destroyed.
If you say to me, “Well, who destroyed it?” I know this will bewilder you, but your Creator, your Maker,
destroyed it. He foresaw the way you would develop. He saw the way you would refuse to treat Him for real. He
saw the way that your dependence on other people and on things would twist and pervert your personality. He
was able to see all that as something that was real and actual. Seeing that, He actually put you into a person
that lived with Him then and that lives with Him now.
Because…the Creator of the world has a Son. His name is Jesus. Now, don’t go to sleep on that, please. It is
really true. If you check the documented history of the first century, you’ll come to the same conclusion as I
have that He is real. He is real. He is really the son of the Maker of the world. The Maker of the world put
you into His son before He even allowed you to be born here on earth. He destroyed that perverted, twisted
personality that you have now developed. He made you completely new again.
Well, if you say to me, “Why was I born with this twisted one?” It’s because that’s the one you have chosen.
That’s the one you have chosen. That’s the one you have chosen to develop. He had to allow you that choice. He
had to allow you to express that in your life, because He cares most about you and your love and your free
will. So, He gave you the freedom to do what you have done. But, so that you would be able to be delivered
from that, He actually also destroyed it and made you completely new and whole in His Son.
So, there is a you that is different and that is free and that is not filled with inferiority, a you that is
balanced and sane and a you that can live the way you were meant to live. That you is the real you that exists
now. The old you has been eliminated in timelessness. The new you is the you that is available. It is possible
for you to experience that new personality that your Maker has made for you. If you say to me, “How can I do
that? How on earth or in heaven can I possibly experience something that is not in existence here on the
earth, but exists only in the Maker’s mind?” The answer is faith. Just faith.
You have to be very clear in your own mind that faith will not create this. Faith simply recognizes the fact.
If this new you does not exist by the cosmic act of our Creator in His Son Jesus, then there is no way in
which your faith can create that. Your faith simply receives that. It believes that. The moment you believe
it, that moment the whole thing is real for you. It becomes real. It becomes real by a miracle.
In other words, there is a new you that is available, as it were, on a shelf in the presence of your Maker.
That new you can become real in your life by the Creator’s miracle if you have faith. Faith is just believing
that the Creator has, in fact, done this. In other words, it is simply believing reality. It’s believing that
the Creator did foresee that you would become the twisted personality that you have become and that He would
destroy that in His Son Jesus and would recreate you and make you completely new. Faith is believing that.
Faith isn’t creating that; it’s believing it.
So, you need to get rid of any idea that faith creates something or achieves something. It doesn’t. It simply
believes it. But the moment you align your own mind with what reality is, that moment reality is able to
become actual in your own life. If you say to me, “Well, is there anything else I have to do to make it real,
the answer is “yes”. The Creator brings that into your life through a dynamic power that now exists on the
earth. He is actually a person called the Holy Spirit.
He is able to take the event that occurred in cosmic, timeless eternity and He is able to make that actual in
your present, temporal life. The Holy Spirit does that. He does that when you believe that the Creator has
already done that for you. When you begin to respect the Holy Spirit Himself and run your life by His
directions and by His guidance. If you do that, if you simply believe that the Maker has done this for you,
and if you then begin to treat the Holy Spirit as a real person through your faith and begin to do what He
tells you to do, to speak when He tells you to speak, to think what He tells you to think — then you will
find that a whole, new personality will become real in your life.
You will be a changed person miraculously. It is a miracle. It is a miracle that the Creator has promised will
become real for you, if you have faith. Faith is believing that He has done what He said He would do in His
Son Jesus, and submitting to the Holy Spirit and obeying the Holy Spirit’s directions in your life. It is
possible. If you are out there and this is all new to you and you’re wondering what is this crazy guy
thinking. Believe it.
It’s in the Bible. You will find it in verses like Romans 6 and verse 6, where it says, “Our old self was
crucified with Christ.” You will find it in other verses like in a book of the Bible called Colossians. You’ll
find it there in the 3rd chapter of Colossians, where it says there that you have died and your life is hid
with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3) There are other verses in the New Testament that say the same thing. In
Colossians 3:1, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God.”
So, there are all kinds of statements in that old book that show that you were actually destroyed in Jesus and
made completely new in Him. That new personality can be yours this very moment by simple faith, faith in what
God has done to you in Jesus and obedience to the Holy Spirit, who will make it real in your present life.
Let’s talk a little more about this tomorrow.
The Dual Nature Personality in Us -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
The Dual Nature Personality in Us
by Ernest O’Neill
You’re going to meet your wife to buy some furniture from a store. You’re looking forward to it and thinking
of the enjoyment they’ll have in picking the right table and chairs and then having it delivered. Really, all
in all, it’s just a happy occasion that you’re looking forward to.
So, you get off work and head out towards the store, but you take a wrong turn and take a little longer to get
there than you planned. So you’re rather late and she is standing there waiting. When you arrive, she asks you
how something else went, another business transaction that you were to complete that day. You tell her part of
the transaction that really isn’t very promising, and yet it isn’t absolutely disappointing, either. But she
grasps the negative comment that you make and before you know it the conversation is already beginning to go
Then, you walk into the store. She makes a few comments about how you are going to pay for the table and the
chairs and you don’t respond as you ought to in an upbeat and encouraging way. You respond rather dryly and
flatly, thinking to yourself, “Well, if she isn’t really confident about it, why should I be?”
You come outside the store. She says to you, “Would you like to go for supper, now?” You say, “No, I don’t
care. Do you want to?” She says, “I only want a cup of coffee.” So you say, “Well, I don’t want anything,
either.” She says, “Well, let’s go home.” You say, “Yeah, let’s go home.” So that is the end of the wonderful,
little transaction that you planned that was going to be an enjoyable move forward in your domestic
Has that ever happened to you? I would imagine that the details are not precisely the ones you have
experienced, yet, something like that has happened to you at some time. You go home wondering, “Where did I go
wrong? Why did I do what I did?” Of course, there are a hundred situations where you could have taken a
different turn. There are at least a dozen different moments when you could have answered differently from the
way you did. You wonder to yourself, “Why, why did I do that?”
Of course, way at the bottom of the answer is the feeling in your own head that it’s up to her to take some of
the weight and the responsibility of things and keep things going happily and keep things going
optimistically. It can’t always depend on you. She ought to be able to lift the thing out of the doldrums at
some point. At bottom, that’s probably a lot of the trouble, isn’t it?
You see different moments when you could have done differently from what you did, but, just at that moment,
you decided, “Well, why doesn’t she do it? She may as well save this evening. Why should I always be the one
to save it?” Of course, at the very heart of that is an attitude, probably of self-pity and self-concern,
probably an attitude that is caught up with a martyr complex and a self-sacrificial preoccupation with what
you have done so often to try to preserve the happiness of your relationship.
At the bottom of all of that is the feeling that you have a right to have somebody else take the weight
instead of you. Yet, it’s so often impossible to do anything about that feeling, isn’t it? You feel, “Well, I
tried, but I didn’t try hard enough. But I tried.” Usually, later that evening, or later that week, or later
that month, whenever the cold war eases off, you eventually end up apologizing anyway and making up.
Now, why is it that you can’t do that at the time? You’re probably like the rest of us, and you answer, “I
don’t know. It just seems the ball is rolling in that direction and I don’t seem able to stop it. It seems as
if the conversation just drifts that way.” Yet, you recognize that there are certain moments when you could
have turned it differently.
Probably you would say, “Yes, there were those moments. I was, at times, conscious of them. Some of them, I
wasn’t conscious of them, but some of them I was. I just felt, “Aw, well, let’s just let it go. I just felt a
whole rising in my nature that we just follow this thing out to the logical conclusion and see what kind of a
ditch it gets us into.” You probably say that you found your personality and your nature just going that way;
so you just let it go.
Many of us find that that is the greatest problem in our lives. In situation after situation our nature, the
very inner essence of our being, seems to want to go down into destruction and into failure and into
unhappiness. Now, we would like to say, “Oh, no, no, no, I’m really a happy person. I want happiness most of
all.” Yet, you would admit that there are moments when you seem to want unhappiness.
Dostoyevsky puts it like this, “The only reason a man will act against his own best advantage is to have his
own way.” I think many of us have known that. We have seen that this is going to be to our disadvantage. We
have seen that it is going to end up in destruction and unhappiness. Yet, something in us makes us want to do
what will almost be a self-destructive thing. Now, why is that?
Well, it seems to be our very nature, doesn’t it? What we have been talking about over the past few weeks is
that most of us have discovered that underneath that nature of ours, that wants happiness and that wants to be
pleasant to our wives and our colleagues, there seems to lie another nature that wants the very opposite of
that, a nature that wants its own way, even if it ends up destroying itself.
What we have said is that that nature comes from the race itself. It’s the whole human race that has been
breeding that nature into its children and its children’s children for generations. Why it is so strong in you
is, you have inherited it from centuries of forefathers. If you ask, “Well, why is it there?” Well, it’s there
because there is something in us that wants to be the god of the whole universe and wants everyone else to bow
down to us and do what we want. There’s something in us that wants that.
There is something in us that doesn’t want to believe that there is any God but us. There’s something in the
human race that has rejected the whole idea that there is a Creator and wants to put itself in the position of
that Creator. Of course, it’s unrealistic. In fact, there is a Creator, there is a Maker who has made us, but
we have bred into ourselves, down through the centuries, the idea that we, in fact, are the god and ruler of
the world, and that we have every right to our own way, even if it seems to bring about our own destruction.
That’s why it seems so impossible to change that nature, because it is part of the human race itself.
Now, is there any way out? Well, all the psychological games we play are like trying to tame a lion with a
piece of candy. The only way is for that nature to be completely remade and recreated. And…. that is what
has happened. That is what has happened in this man Jesus. I don’t know if you know much about Him, but there
is an amazing verse in the New Testament, near the end of the Bible.
It’s in a book called Colossians and it’s in Chapter 3 and verse 3. “For you have died, and your life is hid
with Christ in God.” Now, the amazing fact is this, that you have actually died. That nature of yours that
causes you such trouble was actually destroyed in this man Christ. (He was more than a man; he was the Son of
the Maker of the world.)
That nature of yours that is so intractable and so incorrigible, and so untamable, and so untrainable, that
nature of yours was destroyed in a cosmic miracle that the Maker of the world performed long before the
creation of the world. He actually destroyed you and remade you in His Son. It is possible for you, through
believing that and through trusting His Spirit to make that real in you, it is possible for you to be freed
from that personality of yours.
Let’s talk a little more about it tomorrow.
We have two Personalities -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We Have Two Personalities
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been taking some rather large steps in our discussion of the meaning of life during these past weeks. I
really do feel for those of you who have been following the conversation during the months, because I realize
that we have taken some massive steps in philosophical and theological thinking. I understand that much of it
is new to you and much of it is kind of bewildering, and I do hope that you don’t think that I have gone a
little crazy on you all of a sudden.
I haven’t, but it is necessary, at times, when we’re discussing such a complex question as the meaning of
life, to take large steps and make large leaps. I really do hope that they haven’t been too large in their
logical outcome or implications. I do ask you to stick with me as well as you can, because I will keep going
back on the subject and, by all means, do write to me if you wish to the address that I give at the end of the
program, because I do want to explain what I mean clearly, so that you have the best possible chance of
getting meaning into your own life and beginning to get some satisfaction out of your life.
You know that we’ve been discussing the central problem of human nature: that of our dual nature. It is the
battle between good and evil that goes on inside us. We have discovered that we have not only a good nature,
that seems to want to be kind and happy, but we also have a bad nature, an evil nature, that often seems to
want to be unhappy and even to destroy itself and certainly to destroy other people.
We’ve discussed at some length where those two natures came from and how both of them are actually as old as
the race itself. The good nature is the one that has been given us by the Person who made us: the Creator of
the world. You may remember that we have talked at some length why we believe there is a Creator of this
world. He gave us a nature that was made to trust Him and to depend on Him. That’s what He wanted us to do. He
wanted us to be His friends and He wanted us to think of Him as our dear Father. He wanted us to come to this
earth and to do the job that He had made us to do.
If you’re a violinist, then you play the violin. If you’re a pianist, then you play the piano. If you’re an
accountant, then you count money. If you’re a director, you direct businesses. He wanted us to do the job He
had given us to do in order to bring His world into complete order under His will. In the process of that, He
assured us that we would make sure we had all the money and shelter and clothing that we needed in this life,
and that we would get great satisfaction from doing what He made us to do.
As a result, we would have a great sense of our own identity and who we were and of our own self-worth and
value. Now, we determined not to do that. We decided we would live without Him. We would live independent of
Him, or at least our forefathers did, centuries ago. So, they developed at the beginning of the human race
another kind of nature that was made to live as if there was no God, to live as if we only had ourselves to
look after and only had ourselves to look after ourselves.
So, that nature began to develop all the neuroses that such a situation would almost impose upon us. We looked
around and saw all the billions of people in the world who were all trying to get the food, clothing and
shelter that they needed, who were all trying to get the sense of self-worth that they needed, who were all
trying to get the happiness that they needed. The only way that we could ensure that we would get it, despite
our attempts to get it for ourselves, was to develop all kinds of competitiveness, all kinds of anger,
jealousy and envy and pride, all kinds of ways of wanting our own way, of insisting on our own rights, of
beating the other guy down so that we could stay on top.
We developed a nature that is like that, a nature that is self-assertive and self-defensive, that is
destructive of other people. Unfortunately, that nature has become as real, indeed more real for many of us,
than our good nature. The problem with it is that it is as old as the race itself. Now, what we have been
saying is that the Creator foresaw all that.
I hope you don’t have problems with that when you consider that the Cray computers or IBM computers are able
to foresee how much oil we will need in the twenty-first century. They are able to foresee al the contingent
decisions a certain person will make given a certain situation and certain environmental background and a
certain heredity. So, if computers can do that you know that the infinite mind of the Creator of the universe
can certainly do it and that’s what He did. He foresaw the kind of person you would become by your contingent
decisions. He knew that you would be hopelessly overwhelmed by that evil nature — that you wouldn’t be able
to do anything about it.
So, what He did, and I know this is a tricky thing and a hard thing for you to believe, what He did was He
remade you. He remade you before He’d actually made you the first time. Don’t get confused about that. You
know that it’s possible for a man like Einstein to conceive of all the possibilities of the Theory of
Relativity simply in his own head. Many of Einstein’s discoveries and proofs have only been proved out in
astronomical experiments years after he formed the theory.
So, even a bright human mind is able to conceive of all kinds of possibilities just in the mind itself. That’s
what the Creator did. Except that He was also able to remake you, even before He had made you the first time.
He was able, in other words, to conceive you, conceive of making you, conceive of what would be the problem in
your life, and actually remake you before He made you the first time.
So, in fact, there are two natures available to you. There is the old, selfish nature that you so often
experience and there is this good nature that is made fit to depend on God and not on the world. There is the
possibility that you can receive that nature into your own life today. That’s the only possibility. You’ll
never beat that old nature on your own, however many sensitivity groups you go to, however many books on
controlling your temperament you go to, however much self-discipline and cold showers you use, you will never
You know that, those of you who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, who are alcoholics, or those of you who are
even addicted to bad temper or to envy or jealousy or pride, you know that you’ve tried to control it and you
can’t. The Maker knew that. He actually destroyed that old nature of yours. Now He destroyed it in His Son. He
had to put it into another human being and that’s why His Son came to earth. He put it in His Son and
destroyed it there.
Now, if you say, “Oh, how can that affect me today, what happened twenty centuries ago?” Well, because there’s
no such thing as time, really. Time is just an invention, an accommodation that the Creator has made for you
and me to be able to live in a time-space world. But, in timeless eternity, there is no time. So, He was able
to put you into His Son Jesus and destroy that old nature in Him. When Jesus actually cried out, “My God, my
God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, He was crying it out, because He felt the wrath of His Father burning out
your selfish nature in Him. Now, that’s why He died.
That nature has been destroyed. You may say, “Well, why is this old nature still alive in me?” That’s because
God allowed the ghost of it to continue in you today, so that you would have a real choice to make in this
life. You would see one way to live dependent on the world of men and of things, and circumstances for all
your security and your significance and happiness and all the consequences that that evil nature would produce
or, on the other hand, you would see the possibility of depending on God and trusting in Him and the kind of
nature that would produce. You could see that in Jesus, His Son.
So, God wanted you to have a real choice. Now, you can choose today. It is open to you. You can actually
choose. The selfish nature that you have shadows and symptoms of in your present life has already been
destroyed. It no longer exists. The Creator has actually destroyed it in cosmic eternity. But the new nature
that he has given you when He raised His Son from the dead, that nature is available to you.
If you say to me, “How do you receive it?” By believing. That’s it. Simply by believing. You believe that God
has done what He said He has done. There is a verse in the New Testament that might help you to grasp that.
It’s in Romans 6 and verse 6 and it goes, “Our old self was crucified with Christ.” That’s it.
All you have to do is believe that…believe that… and then begin to listen to His Spirit that He will put
within you who will tell you what to say to your wife at the crucial moment, what to say to your colleagues at
the crucial moment. That Spirit, if you obey it, will enable you to live in the new nature every day of your
life. That can begin today. Let’s talk a little more about it tomorrow.
Jesus and our Personality -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Jesus and our Personality
by Ernest O’Neill
We are talking about the central problem of mankind. It’s he problem that is stated in a certain verse which
runs, “The good that I would I cannot, and the very evil that I hate is the thing that I do.” Actually, it is
often preceded by another statement, “I do not understand my own actions because the good that I would I
cannot, but the evil that I hate, that I do.”
Another person has put it differently. Dostoyevsky put it this way. He said, “The only reason a man will act
against his own best advantage is to have his own way.” In other words, a person will act even against his own
advantage. He will act to actually destroy himself in a situation just in order to have his own way. You are
probably like me. You’ve found yourself doing this at times and wondering, “Am I crazy? Am I insane?” You’ve
often wondered, “How on earth do I change this?”
It’s not only those of us who are alcoholics, or who are drug addicts, or who are caught up in sex or
homosexuality or lesbianism, or who are overwhelmed by an evil temper that bursts out and destroys our
domestic bliss almost every week. It’s not only people like us who are addicted to those things, it’s all of
us. All of us human beings have found ourselves often in the situation where we are not able to do what we
know we should do.
It’s not a matter of what should we do, or what is good and what is bad. All of us are pretty clear on most of
those things. But our difficulty is in doing what we know we ought to do. The problem in doing it is, we find
there is something in us ourselves that opposes good. There’s something in us ourselves which opposes even us.
We set our wills to do what we know is right and we find there is something inside us which seems to oppose
even our wills.
Of course, what we have been saying is, it’s our very nature. It’s our whole nature. Our whole mind and
emotions seem to work, not from our wills, but they seem to be dominated by our bodies. Our bodies, in their
turn, seem to be dominated by circumstances in the world. They seem to be dominated by things; they seem to be
dominated by people.
Often, we find ourselves absolutely driven to certain actions because of what people think. Our little eyes
look out and we see somebody who is disapproving of us. That sends a signal to our little emotions that want
to be praised and want to be liked, and that sends a signal to our mind and our mind determines, “Boy, it’s
not a bright thing to say that, and it’s going to bring disapproval from that person.” Our mind utterly
dominates our will and our poor little will has no say in the matter at all. So, we are driven to certain
actions because of what people think.
It’s the same with circumstances. Often, we get up in the morning and it’s raining. It’s raining, and the
clouds are dark, and the day looks miserable, and we want to be happy that day. It’s somebody’s birthday and
we want to be upbeat, but suddenly, our eyes catch the sight of that gloomy morning and they send a signal to
our emotions, “It’s a dark, dull day. Don’t you feel dull and dark?”
Our emotions then send a signal to our minds saying this is going to be a miserable day. Our mind just
determines, “Well, this is a sad day, so let’s keep a frown on our face and let’s look down and let’s not make
any effort to make anybody happy.” The poor little will just submits. It has no chance to do anything else.
Most of us have found there is something in our whole personalities which opposes what we really want to do.
What we have been saying is, short of being able to take your personality and check it in for a new one, or
have a surgeon cut out your personality and put in a new one, there seems no answer to this. Many of us have
tried, of course, to retrain our personalities and we make a little progress. On the whole, however, the
personality remains largely the same. If we beat it down in one area, it seems to pop up in another.
We wonder, is there any way out of this, or do we have to die with this personality and just make do with
ameliorating the situation as best we can? What we have been saying is, you don’t have to die with it. You
don’t have to live with it. The Maker who made you knew this would come about. He knew this would come about.
He knew you would develop a personality like that. He foresaw that. He actually made arrangements to change
it. He did it in a cosmic miracle.
Now, you may say, “Wait a minute! You were logical up to this point, but now you’re expecting me to take a
leap of faith.” Yes, I have to do that. Because it is, in fact, a fact. There are facts, you know, which are
beyond our present ability to reason around them. You know it is a matter of fact that many of the stars we
see in the sky no longer exist. It’s just the light from them which is travelling towards us. That’s what we
see. The distances are so huge in space that the light has to take centuries and centuries to get to us.
It’s almost impossible for our reason to grasp this. We look up and we say, “Oh, that is a star.” It’s really
only the light coming to us. It isn’t a star. The star has died centuries ago. It’s very hard for us to reason
around that. There are things our reason finds very hard to grasp. Yet, you believe it. You believe it even
though you can’t reason it through. You believe it.
There are many things you believe about computers. You don’t know exactly how they work. You don’t know every
detail about them. It’s the same with your internal combustion engine. You don’t understand everything, yet,
you do believe certain things. I make no apology. This is just a very important fact that is vital for you to
know. Your Creator knew you would develop the personality that is so selfish and is so opposed to what you
want to do and to what you know is right. He destroyed that personality in His Son, Jesus.
That’s what that death of Jesus Christ is all about. It’s not just a matter of forgiveness of sins. It’s not
just a matter of God being prepared to forgive you your sins, if you believe that Jesus died for you. It’s not
just that. It’s that God put you into His Son, Jesus and He destroyed that old selfish personality in His Son
and He remade you completely when He raised Jesus from the dead.
If you say to me, “Oh, now, come on. Did all that happen in 29 A.D.?” No, it was expressed in 29 A.D. It was
real enough in 29 A.D. That’s when He was crucified. But, really, He was crucified from before the foundation
of the world. There’s a verse in the Bible that says He was slain from before the foundation of the world. The
fact is that God the creator exists in timeless eternity above time and space. It’s there that He remade you
completely. He has remade your personality absolutely and perfectly. There is a beautiful personality for you
that exists in timeless eternity.
If you say to me, “Yeah, timeless eternity! But how does it become real in my life today?” Through an amazing
power that God has put in the universe. It’s actually a power, but He’s actually a person too. He’s the person
of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is able to take this new personality of yours that exists in timeless
space and He is able to bring that into this temporal world and He’s able to make that real in your life
today. He is able to do that. He can do that by a miraculous transmission of that new personality out of
timeless eternity and bring it into time and space here.
He is able to do that and if you say, “Well, why doesn’t He do it?” Because you have never believed that. He
cannot do what you will not believe Him to do, because He is dependent on your free will. You have to want Him
to do it. You have to want it and you have to be willing for it. You have to be willing for such a new
personality to come into you as Jesus, Himself, had. A personality that is willing to depend on God alone for
your security, significance and your happiness and not to depend on men, or circumstances, or things.
If you’re willing to live that kind of life, then all you have to do is to believe that the Creator has
already done that for you, and His Holy Spirit will make that miraculously real in your life day by day. All
you have to do is from this moment on, listen to the Holy Spirit. Believe that He is there in you as a real
person and begin to listen to what He tells you to do, and you’ll find He’ll give you the power to do it.
That’s how to be free and it can be your experience today.
Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about it.
A new Start in Life -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
A New Start in Life
By Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking at some length these months on this program about the meaning of life. What is the meaning
of life? Why are you alive? What’s the point of it all?
One of the things we discussed, you remember, was the question of whether there was any order, or any meaning
to this life. As we discussed that, we discovered there is great order in the universe. Not only do the
seasons follow in logical progression, but the stars orbit round one another in a way that forces you to
accept that a great mathematician has worked out the whole system. So, we came to the conclusion there had to
be an intelligent mind behind the universe.
Then, you remember, we asked the question whether that intelligent mind had ever communicated to us. We
believed it would be reasonable for that mind to do that if it existed. That’s where we began to study the
lives of those people who claimed to be able to tell us about this Creator. The thing we discovered about them
all, people like Buddha, Mohammed, Zoroaster and Confucius was that they were all ordinary human beings and
died like the rest of us, and were buried and were never seen again.
Except for one remarkable individual who was born in the first century of our era and who died like everybody
else but who said that He would destroy death. In fact, three days after He was crucified, He got up from
being dead and lived for over a month, appearing on 13 or 14 different occasions to different people and on
one occasion to about 500 people at one time. So strong is the documentary evidence for the history of this
man’s life and of His death that some of our greatest scholars have said there is no fact in history so
certain and so sure that has been examined in such detail as the resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Then, you remember, we talked about whether this man was really more than a man. We studied His resurrection
and we studied His power over disease and power over storms and the powers of nature. We concluded He was
either a lunatic, which He did not seem to be because of His balanced personality. Or He was a liar, which He
did not seem to be since we all regard Him as the greatest ethical teacher the world has ever seen. He’s
either that or He’s a legend and we saw that there was not time for a legend to develop because the accounts
of His life were circulating just a matter of twenty years after He died. There were many people still alive
who could confirm or deny the records.
So, we came to the conclusion that He had to be true. He had to be really the Son of the creator of the world.
Then, you remember, we made a jump in our discussion because we talked about one of the basic problems of
human nature as being our inability to do what we know is right. Then, we began to tie this up with the
problems we all had of trying to change this personality of ours to make it do what we wanted it to do. We
discussed the frustration and futility that most of us experience in trying to achieve this.
Then, we began to talk again about this man’s death. It was there, you remember, that we made what was
probably a leap for many of you, a logical leap. We began to point out that this man, when He died in the
first century of our era, again and again told us His death was more than just the death of a political
criminal. It was more than just His death. He, in fact, would say some mysterious things. He would say He had
come to give His life as a ransom for many. He had come to give His life as a ransom for many.
He would say that the Son of Man came not to live but actually to die. He came to die so that people like you
and me could enter into real life, and life that was abundant. Some of His followers outlined it in greater
detail. A man called Paul said that when Christ died, we all died. That’s what He said. He wrote to some
people in a church at Colossae, and He said to them that when Christ died, everybody died. If you ever want to
look it up it’s 2 Corinthians, chapter 5 and it’s verse 14. He said, “Christ has died for all; therefore all
He continued to explain what Jesus, Himself, had explained; that His death was not just His death, but, in
fact, His Father had put all of us into Him and had made Him the representative of the human race and had
destroyed us all in Him and remade us all in Him so that when He rose from the dead, the whole human race rose
from the dead.
Later on some of His followers, especially one man called John, explained that actually the death and the
resurrection that took place in the first century of our era was simply an expression of a death and
resurrection that had taken place from before the foundation of the world. He actually said some mysterious
words in the book called Revelation that he wrote and he said that the lamb (which is, of course, Jesus) was
slain from before the foundation of the world.
He implied that actually our death and our resurrection in Jesus took place before the foundation of the
world. God had foreseen what would happen to us in our selfish natures and had arranged to remake us in His
Son even before the world was created. So, what we have been saying is that when you look at the death of
Jesus and His resurrection, you have to begin to read carefully the comments that His followers made about
this death because they imply that you, yourself, actually died in Jesus.
That is, your old self nature, your old self, your old intractable personality that will not keep its temper,
that will not be patient, that will not be generous, that does not want to be pure and clean. This old
miserable, intractable nature of yours was actually in Jesus when He died on the cross, and was actually in
Jesus when He was slain from before the foundation of the world and the Creator of the universe destroyed you
in His Son. When He raised His Son up from the dead, He raised you up also and made you absolutely new and
whole and clean.
That’s why in 2 Corinthians, Paul said what he said. He said that if anyone is in Christ (of course, he
implied that all of us are in Christ because Christ died for all of us), then he is a new creation. “If anyone
is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” That’s what he said.
In 2 Corinthians, chapter 5 verse 17 it is found. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to
So, when Christ died, you died. All the old nature that you had passed away and the new nature has come. If
you say to me, “Why? Why then am I putting up with this old nature?” It’s because you don’t believe that. You
don’t believe that. A basic principle that God works on is, “Be it unto you according to your faith.” It will
be to you what you believe.
It’s not that your faith creates it, but there are two situations. One, the old nature; and two, the new
nature. You will live under the nature that you believe is yours today. If you believe the truth that that old
nature has been destroyed in Jesus and that the new nature is available now, in Jesus, for you, that will be
the nature that rules your life.
If you say to me, “Is that all you need to do?” Yes, if you do that, God has a power, who is really a person,
the power of the Holy Spirit, but really He’s a person. He’s the third person, we call Him, of the trinity or
of the Godhead. That Holy Spirit is alive today, and He’s in you. He’s actually the one that is making you
think, “Yes, this is true. This is true. This is true”, because He is the Holy Spirit of truth. He actually is
able to take that new nature that God has given you in His Son, Jesus and He is able to make that real and
actual in your life today.
All you have to do is believe it and begin to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to run your life instead
of people, and circumstances and things. That can be your experience today. I really hope it will be. Let’s
talk a little further tomorrow.
Escaping Desperation -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever thought, “I cannot go forward another step. I can’t. I just can’t. I’ve done everything I could.
I’ve done everything as far as I can possibly go. I cannot go another step. I have not got it in me.” You feel
you’ve gone more than the second mile. You feel you’ve gone more than the second mile and the third mile and
the fourth mile. You’ve gone more than you thought you would ever be able to go. You’ve gone more than you
ever thought you would be able to go and you’re just absolutely worn out.
You feel, “I’m just about ready to lie down and die. There’s no way I can go through another week like I went
through last week. There’s no way in which I can face this domestic situation any longer. There’s no way I can
go another month in this present job situation. I just can’t. I’m at the end of my tether. I’m ready just to
blow the whole thing. I don’t care what it costs. I don’t care what I lose. I don’t care whether I lose my
money, my job, my wife, my children, whatever. I’m fed up. I can’t take another step.”
Many of us have felt that. Many of us have been in exactly that spot that you’re in. Moreover, I know it
sounds strange and maybe almost a little hard, but the whole of life has been designed to bring you to that
place. It has. If you say, “Oh, yeah, yeah sure. I always believed that there’s some demonic tyrant behind the
universe who’s out to string us up and torture us to death.” No! No, there isn’t.
But there is a dear, loving Father who is the Creator of the universe. He made you and thinks a lot of you.
That’s why He put so much effort into making you, because you’re quite a complex individual, you know. He put
that effort into you because He really does think a lot of you. In fact, actually, He loves you. He wants you
to know Him and to love Him.
He has put you here with the possibility of being like Him, but really, you’re like the rest of us. You have
become anything but like Him. You have become the very opposite. He has allowed that to take place. In order
to let you know that you are not going the right way, He has set up this world so that when everybody
exercises their free will, you end up in the kind of miserable situation that you’re in today.
In other words, He so arranged it that we would all come to the end of our tethers. We would begin to realize
this crazy world doesn’t work right. It doesn’t work right because it’s not working the way He wanted it to.
It’s not working in conjunction with Him. All the people in the world do their own thing in their own way and
don’t give a darn what He wants. He knows that and He’s allowed certain events and consequences to follow in
this world so we would realize that.
Actually, the very situation you’re in today, however horrible it may seem to you (not that He put you in it;
you put yourself in it. All the rest of us have helped put you in it.) is exactly the situation that He is
satisfied with you being in, because He wants you to see that you can go another step. You can go another
week. You can go another month. In fact, you can go another mile. In fact, you can go another five miles. In
fact, you can go another fourteen miles. In fact, you can go on and on forever if need be. He has actually
done a miracle in timeless eternity.
He has done a miracle in timeless eternity. If you go out beyond the sun that you see, if you could ever get
beyond the sun, and if you could ever get beyond the stars and all the planets and you could get away to the
end of space, you’d eventually enter into, as Einstein pointed out to us, a timeless state where there is no
space and where there is no time. It’s in that state that the Creator, Himself, is. In that state, He has
actually destroyed you and remade you completely.
Like a manufacturer who takes a flawed product back into the factory and remakes it, that’s what He has done
with you. He has remade you. He did it in a way that is very visible for all of us to see in His Son, Jesus of
Nazareth, who was crucified in the first century of our era. That was actually just the time/space expression
of that in history. He actually was crucified in that spaceless, timeless zone that we talked about, that
timeless, spaceless zone of eternity beyond the end of the universe.
The Creator remade you in His Son. He remade you with the personality of His Son, with an ability to go on
forever, with endless courage, with endless patience, with endless love, with undying forbearance, with an
ability to be joyous in hideous situations and with an ability to exercise unbelievable restraint and self
control. He gave you that. He put into you the personality of His Son and that is your personality today.
It can be actualized in your life by you simply believing these words. That’s what He said. He said, “It will
be unto you according to your faith. If you receive my Son into you by faith, He will begin to live in you His
life which is endlessly strong, infinitely patient, absolutely loving and utterly competent for every
situation.” You can go on in the strength of God’s own Son.
So, yes, it is possible for you to go on. That’s why one of His followers said, “I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me.” Actually, you can go on. You’re right. You can’t go on in your own self. You can’t
go on in your own pitiful weakness. You can’t go on in your own miserable little personality that you have
inherited from your parents. But you can go on in the strength of God, and of His Son because He has put His
Son inside you. The moment you believe that, that moment, His Son’s strength will begin to be manifested in
If you say, “Well, now wait a minute. I mean, well, why can it only come when I’m at the end of my own
strength?” That’s exactly the only time it can come. There’s a verse in the old book called the Bible that
says, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” The word perfect is the word that comes from the Latin
“perficio” – complete. “My strength is ‘completed’ in your weakness.”
In other words, the Creator uses even the weakness that you have brought upon yourself and that we men and
women have brought upon ourselves by our own perverted personalities. He actually uses that weakness to
complete His own strength, because he expresses His own strength in the very place where you are filled with
weakness. So, the amazing thing is, you’ll still feel weak. You’ll still feel “Oh, no! I can’t face it.” Even
as you listen to me today you’ll still feel, “Oh, no, but I am weak. I’m worn out emotionally, physically and
mentally.” You’ll still feel that weakness. But if you’ll believe that His strength is in you, despite that
feeling of weakness, if you’ll believe that His strength is in you, His strength will actually manifest itself
through your weakness.
It’ll come right through it. When you feel you have no strength, no more patience left, no more forbearance
left, no more happiness left, His strength will manifest itself through you if you simply believe that. It’s
hard, I know, to believe, but your present situation is not at all the end. It, in fact, is the beginning.
It’s the beginning. It’s the end of a beginning of a new life for you. All you need to do is to believe that
these things are really true.
In future weeks, we’ll back them up. I’ll show you how they’re explained in that old book called the Bible, so
you’ll see why you need to believe it or why you ought to believe it or should believe it or what right you
have for believing it. But, the fact is today you can start. This is not the end. Get up. God will give you
the strength. All you have to do is believe that He will. And He will. It’s yours. Get up. Let’s get going.
You can do it.
Let’s talk a little more about it tomorrow.
Life is Bewildering -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Life is Bewildering
by Ernest O’Neill
Why are you living today? I mean, what’s the purpose of your coming into existence? Have you any idea? Have
you any notion of why you are living these years here on earth? Why you’re doing what you’re doing now? Many
of us tend to say, “I haven’t a notion! I haven’t a clue why I’m here. If I could answer that, I’d run the
world. I don’t see any sense in my being here at all. I have no idea why I’m here.”
Yet, it is strange, isn’t it, that you and I and probably thousands of other human beings should take that
attitude towards a question like, “Why are we here?” because we don’t take the attitude towards asking the
question, “Why are you driving where you’re driving at the moment?” You would normally say, “Well, I’m driving
this direction because I have to get home for dinner, that’s why”, or “I’m driving this direction because I’m
going to the theatre,” or “I’m driving in this direction because I’m going out to play badminton, or play
billiards, or something.”
But you wouldn’t dream of answering, “I don’t know why I’m driving where I’m driving tonight. I don’t know.
I’m just driving because that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.” In other words, in regard to ordinary,
everyday activities, we don’t take such an irresponsible, easy-going, laissez-faire attitude towards the
question, “Why?”. Yet, we do seem to take that attitude towards the cosmic question, and obviously the much
more important question, “Why are we here?”
Of course, probably some of the reason why we are a little casual about that question is, because we have
absorbed a great deal of the thinking that has gone around philosophically and scientifically and
theologically and psychologically during these past years. Of course, that thinking or that attitude seems to
have indicated that there is no reason or sense to life at all, and that we don’t really know why we’re here.
We’re just here.
We came into existence in a millisecond of endless time. We’re going to disappear in another millisecond, and
we won’t be noticed any longer. That’s it. Yet, it is difficult to imagine that it is all just as pointless as
that, isn’t it? It’s a little difficult to think that it is as casual as that, because there does seem to be
great order and purpose in a lot of the things we observe around us.
It does surprise you that the seasons do come and go regularly, century after century. Sometimes, maybe in
regard to Lord’s cricket or Wimbledon tennis, we’re not sure they are coming in the way they usually do, but
still, despite the fact at times the weather is a little bit of a disappointment, yet we do expect spring in
certain months. We do expect summer in certain months. We can depend upon them so reliably that we do
successfully grow our crops on the basis of the orderly repetition of the seasons.
It’s the same, indeed, with our watches. We set our watches according to the orderly, regular orbiting of our
earth around the sun. Indeed, if we begin to think of our space shots, we depend utterly on getting our men
into the right orbit and we depend utterly on the regular orbiting of the planets. So, there are many things
in our own, everyday lives that indicate there is order and purpose in the general creation and it would be
very reasonable to expect there is order and purpose in the creation of you and me. Because, of course, we are
the very height of creation.
Our brain possesses the only cells that think about themselves. It’s amazing! They’re the only cells that
think about themselves. They’re the only cells that can have the kind of discussion you and I are having at
this moment. They’re the only cells that can reflect upon themselves and be self critical. None of the animals
can. None of the plants or the trees can. Despite that guy, you remember, who talked in the movie to the
animals [Dr. Dolittle], the animals don’t talk, and they can’t reflect, and they can’t analyze.
So, we are not only part of an orderly creation, but we actually are the highest phenomenon in that orderly
creation. So, it’s very reasonable to expect there is reason for our existence, and there is purpose for it.
Of course, you and I have a tendency to say, “Well, maybe so! Maybe so! And if there is, I certainly would
like to know it. But I haven’t a clue what that is, and I really don’t know how to find out.” Of course,
that’s one of the problems: How do you find out why you’re here?
Most of us try the vocation-guidance-counseling-technique, or we try to do multiphasic tests, or we try to do
aptitude tests, or we try to find out what our father and mother had in their life that they’ve passed on to
us and therefore, what we ought to do in the light of that. But, despite those attempts at finding out what we
should do in the way of a job here on earth, we still are bewildered as to the overall purpose of our being
Many people have tried to tell us why we’re here, but it’s very difficult to respect many of them. Many of
them seem to be fanatics. They seem to be out for our money often. Or, they seem to be out for their own
egotistic reputations. Or, they seem to be sheer fanatics, gurus and strange mystical types that are out to
either make their financial fortunes, or make their reputation, or satisfy their desire for fame. But, we
don’t find many of them that we frankly can trust.
Of course, we said some months ago there is one who stands above all the others. There is one who is very
different. There is a man who is very different from all the religious teachers and prophets. He is different
because He not only taught the highest ethic, and explained most clearly what the purpose of life was and what
reality was, but He also lived it. He lived it in such a way that the people who actually brought about His
death said they could find no fault in Him.
Of course, He was the only man who ever lived the kind of flawless life. Even people like Buddha and Mohammed
all admit all kinds of flaws and faults that were obvious in their lives. This is the only man who didn’t do
this, and in fact had a life that reinforced His proclamation that He was doing the will of His Father. Of
course, He explained His Father was really the Creator of the world, the Creator of the universe.
The man was one who we have long used as a swear-word, and for a long time we have dismissed Him as kind of a
mystical figure of the past who really didn’t exist. But, He did! He’s the most historical figure, if you
could accept the term, that the world has ever seen, because His historicity is proven beyond all doubt. He
is, of course, Jesus of Nazareth.
That man, Jesus, lived a life which was flawless and was absolutely different from all the other religious
leaders, not only in His life, but in His death, because He overcame death and He lived again. This man
explained to us why we were here. That is what I’d like to talk about tomorrow, if you’d listen in. Thank you
Rejecting God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the question, “Why are we alive? Why are you here? Why are you spending seventy or eighty
years on this planet? What’s the purpose of your life? What’s the point of your being here? How did you get
here? Whose idea was it to put you here? Are you just a chance speck thrown up by the floods of time? Or, is
there some point in your being here?” That’s the question we’re trying to talk about.
We’ve mentioned that lots of people have attempted to tell us all why we’re here, but they all seem to be
rather suspicious characters, to say the least of it. They are either gurus that are trying to make money out
of us. Or, they’re fanatics who think of themselves as some great person. There is only one who stands head
and shoulders above the rest, and is very different from them. He was a man, of course, that not only said He
was doing the exact actions and saying the exact words the Creator of the universe wanted Him to say, but, in
fact, He did live that kind of life.
Even His greatest enemies said they found no fault in Him. The Roman soldier who was responsible for killing
Him said, “This man certainly was the Son of God.” So, even His enemies attested to the fact He not only
taught the highest ethic the world has ever heard, but He lived it. The most important thing that sets Him
apart from people like Zoroaster and Confucius and Buddha and the others who claim to be able to tell us what
reality is and why we’re here, the one thing that sets Him apart from them all, is that, though they all died
like dogs and were buried like the rest of us, then were overcome by death — this man kept on saying He would
die, but on the third day, He would get up from being dead.
That’s exactly what He did. He lived for more than a month, and appeared thirteen or fourteen times after that
in different places. Then, He appeared not as a ghost, but appeared in ways that His followers, and about five
hundred people at one time who saw Him, could tell He was actually real. He ate breakfast with them and let
them put their fingers in the holes the nails had made in His hands when He was crucified. All this is
recorded in manuscripts that are earlier and better in their evidence than any manuscripts concerning a person
of that particular time in history.
In other words, when you go to the British Museum and you see a manuscript like the Codex Alexandrinus or the
Codex Sinaiticus, or you go to the Manchester University Museum, and you see the Chester Beattie papyrus that
is dated 125 A.D., which is just a mere 25 or 30 years after one of His followers who knew Him personally
died, you find there is better documentation and better historical evidence for the existence of this man than
any other figure of that time, and better than for most historical figures.
So, it’s necessary, if you’re honest and intellectually honest, to admit that this man did live, and did die,
and certainly all of history points to the fact that He got up from being dead, and He had power to come into
life and go out of it whenever He wanted to. This man, Jesus, explained to us why we were alive. Of course,
we’ve been studying His explanation for some weeks, indeed, some months now.
You remember, one of the things He said was that we were made by His Father, the Creator of the universe, to
live off His Father. That is, to live off the confidence that His Father actually knew you and planned your
creation, and knows your name. This man, Jesus, said His Father even has numbered the hairs of your head. Now,
of course, even your mum or your dad hasn’t counted the hairs of your head. Even if you’re beginning to get a
little bald, you know that nobody has ever done this. Probably, nobody ever will do it. Yet, this man, Jesus,
said the Creator who made you has counted even the hairs of your head. He knows you as intimately as that.
In other words, you have not been thrown on this earth by chance, but He planned for you to be here. He
planned for you to be here so that you would begin to live off Him. That is, live off His love. Now, of
course, you may say, “Well, you can’t live off love! You have to get some of the old shekels [money]in order
to survive.” Yes, but He promised if you would seek first His kingdom, that is, the domain of the king, the
rule of the king in your own life, if you would concentrate on letting Him explain to you what He wanted you
to do with your life and why He had put you here in the world, if you would concentrate on that, then He would
add (this man Jesus said) all other things unto you.
He would take care of all the things that you needed. In fact, Jesus put it rather bluntly. He said, “Don’t be
anxious about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink or what you’ll put on. Is not life more than
food and the body more than raiment? Look at the lilies of the field. They don’t sow nor gather into barns.
And yet, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now, if God so clothes the grass of the
field which today is alive and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will He not much more clothe you?”
Then, He explained what the problem with you and me is. He said, “Will He not much more clothe you, O men of
little faith?” He said the same about food. He said, “Look at the birds of the air. They don’t sow or reap.
They don’t do those things. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than many
sparrows? Yet, not a sparrow falls to the ground but your heavenly Father knows.”
So, Jesus said we shouldn’t be anxious about those things. He said that everybody’s anxious about those
things, but your heavenly Father knows you have need of them. So, don’t be anxious. Have no anxiety for
anything. But concentrate on finding out what He wants you to do with your life and on doing it, and you’ll
find that He, by hook or by crook, will add all these other things unto you. If you do that, you’ll develop
more and more in your trust of Him, and in your knowledge of Him. As you do that, you’ll become more and more
As you become more like Him, you’ll be fit for the development of the whole universe He has planned for us
after we get out of this present life. Jesus explained that most of us have just turned our back on that kind
of stuff. We have decided, “Forget it! We’re not going to depend on some Creator up there who may come through
or may not come through.” We have determined, actually, we’re not going to trust Him. We have determined, “No!
We’re going to trust ourselves. We’re going to make our own way in this world.”
So, we have concentrated on trying to get what we need from the world itself and forget all about this Creator
and forget about this stuff of trying to find out His will for our lives, and trying to find out what He wants
us to do and why He has put us here. We’ve decided we’re going to make it on our own.
Now, of course, it’s the dumbest thing in the world. You and I know it. I mean, it wouldn’t work that way in a
factory. If you go and you join some firm after you graduate from college or university, or after you get out
of school, you certainly don’t get into some corner of the factory and say, “Ah, I’m not going to trust the
boss. I’m not going to do what he wants me to do. I can’t depend on him knowing what is right for me to do in
my life. I’m going to get into this little corner, and I’m going to try to use the resources of this factory
to make what I need for myself.”
Well, it wouldn’t work. It’s dumb! It just won’t work. But, we have decided to do that with our own lives.
Most of us are trying to make it without Him. Let’s talk tomorrow about the effects of that.
God’s Plan for Your Happiness -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God’s Plan for your Happiness
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about that age old question, “‘Why?” Why are you here on the earth? Why do you exist? Why did
you come into existence? Is there any point or purpose to your life? Is there any reason to your being here?
Or are you just a chance speck, thrown up by some wild cosmic clashing of atoms, protons or neutrons billions
of years ago, and you will appear like a star for a brief moment, and then die out and never be heard of
again? Or, is there some point in your being here?
What we have been talking about is the explanation given by a remarkable human being who lived in the first
century of our present era. He was, of course, the man Jesus. He explained that the Creator of the world was
His Father. Indeed, He was very different from other people who claimed to be God or claimed to be the Son of
God, because they are usually the kind of people you expect to see in a psych ward. They’re utterly unbalanced
and unbelievable, but He has always been looked upon as the most balanced character who ever lived.
We, even those who don’t believe in Him, try to get our children to imitate the balance and the sanity of His
thinking, His restraint, His honesty, and His concern for others. So, He doesn’t strike you as a fanatic or as
a psychotic at all. He strikes you as being real. He, of course, said He was the Son of the Maker of the
universe. He explained, as we mentioned yesterday, that the whole purpose in your being here was to begin to
trust your Father who made you, who is the maker of the universe. He is really your Father.
He actually knows you. That’s what Jesus said. He said the Creator has something for you to do in your life
that only you can do. You can learn from Him what this is as you come to know Him intimately.
Now, if this is true, then obviously, your life has purpose and has reason to it. But, most of us have
decided, “No! We’re not going to risk that kind of thing. We’re not going to risk believing that some
invisible Creator knows why I’m here. I’m not going to chance this. I’m going to find out what I want to do
with this life myself, and make what I can of it, and look at the world as ‘my oyster’ and get what I need
Now, what we said yesterday was, we never take that attitude when we join a company. We don’t get into some
little corner of the factory, or get into our own little office and say, “I’m not going to listen to the
president of the company. I’m not going to listen to the boss. I’m not going to listen to the foreman or
manager. I’m just going to do what I want to do in this factory. I’m going to try to use the resources of it
to get what I need in the way of money and food and clothing, and let the rest do what they want.”
We don’t say this! Not for a moment — because we all believe that the factory will, in fact, only benefit us
if the general purpose of the factory is fulfilled — if it manufactures what it’s meant to manufacture. In
other words, unless we all join together in some kind of teamwork, we won’t get a penny out of it. So, we,
most of us, are utterly dependent on somebody telling us what to do and how we can fit into the whole scheme.
That obviously, is the same situation here in the universe. Obviously, somebody knows why this whole thing was
created, I mean, somebody knows why you were given your abilities. You have some abilities. You may sit there
and say, “Oh, I have no abilities.” But you do have some. You have some things you can do that others can’t do
quite the same way.
Indeed, the amazing thing is that you’re absolutely unique, if you’ve ever thought about it. Even if you’re an
identical twin, you’re still in some way different from your identical twin. You have an attitude to life, a
way of thinking about things, and a way of doing things even your identical twin doesn’t. If you’re not an
identical twin, of course, you’re even more obviously unique. There’s been nobody ever like you in the whole
world. There never will be anybody like you in the whole world. You’re a one off. You’re the only “you” who
has ever or will ever exist.
The fact is you can only fulfill the plan that was formed for you if you listen to the person who put you here
with that plan in mind. But, most of us, of course, don’t do that. We say, “Forget it! I’m going to live my
own life. I don’t know if there’s a God or not. I’m just going to concentrate on getting what I can in the way
of food and clothing and a shelter over my head from this world. I’m going to make my own way in life.”
That’s, of course, what most of us do.
The result is very frustrating. It’s great futility that we meet, because we find the other five billion of us
are trying to do the same thing. They’re trying to get the food and the shelter and the clothing they need,
instead of depending on the Creator of the world to keep His promise that He would add all those other things
unto us if we would concentrate on finding out what He had put us here to do. We instead try to get all the
food and shelter and clothing that we need, but the other five billion are doing the same. So, it makes for
quite a bit of competition.
So, most of us live lives of worry and anxiety. Over what? Over the big issues of life? No, over food,
shelter, and clothing. That’s it. It was old Auden, you remember, who said, “In headaches and in worry,
vaguely life leaks away.” That is true. Most of us leak life away in headaches and in worry. The headaches and
worry are usually over how to get more money — more pounds or more dollar — so we can get more permanent
life insurance or a better home, or pay the mortgage off, or get better clothes, or get a better car, or get a
stack of food that will never run out. We are spending our lives usually trying to find those purely animal
needs which will just keep us alive.
If you ever ask why we’re staying alive, we would be forced to answer that we’re staying alive so we can stay
alive. We’re staying alive so we can get more money so we can keep ourselves alive a bit longer. It’s an
absolutely vicious circle in our thinking. But most of us answer that way. The amazing thing is, we don’t even
achieve the purposes that we set out to achieve, because we never do somehow seem to get to a position of
It’s incredible, but more especially, those of us who live in the West, we probably are some of the most
insecure people in the whole world, in spite of the fact that we have more than everybody else has. We never,
somehow, reach a point of security. The reason is that security comes not from us being able to grab enough
food, shelter and clothing, because we never can do that.
If we do grab it, we can never ensure somebody won’t take it away from us. But, security doesn’t come from
getting those things; security comes from knowing there is someone who has control of all those things, and
who is the controller of the distribution of them, and He cares about us and loves us, and is concerned about
us. That’s where security comes from.
In other words, the last time most of us had security was when we were five years old, and we could trust our
dad and mum always to supply us with lunch when we needed it. That’s really the only source of security. So,
most of us try to get the security from the world and the things in it, from the money in it, or from the food
in it, or from the homes in it, or from the clothes in it, but we really never do manage to make that. We live
in constant insecurity.
We feel very insignificant. There are five billion others who are equally unique and believe they’re unique.
Except, they’re in the same position as us. They wonder why the rest of us don’t see how unique they are. Of
course, the rest of us don’t see how unique they are, because we’re all so preoccupied with our own
uniqueness, which we’re afraid may not be as unique as we think it is. In actual fact, it is. But our
uniqueness comes not from all the others recognizing we’re unique, but from the Maker of the world who made us
Once we lose touch with Him, of course, we lose that sense of our own uniqueness. So we spend our lives trying
to make an impression on the world, and trying to establish a little niche in the Hall of Fame for us, so that
somebody who didn’t remember Bing Crosby, didn’t remember John Wayne, doesn’t remember Churchill too well,
will somehow remember us. Of course, they never do!
So, we end up in tremendous frustration, trying to get from the world of things and people what we are meant
to get from the Maker of the world Himself. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
God Supplies our Needs -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God Supplies Our Needs
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the question, “Why are you alive? Why do you exist? What is the point of life? Why are you
here? Why am I here? Why are we all here, the whole five billion of us?” What we have been doing is
particularly concentrating on the explanation given by the most unusual individual who ever lived on our
earth. He is, of course, not Mohammed, or Confucius, or Zoroaster, or the Hindu prophets, all of whom were
just human beings like you and me, who died and were buried, same as you and I will be. This man was entirely
different from them.
He, first of all, said He was uniquely related to the Maker behind the universe. Then, He said He lived a life
that was absolutely pleasing to this Creature. In other words, He lived a perfect life — unlike the
characters that claim that kind of thing. He was not filled with egotism and filled with pride. Indeed, His
enemies testified to the fact that He did live a perfect life, and that they couldn’t find any fault in Him.
But, He also said He was going to die like everybody else, but He had power over death, and He could destroy
death, and could actually live without the normal, visible means of support we think are necessary for the
support of natural life. In fact, that is exactly what He did. He came back with open wounds in His hands that
should have been streaming with blood, and should have effectively prevented the blood circulation operating.
He came back with the hole in His side which was made by the sword, but He didn’t seem by these to be
prevented from staying alive and from eating fish that was fried for Him on the beach one morning.
In fact, He stayed alive for more than a month, and was seen by about five hundred people at one time. So,
obviously it was not hallucinations that made them think they saw Him. It was actually Him alive. Then, He
lifted up off the earth and said He eventually would come back at some time later. Of course, that was the man
Jesus of Nazareth. He is the one who gave the best explanation of why we are here.
He pointed out that His Father had put us here because He has a special purpose for you, for me. He has a
special purpose for us. That’s why we’re all so different. There are things that you can do that only you can
do. There’s an attitude to life that you have and nobody else has. This man, Jesus, explained that the reason
for us all being so unique and different is that His Father wants to show Himself through us. He can only do
that if we begin to trust Him, and to ask Him why we’re here and what He wants us to do in helping Him to
complete the creation. He said if we will do this, He will give us all that we need in this present life.
What we have been sharing in the past few days is something that Jesus pointed out to us that, of course, we
said, “Forget it! We’re not going to trust some invisible Creator for this kind of thing. We’re going to make
from this world what we need.” So, that’s what most of us have tried to do. We’ve tried to get what food,
shelter and clothing we need. We’ve tried to get what attention and what sense of significance and self esteem
and self worth that we need. We’ve ended up in tremendous frustration and futility, because you can never get
enough people to respect you.
You can never get enough people to esteem you. You can never get enough people to pay attention to you, and
acknowledge you, and recognize you, to satisfy you in the sense that you have for being infinitely valuable.
In fact, you are infinitely valuable. But, of course, this man, Jesus, said that your value can only be
respected and acknowledged in a significant and worthy enough manner by the Maker of the universe Himself. No
other recognition or acknowledgement or acceptance will satisfy you.
Of course, that’s exactly what has happened. It doesn’t matter how we strive to get the best degree we can. It
doesn’t matter how we strive to do the best job, to be the best husband, to be the best father. How even, when
we become famous, we become the most famous singer, the most famous actor, the best sportsman, somehow we
never do feel our value, our true worth is being recognized. It’s incredible how many famous people die in
absolute futility over this very factor that we think they would major on, that is, their self worth and their
It’s the same with the whole business of happiness, because we decide, “Well, we’re only here for a few years.
We’re not going to depend on some miserable Creator to give us happiness. We’re going to get happy ourselves.
We’re going to get all the happiness we can.” So, we try to do that. You know what we end up doing. It’s
amazing! But, most of us end up trying to blot it all out. That’s about the best happiness we can experience.
That’s pretty negative. Just blot out all the pain.
So, most of us end up on some kind of drugs, whether it’s heroin, or whether it’s crack, or whether it’s
opium, or whatever it is, or whether it’s alcohol, or whether it’s popping pills — we end up trying to blot
out the pain so that maybe just the absence of pain will at least be something. So, we end up in tremendous
futility and frustration there too.
What is the most tragic factor in our lives is that after we sense that we are doing the wrong thing, and we
begin to try, when we hear that there’s a God, or we hear that Jesus might really have been a real person, we
begin rather late in life to try to live the way we’re supposed to live. This is where we meet our Waterloo.
We find that we cannot live the way we were meant to live.
We try to do what is right, but we can’t do it. We call out that classic old protest, “I don’t understand my
own actions, I don’t. Because the good that I would, I cannot do, and the evil that I hate — that’s the very
thing I do.” So, we find that even when we’re trying to do what is right, and try to find the purpose that the
Creator had in mind for us, or try to trust Him, we find we can’t!
The reason is we have become perverted in our own personalities. We’ve become totally perverted. Instead of
living from the inside out, that is, from His ideas for us and from our trust in Him and from listening to
him, we have started to live from the outside in. That is, from what people think of us. We’ve tried to live
dependent on things for our security. We’ve tried to live dependent on circumstances of our happiness.
So, when we try to live the way we were supposed to, we find it’s impossible, because our whole personality
has become the opposite of what it was meant to be. We enter into that dreadful Jekyll-and-Hyde-Syndrome, you
remember. That was the novel Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, whereby Dr. Jekyll, who was respectable and loved
to help the poor, found developing within himself a Mr. Hyde who roamed the streets at night and did all kinds
of dreadful, violent and immoral deeds.
Eventually, Mr. Hyde took over from him, you remember. He invented a drug which could turn him into the Mr.
Hyde when he wanted, and gradually the Mr. Hyde took over his whole life, and he could not control it any
longer. That’s what happens with most of us. Even when we are trying to be good, even when we are trying to be
right, even when we are trying to be the kind of people we think we should be, we find there is another ego
inside us that seems to take us over, and prevent us from doing what we want to do.
So, many of us go home at night, determined to be really happy, determined to be really kind to our wives, and
good and patient with our children. Before the night is out, we have blown it. We’ve just lost our temper, and
we’ve been cruel to everybody. We’ve made a mess of the whole thing.
It’s the same in regard to jobs. Many of us decide, “I’m going to stay at this job. I’m going to be
consistent. I’m going to be persistent. I’m going to be routine. I’m going to be faithful and loyal.” Whether
we like it of not, we end up blowing the whole thing into the air. We don’t know why.
So, many of us have had this problem of this Jekyll-and-Hyde relationship, inside our own lives, this
schizophrenia. We talked about how the death of Jesus, in fact, is the only thing that will deal with this
Jekyll-and-Hyde Syndrome. It’s the only thing that will deal with it. There’s nothing else, because even
Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel, you remember, said that one of them had to die. Let’s talk a little about
Jekyll and Hyde in Christianity -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Jekyll and Hyde in Christianity
by Ernest O’Neill
Jekyll and Hyde. Does this ring a bell with you? Jekyll and Hyde? You remember, this was the novel Robert
Louis Stevenson wrote. The Dr. Jekyll was a respectable, philanthropic, kindly doctor who was anxious to help
the poor and those who were sick, and who did deeds of kindness in the city of London. He found within himself
another character developing that had all the opposite feelings. Mr. Hyde, who was violent and immoral, and
who wanted to roam the streets at night doing all kinds of hideous deeds.
Of course, Jekyll eventually found a drug that would release that Mr. Hyde and would enable him to assume a
physical appearance which would give that Mr. Hyde the kind of expression that he wanted. Eventually, you
remember, he found that he turned into the Mr. Hyde even without the aid of the drug. Of course, that’s what
so many of us have experienced.
We experience within ourselves a person we can hardly recognize. It’s a person that seems so hideous and so
selfish and so utterly hostile towards all that we think of as the ideal life that should be lived, that we
cannot believe it’s us. Some of us actually are afraid we’re schizophrenics, split personalities. We find we
go home at night planning to be kind, planning to give everyone a good time, and think only of others. Before
we know it, we have destroyed the evening in yet another bout of selfishness and pettiness and bad temper.
What we have been sharing is that this double personality comes from the fact that there are two ways in which
we can live life here on earth. One of them is the way that was suggested by that man in the first century
called Jesus. He said His Father was the Creator of the universe, and He knew you by name. He knows you
intimately. He has put you here to do something only you can do in His universe. As you do it, you will begin
to know Him and to trust Him, and you will become more and more like Him.
As you become like Him, you will be fitted to do what He has for you to do in the rest of the universe after
life on this planet ends. This is really the purpose you’re made for. But, of course, this man, Jesus,
explained that most of us have no time for that kind of stuff. We say, “Forget that! We’re not going to depend
on some invisible Creator to provide for us. We’re going to provide for ourselves. We’re going to get from
this life what we need.”
So, we set out to get all the food we need, all the shelter we need, and all the clothing we need — except
the other five billion are all trying to do the same thing. So, the greater part of us spend most of our lives
trying to get food and shelter and clothing. If you ask us why we’re trying to get it, we’ll say, “To keep
ourselves alive so that we can get more food and shelter and clothing, so that we can stay alive.” But we
don’t really know why we’re alive, except that we feel like little animals, an instinct to stay alive. So, the
life becomes very frustrating.
It’s the same with the desire for some sense of self worth or value. We feel we’re unique; we feel we’re
different from everybody else, and, actually, we are! Of course, the important thing to see is the only person
that can give us this sense of uniqueness is the one who has made us unique. But once we cut ourselves off
from Him and forget about Him and try to establish our uniqueness in the eyes of the other five billion, we
find we have a little competition. They’re all trying to establish their own uniqueness. Nobody wants to be
interested in us.
So most of us end up dreadfully frustrated and feeling we’re worth nothing, and feeling we’re a zero. We’re
filled with inferiority complexes and that everybody is valuable but us. So, we end up frustrated and filled
with futility. It’s the same with happiness. We try to grab what happiness we can, because we think we’re not
going to be here this long. We find that we can never somehow make the circumstances satisfactory enough.
Somehow, the circumstances are always unsatisfying. Something happens to prevent us from having the perfect
holiday we always planned. Something happens to prevent us having the perfect marriage that we always planned.
Something happens to prevent us having the perfect job we planned. So, we end up very unhappy and very sad,
usually trying to simply blot out the pain and the unhappiness through drugs.
We end up in this hideous situation, that even when we try to live the way we think maybe we should have lived
all along — we find we’re unable to do it. This is because our personality has become perverted. It’s because
we have depended on the world of things and people and circumstances. We’ve tried to live from the outside in
instead of from the inside out. We’ve tried to live by depending on people and things and circumstances,
instead of beginning to give some trust to this God who has made us, beginning to concentrate on finding out
why He has put us here, what He thinks of us, and what He wants us to do. We have lived the other way, and we
have become little monsters that are unfitted to live the right way.
Of course, most of us have tried to change, but it seems impossible to change. Actually, it is impossible,
because your whole personality has actually been perverted. The only way you can be changed is if the Maker of
the world changes you. That was the purpose of Jesus’ death. Jesus used to say, “You know when I die, all of
you actually are dying. In other words, my death on Calvary is only a temporal expression of a cosmic death
that I have died. I have taken the whole of the human race to death with me.”
Actually, He called it your “old self”, the old self that wants its own way, that wants to get the food,
shelter, and clothing that it needs for itself, whoever it tramples over to get it. That old self has been
crucified with Christ. That’s what one of His followers said. In Romans 6 and verse 6 in the New Testament in
the Bible, he said, “Our old self was crucified with Christ.”
Actually, that’s true. The Creator foresaw the kind of life you would choose to live, and He actually planned
for your destruction ahead of time. So, the life that He has allowed you to live now is the life that has
actually been destroyed. He allows it just to take place so that you will see what it would be like. The
amazing thing is that we have been given a second chance. We’re among the most privileged people, because the
Creator of the world has allowed the perverted personality that you developed to continue, so that you would
see the effects of your own decision and your own choice.
Yet, He has given you seventy years here on earth to choose the remedy for this which He has provided in the
death of His Son. That’s actually the only way to be delivered from that old self. What I’d like to do over
these next days and weeks and months, is to begin to outline to us all the kind of life in detail the Creator
of the universe wanted you and me to live, and wants us to live.
As you see it, and as you hear about it, it’ll just ring true. You’ll begin to see, “Yes, that’s right.” It is
the real explanation of your own personality. It will help you actually to understand yourself better. But the
greatest thing is, it will set before us all plainly what the kind of life was that He intends us to live, and
what the purpose of life is, and how you, yourself can begin to live it.
So I hope you’ll stay with us over the three or four years that it will probably take me to do it. You’ll have
to concentrate. If you want to get some of the recordings of the earlier broadcasts, we’ve been going now for
probably about six months. They’re all available just by writing to the address that I’ll give at the end of
the program. So, I hope that you’ll stay with us, and that you’ll begin to think through this carefully,
because it is important to know why we’re alive, and to know why the Creator has made us the way we are.
Tomorrow, I’d like to start with that: start outlining the kinds of personalities that He’s given us, try to
outline the makeup of our personality and how one piece works with the other, and most of all, how you can
live in trust of Him and in love of Him, and live above the pettiness, and the worry, and the selfishness, and
the anxiety that comes upon us when we try to get from the world of people, and things, and circumstances what
we can get alone from the Creator of the universe. So, I look forward to beginning tomorrow. Will you join us
tomorrow to find out why we’re alive?
Order, Design and Purpose of Life -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Order, Design and Purpose of Life
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question we’ve been discussing for some months now here on this
program at this time each day. We’ve been trying to tackle it from a semi-intelligent viewpoint, trying to
deal with the things that you and I regard as real, rather than with a lot of mythology and a lot of personal
opinions. What we said at the beginning was, was that we all have these questions about what the meaning of
life is, or the explanation of why we are here. Why are you here? What is the purpose of your existence?
What’s the point of my existence?
If we answer, “Well, the point of my existence is to stay alive”, then you know that begs that question of why
stay alive. It’s the same with the kind of answer, “Well, I stay alive so that I can get a good education?”
“Why?” “So that I can get a good job.” “Why?” “So that I can have children.” “Why?” “So that they can get a
good….etc., etc.” Ad absurdum.
The answers to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” so often drive us into vicious circles, out of
which we cannot escape. That’s what we’re trying to do in our conversations at this time each day. What IS the
meaning of life? What we have said is that the meaning of life depends a great deal on what you and I believe
about the origin of life.
For instance, if you believe that life has resulted just from the chance collision of atoms in space, or if
you believe that life has come from a mindless, impersonal “Ã©lan vital”, or a mindless, directionless,
evolutionary process, then your answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?” will be very different
from your answer if you think that though there may have been an evolutionary process, it is, in fact, filled
with purpose and meaning. It suggests that there is an intelligent mind somewhere at back of the universe.
If you believe that, then your answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?” in that case will be very
different. For instance, if you and I think that the existence that we now experience has come about by sheer
chance and has not been planned, then we are left with some very unpalatable facts. Fact one is that there are
five billion other people on the planet besides yourself. Those five billion are scrambling around for
whatever food and clothing is on this earth. They are scrambling for as much of it as you are scrambling for.
That immediately introduces into your attitude to life some very compulsive reasons for existing. One of the
main reasons is just to get enough food to keep yourself alive, if only so that you can think a little more
about why you are here. So, your life takes on a driving compulsion to get as much food, clothing and shelter
as you can. Of course, the other five billion are trying to do the same thing, so it brings a certain fear and
apprehensiveness into your approach to life and into your approach to your daily work and into your school. It
brings in a spirit of competition that is not nearly as enjoyable as just living life for its own sake. It
becomes somewhat of a rat race.
It’s the same about your feelings of self-worth and your identity. You begin to realize there are five billion
others who all think of themselves as unique, as you think yourself to be, and, obviously, they don’t realize
how unique you are. So, your life often takes on a kind of impulse to make yourself seem important in other
people’s eyes, or, at least, to bring yourself before other people’s notice. So, again, there comes into your
answer to the question of the meaning of life some degree of compulsion.
In other words, there is a sense in which you can’t afford to sit back and take an academic, reasoned approach
to this question, because you are rather preoccupied with some of the needs that you have, the need you have
for security, the need you have for a sense of value and significance.
It’s the same, actually, with your attitude to happiness, because you begin to be doubtful about what the
purpose of life is after it’s over. You determine to yourself that you will get as much happiness here on this
earth as I possibly can. So, you become a driven man or a driven woman.
In that case, “What is the meaning of life?” is…well, the meaning of life is that I am a driven man; I’m a
driven woman. I’m driven by needs of security and needs of significance and needs for happiness. Really, I
can’t academically or intellectually deal with that question of what is the meaning of life. The meaning of
life is thrust upon me by the needs that I find I have.
Whereas, if of course you believe that there is enough evidence in the order of the seasons and in the order
of the orbiting of the planets around the sun, and if you feel that there is enough indication of order and
design when you study the DNA molecule or you look at the chart of the elements and see how miraculously it
seems that they fit into that chart as we discover each element. Or if you feel, like Einstein, that the order
and design in the universe indicates that there was another mind that is greater than our minds that can
discover that order and design, then you can take a much more relaxed attitude to the question.
You begin to ask yourself, “Now, if there is an intelligent mind behind the universe, then that mind must have
had some purpose in creating me, because that mind certainly has an obvious purpose in creating the smallest
insect. The incredible balance of nature shows us that there is a purpose for everything in nature. It is
incredible the way there has come about a purpose for everything in our own bodies.
So, this intelligent mind behind the universe has certainly shown great economy in His design of things. It is
reasonable to believe that He has shown equal economy, if not more so, in creating us. We seem to be the very
peak of creation. We seem to have, for instance, the only brain cells that are able to think about themselves.
So, there are indications that we are certainly near the top, if not at the very top, of the natural creation.
It is utterly reasonable to believe that this Creator had a reason for making us.
Then, your task begins to be how to find out the nature of this Creator and this Maker and find out if He
knows about you being here and what He had in mind in putting you here. Of course, your approach to the
question of the meaning of life becomes a great deal more balanced and can be, if you use your mind, a great
deal more intelligent. That, of course, is the approach that we have taken.
We have said that it is utterly unreasonable to believe that this whole thing came about by chance, because
order and design cannot result from time plus chance. There had to be a personal mind behind the universe. You
know how, in the earlier programs, we have discussed the reasons for believing that there is an orderly mind
and then believing that that orderly mind was personal. And then believing that that orderly mind had a Son,
and that that Son was the unique man that lived in the first century of our era. That man was Jesus of
Now, I won’t try to go over all that explanation. If you would like to explain or talk about or discuss the
reasons for believing that there is a Creator, then please do send for the earlier tapes and catch up with us
on that. But, we have got to the point in our discussion where we believe that that is very reasonable.
Because of our discussion and our study of the documentary evidence and manuscripts that lie behind the
history of the New Testament, we have come to the conclusion that that man, Jesus of Nazareth, is actually the
Son of the Maker of the world. He explained to us what the meaning of life is and what reality is.
That’s really what we would like to discuss now for the next months and possibly the next years. So, please
do, if you have not reached that point in your own thinking, do write to the address that I give at the end of
the program and we will send you those earlier tapes and you can catch up with the discussion. Now, what I
would like to begin to do tomorrow is talk about the explanation of the meaning of life that this unique man,
Jesus of Nazareth, gave us.
We are Made in God’s Likeness -
ï»¿WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We are Made in God’s Likeness
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the subject we’ve been discussing here on this program at this time each
day for several months now. What we have said is that the meaning of life, in your opinion or mine, is
governed a great deal by what we believe was the origin of the world. If we believe the origin of the world is
the result of time plus chance, or of an impersonal evolutionary process, then we will tend to see the meaning
of life in terms of just what we can get from this world itself.
We will have a tendency to regard this world as the only source of the fulfillment of whatever needs we might
have. So, most of us have a great need for security, for financial security, and we’ll tend to see the world
as the only possible source of the provision of those needs for security. We will have the same tendency with
our need for self-worth or self-esteem. We will tend to see the world of people as the only source of any
possible self-recognition, or approval, or self-esteem.
It is the same with happiness. We will have a tendency to see happiness as something that we can only get from
favorable circumstances or events that occur in this world. In other words, we will have a tendency to look to
the world of people and things and circumstances for the security and significance and happiness that we feel
Whereas, the meaning of life will be seen on a very different level if we believe that, though there may well
be some sort of an evolutionary process at work, yet it is directed by an intelligent mind. There is, as
Einstein said, an intelligent being behind the universe. Then we will have a tendency to see the fulfillment
of our needs as coming from some kind of a relationship with that intelligent being.
We will see that we are the highest peak of creation and He undoubtedly is much more valuable and real than
the things He has made. So, we will have a tendency to see the fulfillment of our needs in terms of a
relationship with that Supreme Being, rather than in terms of a relationship with the people and the things
and the circumstances of the world itself.
That’s as far as we have got in our discussion. We have pointed out, of course, that most of us have actually
seen the meaning of life in terms of the world and the possibilities of the world of people and circumstances
and things fulfilling our needs for security and significance and happiness. Most of us have become, in that
way, rather perverted beings. We have a tendency to go to the office each day and look to see if the boss is
smiling. If he is smiling, then we feel happy. If he favors us with some kind of stroke or some kind of
praise, then we suddenly feel that we’re worth something.
If, of course, he chooses to give us a bonus that is unexpected, then we will feel suddenly very much more
secure. So, most of us at the moment live our lives in terms of this world and what the people and the
circumstances and the things in this world can provide for us. Of course, there is no need to point out that
most of us are very dissatisfied with that means of fulfilling these very real needs.
We find, for instance, that nobody can ever praise us enough. It doesn’t matter how great our mother and
father are. It doesn’t matter how approving our professor or our teacher or our boss is. It doesn’t matter how
appreciative our husband or our wife or our children are, somehow we never get enough self-esteem. Indeed,
after a life of such praise and acknowledgment, many of us still have dreadful inferiority complexes and a
great lack of self-esteem and self-worth.
It’s the same with security. Many of us have slaved and slaved for years to try to make our job or our tenure
secure, and at the end of it all we still feel very insecure. It doesn’t matter how much we have accumulated
in the bank, or how many stocks and shares we have, we still feel very insecure. We still feel that an
incurable disease could “take us off” at any moment. It’s the same with happiness. It doesn’t matter how many
visits to Spain or to America or to Europe that we have in a year, somehow, we never get enough happiness.
Some of us have gone to incredible extremes to try to get a high that will really satisfy us. Yet, we find
that at the end of all our trying, this world of circumstances, people and things never seems to satisfy the
needs we have for security, significance and happiness. Those three needs are fulfilled in real love. That is
really what we need. We need real love. But, somehow, we are never able to get enough of that love. We can
never get enough of it from people, or things, or circumstances, to satisfy us. That’s the problem that most
of us find ourselves in.
Now, the truth is that there is a whole other side of your personality that you probably have never been aware
of. There is a whole purpose that the Creator, who made you, had in mind that you have never even, perhaps,
begun to fulfill and have never even had a suspicion of. Of course, the fact is that the Creator of the
universe has put you here to become like Him. That’s it!
He has given you a free will and then He has given you freedom to choose to depend on Him or to depend on the
world of people and circumstances and things. You have that choice. If you depend on Him for the needs that
you have, then you will come into a closer and closer and more intimate relationship with Him, and there will
be part of your personality that will come alive from the inside that you never knew you had before. You will
begin to find the real needs of your life being met as you lose yourself more and more in the purpose that the
Maker has for you.
But that, of course, is a whole different story, and that is the story we would like to start today. What is
the meaning of life and what is this side of our lives that many of us have never had any experience of? It
starts with the explanation that this man Jesus gives. He pushed us back, you remember, to words that most of
us remember from the early parts of the Old Testament.
Most of us will remember a certain verse that was read, perhaps when we were at school in Morning Prayer or in
the service at the beginning of each day in assembly. It was a verse that went like this, “Then God said, ‘Let
us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The meaning of that, of course, is that in the times before
creation, in timeless eternity …
…(because that is what eternity is. It’s not endless time, it’s timelessness. It’s the realm that Einstein
has talked about in his theory of relativity. It’s the area that even our greatest scientists begin to delve
in when they talk about the immense space of the universe and the fact that time does not exist)…
….in timeless eternity, before creation, God turned around to His Son, who of course was alive with Him in
those years, if you can call them years, and He said, “Let us make man in our image …” That is the beginning
of understanding of what the meaning of life is. The Creator has made you in His own image. He did that,
because He wants to enjoy your friendship.
You know how you can only go so far in friendship with your Yorkshire terrier. He’s OK with playing with a
ball, but he’s not great at appreciating Beethoven’s Fifth. He’s OK with running back and forward across the
room with you tickling his tummy, but he’s not great on discussing the Theory of Relativity or simultaneous
In other words, to really enjoy someone’s friendship, you have to be made like him. You have to share the same
kind of capabilities. First of all, God made us like Himself with His capabilities so that we could enjoy His
friendship. Let’s go a little further with this tomorrow.
Body, Soul and Spirit 1 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Body, Soul and Spirit 1
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That is, why are you alive? Why am I alive? That’s the subject we’re discussing
on this program each day. We have come a long way since we started, some six or seven months ago. So if you
need some of the intellectual undergirding that those introductory talks provide, I would encourage you to
write for those cassettes, so that you can have the same kind of intellectual basis as we have gradually
formed over the months.
However, I have to jump in where we are in the discussion.
What we’ve said is that the meaning of life is connected with the Creator who made us. There is a personal
Creator, a personal intellect behind the universe. He made us so that we would be His friends, so that we
would get to know Him, and so that we would begin to understand Him and begin to have a love relationship with
Him. That is why He created us.
That’s why he created us like Himself. We referred to the early words of the Bible in the Old Testament that
probably most of us remember heard read at assembly in school or at some time or other in our lives. It’s that
verse, you remember, in Genesis, Chapter 1 and verse 26. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image …'”
We said He obviously turned around (if one can imagine God turning around) and speaking to His Son, His Jesus
who, of course, existed with Him in timeless eternity before the creation. He said, “Son, let us make man in
He decided to make us in His image, because He wanted us to be His friends and to enjoy Him and be His
children, to have an actual interacting relationship with Him that was personal. Of course, we mentioned that
the only kinds of people you can have real friendship with are people that have the same capabilities as you
yourself. You know that. You enjoy yourself most with people who have the same kinds of interests as you, and,
most of all, who have the same capabilities.
It’s that capacity to discuss and to converse and to analyze, to discuss topical events and to discuss
aesthetics, and to talk about literature and poetry and science and topical events. To talk about each other
and to talk about life and to reflect on ourselves. It makes part of what friendship is about. That’s why the
Creator made us in His own image. He actually made you to be His friend.
Now, I know that that just bewilders you, and you think that’s ridiculous, and who are you to be the friend of
God. But…that’s actually why He made us. He didn’t make us to be playthings or to be toys. He didn’t make us
to be pawns in some huge cosmic game that He plays. He made us, because He really loves us and wants us to
know Him and to understand Him. That’s why He made us in His image.
In His image, of course, means several things. First of all, it means making us with His capacities. That is
where we begin, probably, to touch parts of the meaning of life that you may well have been ignorant of. There
is a verse in the second chapter of Genesis, that gives some kind of metaphorical indication of the make-up of
the personality that God has given us. Of course, He explained it in child-like terms, because mankind, at
that point in creation, was in its childhood.
God, perhaps, would have explained it in much more philosophical terms to us today. But in those days mankind
was in its primitive stages and God explained the thing to mankind in those terms. In Genesis, Chapter 2 and
verse 7, you read this, “Then the Lord God formed man out of dust from the ground…” He took some dust (the
Hebrew word for “dust” is “aphar”)from the ground, and the ground is “adama”. Of course, you can see how
“adama” becomes Adam; He took some dust and He formed a body.
Of course, you and I know that bit very well, because we have all been to funerals and we’ve been to
gravesides. We know fine well that after several months the casket has been eaten through by worms. Eventually
we discover there is dust in the bottom of the casket. After centuries there is probably nothing left but
dust. The body just deteriorates into dust, because it is made from dust. You and I know that.
If you’ve seen your mother or father after they’ve died, you know you can look at them and it isn’t them. You
know it isn’t them. It’s their features and it looks like them, but you know fine well that it’s just a
physical shell. “They” are no longer there. You have a sense of that. You can almost push their forehead as
they lie in the coffin, and think “that used to be my Dad but it isn’t any longer. It’s just a piece of
physical flesh that will soon be dust.” God made us out of the dust and, in a sense, the body is the least
lasting, the most temporary part of us.
The verse goes on and it says, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into His
nostrils the breath of life.” Of course, breathing into his nostrils is God’s way of saying that He breathed
into us His own life. The Hebrew word for breath is “ruach”. It also means “wind” and, of course, wind is
something, you remember, that Jesus referred to as a symbol of the Spirit. Jesus said, “The wind blows where
it wills and no man knows from where it comes or whence it goes.” It’s the Spirit.
“Ruach” is the breath of God or the Spirit of God. If you say, “Well, now, what is the Spirit of God?” The
nearest you can come to it in simple terms is when you talk about, for example, the great “spirit” that
Churchill had — what a great spirit he had. It is his very essence. It’s the essence of the man’s character.
It’s the very heart of the man. It is what he really is deep down. It is his very nature and character. It is
his own very self.
If you take away all that are accretions and all that are additions and all that is accumulated over the
years, the very heart of a man is his spirit. God breathed into us. He put into us His own heart and His own
nature, His own attitude to things, His own Spirit, His own attitude. Then the verse goes on and it says,
“…and man became a living being.” That’s from what we call the Revised Standard Version translation. But the
King James Version is probably the best, because it says, “…and man became a living soul”.
The Hebrew word for soul is “nephesh”, and, it’s interesting, the Greek word for soul is “psuche”. That, of
course, becomes through the Anglo-Saxon changes, where the vowel changes, it becomes “psyche”. It means that
God made our bodies and then breathed into our bodies His own very essence, the essence of His own very
character, the thing that gives Him life. The two, as it were, mixed together much as, I suppose, instant
coffee and water do. The third essence that resulted was the soul, the psychological part of us.
So, one of the necessary things that we have to do is, in order to understand what the meaning of life is
about, to see that the psychological part of us is a separate part of us from this area called the spirit,
which is the very essence of God. That, again, is separate from the body. So, we are made in the image of God
in that we exist on three different levels. Let’s continue a little more with this tomorrow, and I think that
you will begin to understand your own self better.
Body, Soul and Spirit 2 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Body, Soul and Spirit 2
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? What’s the purpose of it? Why are you here? Why was the world created? That’s the
subject we’re talking about on this program. We’ve got as far in our discussion, over the past months, as
having started to deal with the explanation of the meaning of life that has been given by the unique human
being that most of us know as Jesus of Nazareth.
He pointed us back to the early words that most of us have heard read in school assembly when we were little.
The words that you may remember go like this, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image…'” Jesus
explained to us that the Creator of the universe, in timeless eternity, before the world was created, turned
around to Him, His only Son, and said, “Let us (let you and I) make man in our image …” Jesus explained that
the reason the Creator made you in His image was because He wanted you to be His friend and His close
associate, indeed His child.
That is why we are really created. The Creator made us not simply to look after the world, not simply to play
a violin, if that’s what we can do well, or to complete mathematical equations, if that’s what we can do well,
or to scrub floors, or to build cars, but He made us so that we could be His friends. We could enjoy an
intimate relationship with Him that He would then enjoy forever in timelessness.
That’s why He created us in His image, because the only one you can enjoy friendship with is somebody who is
like you. You know that yourself. You like people who enjoy the same kind of things as you. To enjoy them,
they have to have the same kind of capabilities as you. That’s why the Maker of the world made you and me in
Somebody has said that we have the only brain cells that can think about themselves. That’s one of the things
that divides us from the animals: the self-conscious ability, self-critical ability. That’s because we are
made in the same form as God. Last broadcast, we discussed another verse in the early chapter of Genesis that
describes the creation of man in somewhat metaphorical terms, probably because mankind was in his childhood
and that’s the way he would understand it.
You remember, it runs that God took dust from the ground and made man’s body. You can find that in Genesis
2:7. It runs, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground…” Your body is just made of dust and it
will return to dust. Then, the verse runs on, “…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” The word
for “life” in Hebrew is “ruach” and it means God’s own Spirit, the very own Spirit of God, the very thing that
makes Him God. It is the very fire of His life. It is the very essence of God.
When you talk about Churchill’s great spirit, you mean his attitude, the very heart of the man himself, the
very essence of his life, the thing that makes him Churchill. That’s what God’s Spirit is. It’s the thing that
makes God God. It’s the very life attitude. It’s the very fire inside him. It’s the very energy that makes him
God. And God breathed that into us.
Then it says that man became a living soul. It seems that God’s life Spirit combined with our body and
resulted in a soul. The Hebrew word for “soul” is “nephesh”, but the Greek word is “psuche”, and it becomes,
of course, “psyche”. That is “psychological” in our English language. You can see that it means that the
spirit and the body came together and resulted in a psychological part of man that you and I often call his
Those three levels are the levels in which man exists, and the levels at which God exists. They are what make
it possible for man to know God and to have any relationship with Him. That’s why, in another part of the
Bible, very near the end of the Bible in the New Testament, in a book called Thessalonians and it’s in about
chapter 5 and verse 23, it runs, “May the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and keep your spirit, soul
and body blameless until the coming of the Lord Jesus.”
That division of spirit, soul and body is part of what will help you and me to understand the meaning of life.
That’s because we are beings that exist on those three levels. It doesn’t mean, of course, that you can go in
and take your appendix out. It doesn’t mean you can go in again and take your soul out. It doesn’t mean that.
It is not an entity like that; it’s not a physical entity. It is a level of reality within you that you
possess. It makes it very clear, and Jesus makes it very clear, that the spirit is different from the soul.
The soul is the kind of psychological part of us, the emotional side and the intellectual side. But, the
spirit is deeper than that. Of course, we get into all kinds of trouble today, because we mix up the two. We
think that when we’re dealing with thoughts and feelings and when we’re dealing even with intellect, we’re
dealing with the spirit. No.
The emotional and intellectual part of us is what is known as the self-conscious part of us. It is the part of
us that is self-conscious. We can look into our feelings and feel what we’re feeling. We can look into our
mind and see what we are thinking. We can will with our wills. Those are conscious actions. But, the spirit
is, in a sense, the unconscious part of us. It’s the part of us that senses God. It’s the part of us that is
lifted and energized by His own life and His own Spirit.
It is, actually in a sense, the God-conscious part of us. The soul is the self-conscious part of us, and the
spirit is the God-conscious part of us. It’s the part of us that comes alive when we begin to live our life in
trust of God. Then, we begin to sense what He wants us to do. That is the spirit. It is the spirit part of us
that knows God, and that is able to trust Him and sense what He is thinking.
The body part of us is the world part of us. We can see with our eyes, and hear with our ears. We can feel
with our fingers and we can taste with our tongue. All those activities of the five senses are connected with
our perception of the world. That kind of division, if you like to call it a division, though it’s certainly
not a divided man. We are not in bits; we’re all one. Those three levels on which we operate might help you a
Many of us have tried to feel God’s presence with our feelings. We have tried to think our way through to God.
Now, both our mind and emotions can get us so far, but, finally, it is our spirit that senses God and that is
able to contact Him and able to interact with Him. In fact, Jesus and His disciples went to great extremes to
point out that there was a division between the spirit and the soul.
There is a certain verse in the New Testament book of Hebrews (way near the back of the New Testament),
there’s a verse that runs in Hebrews 4:12, that says that the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword
piercing to the division of soul and spirit. So, it is obviously quite important to be able to distinguish
between the spirit and the soul.
Actually the verse goes on and says, “…discerning the thoughts and intentions of man’s heart.” It indicates
that it is very difficult to distinguish between the spirit and the soul, but God’s own word is able to do
that. It is vital, of course, for you and I to do it. It explains a lot of the errors we make when we talk
about psychotherapy today. Let’s talk a little bit about that tomorrow.
Body, Soul and Spirit 3 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Body, Soul and Spirit 3
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life on this broadcast at this time each day. We’ve reached the point in
our discussion, which has been going on for about six or seven months now, where we have been sharing what
this unique human being, who lived in the first century of our era, Jesus of Nazareth, said about reality. He
explained to us that His Father was the Creator of the universe and that He is the Person who made you.
The reason He made you, Jesus explained to us, was so that you could be His friend, so that you could be His
son, his daughter, so that you could actually have a close relationship with Him. That is why He made you. In
other words, He made you for yourself, for your own value. He actually loves you. You’re the only one He has
made exactly like you.
You probably know that. Even if you’re an identical twin, you’re the only one, because you are uniquely
different from your identical twin even. The Creator made you because He wanted your love and your friendship,
and a relationship with you. That’s the only thing that will not get boring over timeless eternity: a
relationship of love. That’s the purpose the Creator had in making you. That’s why He made you like Himself.
We’ve been talking about how He made us in His image. That is, He gave you a spirit like His. The spirit is
the very heart of you; it’s your very essence. It’s what makes you “tick”. It’s you when you are alone. What a
man is when he is on his own, that he is and nothing more. It’s you when you’re on your own. That’s your
spirit. He actually put into you His Spirit, the very essence of Himself and His own attitude.
Then, He put around that a body, a physical body. That, of course, returns to dust after just a surprisingly
few years. Those two elements combine, the spirit and the body, to produce a soul. Jesus explained that we
became living souls. That is, a soul in the sense of the Greek word “psuche” or psyche. The psychological part
of us is what Jesus referred to as our soul. It includes our mind, and our emotions and our will.
Now, the point that Jesus made was that the body, through the eyes, ears, tongue, fingers and nose, that is
the five senses, is conscious of the world. The body is conscious of the world we see and hear and touch and
taste. The soul is conscious of itself. It is with the soul (with our mind and emotions) that we look into
ourselves and are able to be critical of ourselves. It’s what sets us apart from the animals. We are able to
If I ask you, “What are you feeling at this moment?” you can tell me what your feelings are at this moment. If
I ask you what you’re thinking at this moment, you can tell me what you’re thinking at this moment. So, your
soul, the psychological part of you, is the part of you that is conscious of yourself.
But, your spirit, which is deeper than your soul, deeper than your mind and emotions, is the part of you that
is conscious of God. It’s the part that can trust Him, that can live as if God is really real. The spirit is
the part that sets up an invisible, ephemeral relationship with Him by which you are able to tell what He is
thinking and what He wants you to do.
Of course, the whole plan that He had for us was just that. He wanted us, through our spirits, to have a
relationship with Him, and our spirits would then guide our souls and our souls would govern our bodies. Of
course, you know that it has happened the other way around. The result is that our spirits are almost
completely inactive. They are, in most of us, dormant or absolutely dead. But, there is a great difference,
you can see, between the spirit and the soul. It’s useful to begin to make that distinction yourself and to
see where Jesus makes it, and where His followers make it in the Bible.
You remember, there is a verse in part of the Bible that is near the very end called Hebrews in Chapter 4 and
verse 12. It reads like this, “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing
to the division of soul and spirit…” Now, it would help us out of a great deal of trouble in our attempts to
find God and to become religious if we would see that the nihilism or the self-negation that Buddhism, or that
transcendental meditation, or often spiritualism engages in is simply an exercise of the soul.
It is an attempt to annihilate the soul, as in the case of Buddhism. You remember that Buddha taught that pain
comes from desires, so if you could eliminate all desire, you could negate the self to annihilate one’s own
feelings. So that teaching is just as wrong. It suggests that if you annihilate the soul, you’ll be able to
find God. No, God is not found through the soul.
And, of course, it’s just as wrong for us who simply enjoy the beautiful architecture of the church. It is
good that architecture is beautiful, but it is foolish to try to find God in aesthetics. It is impossible, in
any kind of harmony or balance of the soul, to find God. You can only find Him in the spirit and with your own
spirit. That is what is so frustrating for so many of us who spent years at theological college or seminary,
where we argue and discuss, argue and discuss, and write very learned books, always trying to find that
perfect clarification of truth in the intellect that is so elusive. We think if we could only get that, we
would know God.
Many of us, of course, in our experiments with prayer, get caught up in the whole preoccupation with our own
feelings and with what our mind is thinking. You remember how C.S. Lewis, in one of his books [Surprised by
Joy], said that for years, as a young man in boarding school, he attempted to pray realistically every night.
But, it became a torture to him, because he kept on reflecting on himself, “Did I really mean that prayer?”
Or, “Have I really realized that prayer the way I did last night?”
Suddenly, he realized that the moment he turned in upon himself, to examine his mind or examine his feelings,
that moment he had ceased to worship God. He could not see worship going on inside of him, but could only see
the mental track that his worship had left inside his soul. Now, many of us get caught in the same kind of
introspection and the frustration of it, when we try to find God through our souls.
Of course, that is the whole error of so much of our emphasis on psychology today. We try to eke out the
apparent shortcomings of our religion with a mixture of psychology and personable dealings with each other. It
is impossible to find God through the psychological part of us. The only thing it can commune with is
ourselves. So, all we will commune with through our souls is ourselves. That is why so much of our religion
today is so selfish and so self-centered.
It’s the same with those of us who think that religion ought to be either very intellectual or very emotional.
We attempt to have an emotional religion and think that that is more real than a coldly, intellectual one. Of
course, neither form the essence of religion. They are only the outward symptoms of an experience of communion
with God that we express for a moment through our psychological personalities. But, communion with God takes
place in our spirits. That whole experience of spirit is something that many of us know little about.
It’s the same, of course, with our bodies, when we try to inject our bodies with heroin or we try to treat our
bodies in certain ways that will enable us to get into a position of ecstasy, it is impossible. It’s not
through the body that one finds God. Let’s talk a little more about the meaning of life tomorrow.
Body, Soul and Spirit 4 -
ï»¿WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Spirit, Soul and Body 4
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re discussing on this program each day what is the meaning of life. What is the meaning of your life?
What’s the purpose of it? Why are you here? Why are we all here? How did we come to be here? We’ve been
talking especially about the various experiences that different ones of us have in order to solve that
question. To many of us they are just bewildering.
Some of us feel that we have to find ourselves. We try things like transcendental meditation, where we try
through controlling our thought patterns and our mental concentration to somehow transcend the limitations of
this earth-bound existence. Yet, we don’t seem to achieve any sense of meaning in our lives, however much we
try these mental contortionist’s tricks.
Some of us have tried Zen Buddhism or the Eastern religions and we have tried through annihilating our
feelings or trying to make our psychic processes passive, to somehow get in touch with a deeper part of life
or a deeper part of the universe. Others of us, of course, have tried the world of nature and have attempted
to experience some of the oneness that they talk about in Hinduism, that sense of oneness with nature or with
the spirit of the universe. Yet, we often find that we are having an experience that seems still partial to
us. It seems not convincing.
Others of us have tried various forms of Christianity in church attendance and have discovered that they, too,
are very frustrating and seem at times, too human, too connected with the ordinary, everyday world, too
wrapped up with human relationships with other people rather than with a vertical relationship between us and
whatever the Spirit behind the universe is.
Most of us, whether we have come through university or not, are equally bewildered about these attempts that
we’ve made to discover the meaning of life. We just don’t know where to go. That’s really what we have begun
to try to find out in these discussions that we have each day on this program.
You may remember that a few days ago, we started to study the explanation of our personalities that is given
in the early chapters of the Bible. There we saw, I think, some answers and possible explanations of the
difficulties so many of us have with what we call religious experiences. There it is evident that God made us
like Himself. He made us, as that verse in Genesis says, “In His image”. He made us like Himself primarily so
that we could have friendship with Him.
You will remember, we said you cannot have great friendship with your Yorkshire terrier because he not’s so
good at appreciating BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH, or discussing Chopin, or discussing Vincent Van Gogh. So, you’re
limited in the relationship you can have with a life that is lower than your own. You really, in order to have
a full experience of friendship with someone, have to find someone who has the same capabilities and
capacities as yourself. That is the Creator’s purpose in making you.
You’re not made just to be a bus conductor or just an orchestra conductor; you’re not made to be just a
secretary, or just to be a managing director. You’re made to be the friend of your Creator, your Maker. He has
planned a relationship with you that He can’t have with anybody else. None of the rest of us will know Him
just as you will know Him. He will not be able to show Himself to any of the rest of us in the same way He
shows Himself to you. You’re actually unique! You’re unique partly because you are made like Him in a way that
nobody else is.
You remember we discussed what that meant. We looked back to the early verses in Genesis which described the
whole creation in child-like terms because of course manhood at that point in history was in its childhood. He
was able to understand these things in a child-like way. That’s why the Creator talked about making us out of
dust. You remember the Hebrew word is “aphar”. He took the “aphar”(dust) from the “adama” (ground) and He made
You and I don’t need any persuasion to believe that our bodies are made of dust, because we can open a coffin
years and years after our mums and dads are dead, and we can see that their bodies are beginning to crumble
into dust. We even use those words, you remember, at a funeral. We say, “dust to dust, earth to earth, ashes
to ashes”. So, we don’t need any persuasion to believe that when we see our loved ones dead, their body is
there, but they long ago have left the body. The body is just a collection of earth in a certain form.
Then you remember the verses in Genesis, chapter two, go on to say, “…and God breathed into the man the
breath of life”. We said how the Hebrew word for breath, “ruach”, which means wind or spirit, is the very
essence of God Himself, His very Spirit, what makes God God. That is the spirit. He breathed into us His own
spirit. That’s what gives us life. That’s why when you look at your dad or mum after they’re dead, they just
look as if it is not them at all. Their very life-spark seems to have disappeared from them, because it’s
God’s life in us that gives us life.
If you say, “Well, what is Spirit?” Well, it’s His very essence, the very essence of God. You could say a
little, when you talked about the spirit of Churchill what spirit the man had, that you’re really talking
about what makes Churchill Churchill. You’re talking about that mixture of courage, and bravery, and valor,
and determination and stubbornness and high-mindedness that made Churchill Churchill. It’s the very essence of
a person. It’s what gives a person life.
Of course, with God, it’s more than that. It’s His very heart. It’s what makes Him alive. It’s what enlivens
the whole universe. It’s what gives beauty to the breakers on the Hawaiian beaches. It’s what gives freshness
to the spring breezes. It’s the very spirit of God! God breathed into us His spirit. The next part of the
verse says, “…and man became a living soul.” The Hebrew word is “nephesh”. But the Greek word for soul is
the one which gives us the clue to what it is. The Greek word is “psuche”, which in the Anglo-Saxon sound
changes and becomes the word “psyche”, which becomes psychology.
In other words, God took dust from the earth, made our bodies, breathed into us His own Spirit-life and then
those two things together resulted in a third entity, a third level of life which is our psychological part:
our minds, and emotions and our wills. That’s what makes man uniquely man. He’s not an angel, because that’s
just a spirit. He’s not an animal, because that’s just body. He is a human being, because He has a spirit, a
soul, and a body.
What we have been saying is that many of us have been trying to find God through the exercise of our souls.
That’s why our so-called experiences of religion are so unsatisfactory. We try by manipulating the mind in
transcendental meditation or in introspection to achieve some kind of knowledge of ourselves or knowledge of
reality. All we get is a knowledge of ourselves.
While the body is the world-conscious part of us, through our senses, through our five senses, we perceive the
world of things and circumstances and people, and our spirits are the God-conscious part of us (the part of us
that can be aware of God), the soul is the self-conscious part of us. So, all we do when we engage in any
mental or emotional activity is engage in a relationship with ourselves. All we become conscious of is
ourselves. We don’t become conscious of God.
So, when we engage in transcendental meditation, or Zen Buddhism, or in self-negation (trying to negate any
feelings), all we are doing is having a conversation with ourselves. We’re not getting any deeper than that.
That’s why so many of us, even in Christianity, who get our satisfaction from the beauty of the Cathedral, or
the beauty of the church, or the beauty of the liturgy, or the beauty of the Gregorian chants, that’s why we,
too, have an unsatisfactory experience of religion
We’re engaged not in any sort of spiritual exercise at all. We are engaged simply in a soulish activity where
we become more conscious of ourselves. Many of us who are younger try mysticism, which is primarily a
pre-occupation with our own experience of God, and becomes equally unsatisfactory. It’s simply looking in upon
our own souls as we’re trying to worship God at the same time. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about the
frustrations of mysticism.
Mystical Experiences -
ï»¿WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the subject we’re discussing this time on this program each day. We’ve got
to the point where we’re looking at some of the attempts that all of us probably at some time in our lives
have made at trying to find out the meaning of life. Most of us, of course, have tried some kind of what we
would call religious or higher experience. Many of us are convinced that there certainly is some kind of
That’s the only way you can describe the order and design that we see in the universe, and the obvious order
and design of our own bodies and our own minds. So we feel that what we ought to try to do is to contact that
Supreme Being in some way. We’ve been talking about the attempts we all have made at different times in our
lives to do that. One of the most popular ways is, of course, to enter in to some kind of what we call
What we have been saying is that the real explanation of life, the true explanation that has been given by
that remarkable individual who lived in the first century of our era, that remarkable explanation that has
been looked upon down through the years as the one complete satisfactory explanation of the meaning of life is
the one that you find in that old collection of books called in Greek “Ta Biblia” — or which has become
translated into the word Bible.
The explanation given there helps us to understand why so many of us are frustrated with our mystical
experiences. That explanation of reality that is given by that man Jesus of Nazareth makes it clear to us that
our Creator made us for one purpose: so that we could enjoy His friendship and so that He could enjoy our
friendship. That’s why He made us in His own image. That is, He made us with the same capacities as He has.
What we looked at, you remember, was the fact that He made us on three levels…three levels of experience, or
three levels of existence, or three levels of perception. Just as He has, in a sense, a spiritual body by
which He can be perceived, so He gave us a physical body. Then He breathed into us His own spirit, the spirit
of His own life, the thing that gives life to everything in the universe. He breathed that into us. Those two
elements combine and produce a third element known as the soul, the psychological part of us. That’s actually
what gives us our uniqueness.
So often men are called in the Bible “souls”. We talk even in popular jargon about a ship going down with so
many souls on board. Humanity has come to be identified with the unique element that it possesses: the soul.
In other words, the angels have spirits and animals have bodies, but only a man has a spirit, a soul and a
body. A soul is often the part of us that we think contacts God. Of course, it doesn’t. The spirit is what
contacts God. But we often try to raise our soul experiences to the “nth” degree, hoping that somehow we will
achieve oneness with the Supreme Being behind the universe.
We are doomed, of course, to continual failure and frustration because the soul (the emotional and mental part
of us) is the self-conscious part of us. It’s the part of us by which we perceive our own inner experiences.
It’s the part of us that is self-critical. It’s the part of us that makes medics say that our brain cells are
the only part of us that can think about themselves. The brain cells of animals can’t think about themselves.
Our brain cells can think about themselves. In other words, our soul is the part of us that looks in and
enables us to be conscious of what we are thinking or what we are feeling.
Of course, the mistake that many of us make is we think that somehow through the exercises of the soul we will
perceive the reality behind the universe. We will somehow be able to contact the Supreme Being behind the
universe. We never do. All we enter into is mystical experience. Now the heart of a mystical experience is
that it is preoccupied usually with its own personal perception of reality.
I suppose true mysticism is actually a correct perception of God. But most of us don’t engage in true
mysticism at all. Most of us engage in what we call a mystical experience, but what ends up being a
preoccupation with our perception of God. For most of us our attempts at mysticism have been involved in
whether we had what we call a good prayer time or not. Or whether we had a good time of meditation.
It’s that kind of experience that C. S. Lewis talked about when he was at boarding school. He said he used to
pray at night. Then he would ask himself if he really realized that prayer. By that he meant whether he
experienced that prayer as really and as vividly as he had experienced it the night before. He said eventually
he stopped praying, because it became such a burden and such a slavery and such a labor to him. He drove
himself crazy trying to look in to see if he actually realized the prayer.
You remember how he explains it in that partial biography [Surprised by Joy]. He said he at last realized in
later life that when he looked in to see whether he had realized that prayer or not, he had ceased to pray.
The heart of worship is utter preoccupation with the Supreme Being. It’s the sense that Thomas had, you
remember, in the New Testament, when he saw Jesus was actually risen from the dead. He bowed down and he said,
“My Lord and my God”. It kind of makes you speechless.
It fills you with a sense of what Rudolf Otto called, you remember, the sense of the holy or the numinous, the
sense of awe. The moment you look in to see whether you have that sense of awe or not, you have ceased to
worship. As C. S. Lewis puts it, what he was in fact looking at was the mental track of the worship that he
had been involved in; in other words the memory left in his mind of the worship that he had just been
experiencing. But he pointed out that it is impossible to look in and see yourself worship. The moment you
look in you have ceased to worship. It’s impossible to do it.
Many of us are involved in that kind of mystical experience, which we think is a direct perception of the
Supreme Being behind the universe. It is in reality an exercise of self-consciousness. That explains why great
numbers of us in our teenage years and in our later years experienced frustration in our attempts to contact
God. We’ve been preoccupied with our own mystical experience of God, rather than preoccupied with God.
Of course, we can never contact God through our souls. Our soul is simply the self-conscious part of us. It’s
the part of us that is conscious of self. It explains why we are often so frustrated with even the good music
that we experience in church or the beautiful singing, or the magnificent liturgy. We get a certain
satisfaction from those things, but not deep full satisfaction that we get alone from communication with God
Himself, and which is done, of course, through our spirit.
Now the interesting thing about us men and women is that our souls themselves can be governed by either one
part of us or the other part of us. Our soul, our mind and emotions and will are actually just equipment; they
are apparatus that we have. They are by themselves neutral. They have to be driven either by one part of us or
by the other. They have to be driven by our bodies or they have to be driven by our spirits.
That was the question that God put to us, or the choice that He left with us. He said, “Now I have made you
like Me. I have given you the capacities that I have. But you must choose whether you’re going to live like
me, in which case you will receive from me my inner attributes as well as my outward capabilities. You must
choose if you want to live like me, and in trust of me, or whether you want to live on your own, independent
of me. Let’s talk more about that tomorrow.
Our Personality in Psychology -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our Personality in Psychology
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life on this program at this time every day. We have tried to present a
synthesized answer to the question, simply because knowledge today is so fragmented that very few of us seem
to be able to look at a question as cosmic as this in a complete and comprehensive way. So, that’s what we’re
trying to do.
Of course, you can’t go into extreme detail in every subject that we touch upon, but we’ve tried to go into
enough detail to at least give some intellectual undergirding to the points we’re sharing with another. So, if
you have followed for the past six months, you know that we have tried to proceed along the lines of dealing
with such questions. We’ve considered if there is a Supreme Being behind the universe. What indication is
there? Is there any evidence that He has revealed Himself to us men and women at any time?
What is the purpose for which He has created us? In other words, why are you here? Why am I here? What’s the
point of it? We have reached the stage in the discussion, you remember, where we have said that the Supreme
Being behind the universe appears to have communicated with us through a man who lived in the first century of
our era, and that seems to prove to our intellectual examination, at least, that he is more than an ordinary
human being. He is, in fact, uniquely related to the Creator of the universe.
He is not some kind of insane, unbalanced madman, but He is, in fact, the Son of the Creator of the world.
We’ve tried to follow through what His explanation of the meaning of our lives was and is. You remember what
He said? This man Jesus said that His Father made you to be His friend. That’s it! That’s it! His Father, the
Creator of the universe, made you so that you could be His friend, so that you could enjoy a continual
friendship with Him forever. That’s it!
You can have a unique relationship with Him that none of the rest of us can. So can I. The Creator of the
universe, the Supreme Being behind it, can have a unique relationship with you that He can have with nobody
else. That’s why He made you. That’s your real value and you are as important to Him as that. That’s why He
made you like Himself. That is, He gave you the same capacities as He Himself has.
He gave you a body, in this case a physical body, just as He has a spiritual body or an invisible body by
which He can be perceived. He gave you a physical body made out of dust from the earth and that’s why it
returns to dust. He breathed into that body the breath of His own life, His own particular spirit life. If you
say, “Well, what’s that?!” It’s the thing that gives life to everything. It is His very own essence. That is
what we mean by the Spirit of the Creator. Or, the fact that He has breathed His Spirit into you. He has given
you the capacity to have His Spirit within you.
His Spirit is like His blood. It’s what contains all the elements that give Him life. When you talk about the
spirit of De Gaulle, or the spirit of Churchill, you are talking about the very essence of the man. Well, that
is something of what the Spirit is. It is the very life and heart of God. He breathed into you that. That
combined in with your body to give you a soul.
That’s what is explained in the early chapters of the book of Genesis in the Bible. It says there that man
became a living soul. That’s why we speak of it in terms of shipping disasters when “this ship when down with
a hundred souls aboard”. Man is known as a soul, because the soul is a man’s most characteristic element. The
angels have spirits, the animals have bodies, but man has a soul. A man has a spirit, a soul and a body.
What we have been saying is that the way you relate to God the Creator is through your spirit. Many of us get
into great difficulties when we try to relate to God through our souls. Our soul is indicated by the Greek
word “psuche”, which becomes our psyche, which becomes words like psychological. It means the psychological
part of us, your personality, your mind, your emotions, your will.
That is the part of you that is conscious of self. Your spirit is the part of you that is conscious of God.
The body, through the five senses, is the part that is conscious of the world, and of things and of people.
But the soul is the part of you that looks into itself and is self-conscious. Many of us have got into great
frustration in our attempts to experience God through trying to experience it through our souls.
So, many of us try it through the beautiful church music, or the Gregorian chants, or the beautiful
architecture of the churches or beautiful paintings. Some of us are nature buffs and we think we think we’ll
find God through nature. Yet, all those things come through our soul. The soul is just a human part of us.
There is nothing supernatural about it. All it can do is perceive what is going on inside yourself.
That’s why, when you try to pray and wonder if you have really prayed or not, all you’re doing is examining
the mental track in your mind of what you were trying to do a few seconds before. That is because the soul is
a purely human part and it is tied to earth. Of course, the only way to really get through to the Supreme
Being is through your spirit.
Now, it might be good, if you would be patient with me, to follow through a little more on the make-up of the
personality that is presented by this man Jesus of Nazareth and by the people who proceeded after Him. These
are the people who wrote the books, as they were led by God’s Spirit, of the Bible. If you ask if we are going
to substantiate all this, the answer is “yes”. It can be done by giving references in the Bible. But, if
you’re not too sure of the Bible and not certain about it, then I am going to come over like a wild,
So, what I will do is try to outline the anthropology that is presented in the Bible, or the make-up of our
personalities that is outlined there, and then I can make available to you notes that will provide Bible
references and you can look them up yourself. But, I think it’s wiser for me to try to give you some idea of
what this man, Jesus of Nazareth, taught us about our personalities. That’s because I think that once you
begin to hear it, it will make so much sense to you.
If you have studied psychology, or science, or philosophy, or theology or anthropology, you will begin to see
how much sense this view of man makes. That will, in an intuitive way and in an implicit way, begin to give
you a conviction that this is actually truth. Then, of course, by all means, follow it up yourself by looking
up references and thinking it through.
So, will you bear with me as I try, in the next few broadcasts, to at least outline the way the Creator of the
universe meant our personalities to operate? I think it will help you to understand yourself and to understand
the way your life goes. The personality, then, is made up of three levels or three elements. These three
elements are the spirit, the soul and the body.
Now, you are dead right if you think that that is an old-fashioned Heraclitus view of life. It’s fire, air and
water. You’re splitting man up into elements. Well, no! No! Jesus never implied that. He always said that man
was one. But, He did imply that man existed on three different levels and that it was vital to understand
those levels. So, we are not saying that you can take them out, as you can take out an appendix; we’re not
saying that you can take out a soul and examine that.
We’re simply that this complex, human personality works on three levels…the spirit, the soul and the body.
So, tomorrow I would like to try to begin talking about the spirit, your own spirit, and what it is meant to
How we Communicate with God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How We Communicate With God
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the meaning of life. That is, why are you here? What’s the point
of it? What’s the meaning of it? Is there any purpose in it? Over the past six months we have tried to follow
through intellectually some of the basic facts upon which we are founding our discussion. We have come to the
point where now we are discussing the personality and trying to make some sense of what your personality is
and what my personality is and how they were meant to work originally by the Supreme Being that created us.
What we have said recently is that He made us like Himself so that we could enjoy His friendship and have a
personal relationship with Him. That is why we are here actually on earth. That’s why He gave us His own
capabilities and capacities. So, we actually have the same capacities as He has.
He gave us three levels of existence. We can’t be divided up into three parts, but rather we operate on three
levels: the spirit, the soul and the body. We know what the body is. That’s fairly obvious. It is our physical
being that allows us, through the five senses, to be conscious of the world around us, of circumstances and of
people, and of things.
The soul is the psychological part of us. The spirit is the part of us that is able to contact God Himself.
That is He Himself, the very essence of the Creator of the universe, is Spirit. Now if you say, “Well, what do
you mean by my spirit?” You talk about the spirit of Churchill and his indomitable spirit; you talk about his
courageous spirit; it’s the very essence of the man.
If you say, “What spirit he has!”, you mean the “umph”…that which makes him him. If you regard yourself,
it’s you. It is the very essence of you. It’s not your mind, not your emotions, not your will, which you share
with everybody else. Though they are formed through habit different to everybody else, yet they are, in a way,
neutral equipment. Your body, which in a way, you vary just a little from everybody else’s body. But your
spirit is the real you. It’s the very heart of you.
One of the classical writers, you remember, said, “What the man is when he is alone, that he is and nothing
else.” That’s the real you. So your spirit is you yourself, the very heart of you. When you’re alone and quiet
and you’re not being provoked or stimulated or motivated by anybody else or any circumstances or any needs
that you have, that is you, your spirit. That’s the very heart of you. It’s you yourself.
Of course, you’re dead right if you say, “I don’t know who I am. I have no idea what my spirit is.” You’re
dead right, because most of us have spirits that are now pretty dead. Most of us have become little robots and
little automatons that operate simply by physical stimulus or sometimes the higher animals among us operate at
times by emotional stimulus and some few of us, like Einstein, operate by intellectual stimulus. Most of us
have spirits that are pretty dead.
So, you’re dead right, many of us are bewildered. We can’t find ourselves. We talk about it that way. We say,
“Oh, that person has never found himself.” We talk about ourselves and say, “Oh I have to find myself.”
Unfortunately, as the years go by, we are dominated by either the needs of our body or the needs of our job or
the needs of our relatives, our mothers, our fathers, our children, our wives, or our husbands. We become just
little “need-meeters”. We cease to know who we are or what we are or what we really ought to be.
I don’t blame you in saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about when you’re talking about my spirit.” I
think most of us have great difficulty having any idea that we have a spirit. It is true that you have a
spirit. If you wonder why you should believe it, there are many verses, many parts of that old book called the
Bible that refer to man’s spirit.
There’s one verse, if you ever want to look it up, in the New Testament, in a book called Corinthians. It’s in
1 Corinthians and chapter 2 and verse 11. “For what person knows a man’s thought, except the spirit of the man
which is in him.” So every man has a spirit. Every man and woman has a spirit that separates you from the
animals. Animals don’t have spirits, but you have a spirit that is actually the only part of you that can
communicate with God. Your spirit is the real you.
It is true that for most of us it has died or become comatose, has gone to sleep years ago. Your spirit IS
there. That’s the part of you that is able to commune with God. That’s because, in fact, He Himself is a
spirit. There’s another part of the Bible that happens to say, “God is a spirit. They that worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Or, they that commune with Him must commune with him in spirit and in
Actually, that is one of the functions of your spirit. It can actually commune with God…commune in the sense
of converse with Him or communicate or interact with Him. It’s your spirit that has the capacity to interact
with God or communicate with God. You can know God directly through your spirit. There happens to be another
verse in the Bible. It’s in Romans 8 and verse 16 and it says, “The spirit of God bears witness with our
So you have a spirit and God has a spirit, and that bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
So the way you know God is actually through your spirit. I’m not surprised at all that you think to yourself,
that’s far beyond me. Most of us have spirits that are dead to God and that we’re not conscious of at all. But
it is in your spirit that you commune with God.
Of course, if you say, “How will I ever do that?” That’s what we’ll be talking about in future months, how you
commune with God. Maybe it would be helpful to say that one of the basic factors in exercising your spirit is
to want to really get through to God. It’s the real you wanting and desiring. It’s not words that you speak.
It’s not feelings that you have. It’s not some kind of practice of transcendental meditation or of cosmic
consciousness. It’s not even necessarily even going to church or singing hymns or even reading the Bible.
It’s a strong desire inside you to get to the person at the heart of the universe and who made and created
you. Jesus put it like this. He said that you’re happy if you hunger and thirst after God. If you want to find
God, you must seek Him with all your heart. So it’s a strong desire, a strong wanting. That’s maybe the best
way to put it to people like ourselves who are at the very beginning of trying to understand where our spirit
So if you’re listening to this in your car or in your home and you’re thinking, “Oh, the guy has already left
me miles behind…” accept this: your spirit is the real you. If you get time (and maybe you don’t need to get
down on your knees; you can sit in your car there and put it in neutral), if you want God, with all your
being, that begins to get down nearer your spirit. In other words, it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking. It
doesn’t matter what you’re feeling. But if you desire God with all your being, that often brings your spirit
into some kind of activity.
That’s why many of us feel we were nearest God when we were in some kind of crisis situation. There we sank
into our real selves at last. We had to put off all our pretenses, all our big show. We had to be ourselves.
Often that was the time when we were nearest to God. So our spirit is the part of us that communes with God.
Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
God Made us for Love -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God Made Us For Love
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s what we’re talking about on this program each day. We’ve tried to lay some
of the intellectual undergirdings for discussing this question by looking at the reasons for believing in the
existence of a Supreme Being. We’ve looked at the evidence supporting whether this Supreme Being has
communicated with us in any way during the history of mankind, and what evidence there is for that individual,
through whom He communicated, who was actually His Son.
We’ve examined that kind of background and substantiation, and I would encourage you, if you want to go over
some of those intellectual arguments, to send for the early cassettes that we produced during the beginning of
this present year. However, at the moment we have reached the point where we are now trying to make sense of
life itself, and how we ourselves are meant to operate by the One who made us.
So, we are trying to examine the explanation of reality, and, in particular, the explanation of our human
personalities that this man, whom we know as Jesus of Nazareth, gave to us. What we have been saying, you
remember, over the past few days is that our Creator made us like Himself. His intention was that we would
enjoy His friendship. That’s the greatest thing in the whole universe: a love relationship with someone. Of
course, the very greatest thing is a love relationship with the Maker of the universe.
That’s actually why you were made. You were made by Him to enjoy His friendship and to have a love
relationship with Him. He actually has made you to be His son or His daughter. You are that in a unique way
that I am not and that the person beside you is not. So, there will be something missing in the Creator’s
experience if you fail to come into that relationship. That’s why He made you.
That’s why He made you with the same capacities as He has. That’s because you can’t have a love relationship,
and a full interacting with another person unless they are in some way like you. That is why He made you with
the same capabilities as He had. He made you so that you operate on a level of the physical. He gave you a
body that is in some way recognizable at least to our eyes.
He has a spiritual body, but He gave you and me a physical body made of dust, and it’s worth nothing, as you
know, after you’re dead. It just deteriorates into dust. That’s why we say “ashes to ashes and dust to dust”.
Then He gave you some of His own life, some of his own particular life. That’s the way the old book called the
Bible puts it. He breathed into you the breath of His own life.
And, really, that is His own Spirit. If you want to know, “Oh, what’s His spirit?” It’s what makes God God.
It’s His very essence. It’s the very spark of uncreated life that He possesses within Him. He breathed that
into you and then that life combined with your body to produce a soul. There is a soul, or in Greek it’s the
word “psuche”, which becomes “psyche”, which is the psychological part of us. So, the third level on which we
men and women exist is the psychological part: the mind, the emotions and the will.
What we have been talking about is how the parts of our personality are meant to operate…what they are and
how they are meant to operate. We’ve been doing that, because there is great mystery and bewilderment and
misunderstanding in most of our minds as to how our personality is supposed to work. Indeed, you could
probably trace most of the problems of your life to that: that you don’t really understand yourself.
The old, classical scholar, you remember, said “know thyself”, and we don’t really know ourselves. We really
don’t understand how we are meant to work, or how we’re meant to operate. That’s why we have been talking
about that. I can give you references that you can look up in the Bible, but, really, if you aren’t too
“gung-ho” on the Bible, you won’t be too interested in that and you’ll write me off as a mad kind of
evangelist. Really, I am trying to share things as realistically as possible and hoping that you will write to
me and share your own thoughts with me so that we can go back and forward.
There are so many of us who want to live life sensibly. We really want to live life the way it was meant to be
lived. But, we can’t get much of a handle on it. So, the purpose of our discussions over these months is to
try to share with each other and help each other in how we are meant to live by the One who made us. And, He,
after all, is the only one who really knows.
So, I am trying to share with you, first of all, what He seems to have outlined to us as reality, and then you
can look into it yourself. I think initially it will simply appeal to you from a sheer common sense point of
view. It will simply come home to you as truth as it certainly did to me when I first discovered it. So,
that’s what we are talking about these days.
We started first of all, you remember, by talking about the spirit level, our spirits. We’ve said that one of
the abilities that we have in our spirits is actually to commune with God. We do that by wanting Him, by
desiring Him with all of our being. Your spirit is the real you; it’s who you really are. So, getting in
contact with God is something you do at the basic level of your being.
If you say to me, “Well, that’s no great help to me,” what I say to is, your spirit is who you really are.
Sooner or later you have to sort out what you really want in life. What do you really want? Then you have to
start in some way communicating to the Creator that made you what you do want. Then, you have to start getting
interested in what He wants.
Now, that is something you do at the deepest part of your being. It is not something you play around with in
transcendental meditation. It is not a matter of producing the right feelings inside yourself so that you feel
the presence of God. It has nothing to do with your soul level of operation, which is just your self-conscious
part. It’s your spirit that communicates with God.
In a strange way, what goes on in your spirit can only go on through your faith. And if you say, “Well, that’s
big help! What is faith?” Faith is simply believing a certain thing and acting in the light of that. There is
a verse that might help you in the Bible that says, “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He
is a rewarder of them that diligently seek after Him.”
So, actually, that’s all faith is. That’s what you have to believe if you want to begin to commune with God in
your spirit. You have to believe that He is, first of all; believe on the basis of the intellectual evidence,
first. Believe. Intellectually believe that He is. Then …that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek
after Him. That is, act in the light of that. Believe that God is and that He really will come through to you
somehow, if you, with all of your being, with all of your diligence try to get at Him.
If you say to me, “How do I get at Him? Well, I say to you, how did you love your mother or father? How do you
express yourself when you and your wife feel there’s nowhere to go in your relationship? You just put your
arms around each other and hug each other to each other, because there’s nothing else to do. You want each
other with all of your being and that’s what it is with God. It’s a wanting, a great desiring of God.
If you say to me, can’t you give me some little technique? No, all the little techniques are games. Getting
through to God, communing with Him in your spirit, is you being real with God, being real with Him. It’s even
saying, “I hardly know whether I believe in you or not. I don’t know what to believe, but I do want you. I
want what is right in my life.”
So, communion is something that goes on in your spirit. That’s why it doesn’t have much to do, you know, with
the beautiful church, and the beautiful architecture, and the lovely hymns, whether you speak in tongues,
whether you have a robed choir or whether your minister is a pastor or an archdeacon or a chaplain or that he
is a priest. Communing with God is something you do in your personal desire for Him, in your spirit.
Now, another important part of your spirit, (there are three main functions that your spirit has) we want to
talk about tomorrow. But the part that we’ve discussed today is that part of you that communes with God. That
is what your spirit does. Your mind actually does not. Your mind just expresses in your psychological being
what has gone on in your spirit. Communion itself takes place in your spirit.
That’s why all the arguments about God never bring you closer to God. All the great discussions that you have
at midnight never bring you close to God. It is in your spirit that you commune with God. Let’s talk about
another function of your spirit tomorrow.
Conscience and our Personality -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Conscience and our Personality
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life and particularly about the way we were meant to operate as human
beings. If you say, “Meant by whom?” We are trying to answer the question from the point of view of the
Supreme Being who originated the whole thing at the beginning. We have been talking for some months about why
we believe in a Supreme Being and what He is like. Now we are trying to discuss how He meant us to operate in
this present life.
Of course, we have been saying that the reason He made us and the reason for our existence at all is so that
we would become His friends. He made us so that He could enjoy our friendship. That’s why He made you. That is
why He made us like Himself – – in other words with the same capacities that He has. We have been talking
about the different parts of our personality. We have been sharing that we exist on three different levels in
this human life that we have. It’s not that we are divided up into three entities, but that this one, united
entity exists on three levels.
There’s a spirit level. And there’s a soul level — a psychological level — and there’s a physical level.
What we have been talking about so far is the spirit level. We’ve been saying that the spirit level is the
part of you that is the real you. If you say, “What is my spirit?” Well, apart from the functions that the
spirit has, which is what we’re discussing these days, it is the real you. It is the very essence of you.
When we talk about the spirit of De Gaulle, or the spirit of Churchill, we talk about the real person, the
very essence of the person. When we talk about the Spirit of God, we are talking about what makes God God. In
fact, we are talking about a little more, because He has within Himself, and is Himself, uncreated life.
A created life is a made thing, but there is an uncreated life that is at the heart of everything. It is the
spark that makes our hearts beat. It’s the spark that makes the petals on a rose open. It’s that that gives
life at the heart of the universe. That He gave us, and you actually have a spirit of your own that can relate
to His Spirit.
In other words, you have a real essence. There is a real you. You, deep down, are individually different from
all the billions of the rest of us. It’s that “you” that the Creator wants to know and wants to have a
relationship with. That’s the part of you that actually communes with God. So, one of the functions of your
spirit, of the inner part of you, is the ability to commune with God.
Now, many of us of course get into all kinds of tangles and contortions with the Eastern religions, and with
things like transcendental meditation, gurus, and all that stuff, and spiritualism, because we mix up the
spirit with the psychological part of us. We try to raise the mental and emotional perceptions that we have to
the “nth” degree, hoping that somehow we will get in touch with God. It’s silly, because, of course, those are
not the parts of you that get in touch with God. You get in touch with God through your spirit. That’s the
part of you that communes with Him.
Another function of your spirit is important, because it is what we know as our conscience. Conscience is,
strictly speaking, the part of our spirit that urges us to live up to the best that we know. That is,
conscience is the part of God’s own life within us that enables us to judge what we do according to His
opinion of it. In other words, conscience is not really anything more than that.
Sometimes we think of our conscience as being the set of standards, the moral or ethical ideals that we have
to govern our life by. But, strictly speaking, that is a matter of education and a matter of our background
and how we were brought up. But, our conscience itself is the part of our spirit that urges us to live up to
the very best that we know.
Many of us, of course, think of conscience in the more general way. We think of it as the beliefs that we have
about our behavior that we inherited or that were transmitted to us by our parents. But, strictly speaking,
conscience itself is not that. That is a matter of our mind and our education and our memories. Conscience
itself is simply that part of our spirit that urges us to live up to the best that we know.
Some of us would like to say that. “Oh, no. Conscience is just a matter of education. It’s simply what we were
educated to believe is right or wrong.” But the truth is that, even though all of us here in this world find
it easier to be impatient than to be patient, yet we all feel that we should be patient. Even though we all
find it easier to be selfish than unselfish, yet we still sense that we ought to be unselfish.
Even though we in this world are a scrapping and fighting, struggling, striving, argumentative, destructive
group, yet we feel that it is wrong to destroy. We still feel that it is wrong to be argumentative. We still
feel that it is wrong to struggle and strive against each other. So, there is something inside each of us that
makes us sense that we ought to live up to the very best that we know and not live at the lowest level that we
It is true that some people have argued that conscience is just an instinct, but it isn’t simply an instinct.
Often we will judge between our instincts through our conscience. When you see someone falling into the water
and drowning, there are two instincts that operate. One, of course, is the self-preservation instinct which
urges you to look after yourself and take care of yourself.
The other instinct is the herd instinct that makes you want to identify with the person in the water
struggling and try to save them. Your conscience actually comes in and judges between those two instincts. So,
it is a remarkable function and a remarkable element in you. It is the part of you that urges you to live up
to the very best that you know.
Some, of course, have said that conscience itself is just a matter of education and upbringing and background.
But the truth is that conscience brings all of us to the point where we want to live by the same universal
rules. It doesn’t matter how primitive the tribe is, it doesn’t matter how uneducated they are, or how
Neanderthal they are. No tribe, no people on earth believe it is good to be cowardly, to run away from your
enemy in battle.
It doesn’t matter where you go in the world or in the world’s history; no man has a conscience that lets him
feel good about letting his friend down. Conscience everywhere urges us to the same universal sense of “I
ought”. That is why conscience is something deeper than simply our minds or emotions. It is a vital element in
our spirits. If we want to take the first steps towards God, usually a strong and sensible and stable step to
take is to begin to respond to your conscience.
Begin to respond to it and obey it. You begin to find that not only does your conscience begin to get
stronger, but your spirit begins to get stronger. Your communion with God becomes more real and vivid.
Let’s talk more about this tomorrow.
God’s Voice in our Conscience -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God’s Voice in our Conscience
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the meaning of life. We are talking about how we believe life was
meant to work and how you and I were meant to operate. That is to say, how did the Supreme Being who made us
intend us to live? We have, of course, been going back to as detailed a source of information as to His
explanation as we can find. We seem to find it most clearly expressed in the words of the man we know as Jesus
of Nazareth, that unique man who lived in the first century of our era, and gave every reason for us to
believe that He is more than a human being.
He not only said that He would destroy death, but He did destroy it. You remember that He lived for more than
a month after He was actually killed in an execution outside Jerusalem. We have been studying what His
explanation of what His Father said was the reason for our existence, and how we could fulfill that reason or
that purpose. What we have shared is that our Creator made us, so that you could enjoy His friendship. That is
why He made you and me.
You’re not made primarily to eke out a living here on earth somehow or other. You’re not made primarily to
work on a computer, or to brush floors, or to primarily be a nurse or a doctor. You’re made primarily to
become the kind of person that will be at home with the Person who made you for the rest of your existence. In
other words, He made you to enjoy His friendship, to enjoy His love. That’s why He made you with the same
capabilities as Himself.
What we have been talking about is the three levels of life that He gave us in our own personalities. You do
exist on three different levels. I mean you exist on a physical level; your body is physical. He gave you a
body. Secondly, you exist on a psychological level or soul, which is your mind and emotions and will. Then the
deepest level of all is your spirit. That’s, of course, the heart of His own life. The heart of His life is
His Spirit. The Spirit of God is the very essence of God.
The spirit of a man is the very essence of a man. It’s you. It is what you are when you’re alone, when you’re
not being motivated or pressured from outside. What you are is your spirit. Your spirit is the part of you
that is able to commune with God. That is why, of course, so much of our argument about philosophy and
theology and psychology is pretty pointless. It all takes place in the intellectual realm, or the mind, and
the mind is not the part of us that communicates with God.
The mind is the part of us that is conscious of ourselves. The mind is able to reflect on ourselves, on what
we think and what we feel. The mind itself is not able to get in touch with God. It is your spirit that does
that. If you say, “Well, how does it do that?” Your spirit’s really you, so it’s what you really want. Strong
desire for God is the first step in beginning to come into communion with Him.
The second step is, of course, the giving of some attention to another function of your spirit, and we began
to talk about that last time. That is the function of your spirit known as your conscience. Your conscience is
the part of you that urges you to live up to the best that you know. It is not necessarily the set of
standards that you have. Those are often influenced by your education and by your family and by your
It is not necessarily the ethical ideals that you have. Your conscience is, strictly speaking, stripped down
to its bare necessity, that part of you that urges you to live up to the best that you know. It’s actually
part of God’s own mind that He has put into you, however dead your spirit might be. And you might say “Aw,
don’t talk to me about spirit. I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t have a spirit.” Most of us feel
that way because our spirits long ago have gone to sleep and we exist only on a psychological level or a
But actually your spirit is still inside you, even though it’s half asleep and half dead. As far as your
Creator is concerned, the part of your spirit that is still alive is your conscience, that part of you that
urges you to live up to the best that you know. Actually, the truth is that you’ll get far better, far further
in trying to get close to God by actually respecting your conscience and by responding to your conscience,
than by all the other religious practices you might indulge in.
That is because your conscience is part of God’s life within you. It is a direct hotline that He has to you.
It is His own desires for you. Now you may say, “Aw, now you’re back to this business of being a
goodie-goodie.” No, I am not talking about morals, nor about what we discuss, as humans, as morals, or even
ethics or crime. I am talking about the urges deep within you that you have at times, feelings of “I ought”
that you have.
Perhaps you feel, “I ought to go and visit my mother.” Now that isn’t really a crime or not a crime. It’s not
necessarily moral or immoral. It’s not actually ethical or unethical. Often nobody will know if you’ve done it
or not, except your mother. But, if you will respond to those secret urges within you, you’re actually
responding to the movement of God’s life inside of you.
Many of them, of course, are absolutely foolish things that nobody else knows about. I’m not talking about
silly, psychologically imbalanced things like “I mustn’t walk on the cracks in the pavement or the sidewalk”.
But I’m talking about feelings that you have at times that I shouldn’t do that, or I should do that. Sometimes
it’s maybe a sense that, “Oh, I shouldn’t speak to that person that way” or “I shouldn’t talk as loudly as I
do” or “I shouldn’t boast at that moment. I shouldn’t be facetious at that moment.”
It’s things inside that you sense are things you should do or shouldn’t do. Often they’re absolutely apart
from what religious people think are right or wrong and they’re usually quite separate from what your
colleagues at business or at work or your fellow students think are right or wrong. They consist of God’s
secret, personal guidance to you. If you and I would begin to respond to our conscience, we would often sense
our spirits (of which our consciences are a part); our spirits would begin to get stronger. We would start to
sense more of the invisible, uncreated life of God that is operating all the time in the universe.
Your conscience often is the best sign that God has put inside you. It’s the clearest evidence that He has of
His existence. When you respond to your conscience, you’re often making some of the best steps towards Him
that you could.
Part of the problem that some of us get into is that we begin to substitute other people’s standards of
behavior for our own conscience. Of course, it works, you know, two ways. Sometimes it works in what we regard
as the conventional way. As young people we came from our homes with all kinds of ideas of what were right and
wrong. Then, as we come to the big, bad city and all that kind of thing, then we substitute other people’s
easier standards or morality for the morality that we had.
Now, I know that that works and that’s wrong. But I’m not talking particularly about that. Often it happens
the other way. Often we live our lives under the pressure of external standards that other people impose upon
us. We think, “Oh, these are religious, or goodie-goodie standards, or these are moral standards, or these are
philosophical standards. Or, these are psychological standards.” We think we should abide by those and often
we think we should run our lives by those. In fact, we end up losing our own selves.
We can’t find ourselves any longer. We cease to live by our own conscience. We cease to respond to our own
conscience, so our spirit’s more and more dead. We actually find we are losing ourselves. That’s perhaps a
little of what Wordsworth, you remember, meant when he said “Heaven lies about us in our infancy; shades of
the prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length the man perceives it die away and fade into
the light of coming day.”
Many of us have lost ourselves, because we haven’t actually listened to our conscience. Let’s talk just a
little more about that function of our spirit tomorrow.
God’s Voice in our Spirit -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God’s Voice in our Spirit
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life and particularly about how we are meant to live life. We’re trying to
find out how we were meant to live life by the Person that made life. So, of course, you can guess that we’ve
had to go back into the intellectual basis for believing that there is a Supreme Being. We did that in the
early months of this year and I encourage you to send for the cassettes that will cover that kind of
But, we have reached the point in our own conversation together where we are now talking about why we were
actually made. The answer given by the Person that has been seen beyond anyone else to be divine and more than
a human being is Jesus of Nazareth who lived in the first century of our era. He explained that we were made
by His Father, the Creator of the universe, to be His friends. That’s why you were made.
You were made so that your Father, the Creator of the universe, could love you and so that you could love Him.
That’s it! That’s it. You weren’t made, first and foremost, to do a job here in this world, though that is
part of the purpose. But, you were made, first and foremost, not to marry, not to have children — though you
do those things, too — but you were made first and foremost to become a friend of your Creator, to become a
child of your Creator.
You were made to have a love relationship forever. That’s why we are here, and why he made us like Himself.
We’ve talked about that, how He made us with the capability of three levels of experience. We are one person.
We are one entity, but we operate on a physical level with our physical bodies. We operate on a psychological
level with our mind, emotions and our will. We operate on a spirit level with our spirits.
We have been talking about our spirit, particularly, because it is our spirit that communes with God. It’s our
spirit that is God-conscious. Your soul, or your psychological part of you, is your self-conscious part. It is
conscious of what you’re thinking, of what you’re feeling. Your body is what is conscious of the world, of
things and circumstances and people through the five senses. But, your spirit is the part of you that is
conscious of God and that can commune with God.
That’s the function of our spirit that we discussed first. Communion. The ability to commune with God. We
don’t commune with God through our thoughts or through our emotions, even though many of us think we do. We
try to, but we never get closer to God that way. We are simply communing with ourselves when we indulge in
thoughts and feelings. The spirit is where we commune with God.
You may say, “Well, how on earth do I start doing that?” Well, we’ve been talking about that. Our spirits are
almost dead to God. It’s so long since we thought about God or since we tried to commune with Him at all, and
we’ve been so busy communing with the world through our body and with ourselves, through our mind and
emotions, that our spirits for most of us are almost dead to God. They’re certainly in a comatose state.
What we need to do in order for them to begin to become alive is, first of all, to operate in some way in the
realm of our spirit. Now one way you can do it is by strong desire. Your spirit is the real you; it is who you
really are. And one thing you can do if you are anxious to in some way get in touch with the Creator of the
universe is to want Him with all your heart. Now, that’s what this man Jesus said. If you want to find God,
you must seek Him with all of your heart, and those who seek Him with all their heart diligently will actually
So, one of the ways that you begin to come alive in your spirit is to want God with all of your being.
Actually, you know that yourself. You know that if your dad dies or when your mom dies, or when you lost your
job, or some terrible tragedy happened in your life, and you had nowhere to go, you almost cried out, you
know, the old foxhole prayer, the old trench warfare prayer. “My God, help me.”
When you were desperate for Him, somehow, in that moment, you seemed to think that He was more real to you.
That’s because strong desire is part of, or can be, part of the exercise of your spirit.
Another way in which you can respond to your spirit is in response to your conscience. Your conscience is part
of your spirit. It’s part of that life that God has breathed into you. It is part of His own life, His own
uncreated life. It’s your conscience.
Now, your conscience is not, strictly speaking, the set of standards you have, moral or ethical or religious.
Your conscience is the part of you that urges you to live up to the best that you know. That’s what your
conscience is. It’s the part of you that seems to lift you. Even though you find it easier to be selfish than
unselfish, your conscience tells you that you should be unselfish. It’s the part of you that makes you feel
you shouldn’t lose your temper, even though you find it easier to lose your temper. It’s the part of you that
urges you to live up to the best that you know.
One of the vital things that you and I have to do if we want to begin to come alive to God inside in our
spirits is to begin to respect our conscience. Unless you feel that I’m telling you just to be a goody-goody,
or to be moral or not to do what your teacher said you shouldn’t do, I’m not. I am just saying that your
conscience has signals directly from God to you. Often, they are not to do with morality or immorality;
they’re not to do with ethics or non-ethics. Often, they’re private things.
They are little things that you know you sense you should do. At a certain moment, you’re in a bus and there’s
something inside of you says that you really should speak to that person. Actually, if you responded to that,
your spirit becomes a little stronger. That is something that God has put into you. It’s something He has said
to you through your conscience.
Often, your conscience tells you you ought to do things that nobody else has particularly told you about. Many
of us who were brought up in homes of alcoholics have certain desires or a sense of “I ought” in our
conscience that they’re not reasonable to expect in a person who was brought up in alcoholism. Yet, we sense
it. We sense we ought not to drink this glass of wine, or not to do that. Obey that! Respect that! That’s the
part of you that is vitally you. That is part of God in you.
For goodness sake, respect it. Why you feel that you can hardly find yourself and know who you really are is
because you don’t respond to your conscience. Your conscience contains God’s own personal signals to you. They
are little things that you ought to do when you sense you ought to do them. Respect it!
Most of us, of course, have got into this position of R2D2, or automatons, or robots, because we have
substituted everybody else’s standards for our conscience. It’s the “in thing” to have crack. Or, it’s the “in
thing” to have cocaine. Or, it’s the “in thing” to fornicate. Or it’s the “in thing” to steal from your
employer. So, we do it. By that means we ignore our conscience and we sear it and sear it and sear it with a
hot iron until it hardly exists anymore. We think we’re swingers, because we’re ignoring our conscience. We’re
We’re ignoring the part of us that is really, really us. We are ignoring the most individual part of us. We
are ignoring the most individualistic part of us that we have. It’s God’s own guidance system to us. It’s a
gyro-compass that you alone have. Nobody else has your conscience. No. Nobody. If you say to me, “Well, what
about religious people and moral people? They tell me what I ought to do. Ought I not to obey them?” Well,
frankly, your main responsibility is to listen to your conscience and to obey your conscience.
The more you obey it, the stronger it becomes. The stronger it becomes, of course, the stronger your spirit
is. The spirit is the real you. It’s you as you are before your God, before your Creator. He is always trying
to make you what He has really created you to be. The Creator isn’t in the business of giving you the unique
individuality that you have and then trying to wipe it out and make you like everybody else. He isn’t. That
doesn’t make sense.
He doesn’t want you conformed to the, as the Bible says, image of this world. He wants you to be transformed
by the renewing of your mind. He wants you to be transformed into His image. He wants you to be the picture of
Him that you alone can be, and nobody else can be. That’s why there is a strange piece in the Bible, there’s a
remarkable verse that says that the spiritual man is judged by no one. Actually, if you’re spiritual, if you
live in your spirit, you actually cannot be judged by anybody else, because nobody else can tell what God is
saying to you.
That’s why there is a great responsibility we have to respect other people. We have to respect what they do
and not judge them by our conscience. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
Communion With God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Communion With God
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What are you doing here? What’s the purpose of your existence?
Why are you alive? Why am I alive? That’s the question that we’re discussing on this program each day. To
answer it, of course, we tried to go to the roots of our origins. We tried to establish what we thought was
the origin of the universe.
We were driven, of course, by the order and design of the universe and by the personableness of us persons to
the conclusion that there had to be some kind of Supreme Being. We arrived at the same conclusion as men like
Einstein did — that the order and design that we perceive in the universe must have been put there by an
intelligence that is at least as great as ours, and presumably greater. That intelligence must have a
personableness as we ourselves are.
So, over the months of this past year, we have argued our way through together from that position of theism,
we call it (some belief in some kind of God or Supreme Being) to the place where we concluded that the man who
lived in the first century of our era, that man Jesus of Nazareth, was really the Son of the Maker of the
The documentary and manuscript evidence that is available in places like the British Museum proved His
historicity and the evidence for His power over nature and disease. His power over death itself proved that He
was able to leave the earth and come back to it when He wished. He was, in fact, the Son of the Maker of our
What we have been doing is studying His explanation of why we’re here and how we are meant to operate in this
present life. Of course, He made it very plain that we were put here by His Father, our Maker, so that we
might become His friends. That’s it. So that we might come into a love relationship with our Creator.
Now, that is why you are here. You are special to your Maker. There is nobody like you, nobody like you. He
made only one of you. He made you so that He could have your friendship and so that you could have His, so
that you could be His child and He could be your Father. That’s why He made you like Himself.
We have been discussing how He made us to operate on three levels: on a physical level, with these bodies that
we have. With the five senses we can perceive the world of people and circumstances and things. Through our
soul level, or our psychological level, our mind and emotions and will, through which we are conscious of
ourselves, of our own thoughts and our feelings. And, our spirit level, the part of us that is able to
communicate with Him.
What we have been discussing, first of all, is that spirit level. We have said that that is the part that
really communes with God. That’s one of its functions, communion with God. The reason why so many of us have
such frustrating experiences with religion is that we are always trying to do it on our psychological level.
Through concentrating with our minds, through meditating on things in our minds, through producing certain
feelings, either with drugs or with ecstasy of some kind in our emotions. All the time we’re dealing only with
That whole psychological part of us is able to be conscious alone of ourselves. It cannot have any contact
with the Supreme Being beyond the universe. That is done through our spirits. If you say, “What is my spirit?”
My spirit is my real self. It’s what you really are, what you are deep down and what you really want and what
you really desire. That’s your spirit. That has an ability to commune with God.
But you’re right if you say, “Aw, I don’t know if I have a spirit. I’ve never felt it. I’ve never thought it.
I’ve never sensed it.” Your spirit operates through your faith. Faith is belief in a certain thing and acting
in the light of it. It’s believing that there is a God and then acting in the light of that. It’s wanting Him
to communicate with you, wanting Him through your faith, to communicate with you. Just wanting Him
That’s why the few moments that you’ve have had in your life, when you have been conscious of God, have
usually been moments of desperation and great tragedy in your life where you’ve just cried out to God without
any ability to manipulate your thoughts, or your feelings or any ability to think things. You’ve just wanted
Him with all of your being. Somehow or other, He has seemed to be real to you.
That’s because your spirit is the deepest part of you. It is the part of you that expresses your deepest
desires. When you express that deep desire to God, He comes through to you in a way that baffles all
calculation and analysis.
Now, another part of your spirit is your conscience. What we have been saying is that one of the strongest
moves you can make if you’re really serious about contacting the Supreme Being behind the universe, is to
respond to your conscience.
Your conscience is the part of your spirit that urges you to act up to the best that you know, to live up to
the best that you know. It’s not a set of rules and regulations. That often is the mistake that you and I
make. We try to observe the rules and regulations that our teachers give us or that religious people give us
or that our minister gives us or that our father and mother give us. Those are guides at the beginning of our
life, but the vital guide of God’s personal witness inside our own beings is our conscience.
Your conscience is God’s own personal signals to you. If you begin to respond to that conscience and to live
by it, you find that your spirit gets stronger and God Himself begins to be real to you. Many of us, of
course, for good reasons and bad, have ignored our consciences so much that they are almost dead. We do it in
two ways, of course. We do it in the usual old way. We sow our wild oats and we ignore the things that our
conscience is telling us to do.
Or, we ignore the things that we were brought up to believe are right and we learn to sear our conscience. It
goes dead. We become one those mindless, staring creatures that look as if they are on drugs, even if they’re
not on drugs. You almost lose yourself. Have you ever looked into your own eyes and wondered, “Is there
anybody there? Is there anybody there?”
You certainly have done that when you looked at people across the tube [underground carriage]. You’ve said,
“Is there anybody there? Is there anybody inside at all? Those eyes look as if there’s “a nothing” in there.
Many of us actually feel that way. We feel as if we’re just blobs. We feel as if there’s no self inside.
There’s no me any longer. The reason is that we’ve ceased virtually to exist. We have become the sum total of
what everybody else thinks we should do or what we think we should do ourselves. We haven’t really responded
to our own conscience deep down.
Now, many of us have gone the other way. It is not simply that we have turned against the standards that we
were brought up with, but many of us are totally dominated by other people’s standards and by other people’s
ideas. Many of us, in what we call good ways, many of us think we’re good. We try all the tricks that various
religious people tell us to try. Often, we do it in the church, and we do it outside the church.
Often, we do it intellectually. We have some professor that we respect greatly. We try to find his way to
truth. We do what he thinks we should do. Often, when we get into businesses and jobs and companies we are
dominated by what they think we should do. Often, when we watch a lot of TV, then we are dominated by what the
TV thinks we should do. Or we’re dominated by what the newspapers think we should do. Most of us now live in
such a global village that we are dominated by what everybody thinks and everybody says.The result is that we
lose ourselves, because we are listening so busily to what everybody else thinks we ought to do.
Now, the fact is that your conscience is God’s own personal indication to you of how you should live. You need
to respect that. If you say, “Well, what do you mean? What do you mean?” Well, you will be walking along the
street and some thought will come into your mind, “Boy, I should write a letter to that certain person.” Do
it. Do it! Do it!
Or, if you’re walking along the street and some thought comes into your mind, “I ought not to worry so much as
I do. Stop worrying. Stop worrying.” Or, you’re walking along, fascinated by your own difficulties, a thought
comes into your mind that you should not worry like that, there is somebody that takes care of me….obey that
voice. Obey it. Listen to your conscience. Respond to your conscience.
There’s actually an amazing verse that I quoted to you a couple of days ago from the Bible: “The spiritual man
is judged by no one.” Strictly speaking, that is true. The person who wants to live in their spirit wants to
live a real life, and a real life of relationship with the Supreme Being behind the universe is a person who
cannot be judged, strictly speaking, by anybody else. Nobody else can tell what their conscience is saying to
That is why you have no right to look down on other people or tell them where they are wrong. All you can do
is judge them by your light, by your conscience and that’s not fair. They have to be judged by their own
conscience. They have to live by their own conscience.
So it’s vital for you to respond, whether you’re an artist or a musician, whether you’re a writer, whether
you’re a carpenter, an electrician or a doctor, whether you’re a teacher, whether you’re a laborer, whether
you’re a road-maker, you need to listen to your conscience. Your conscience is the part of your spirit that is
probably still the most alive inside you. Let’s talk a little more about your spirit tomorrow.
Love Relationship with our Creator -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Love Relationship With Our Creator
by Ernest O’Neill
How do you get into some kind of realistic contact with the Supreme Being behind the universe? That’s really
what we’re talking about these days on this program. The title of the general discussion is, “What is the
meaning of life?” which is really, in another way, the question of “Why are you alive? What’s the point of
life? Why do you exist?”
In our discussion we have come to the point where we have concluded, on an intellectual basis, that there is a
Supreme Being behind the universe. We have also concluded that that man Jesus, who lived in the first century,
was actually His Son, and that His explanation of why we were here was that we were made by the Creator to be
His friend. That is, to be in a love relationship with Him. You were actually made to be a child of your
father, the Creator of the universe.
That’s why he made us like Himself. He made us with the same capacities as He has. What we have been saying is
that the part of us that communicates with the Creator of the universe is our spirits. Of course, your spirit
is the real you. It’s not your mind and emotions, which is the psychological part of you. It’s not your body,
which is the physical part of you. It’s not the part of you that is conscious of yourself (that is, your mind
and emotions). It’s not the part of you that is conscious of the world and things through the five senses,
that is, your body. But it’s your spirit.
Your spirit, admittedly, is something that you know very little about, and that I know very little about. But
it is the part of us that communicates with God. In other words, there are moments (you know them — either
when you were young or in recent times), when you’ve been sitting by a lake. You’ve just sensed deep inside
you a deep peace and quiet. You’ve sensed that there is a life behind the universe, some kind of life.
That’s your spirit. That’s your spirit beginning to witness inside you that there is a Supreme Being. Or, you
know that you’ve been in the other kind of extreme situation where there hasn’t been great peace and serenity
around you, but there has been the very opposite. There has been a sudden death in the family. Or, you’ve come
into a sudden place of danger. At that moment there comes a strong desire from within you, crying out, almost
without knowing what you’re saying…”God help me!”
Somehow, at that moment, you sense a closeness you cannot explain, some sense of a presence that is bigger
than yourself. That is your spirit. That is the remains of your spirit, because your spirit, at least most of
our spirits are virtually dead to God. We have ignored them for so long. We have lived our lives so much by
what everybody else thinks and whatever everybody else says that our spirits are almost dead towards God.
Indeed, we have almost lost our individuality, because we are so busy trying to be what everybody else in the
world says we should be.
Of course, what we have been saying is that one of the first steps toward a realistic communion with God in
your spirit is to begin to respond to your spirit. One function of your spirit that is probably more alive
than any other is the conscience. Your conscience is the part of you that urges you to live up to the best
that you know. If you respond to that sense of what you ought to do inside you, you find your spirit getting
stronger and your conscience getting stronger, and your awareness of God becoming more vivid and realistic.
In other words, one of the more direct ways to get into some kind of real relationship with your Maker is to
respond to the part of you that is most really you. Of course, that’s one of the difficulties we all have. We
have almost forgotten what the real “me” is. We have turned into some kind of monster that thinks it knows
what it wants, and, in fact, is dictatorial in what it appears to want. But what it appears to want is often a
mixture of the views of other people, the ideals of what society sets for us and what is fashionable and
So many of us are doing hideous things just because everybody else thinks we ought to do them. Many of us are
dying our hair all kinds of wild colors, and slicing our hair off in all kinds of ways, because we think that
will make us the most individualistic. Actually we are being most conformed when we do those things. It’s very
interesting if you look at some of us who have cut our hair in certain ways and we’ve dyed them in certain
wild colors. You see several of us looking exactly the same.
Instead of becoming more individualistic, we are becoming more the same. Most of us, perhaps, even if we are
not dressing wildly or cutting our hair in wild styles, most of us are becoming more and more dominated by
what the outside world and society thinks we ought to do, or thinks it’s fashionable to be than by being what
we really sense we should be. So, some of the best steps that you can take toward a real relationship with
your Creator are to actually begin to find your roots again and to begin to act according to your conscience,
according to what that little voice inside you says you ought to do.
Now, that conscience judges you not in the light of what other people tell you that you should do, but in the
light of another function of your spirit. There are three primary functions of your spirit. One is communion
with God; the second is conscience; the third is intuition. Inside you, in your spirit, you have an intuitive
sense of what to do when. If you think deep down and examine your own life you will find that some of the most
basic moves and the good moves that you have made in your life have been made because you sensed you should do
something. You sensed you ought to do something and you did it. It resulted in a sequence of events that
greatly changed and improved your life.
In other words, we always talk about you ladies and your “woman’s intuition” — that sense you have that
something is going to happen, or you know you should do something. In fact, that is just a human expression of
the Supreme Being’s life in each one of us. All of us have intuition and actually the Creator of the universe
sent you into this world with all kinds of signals that He sends to you of what to do at which time.
He put into you certain abilities and then He put you here on earth to do a certain job that only you can do
to bring the world into order under His will in a way that nobody else can. To help you do that, He has given
you intuition. When you use your intuition and act according to your intuition, your conscience approves of
it. When you don’t your conscience tries to pull you back to your intuition.
Of course, we have mutilated the whole scheme. We think, “Oh no, that’s not what our conscience does. Our
conscience tries to get us to abide by all kinds of Victorian rules of right and wrong, and religious views of
morals and ethics.” It doesn’t! Your conscience is very sensitive. It judges you and draws you back again and
again to what God Himself is putting into your own intuition. So, your intuition is the real way in which you
know how to live your life. It’s the real method of knowing what to do and when to do it.
Most of us, of course, are missing its guidance, because we get utterly preoccupied with vocational guidance
counselors. We get completely distracted by certain people who praise us for doing certain things. So we think
those are the things that we are good at. We get utterly thrown off the track by the fact that some jobs make
a lot more money than others. So, we end up not doing what we were meant to do in this life at all, because we
fail to listen to our intuition.
Actually, you know this. You know there have come moments (it’s seemed almost as moments of enlightenment and
relevation) when you have known in your intuition what you ought to do. If we begin to respond to these
functions of our spirit within us, this ability to know what we should do, this conscience that judges us in
the light of that knowledge, we will begin to come into a more real communion with the Supreme Being behind
the universe that begins to fulfill His plan and His purpose for us in our lives.
I hope that you may begin to do some of this in your own life in these coming weeks. We’ll continue the
discussion of our personalities and how they ought to operate tomorrow.