“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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More Proofs for Jesus Resurrection -
What is the Meaning of Life?
More Proofs for the Resurrection
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? We’ve been talking about that question for a long time now. What we have said is
that the whole meaning of life depends on the origin of life. It really matters whether we are just chance
atoms thrown up by a mindless evolutionary system or whether we are, in fact, a planned, purposeful result of
the activity of some intellect.
What we have been sharing over these few months is that there is a great deal of evidence in our world to
suggest we are not just the chance results of the explosion of certain atoms. We are not just the hazardous
result of a series of evolutionary processes that have occurred without any guidance or without any plan.
In fact, when we look at the seasons in our world and see how they fall so regularly, year after year, so that
we can plan the growing of our crops by them; in fact, when we look at the incredible accuracy of the turning
of the earth and its orbiting around the sun and realize we set all our watches and clocks by its activity;
when we see the faithfulness and reliability with which the sun rises and sets each day; when we then begin to
examine the chart of the elements and see how the atomic weights fit into a pattern that surprises us and
enables us to tell where another element may be found even though we have not yet found it; when we study the
DNA structure of the molecules and the basis of life itself.
When we observe the amazing circulation of the blood and the beating of the heart which we cannot yet explain,
the more we enter into the incredible design and intricate purposefulness that we see in our world. We are
drawn to the same conclusion as Einstein, that there is an intellect who originally planned whatever
evolutionary process may have brought about our existence or may not have brought about our existence; there
has to have been an intellect behind it.
And since we are persons, that intellect has to be at least as personable as we are. We’ve also observed the
fact that not only is there incredible design and intricate purposefulness in the world, but we’ve seen, too,
that despite all our desire to be selfish, petty people who are always fighting our corner, we have discovered
within ourselves a higher kind of desire that makes us want to be unselfish.
Even though it’s easier to be selfish, we want to be unselfish. Even though it’s easier for us to be cowardly,
we want to be courageous. So, we’ve seen inside ourselves another tendency that suggests there comes from
outer space to us certain standards of life that are higher than those we naturally take to ourselves.
So, because of the evidence of design and order in our universe, because of our own personableness, and
because of this sense of moral obligation we have within us that keeps contradicting and making awkward all
our failures, we have concluded there is circumstantial evidence around us that there must be, somewhere, an
intellect — a personal intellect, a Supreme Being of some kind — that has been responsible for the origin of
Now, of course, we’ve agreed that that evidence is circumstantial at this point. But, then we asked the
further question: was there any empirical evidence, any “touch-and-see” evidence? If there is such a Supreme
Being in the universe, and if there is such a Supreme Intellect that is responsible for our creation, has the
Intellect ever communicated with us in any way? Is there any empirical evidence that has taken place?
We began to talk about the various religious leaders that have claimed to speak for this Supreme Being, and we
found they all fall into the same category of being ordinary, human beings that died like the rest of us, were
buried and were known no more. Except for one remarkable human being who existed in the first century of our
He was a man who out shone all other religious leaders by the perfect purity and ethical perfection of his
life. He out shone them and also by the intimacy he implied he had with the Supreme Being behind the universe.
He said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. If you worship me, you really worship the Father.”
Where all other great religious leaders were careful to disassociate themselves from claims to divinity, this
man said he was divine, and that even at pain of death. Even when he was being threatened with execution, he
still said, “Yes, I am the Son of the Creator of the universe.”
He not only lived like the son of the Creator of the universe, he not only spoke like him, but he did
something no other religious leader ever did. He said he would be crucified, be executed, and would then come
alive again after he was dead, and would remain alive long enough to show us that he had the power to destroy
death itself and therefore, to show us he had the power to get off the earth and to come back onto it whenever
he wished — to go out into outer space to where his Creator Father was and to come back whenever he chose.
And this he actually did.
We have been examining the historical evidence which reinforces the incontrovertible conviction that this man
did actually rise from the dead. And we are left with only the three possibilities that we talked of. Either
he was a lunatic, and his life does not suggest the imbalance of the lunatics that are in psyche wards and
claim to be the son of God. His life evidences all the balance of a human being whom we respect and whom we
regard as the ideal picture of a human being.
Moreover, if we claim that he is a liar, we are faced with the ethical impossibility of the foremost moral
teacher whom all of us regard as offering the highest ethical standards that the world has ever seen, we’re
faced with that high, ethical moral teacher, lying about the central focal point of his whole life: his own
If we say he was a liar when he said he was the son of the Creator of the universe, then he cannot be the
highest ethical teacher and the highest moral example the world has ever seen, and yet be a liar about the
central point of his teaching.
If we say he’s not a lunatic and he’s not a liar, then, maybe he’s just a legend. The problem with this is,
though Buddha had the time between his death and the first recording of his life on paper, providing the time
for a legend to develop because the people were all dead who remembered him when his life story was written —
this man, Jesus, did not provide that time because it was barely twenty years after his death, when the
circumstances of his life were being read about in various groups of people in the then known world.
Many of the eyewitnesses who observed his death and observed his rising from the dead were alive and they
could corroborate that evidence or they could contradict it. In fact, they corroborated it and they confirmed
So, we are left with the situation if this man is not a liar, and if he was not a lunatic, and if he is not a
legend — then he must have been the son of the Creator of the universe. He must be the unique Son of the
Supreme Being that made our world, that made our whole universe.
If that is the case then, at last, we have someone who can tell us something about what life is about, what
the meaning of life is, and why you and I are here. This is the kind of thing we would like to discuss over
these next weeks and months.
Jesus Resurrection Broke the Death Barrier -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Jesus’ Resurrection Broke the Death Barrier
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Those of you who have listened to this program now for several months are
probably fed up with me saying, “What is the meaning of life?” You probably wish I’d turn it off and try a
different question. But it does seem so important, doesn’t it?
Even though it’s a little boring and perhaps a little irritating to keep repeating it, it is the basic
question that most of us have who live on this earth. What is the point of this life? What is its purpose?
It’s particularly relevant now because so many young and old people both in the States and here in Europe are
committing suicide, simply because they can’t make any sense of it. They’re in the same position as old A.E.
Housman, the English poet, when he wrote years ago,
“Yonder see the morning blink.
The sun is up and up must I,
To wash and dress and eat and drink,
And look at things and talk and think
And work and God knows why.
Oh, often have I washed and dressed
And what’s to show for all my pain?
Let me lie abed and rest.
Ten thousand times I’ve done my best,
And all’s to do again!”
It’s amazing that so many of us feel as that man felt 50 to 60 to 70 years ago. That’s why I start the
broadcast so often with this miserable old question, “What is the meaning of life?” That’s what’s baffling and
bewildering and depressing many of us. Many of us have great difficulty seeing any point in it at all.
It seems to be more and more a tale told by an idiot. So that’s why I ask the question, “What is the meaning
of life?” I remember my dad dying in Ireland about 26 years ago. He died on St. Patrick’s Day, I remember, in
March, in 1961. He died of hypertension.
Like most of us here, I couldn’t conceive of life without him. But it’s amazing, isn’t it, how the mind’s
inability to conceive the magnitude of the last beat of a loved one’s heart dulls the pain of that moment. I
remember going to the nurse and telling her that I thought my father had just died, but would she make sure.
Then, of course, we began to experience what all of you have experienced probably — the continued closeness
that you tend to feel for the next few days after your dear one dies. It’s just as if your dad or your mum,
their spirit, continued for awhile around your home.
But then, especially after the burial, you feel that they’ve gone into an absolutely different realm and that
death is a real separation from this present world. Now, that probably is the experience that highlights most
clearly for all of us the question of what is the meaning of life – when, for somebody that we love, the life
We’ve made all kinds of attempts to crack the finality of that death experience, but all human attempts seem
to have something of cheap fraud or inappropriate fake about them. There are spiritualists and mediums that
claim to be able to communicate with the dead.
But you always feel the communications have the static, lifeless quality of evil spirits imitating our dead
relatives, or of some idyllic force, some power of magnetism in the mind that draws certain minds and ideas
into the mind of the medium so that they can perceive what you’re really thinking, or what memories you have
of your loved one.
Somehow, there seems a deadness about the communications, not the real vitality of present expressions of
living people. Of course, that’s why you might remember in the Old Testament of the Bible, God condemned
mediums and witches as being rebellious. You remember that there was one occasion when a witch at a place
called Endor was struck with fear when God materialized Samuel instead of the evil spirit she was expecting to
So this witch was calling up some prophet Samuel and all she expected was the usual old evil spirits imitating
Samuel, or some kind of hypnotic mental experience. But God actually materialized the prophet Samuel in order
to condemn her.
All of us feel, even though most of us have been drawn some time or other into spiritualism, we all feel
there’s a lifelessness about the communications. Indeed, there’s a sense of some kind of fakery in the back of
our minds. I understand that many loved ones who even listen to this program have dependence on spiritualism.
I certainly sympathize with you. But the fact is, of course, that it isn’t real contact with the dead. It’s
contact with evil spirits that imitate the dead. Or, at other levels, it’s just a very high level of psychic
or mental power-of-positive thinking or magnetism so that you draw other people’s thoughts into yours so that
they’re actually able to read minds, or read the memories of people about their dear ones.
But spiritualism always leaves us with a feeling that, “No, we’re not really breaking the barrier between life
and death. We’re just pretending to.”
We’ve had recent books and TV programs in the States and probably in Europe, too, about people who’ve
experienced that twilight zone between biological and clinical death where the heart has stopped beating, but
the brain pulses have continued. They’ve described what death is like when they became conscious again.
But none of us believe they actually passed out of this life and are telling us what it is like beyond. We
know their bodies remained warm, and whatever the technical definition or their emotional experience was, we
don’t really feel they have finally died, so that we can be sure what they saw was life after death.
So, even in those twilight, border experiences, we still don’t feel we’re finding out what the meaning of life
is from someone who has actually passed through death and come back and told us all about it.
This is the reason, of course, we have the same skepticism about the various gurus and yogis, who can control
their breathing so precisely that they can be buried for hours, even days, and pretend that they have risen
from the dead. There’s just no certainty in our minds that they were really dead.
Indeed, it’s probably the difficulties involved in faking resurrection from death that has prevented the
followers of Buddha and Zoroaster and Muhammad and all the other religious leaders from ever claiming that
their master had risen from the dead, because it’s just not easy to fake a resurrection from the dead.
These facts, of course, make the one exception all the more striking. There is one religious leader that
stands apart from Buddha and Muhammad and Zoroaster and Confucius and all the gurus and the latter-day
prophets. His life is perfect, whereas theirs weren’t. His miracles are greater than theirs. His teaching
utterly transcends theirs.
But the fact that brought persecution to his followers was that he broke the death barrier. He was dead for
three days, and then came alive again for forty. Then his body lifted off the earth and has never been found.
Of course, that’s the life that we have begun to talk about recently on these broadcasts. We’ve asked the
question, “What is the meaning of life?” Our answer has been, “We don’t know and we really don’t know anybody
that has been outside the experience of this world who has any more information than an ordinary human being,
except for one man.
This is the man we’re talking about now, the only man that ever did rise from the dead. But the more amazing
fact is this: it’s an event that is absolutely unique in the life of the world, a man actually rising from the
dead. It is the only example of any human being demonstrating such absolute control over death and life.
The more amazing thing is that this historical fact should have been subjected to such study, discussion,
criticism and research. It is more established and certain than any other in the history of mankind. This is
so much so that our very history is split by it into B.C.and A.D.
A brilliant skeptical Cambridge professor put it like this, “Taking all the evidence together, it is not too
much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of
Christ.” Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about this resurrection, and whether it really took place or not.
More Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ -
What is the Meaning of Life?
More Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question we’re discussing on this broadcast each day. What’s the
purpose of the life that you’re living now? Why are you here? How did you come to be here, and what is the
real purpose in your being here?
Of course, we have talked a lot about many men who have claimed to give the answer to this, but they all
suffer from the same limitation as ourselves. They’ve never been anywhere but on this world. That is, they’ve
never really been beyond the sky that we can see above our heads. They’ve never been beyond where our space
shots have penetrated.
None of them seem to have any more information than we have so why should we bother respecting their opinion
over ours about such an important question as the meaning of life, or the purpose of life? That is, none of
them except for one man. That’s that remarkable being, who lived in the first century of our era, who did what
no other man has done. He broke the barrier of death.
In other words, he died and left this earth, and came back to it again after about three days, then lived here
for more than a month. Then he disappeared off the earth completely. Of course, he explained that he was
related to the Maker of the world; therefore, he could explain to us what the purpose of our life and the
purpose of this whole world is.
Now, most of us have listened to that story since we were little children and have thought, “Well, wait a
minute! Nobody else has ever done this. Why should we believe it ever took place?” Of course, that’s the heart
of the whole issue. Can we be sure that Jesus actually did rise from the dead?
Because if he did, then he’s obviously alive now. He’s obviously the one person in the universe who can tell
us what is the whole purpose of this creation, and what the whole purpose of this life experience is. That’s
if he is willing to explain it to us. But how do you establish that a fact is true or untrue, such as a man
rising from the dead?
How do you establish that something actually happened or didn’t happen? In other words, how do you establish
what we would call the historicity of the resurrection? How can you be sure that it is not just a myth, is not
just a fantasy? Well, there are four famous rules for determining the truth of matters of fact in general that
have been respected by philosophers and historians through the years.
They appeal to our common sense. An old scholar called Leslie formulated them in this way: “The first rule, he
says, is that the matter of fact be such that men’s outward senses, their eyes and ears, may be judges of it.”
That the matter of fact be such that men’s outward senses, their eyes and ears, may be judges of it. That
appeals to our common sense.
Yes, there’s no table rapping here. There’s no mystical, vague, ghost-like, will of the wisp, in the twilight
zone. That appeals to us: that the matter of fact be such that men’s outward senses, their eyes and their
ears, may be judges of it.
That was the only way that ordinary, straightforward fishermen, like Peter, and critical skeptics, like
Thomas, could ever have been persuaded that the death barrier had been broken. Here’s the way one of our most
reliable historical documents describes the experience of one of them.
It’s found in the New Testament, in the last quarter of the book called the Bible, in John chapter 20, verse
24. This is how John described it: “Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when
Jesus came.”(That is, when he first appeared to them after rising from the dead.)
“So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the
print of the nails and place my finger in the mark of the nails and place my hand in his side, I will not
believe.” In other words, Thomas went right along with this first rule of Leslie’s.
Unless I actually see this, unless I actually put my finger in the hole that the sword made, I’m not going to
believe. “Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were
shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’
Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Put out your hand and place it in my side. Do
not be faithless, but believing.’ Thomas answered, ‘My Lord and my God.'” In other words, this man Thomas saw
with his outward senses that Jesus had risen from the dead.
You remember how we have described in past months the reliability of this historical record, how it is
reinforced with far more manuscripts than the ancient Latin and Greek writers. The men that have given us the
historical records of Jesus’ resurrection were eye-witnesses of it.
They lived with him and knew him. They touched him and ate with him, both before and after his death. In other
words, they observed with their outward senses the things that they talked about. They said, “This is a fact
because we have seen it and we have heard it.”
Can you question their reliability and their truthfulness? Sure! Every attempt down through the years has been
made to do that. Here’s one of them: Maybe the poor souls had hallucinations and thought they saw Jesus alive
but didn’t really see Him. Except — their experience doesn’t fit any of the laws that apply to
Hallucinations occur to a certain kind of person: vividly imaginative and with a nervous makeup. This is not
exactly a description of big, honest Peter, hard-headed James, or skeptical Thomas. Hallucinations occur to
people who intensely want something to happen and therefore, project it into their imagination. But the
opposite was true of the followers of Jesus.
Mary was so sure he was dead that she came to the tomb with spices to anoint his dead body. The disciples
didn’t believe and thought he was a ghost when they saw him, so that he had to ask them to handle him and
touch him and eat a meal with him. “A ghost has not flesh and bones as you see that I have,” he said.
This wasn’t a person like Thomas or John or Mary who wanted to see him. They had given up all hope. Moreover,
hallucinations are subjective and individual. But Jesus appeared repeatedly to groups and on one occasion to
more than 500 people at one time. So, it’s difficult to give any credence to the objection that perhaps they
had hallucinations. None of their records or experiences fit the psychological rules that govern
Perhaps, the disciples were con artists. They followed Jesus, were disappointed when he died, stole his body,
and pretended he had risen from the dead, so they could become important religious leaders. But if that was
the case, why didn’t they stop telling the resurrection lie when they saw their relatives and children being
slaughtered by the thousands? Why did they themselves die for what they knew was a lie?
In other words, say they did make it up, so they could become wealthy and famous. They didn’t become wealthy
and famous; they were persecuted and killed and their families with them. Now, when they saw that happening,
why didn’t they stop telling the lie?
See, no one will die for what they know is a lie, especially earthy fishermen and cynical skeptics. There’s no
point in such a psychological and ethical illogicality. The only conclusion you can arrive at is that the
resurrection is such a fact that men’s outward senses, their eyes and ears, were the judges of it.
In other words, the first reason for believing that this man actually did rise from the dead is the fact that
when he rose from the dead it was observed by men’s outward senses, their eyes and their ears. These men
recorded this reliably, so that we can read their eye-witness account of it.
What about the other rules that Leslie created for examining whether a fact of history is a fact or not? Let’s
talk about another one next time.
Resurrection of Jesus – Leslie -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Resurrection of Jesus – Leslie’s Laws
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question that we are discussing, and we’ve been talking about it for
some months now. The beginning of our answer to this question concerns the authority that we would go to to
find the answer.
What we have been saying is there is little point in going to other human beings like ourselves, because what
do they know that we don’t know about such a cosmic question as this. In other words, if we ask the question,
“What’s the meaning of life?” or “What’s the purpose of us being here on earth?” or, “Why was the whole place
made in the first instance?”, you’re almost bound to face the necessity of finding somebody who has been
outside this present sphere, who has been outside this world, in order to answer the question, “Why is the
It is really just native to us to feel skeptical about anybody who has not been off the world. That is why the
show was so popular and so catchy in its title, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off”. We felt “Okay, if we
could stop the world and get off it and have a look at it, maybe we could tell what it’s here for.”
So, we’ve been saying it’s very important to find somebody who is more than a human being, who has in some way
got off this earth and been able to tell us what it’s here for. Of course, we’ve examined the lives of the
various religious leaders and found that none of them have ever claimed to be off this earth. There’s only one
who’s ever disappeared from the earth and come back.
There’s only one who has broken through the death barrier, and come back and lived here for more than a month,
and then disappeared. That is the man, of course, known as Jesus of Nazareth. What we have been examining is
the focal point of his whole life, which is, of course, his death, and the fact that he did rise from the dead
and he did tell us he was going to leave this earth, go to the Creator, who had made the world, and come back
and let us see that he had in fact kept his word. Of course, he did that. Most of us say, “Well, how do you
know that he did? How do you know that that resurrection actually took place?”
What we started to do yesterday was to examine the resurrection in the light of four famous rules that have
been formulated by a philosopher-theologian years and years ago. A man called Leslie said that the first rule
that a matter of fact has to satisfy, if we’re going to regard it as a matter of fact, is that it is such that
men’s outward senses, their eyes and ears, may be the judges of it.
Of course, we’ve examined the resurrection from that angle and we’ve seen that it was observed by men who used
their eyes and their ears to see it and hear it. It was men who poked their fingers into the very holes that
the nails had made in the hands of this man, Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, the second law or rule Leslie formulated is this one: The truth of a matter of fact is that it has been
done publicly in the face of the world. In other words, it has not been done in the eyes of a few people in a
drawing room somewhere in Hampstead.
It’s not done in some little bedroom where the lights are low. But it has been done publicly in the face of
the world. Now, in fact, this was the whole complaint of the authorities. If you read the historical records
about this event, you find in the last quarter of the Bible in the part known as “The New Testament”, there’s
a book called “Acts” there.
It means, ‘The Acts of the Apostles’, actually. They were the men that followed this man, Jesus of Nazareth.
In Acts, Chapter 17 and verse 6, you find this record by Luke, who was a doctor and who wrote the book of
Acts, that he was very concerned about recording exactly what he saw.
He said this, “When they could not find them”–that is, the people who were trying to persecute these
followers of Jesus –“they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities crying, ‘These
men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.'”
That was the situation. These men who kept talking about the resurrection of this man, Jesus, from the dead
were regarded as men who had turned the world upside down. The whole world knew about this. As Paul said to
one of the kings, who was examining him, “This was not done in a corner.” This wasn’t done in some little
cubby hole or some little dark room.
This thing had been done in the eyes of the known world. Everybody knows about this. This was the complaint of
the authorities. The Roman emperor and the whole Empire was aware of the threat posed not by yet another
Jewish rabbi, but by a man who had shown that he was divine by rising from the dead. So, the emperor was
concerned about it.
In fact, you remember that we quoted it. It is one of the amazing evidences that we have that this thing
actually took place. It has been talked about by people like Tacitus and Pliny and Porphyry and Celsus, men
who had nothing to do with what we know as the Bible.
One of them, called Tertullian, who was in charge of the Roman archives, writes this, “Tiberius, accordingly,
in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from
Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the
Senate, with his own decision in favor of Christ.
The Senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected this proposal. Caesar held to this opinion,
threatening death against all the accusers of the Christians.” In other words, the emperor knew fine well
about this fact. He knew that this man had risen from the dead. That is why, in fact, he was afraid of Him.
So, this is a fact, this resurrection of Jesus from the dead, not only because the men who saw it actually saw
it with their eyes and their ears, but because the whole known world at that time knew about it. It was not
something done secretly.
The third rule Leslie applies to a historical fact to establish its historicity is this: “that not only public
monuments be kept up in memory of it, but that some outward actions be performed.” So, you see, this concerns
the period of time between the fact and the time we are alive now.
“That not only public monuments be kept up in memory of it, but that some outward actions be performed.” This
is to ensure the original fact is remembered as it actually happened, and that the record is passed down from
generation to generation accurately without any alterations or exaggerations.
Now, the most obvious monuments to this fact are the actual written manuscripts that lie behind The New
Testament history. Caesar’s “History of the Gallic Wars” has nine such manuscripts. Those we have in our hands
today. But the oldest was written 900 years after Caesar wrote his history.
So, during a time of 900 years there were no monuments. Tacitus’ “History” has two manuscripts. But the oldest
one was written one thousand years after Tacitus died, so, for 1,000 years there were no monuments to Tacitus’
The New Testament has 4,000 manuscripts, and the oldest is only thirty years after John wrote his gospel. So,
only for a short period of thirty years are there no manuscripts, but during those thirty years there are many
other kinds of manuscripts and many other kinds of monuments and many other kinds of evidences.
The action performed is here today for all to see, as it has been for 1900 years. Every Jewish son of Peter or
the other disciples asked their fathers why they worshiped on Sunday, and not Saturday like the other Jews.
The answer stands today: Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week.
So, right from the very first day this resurrection took place, there has been a monument to it that has been
observed without any break, right to this present day. In fact, it’s not chance that Sunday is such a
different day, even in our very secularized world, even in our world where all the stores are opening on
Still Sunday, even in Russia, is to people a time of rest or a day of rest, and not because it’s the Jewish
Saturday, but because it’s the Christian Sunday. It’s the day when this man rose from the dead. So, is this a
Well, certainly it satisfies some very basic rules that we have used down through the centuries to judge
whether an event is a reliable, historical fact or not. Certainly, this one satisfies them. Let’s look at the
last rule tomorrow, and then begin to find out what this remarkable man said in answer to this question, “What
is the meaning of life?”
Resurrection of Jesus – Leslie Cont’d -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Resurrection of Jesus – Leslie’s Laws Continued
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the point of living? Have you an answer that satisfies you? I mean, why are you here? What is the
purpose of your living at all? You probably say to me, “Well, what’s the purpose of your living? I mean, none
of us know why we’re here.”
That’s the subject we’re discussing on this program each day –the fact that so few of us have any idea of an
answer to what is undoubtedly the most important question in the world: What’s the point of the world? What’s
the purpose of this life? Why are we here? What is the meaning of it all?
You may remember a song sung by one of our famous American jazz singers. It constantly had the recurring
refrain, “Is that all there is? Is that all there is?” You go to the circus and you go to the show and you go
to work. Constantly you ask the question, “Is that all there is?” We all feel there has to be something more
to it than this.
Then the horrible thought comes to us, when we see yet another one of our loved ones die, maybe there isn’t
any more than this. So that question has become a rod that has beaten many of us over the head and
increasingly has. That is the question: “What is the point of it? What’s the purpose of it all? Why are we
What we have been saying is that in order to get an answer to that question, we have to find somebody who
knows a little more about the whole thing than we do. It has to be somebody even greater than Einstein. It has
to be somebody that knows more about what is beyond the sky that we see above us than we ourselves know.
It has to be somebody who has gone beyond where our satellites have gone, beyond where our space probes have
gone. It has to be somebody that can explain why the planets and the stars go on wave after wave, after wave,
so far that our radio telescopes can’t get to the end of them. It has to be somebody that has lived some life
beyond this present world.
Of course, most of us say, “Well, there’s nobody like that! I mean, there are all kinds of gurus that have
pretended that they’ve left the earth! There are all kinds of so-called mystics that have said they were this
son of the Maker or this person or that person. There have been people even that have said they are the
creator of the world. But, it’s hard to find anybody that has actually left the earth.”
This is because there is only one such human being that has done that. That’s this man, Jesus of Nazareth. He,
in fact, did die, and after three days came back, and lived on this earth for more than a month, and then he
disappeared from the earth completely.
He actually explained to his followers, “Now, I am the Son of the Maker of this world, and to show you that I
am, I’m going to be crucified; I’m going to be killed and executed. I’m going to be dead. Then, I’m going to
rise from the dead and break the death barrier. I’m going to come back to you, and spend time with you, and
eat with you, and talk with you, and walk with you, so you know it’s really me, and you’ll know that I have
actually been away to see my Father, who is the Maker of this world, and I’ll come back and tell you.” Of
course, he did that. He did exactly that. Then, he disappeared from the earth completely.
What comes into most of our minds is,”Big deal! It’s not possible. It’s not true! It’s a lie! It’s a fantasy!
It’s a myth! There’s no such thing as people rising from the dead. It’s always pretence or fake, or some trick
of spiritualism.” How do you establish that such a fact as a man rising from the dead is actually a fact?
Well, we have been examining this fact of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth under four headings that an
old philosopher called Leslie formulated. They appeal to your common sense. He says, first of all, to
establish that a historical fact is, in fact, a matter of fact, it must be such that men’s outward senses,
their eyes and ears, may be the judges of it.
In other words, it can’t be some mystical, mental, psychic experience. It has to be something that ordinary
men can see with their eyes and ears. Such was the resurrection from the dead. Ordinary men like Peter,
ordinary fishermen like James, ordinary people like John, skeptics and cynics like Paul, shrewd people that
were not easily deceived; they actually saw this thing with their eyes and their ears.
They said, “We were eye witnesses of these things.” The then-known world has all kinds of references to these
men showing that they were their contemporaries, and they did actually live at that time. So, in fact, this
resurrection of the dead meets that criterion.
The second criterion that Leslie formulated was that the fact be done publicly in the face of the world, not
done in some little corner. This was the problem with the resurrection. The Roman emperor was troubled about
it because “it was not done in a corner” as they said. It was done so that the whole world knew about it. In
fact, they said, “These men are turning the world upside down with this. Everybody knows about the
resurrection from the dead of Jesus of Nazareth.”
The third criterion that Leslie formulated was that not only public monuments be kept up in memory of it, but
that some outward actions be performed. This was, of course, to ensure that the original fact is remembered as
it actually happened, and that the record is passed down from generation to generation accurately without any
alterations or exaggerations.
That is exactly what happened. There are manuscripts that are present in the British Museum today that are
clear monuments to the truth of this resurrection from the dead of this man, Jesus of Nazareth. These
manuscripts date from 350 A.D.
And there’s another manuscript in the Manchester University Library which dates to 130 A.D. So, there’s barely
30 years elapsing from the death of the last eye-witness to these events. There are monuments right down
through the years. Indeed, in those intervening few years, there’s a clear monument known as “Sunday”.
Ever since this man rose from the dead, Sunday has been observed as an obvious monument to the fact that this
actually did take place. In other words, you have to ask yourself, why are we observing Sunday? If, in fact,
something remarkable didn’t happen on Sunday, why on earth are we doing it?
You certainly can’t attribute it to the fame and success and popularity of the early disciples. They weren’t
famous. They weren’t popular. They were persecuted and despised. Why, then, is Sunday observed? Well, because
something incredible happened on that first Sunday.
The fourth criterion that Leslie states is that “such monuments and such actions and such observances be
instituted and do commence from that time of the matter of fact was done.” In other words, in order to be sure
that the thing is a matter of fact, whatever monuments you have that exist today in relationship to it, they
must have started at the time the matter of fact was done.
In other words, they can’t be like the lives you get of Buddha which were written 500 years after Buddha died.
They have to be instituted at the actual time the fact was done. This is to ensure that there’s no time gap
between the event and the record of it.
Now, the amazing thing is that the written records we have in the Bible were written during the lifetime of
hundreds of eye-witnesses of the resurrection itself. For instance, the book of Galatians, a letter written to
the people in Galatia, was written in 48 A.D. Now all that the eye-witnesses had to do was to contradict the
resurrection account as it circulated throughout the ancient world from church to church.
They never did. All they had to do was say, “Listen, this that was written in this book in 48 A.D., I’m alive
now; I saw this resurrection. I saw this death. It took place this way. It didn’t take place that way.” In
other words, the monuments, that is the written records, existed in the then-known world from the very time
the deed was done.
Of course, there’s another event that is observed by hundreds of us and thousands of us today that began at
the actual moment when that death occurred. Here’s the first record of it. In Acts, Chapter 20, verse 7: “On
the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to
depart on the morrow.” In other words, the Communion, the Lord’s Supper, has been observed without a break
from the very first night that Jesus, Himself, celebrated it with the disciples.
Did this man really rise from the dead? All the arguments of logic and of historical criticism tell us, yes,
he did actually rise from the dead.
We are External Beings -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Review – We Are Eternal Beings
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That is, why are you here? What’s the purpose of your life? Why are you on this
earth? That’s what we’ve been discussing for several months now. The conclusion we reached was that this
answer must come from someone who has more knowledge and more wisdom than those of us who have never been off
the earth. It just makes sense.
It makes sense to realize that, if we’re going to try to answer the question, ‘Why is the earth here?’ or,
‘Why is the world here?’ or, ‘What is the purpose of us being here?’, then, we have to get the answer from
somebody who has been outside this world, or outside this earth, or at least who has seen more of it, or seen
it from a greater distance than we human beings have.
Of course, the difficulty is to find such a person. Buddha certainly isn’t that kind of person, nor is
Confucius. Nor is Zoroaster, nor are any of the Hindu prophets. They all were ordinary human beings like you
and me. They never left the earth. They were buried in the earth. Their bones were able to be dug up and
examined. They have never been off the earth.
Even those of us who have been off the earth in space shots or space probes have never been beyond where we
can see with our radio telescopes. We have never gone beyond the realms of space that we are able to perceive
ourselves. What we need is somebody who has gone beyond the furthest sky, beyond the furthest planet, who, in
fact, knows what Being or knows what creature created the whole universe in the first place.
Of course, there is only one such person who has ever given any evidence of that kind of experience. That is
the man Jesus of Nazareth. What we have been doing is examining his life; finding out, for instance, that he
apparently died, and it seemed that he was thoroughly killed and executed by the experts in execution of that
day, the Roman soldiers.
He died, and yet three days later, got up from being dead, and continued to live on the earth for another
month or more. Then he disappeared from the earth completely. All the while he did these things with a great
sense of control, saying that he was going to do this, that they were going to execute him, that he would die
and then come back from being dead and live again. Then, he would go off permanently to be with the Person he
called his Father, whom he regarded as the Supreme Being who had created the whole universe in the first
So we have been examining his life. You, if you have followed through our argument and discussion, must admit
that the arguments are very, very strong for believing that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, did, in fact, exist
in the first century, and did actually rise from the dead. The documentary evidence is absolutely
unquestionable and unanswerable in regard to his resurrection from the dead.
Now, if this man Jesus is not a lunatic; you remember, he hadn’t the imbalance a lunatic would have in his
life. If he is not a liar; and you remember we said how could he be the greatest ethical teacher in the world
and yet lie about the central issue of his whole life, that of is his own identity? If he is not a lunatic,
and he is not a liar, and if he is not a legend. (You remember we said a legend requires time to develop
before the records of his life are circulated.)
There was not that time because the records of his life were being circulated in 48 A.D., which was a bare 20
years after his death. If he is not a liar and he is not a lunatic, and he is not a legend, then this man,
Jesus, must, in fact, have been the Son of the Creator of our universe. He is the only one who can finally
tell us why we’re here.
What kind of thing does he say in answer to that question? First of all, when he was talking once to his
followers, he said this, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” That’s recorded in a book of the New
Testament of our Bible. It’s in John, Chapter 3 verse 6. That’s what Jesus said, “That which is born of the
flesh is flesh.”
In other words, we’re not going to last long. That’s really what he said. You’re just not going to last long,
certainly no longer than your parents or grandparents, from whom you got your present life. The physical life
that you got from them lasts at the most 70 years, sometimes 80, or in the case of Harold Macmillan, over 90
years. But it certainly is difficult to last more than a hundred years on this earth.
That which is born of flesh is flesh, and it will die after anywhere from 70 to 100 years. That’s the only
life that you, yourself, have been born with. It’s called flesh. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”
It’s only temporary.
You know that yourself. I mean, you’re deader now than you were when we started this broadcast. Indeed, as the
years go by, you remember, more and more cells of your body die and are replaced by less and less cells.
Millions of cells have died in your body this last minute. You can’t stop it.
In a way, we are all dying men and women. So, that’s the first fact we need to face. We’re people who are
temporary. We’re born of the flesh. We won’t last longer than a hundred years at the most. Secondly, this man
Jesus said, “You won’t believe this. You won’t believe it!” That’s what he said.
He said, “They will not believe.” He said, “When I tell people the truth they won’t believe it. They just
won’t believe it.” Actually, it’s true, isn’t it? It’s true of you and me. Somehow, we feel we weren’t made to
go out like a light after 70 or 80 years. We feel, yes, when we watch somebody else dropping into the grave,
“Yes, that’s what will happen to us.” Yet somehow, we can’t believe it.
There’s something in us that feels we were made for better things than that, isn’t there? There’s something
inside us that says, “No, I know that happened to Macmillan. I know it happened to Churchill. I suppose it’ll
happen to me, but there’s something in me that feels as if it won’t die.”
Of course, because we have that (and there is actually another verse in the Old Testament part of the Bible
that says that we seem to have eternity planted within us.) Isn’t it true? We somehow feel we weren’t made to
go out like a light. We weren’t made just to die and cease to be.
Even the hardest-headed among us, the most cynical, who say, “Oh yeah, after death there’s just nothing.” Yet,
even we have to confess that deep down in us, there’s a feeling that we have been made to in some way live
beyond that. Of course, what this results in is that we begin to try to parley the attributes of created life
into some sense of infinity.
In other words, this created life that we have inherited from our parents isn’t capable of going beyond 70 to
100 years. But we try to parley the characteristics of this life into some kind of eternity, because we feel
we’re made for it. That’s why we have always this feeling of frustration. We feel frustrated by the
limitations of our mental and physical life.
We’re always trying to burst the bonds of this earthbound existence by catching at some of the qualities we
think life should have, and we think we were made to experience. So, we’re strange people, Jesus said. We
really have a life that will only last for 70 to 100 years, but we ourselves feel we were made to live longer
So, we spend our lives trying to catch at eternity, and trying to make this life in some way share the
characteristics of the life that we think we were made for. Of course, it assumes kinds of experiences and
attempts on our part. What I’d like to do is talk about some of those tomorrow, and see if you have felt some
of these things yourself.
Our Search for Security -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Our Search for Security
by Ernest O’Neill
What’s the meaning of this life that we’re living now? What’s the purpose of it? Why are you here? Why am I
here? That’s the subject we’re discussing on this program each day. What we have been saying is that in order
to get a satisfactory answer, or indeed, an answer that has any validity at all, we need to find someone who
knows more about the universe than you and I do, or indeed than any other human being including Einstein does.
The difficulty we all have in answering the question why are we here, or what is the purpose of life, or why
is this earth in existence, is that we ourselves are tied to this earth. We have never been off it, except
those of us who may have been in satellites or been involved in space shots. We have no idea of what lies
beyond the sky. The only way we have, therefore, of getting the answer to the question of why are we here is
to find someone who has been.
Of course, there is only one human being who has ever been beyond the sky above us, who has been beyond the
furthest planet and the furthest star, who has been beyond the furthest spot in space that we are able to see
with our radio telescopes. That person is not Zoroaster, not Buddha, not any of the great Hindu prophets,
because they were all human beings and died like dogs, like the rest of us.
This man Jesus of Nazareth lived in the first century, and said that he was going to be executed and that he
would come back to life again after three days, and that’s exactly what he did. He came back to life and lived
here on earth for more than a month. He proved to all the people who knew him that he was not a ghost at all
but was a real human being, really alive as he was before — indeed, more alive than he’d ever been before.
Then he disappeared off the earth completely. In the interim period, he explained things about life and
explained to all of us what life is about and why we’re here. That’s why we are serious about listening to the
answers that this remarkable man gave to us in regard to the question, “What’s the meaning of life”?
What we shared yesterday was that the first thing he said was that we were born of flesh and that’s all we
were. That is, that the life that you and I had inherited from our dads and mums was just created life. It
would last perhaps 70 years, or in the case of Churchill, maybe over 90, at the most 100 and then we’d go out
like a light.
What Jesus said to us was that we wouldn’t believe that. We wouldn’t believe that. We have some feeling inside
us that we were made for eternity. We have some feeling that makes us feel that even though everybody else may
drop into the grave, we will not. Yet, we know we will. Still, this feeling persists inside of us that we were
made for something bigger than that.
We were made for something more than just going out like a light. So, of course, he explained that most of us
spend our whole lives trying to parley the characteristics of this created life into the kind of life that we
feel we were made for. That kind of life is a life that really many of us would describe as a kind of heavenly
life, because we have very definite ideas of what life should be like.
For instance, most of us feel we should have a sense of stability and safety and security. That’s it. We feel
that this is the life we were made for. We were made for a life that has some kind of eternity about it, that
has a stability about it, and a safety and a security about it. Those are basic attributes of the life we were
Actually, most of us spend our whole lives using our minds and its shrewdness to bring this kind of life
about, in spite of the fact that the life on this earth that we experience has very little stability and very
little safety and very little security. Yet, we spend most of our time trying to bring those things about in
For instance, most of us feel we got our education in order to survive. We feel we ought to exchange the
degree that we got, or the training that we got, for the best financial reward that we possibly can. We ought
to try to make our position in relationship to our colleagues as secure as possible.
We ought to try to trade up the cars and the houses, try to improve our investments, try to build up a cast
iron life insurance and medical insurance package as well as we possibly can. So, most of us dedicate our
lives to trying to transform this present life that is more like the life of a fiddler on the roof (it is so
unstable and so insecure) — we spend our lives in some way trying to establish a stable platform for
ourselves in the midst of all this instability.
Yet, we realize that it is really doomed to failure. We look at a man like Howard Hughes who probably was more
successful than any of us will ever be at amassing millions and millions and billions of dollars and creating
a huge empire around himself. Yet we’re haunted by his last hours on earth.
You remember how he died in a little dark room on the top floor of a very expensive luxury hotel with Kleenex
stuck to his fingers. He covered his hands all the time with Kleenex tissues since his father had died of what
he felt was bacteria. He was determined at all cost to keep absolutely clean and not to die of any virus or
any bacteria of any kind.
He died, you remember, the death of a pauper. He died — of all things — of malnutrition. He had allowed
himself to get into such indiscipline in his eating habits, and he dominated his own assistants and associates
so completely, that he did not get enough nourishment to keep himself alive. There’s a man who probably was
more successful than any of us ever will be, did everything possible to establish security and stability in
his own life, and yet, he died the death of a pauper, of malnutrition and, really, of fear.
Most of us still try to do it. We do everything to try to establish that security and stability that we feel
we should have. It’s the same with the other attributes that we feel we were made for. We somehow feel that we
were made for a kind of heaven. We don’t like to put it in those terms, but we feel we were made for a kind of
We feel we ought to experience a kind of serene peace and happiness that will give us complete rest and quiet.
Yet, we would naturally get bored as G. K. Chesterton says, if that’s all we experienced. So we feel that
ought to be combined with an incredible exhilaration and excitement.
We imagine a kind of life that we aim for that combines the rest and relaxation of a South Sea island and the
peace at Walden Pond with the physical and emotional excitement of the Arabian Nights. So we search for that
kind of wild excitement and great deep peace in every relationship and experience that we can enjoy. However
many people we use, or however much we suppress chemically our anxiety, we always end up with a sense of
emptiness, loneliness and anti-climax.
It is a desolation that is the opposite of the conviviality and interest and utterly satisfying relationship
which we feel we were made for. So many of us find that we are spending our lives trying to get into
relationships that will bring this kind of experience to us.
So much of our experimentation with sex is not really because we like sex, but it is because we feel that
somehow we can reproduce that tremendous moment of excitement in the orgasm that will give us absolute
satisfaction and absolute joy and delight. Yet, however many people we use, we never seem able to get to the
point of excitement which we think we were made for.
This is what Jesus said. He said, (paraphrased) “You know, you’re born of the flesh and that’s all you are.
All you’ve got is created life. But you’re always trying to make this created life into something that is
greater than created life. You’re always trying to reproduce some of the excitement of eternity in this
present life.” And he says, “It’s just impossible. It’s impossible to do it.”
Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about what this man Jesus said was the meaning of our present lives.
Our Search for Significance and Happiness -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Our Search for Significance and Happiness
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life, or the reason you’re here, the reason you exist. What we’ve been
sharing at this time each day is that the most reliable information we can get about the meaning of life needs
to come from someone who has been on the earth, and yet has also been beyond the sky that we can see above our
There is only one man that has done that apart from our space men who have gone a few miles, relatively
speaking, from the earth. There is only one man who has gone beyond the furthest star and has been able to
tell us what the maker of the world thinks. That man is the man, Jesus of Nazareth.
Buddha hasn’t died and broken the death barrier and returned to tell us what is beyond. Other people have
claimed to do it, but really, we don’t believe that they were completely and absolutely dead. Many people have
claimed to be the son of the maker of the world, but they have other signs of imbalance in their lives that
show that they’re insane.
But, no man has so clearly proven to historians and to critics and to attorneys and lawyers that he has, in
fact, died and come back from death as this man, Jesus of Nazareth. That’s why we’re beginning to look into
what he said was the meaning of our lives. One of the things he did say was that, “That which is born of the
flesh is flesh.”
Or, the life that you have now is simply a created life. The life that you have inherited from your mums and
dads, the intellectual life, the emotional life, the volitional life, the physical life that you’ve inherited;
the flowing of your blood, the beating of your heart, is just physical life. It’s just created life. It’s life
of the flesh. That’s all it is. What is born of the flesh is flesh. Jesus said it can’t be anything more than
In other words, it will last for about 70 years, for the most 100 years, and then it will finish. What we have
been sharing is, he himself said, “You won’t believe that. You won’t believe it.” That’s what he said. He said
they will not believe. When I tell them the truth, they will not believe. Of course, He’s dead right. We don’t
You and I have a deep feeling down in the bottom of our hearts somewhere that we were made for more than that.
We feel we were made for more than just 70 or 100 years. We don’t know why. We’re as skeptical as anybody is
about heaven and about the idea of eternal life. But still, there’s something inside that says, “No, it won’t
end there in that hole in the ground. It is meant to be something greater than that.”
So, most of us spend our lives trying to raise this created life to the “nth” degree until we reach the point
of life that we think we were made for, a kind of eternal, heavenly life. That’s the interesting thing about
it. It has many of the characteristics of eternity. For instance, probably you feel the same way as I do, that
we ought somehow to be able to reach a point of security in this life where we don’t have to be anxious and
where we don’t have to worry.
So, we spend our time trying to trade up our cars, or trade up our houses, or trying to trade in our good
education for the best job possible with the thought in the back of our minds that perhaps we will establish a
stability and security that will not be vulnerable to the vagaries of the present government, or the
variations in the world economy.
We keep on trying to do this. We’re constantly, of course, haunted by the sight of Howard Hughes, you
remember, as he died of malnutrition — the richest man in the world! We realize that we’re probably bent on a
course of futility. Yet, we keep on doing it. We keep on trying to establish a security and a stability such
as we believe we were made for. Yet, the best examples of people who have done this haunt us with the fact
that they never did reach a stability and a security and a safety from viruses and bacteria.
It’s the same, really, in relationship to happiness. We all feel, “Oh, we were made for happiness, for
glorious, perfect happiness. We were made for happiness.” Of course, we define happiness the way G.K.
Chesterton defines it as, “a combination of peace and excitement; a combination of serenity and exhilaration;
a combination of the peace of Walden Pond and the excitement of the Arabian Nights.” So, we do all kinds of
things to bring that into our lives.
Many of us have even gotten involved in heroin and other drugs to try to raise exhilaration to the point of
excitement and climax that we think we were made for. Yet, it doesn’t matter how often we do it. It doesn’t
matter how often we get drunk. It doesn’t matter how often we fornicate. It doesn’t matter how often we take
drugs. Somehow, the high is not the high we envisaged.
It is not high enough. It cannot be maintained. So, we’re left with a sense of futility, with a sense of a
bubble that has burst in our hands. Yet, we feel we were made for it. We feel we were made for this high point
of excitement and joy and happiness. Yet, it seems impossible to transform created life into that kind of
There is another characteristic of heaven or eternity that we feel we were made for. You probably are the same
as I am in this. We have all got a vague sense, like old John Milton, the English poet, that we were put here
for a definite purpose, that we do have some significance beyond a name on a gravestone and beyond the gold
watch presented to us at retirement.
Somewhere, somehow, someone must notice that we passed through here and achieved something! We all feel that,
don’t we? However insignificant we are, however unimportant we are, however poor we are, however pitiful we
are, we all feel that we were made to be noticed. We weren’t made just to go out like a light with no one
knowing that we’re here. We’re made to be noticed.
Somebody, somewhere must notice that we passed through here. Somebody, somehow must appreciate us. There must
be somebody; we were made to be recognized or acknowledged. We feel that deep down. So, we try to beat our
terrible insignificance into some kind of significance by willing others to notice us.
So, we throw our weight around at home, in the office, or at school more than we need to. We try to will
ourselves into some kind of importance in somebody else’s eyes. Yet, if doesn’t seem to do the job. We think
of some of the most famous people, and we wonder how people can so easily and quickly forget Picasso, John
Wayne, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, George VI, the Roosevelt’s, the Jack Benny’s and the Bing
We’re amazed at how quickly people forget them. Yet, we somehow feel, “Well, we were made to be noticed
ourselves. We were made to be remembered. We were made to have somebody think something about us.” So, we try
constantly to parley this created life that we have into some kind of eternal life that will hold in it the
security of heaven, the happiness of heaven and the sense of significance that heaven, we believe, will give
Of course, as we try to do that, we become the very opposite of what we hope to be, because what we are trying
to do is experience infinity and all the limitless freedom of eternity in the finite, temporal and physical
and mental life that we now have. In this process of trying to experience uncreated life in the midst of
created life, we pervert our whole personalities.
We found that at home and at school and at work, we have become one huge egotistical, hedonistic, domineering,
manipulating monster that would only misuse the powers of eternity if it was ever given to us. So many of us
have come to the point where we see what Jesus says, “What is born of the flesh is flesh.”
But, in trying to make it something else and trying to raise it to the “nth” degree to the point where we’d
experience something of what we think we were made for, we have in the process, become dominating egotists who
actually would misuse those powers if we ever received them. That’s the problem that many of us find ourselves
What does Jesus say about that? Well, let’s talk a little more about it tomorrow.
Personal Self-esteem -
What is the Meaning of Life?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of our present life? Do you know? Do you know what you are here for, or what the purpose
in your life is? That’s what we have been discussing on this program for several months now. We resolved that
the only person that could answer that question satisfactorily would be some person who could stand back from
the world and look at it from a distance.
In other words, someone who had not only been on the earth, but someone who had been off of the earth. Of
course, we are not just speaking about our space shots or our spacemen, but we were speaking of someone who
would be able to tell us what was beyond the sky and the furthest star. Someone who could therefore tell us
why the earth was put in this point in space and what it was put here for, and therefore what we were put here
Though we’ve searched the history books and studied the Buddha’s and the Confucius’, and the Zoroaster’s of
this world, we have found that none of them ever claimed to have gotten off the world and looked at it from a
distance. There is only one man who has done that.
There is only one man who has broken the death barrier in such a convincing way that even critical historians
accept that he undoubtedly did rise from the dead. That is the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. So, we have
come to the conclusion that he certainly wasn’t a lunatic because he didn’t have the imbalance of lunatics.
He certainly wasn’t a liar because we regard him as the greatest ethical teacher the world has ever seen. (No
such person could lie about the central and focal point of his whole teaching, that is, his own identity.) He
certainly wasn’t a legend, because there was not time for a legend to develop after he died. Accounts of his
life were already circulating a few years after his life ended.
So, we’ve come to the conclusion that this man Jesus of Nazareth was in fact who he said he was. He was the
Son of the Maker of our universe. He alone is the one who can tell us what life is about. What he said of
course is, “What is born of the flesh is flesh.” You may say, “Well, big deal. That’s no wonderful news.” But
it is, if you combine it with the statement that he made that we wouldn’t believe that.
We would not believe it. That’s what he said, “They will not believe.” Of course, that is too true, isn’t it,
of us? We know that we’re born of the flesh. We know that it will end in 70 or at the most 100 years, yet, we
can’t somehow believe that. We have deep down in us a feeling that we were made for more than that. We have a
feeling of eternity inside of us. We have a feeling that we were made for a kind of life that is utterly
different from the life that we have on this earth.
Strangely enough, the life that we dream of is something like heaven, even if we don’t believe in it. We feel,
for instance, all of us, that we were made to have a security and a stability that this life seems not to
What we all do on this moving platform, this “Fiddler on the Roof” kind of situation we find ourselves in, is
we try vainly, and with futility, to trade up our houses and our cars, trade up our education for good jobs,
surround ourselves with a cast iron life insurance scheme that will somehow ensure that we are secure, that we
are safe from all the uncertainties of this present world.
Yet, we know fine well that even the greatest millionaires have not been able to protect themselves against
the death by cancer or by some other disease or even the disasters that fall upon the greatest and most
efficient magnates that the world has seen. There is a futility in our attempts. Yet, we still keep trying to
We grab, grab, grab all we can to try to establish our own security. You know how at night we lie in bed
thinking of schemes to improve our position, improve our security, improve our stability. Many of us have not
been able to enjoy our education, because we have utterly subordinated it to the need for vocational training.
Vocational training so often has meant for us not enjoying what we are able to do, but in fact, trying to
ensure security, financial security, and physical security for ourselves and our families.
It’s the same for the other characteristics we feel we were made for. We feel we were made for utter
happiness, complete happiness all the time. We’re always trying to be happy, happy, happy. Happiness for us is
a combination of peace and serenity, together with exhilaration and excitement. That explains why many of us
involve ourselves in a great deal of the sexual pursuits we have.
It’s why many of us involve ourselves in the alcohol and the drugs — because we’re looking for tremendous
excitement and exhilaration. Yet, if we have too much of it, we blow ourselves apart. So we want to combine it
with peace and serenity, but somehow we never seem to be able to get the mix right. However much we try to
raise this created life to a level of uncreated eternity, we don’t seem able to bring it about.
It’s the same of course with the feeling we have that we were made to be somebody. We all feel that, don’t we?
We all feel we are unique! We all feel, “I’m unique. I’m unique. There’s nobody quite like me. There’s nobody
quite like me. I’m unique.” The strange and interesting thing is, you ARE unique, you know. There is no one
There is no one absolutely like you! Even if you’re identical twins, your twin is not exactly like you. You
have a subtle combination of physical appearance, of mental ability, of emotional trends that the other twin
doesn’t have. There is nobody like you in the whole universe. Here’s an amazing fact to add to that. There
never has been anybody like you. There never has been!
There’s never been anybody exactly like you. Then add to it this other fact. There never will be anybody like
you. There never will be anybody like you. You are actually unique. But you and I, of course, say, “Well yeah,
I know that. But the rest don’t. The rest don’t.” Of course, we’re always trying to get the rest to note how
remarkably unique we are.
That’s tough going in a world with four billion people in it, because they’re all trying to get all the other
four billion to notice how unique they are. What results is a great deal of striving for position, striving
for importance, a great deal of self-importance, a great deal of drawing attention to ourselves in
conversation by trying to be the funniest guy in the conversation, trying to be the unique, superior,
know-all. Yet, we know deep down we aren’t.
Yet, we do know we’re unique. So, in trying to make ourselves unique in everybody else’s eyes, and trying to
gain significance in everybody else’s eyes, in trying to gain security and stability in this unstable world,
in trying to experience continual happiness in what is a very sad world, we have often become egotistical
monsters — voracious, gluttonous parasites that tend to live off everyone else while trying to get ourselves
the heaven that we think we were made for.
What Jesus said, of course, is that the trouble is we were made for that kind of heaven. That’s right. Our
Father did make us for that. Our Maker did make us for that. But He made us to receive that from HIM and not
from the world itself. Jesus began to explain that to us in detail. He said that we’re always looking to the
wrong source for the happiness that we feel we were made for.
We’re trying to get it from our dear wife. We’re trying to get enough excitement in our experiences with her.
We’re trying to get enough peace and security in her care for us to make us utterly happy. Jesus said, really,
you’ll never get it from just a created human being like yourself. You never will get it! You’ll always end up
In fact, you were made for that kind of life, but it will come only from one person. And that person is the
Person who put you here. Let’s talk a little more about this tomorrow.
Searching for Identity -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Searching for Identity
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life on this program, and we have been for several months now. We have been
discussing it in the light of the greatest authority we could find on that subject. We realized that the
greatest authority cannot be just another man like ourselves or another woman like ourselves, who has never
been off the earth or has never been anywhere in the universe but here.
Such a person can’t really explain to us the place of our planet in the universe and its system, nor can such
a person have the knowledge or the understanding to explain to us why we ourselves are here. In other words,
the authority that we need in this situation is the authority of a person who has been off the earth, who has
been beyond the sky; who has, in fact, broken the death barrier and has shown that he is able to move in and
out of this created life that we possess here on earth at will.
There is only one such person. It’s not Muhammad or Buddha. They died like dogs like the rest of us and were
buried. There is only one man who has proven to history and to critics and to scholars over the centuries that
he did, in fact, break the death barrier. That is the man Jesus of Nazareth.
We examined his life and we suggested that he might be just a madman who claimed to be — not Napoleon in this
case — but the Son of God. But his life does not have the imbalance of such an egotist, and such a
megalomaniac. His life, in fact, is looked upon by many of us as the most balanced life ever lived here on
We thought, well, perhaps he was a liar. But he is regarded by philosophers and theologians alike as the
greatest ethical teacher the world has ever seen. It is absolutely illogical to say that the greatest ethical
teacher in the world lied about the focal point of all his teaching, that is, his own identity. It is
impossible to level the charge at him that he is a liar, and yet, in everything else, true.
Then, we suggested that maybe he was a legend. Maybe it was a legend that grew up after he died. But there
wasn’t the time for that legend to develop, because there were many people still around who had seen him and
seen him die, and seen him rise from the dead, and they were still around when the written records of his life
were being circulated. So, there wasn’t time for a legend to develop because they were there to contradict or
confirm what was written.
So, we came to the conclusion that he must have been (and therefore, must be, as he was able to come in and
out of life and death whenever he chose), he must be the Son of the Maker of our universe. We have been
listening to his explanation of the purpose and the meaning of life.
We started with his statement that “what is born of the flesh is flesh”. That is, we’re born in this life with
a certain created life that we have inherited from our parents. That’s all we’ve got, and it’s going to end!
It’s just going to end. It’s going to end after 70 or 100 years. Jesus said, “You won’t believe that. They
will not believe that.” And of course, we don’t. We don’t.
However often we see somebody put into a hole in the ground, we still think, well, somehow, we have eternity
within us. We’re not very religious, we don’t believe in heaven, but there’s something in us that makes us
believe we were made for something better than this present life.
Of course, what we do is, we try to raise this present created life to the “nth” degree, to the point where we
can reach the kind of life that we feel we were made for. We feel that that kind of life we were made for is a
very high life. We believe for instance, we were made for complete and continual happiness. We’re always
trying to get happiness, wherever we can. We use people. We use things. We use circumstances — anything in
order to establish that great serenity and peace combined with exhilaration and excitement that we call
Yet, always we’re left with a soap bubble that has burst in our hands. We’re always disappointed. We feel we
were made to be really important, to be really of some significance. We feel we were made for somebody to
notice that we have passed through this world. We try to get people to notice us and pay attention to us by
all kinds of subtle and not so subtle efforts.
Yet we always feel disappointed. We feel in some way we’re not regarded with the same love, or attention or
acknowledgment as we were made for. It is the same, of course, with security. We believe we were made for
stability, and economic and financial security. Yet, somehow it doesn’t matter how much sacrifice we make to
establish that security, we never can feel the security that we feel we were made for and that we used to
experience when we were little children with our mother and father.
What Jesus said was, if you keep on trying to get that kind of life from the elements of created life around
you, you will become monsters. Of course, that’s what many of us have become. Many of us have so dominated our
families, because they won’t give attention to us, that we are now monsters in their eyes. We are monsters to
our wives and our children.
Many of us have so dominated our employees and our businesses for the sake of making an extra buck or an extra
pound that we have become monsters – covetous, greedy monsters. Many of us have so sought happiness at any
cost, that we have become monsters to the partners that we have had. We have become monsters to our friends —
egotistical, voracious, gluttonous parasites that try to live off other people and try to get from other
people, and other things and other circumstances, the stability, the happiness, the security, the significance
that we feel we were made for.
Jesus says you’re looking to the wrong source for that. You were, in fact, made for those things. But, you’re
made to receive them from the Person that has given you everything else. The things that you have around you,
the pounds and the dollars, will in fact be devalued. The boats and the cars and the motor bikes, and the
gliders and the planes will in fact rust eventually.
Even the people that now praise you and act as sycophants around you, even they will die, and you will soon be
left as Bing Crosby has been left, with nobody really to care much about him. Eventually, all those things
will disappear. You were made for those, you’re right. But you were made to receive them from the Person that
has given you everything else. The person that has given you everything else is the Maker of the Universe. He
gave you all these things, because He Himself has an attitude towards you of real care and real love. But, in
fact, you’re ignoring that and you’re trying to get it from everybody else.
Of course, that’s what happens to you when you pretend that there is no God. You end up trying to get things
from other people and other things. Jesus said that’s really just what you’re doing. In fact, the mistake
you’re making is, you’re trying to make created life, uncreated life, and you can’t do it! It’s from uncreated
life that you receive that satisfaction. It’s not from this created life. Jesus said, you’re just looking to
the wrong place. For instance, in terms of significance, here’s what he said: “Are not five sparrows sold for
This, if you have a Bible and can look up the last quarter of it there in the New Testament, this is in Luke
Chapter 12, verse 6. Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies, and not one of them is forgotten
before God?” In other words, there isn’t a sparrow that drops to the ground but the Maker knows it.
If an IBM mainframe (computer) is able to keep track of every individual in the United Kingdom or in the
United States, then certainly the Maker of the universe is greater than an IBM mainframe or a Cray mainframe.
He is able, in fact, to watch every sparrow, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies, and not one of them
is forgotten before God? Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”
That’s what he said. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. “Fear not, you are of more value than
many sparrows.” In other words, Jesus said, for goodness sake, stop trying to establish your significance in
the eyes of your boss, or in the eyes of your peers, or in the eyes of your children, or your parents, or your
teachers, or your fellow students.
Stop that game. Stop playing that game! Their significance won’t last beyond their death. But your God, who
has made you, He has numbered even the hairs of your head. He has counted the hair on your head. Even your
barber hasn’t done that. So, let’s talk a little more about what the Maker thinks of us tomorrow.
We are Unique in God’s Eyes -
What is the Meaning of Life?
We are Unique in God’s Eyes
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the point in living? What is the point in staying alive? In fact, what’s the point in being here at
all? What is the point in your life? What meaning does it have? You probably wondered about those things
yourself. That’s what we try to talk about on this program each day. We have been discussing it for several
months and have come to the conclusion that the only person who can shed any light on this kind of question in
an authoritative way has to be someone that is more than an ordinary human being.
In other words, it has to be someone that has been able to do what that old musical that was on the London
stage for some years stated, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.” It has to be someone that has, if not
managed to stop the world, has been able to get off the world and get back onto it again and therefore is able
to tell us, from a wider sphere than just the narrow focus of our own world here, what life is about and what
the universe is created for.
Of course, there is only one such person that has done that. Muhammad or Buddha or Zoroaster, the Hindu
prophets, Confucius — it doesn’t matter who you talk about in terms of religious leaders — all of them have
been ordinary human beings, and have died, just like the rest of us, and been buried. That’s been the end of
There’s only one who has broken the death barrier and has convinced critics, historical critics, history
critics, theological critics, legal critics, political critics; there is only one who has convinced all such
scholars that he actually did break the death barrier. That is the man known as Jesus of Nazareth.
He said, of course, that the reason he was able to do that was that he is, in fact, the unique Son of the
Maker of our universe. He said that he is able, therefore, to go through death as often as he wants, and to
come back to earth as often as he wants. Certainly he did it very clearly, as the history books show, in the
first century of our era.
We have been listening to what he has been explaining to us about the meaning of this life. One of the things
that he has pointed out is that you and I have been making ourselves into egotistical, hedonistic monsters —
for one reason! We are trying to get the kind of life we think we were made for from people, and the things
and the circumstances we have around us.
He said that is futility. It is bound to end in tragedy. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. Whatever you
have around you is material and flesh. It is going to die in 70 or 100 years. What you are trying to do is,
you’re trying to get the life that you feel you were made for from purely created materials. It’s impossible
to do it.
He pointed out, of course, that most of us are in this situation. Most of us are in the position where we
think, “Well, listen. I’m here on this earth and as far as I can see there’s nobody to look after me, so I had
better look after myself.” There is born in us almost a desperate desire to make ourselves secure and stable
— independent of the other four billion people around us. Of course, the problem is the other four billion
are trying to do the same thing. So it gets kind of crowded in the area of security and stability.
We do the same when we think of four billion others. We think, “Four billion others! I’m unique, I’m unique,
but none of them know it so how on earth am I going to make them know it?” So there are four billion of us
trying to make all the rest of us see that we alone are important. It results in a mass of envious, jealous,
proud people who play all kinds of games in their conversations with each other to draw attention to their own
brilliance or their own insights.
It’s the same, of course, with the whole happiness thing. We feel, “Well, we’re here. We don’t know how long
we’re here for, but we had better make the most of this. We had better get as much happiness as we can.” So we
grab at happiness as much as we are possibly able to.
We grab it with this person or that person — with this group of people, with that group of people. We use
every circumstance to make ourselves happy at all costs, to get that tremendous exhilaration and excitement
that we feel we were made for, and that always seems to escape us. However much heroin we take, however many
drugs we take, however much alcohol we consume, we never seem to be able to reach that high point that we
think we were made for.
That’s the thing that Jesus says. No, you were made for an eternal kind of life. You’re right when you think
you were made not to die. You were! You were made for an eternal kind of life. And you’re right when you think
you’re unique. You are unique! There’s nobody quite like you in the whole universe. There never has been and
there never will be.
But your uniqueness will never be recognized or acknowledged sufficiently by the people around you. It doesn’t
matter how many records you break in the Olympics. It doesn’t matter how many great books you write. It
doesn’t matter how significant your particular insights into things are. It doesn’t matter what corner on
truth you think you have. That will never satisfy the uniqueness that you, in fact, have.
There’s nobody who really appreciates that. There’s nobody who understands that, except the person who made
you. Of course, Jesus says that that person — his Father and the Maker of the universe — knows you’re unique
because, in fact, HE made you unique. Actually He thinks of you in that way. This is the way Jesus put it.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies, and not one of them is forgotten before God?”
Not even a little, black, sooty sparrow that falls dead on a winter’s day is ignored by the Maker of the
universe. He knows it’s fallen and looks at it and watches over it. Then Jesus said, “Why even (he says it in
Luke, chapter 12, verse 7 in the Bible), why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not. You’re of
more value than many sparrows.”
So one of the things this man brings home to us is that you, yourself, are unique. You are! You’re right in
feeling that. You are unique, and your maker knows that, and He cares for you. He cares for you so much that
He has counted the hairs on your head. He knows how many cells in your body have died and how many cells have
been renewed. He knows how many miles your blood has traveled through your arteries. He knows how many beats
your heart has had today.
The Maker of the universe is more brilliant than the most complex computer we have created. He knows all about
you, and He knows you’re unique and different and He treats you as different. And He thinks of you as
different. Of course what Jesus said was, “Listen. If the most significant other in the whole universe thinks
of you as unique, and knows you and acknowledges you, and has counted the hairs on your head, and knows your
name and knows you’re here, what in heaven’s name does it matter about the rest of the people?”
What does it matter what they all think? What does it matter what they all say about you? What does it matter
whether they notice you or not? If the Maker of the universe notices you, what else matters? Jesus says, “The
trouble with you is you won’t believe this. You go on trying to get that sense of uniqueness from all the rest
of the people around you. You use everybody you can, and use their opinions to try to get a sense of your own
uniqueness, and your own significance and your own self-worth and your own self-value and your own egotistic
significance and importance.” Jesus says, you will never do it.
You’ll never do it. It doesn’t matter if they all bow down to you and worship you as God. You’ll never sense
the significance and the importance that you actually do have until you begin to see that your Maker, the one
who made you, the one who made all people, the one who made all the Gallup Polls, the one who made all the
elections, the one who made all the prizes — until you realize that He regards you as significant, you’ll
never realize your sense of uniqueness.
In other words, Jesus said part of the problem with you is that you are looking to the wrong source for your
sense of happiness and for your sense of uniqueness. Napoleon said the same thing. When somebody asked him why
he instituted the Legion of Honor, he said “Men love baubles.” Men love baubles. They love decorations. They
love little things that give them a sense of importance.
What Jesus said is, “For goodness sake, stop trailing after that. It’s doomed to tragedy and disaster. Begin
to realize my Father, your Maker — He knows you. You’re of much more value than many sparrows. He has counted
the hairs on your head. He knows your name and to him you’re the most unique person in the whole universe!
Let’s talk a little more about the meaning of life tomorrow.
Dissatisfaction with our Lives -
What is the Meaning of Life?
Why are we Anxious?
by Ernest O’Neill
If someone came up to you and asked, “What is the meaning of this present life that you’re involved in? I
mean, why are you here? What’s the purpose in being on this earth? Why were you brought into existence in the
first place?” How would you answer? That’s the question that we have been talking about for several months now
on this program at this time each day.
You’ll remember that we came to the conclusion that the only one who could answer that question for us in an
authoritative way, “What is the meaning of life?” or “Why are we here?” is someone who has not been here —
someone who has been elsewhere, someone who has been in other places besides the world itself.
In other words, it is very hard for a goldfish that is swimming inside the goldfish bowl to explain to all the
other goldfish why the bowl was created or why they ever came into existence. All the other fish tend to say,
“You’re a human being like me. You’re a fish like me. What do you know?”
That’s what we tend to say to Zoroaster, or to Buddha, or to Muhammad or to Isaiah, or to any of the great
prophets or the great religious leaders. We tend to say, “Listen, you men died the same as we’re going to die.
You were buried on this earth and you never left it. What do you know about what’s beyond the sky or what’s
beyond this world?”
So most of us feel that the only one who can tell us anything about the meaning of the world or can bring us
the answer to any of these magnificent cosmic questions that we put to each other from when we are about five
years old, is someone who has been off the earth and someone who has been beyond space. In other words, we
need some visitor from outer space.
There is only one such person. That is the remarkable human being that has proven to all kinds of historians
and critics and scholars that he actually broke through the death barrier and was able to leave the earth, to
come back again and live here for more than a month and then to disappear and to go to what he said was the
friendship and the presence of his own Father who was the Creator of the world. That’s that man known as Jesus
I ask you not to go to sleep and not to turn off and not to think, “Oh, religion, religion, religion.” No,
let’s look at this man. He is a remarkable human being. The historical records that we have for his life are
far better than what we have for Julius Caesar, or for Plato, or for Thucydides, or any of the ancient people
that lived hundreds of years ago.
The reasons for believing in his resurrection from the dead are more solid and sure than what we have for most
of the ancient events in the history which we don’t ever dream of questioning. It’s that man and his
explanations about the meaning of life that we are talking about in these days.
You’ll remember one of the things that he did say was, “Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. And that’s all
you are. You human beings, you’re born of the flesh and you’re flesh.” Sure, we certainly know that! We’re
born of the flesh. We see it dying day by day as we notice the wrinkles increasing, as we notice the gray
hairs increasing. We know as we watch friends drop into the graves we’re certainly born of the flesh. We are
He said flesh cannot ever inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. That is, flesh can never actually achieve heaven.
Then, of course, he said that we wouldn’t believe that. He’s dead right, of course. We always feel, don’t we,
that we were made for the stability and security of some heavenly existence that is freed from the instability
and the uncertainty of this present economic world in which we live. We feel that!
That’s why, you know fine well, that’s why we try to parley our degrees and our educations up into better
jobs, up into better salaries, up into more solid gold watches on retirement, up into better pension schemes,
up into more stocks and shares. We are constantly trying to just get our head, as we say, “above the rest”.
We’re just trying to get a little “handle on life”. We’re just trying to get above the flood. What we mean by
that is we think we were made for a security and a stability that is a mixture, as we mentioned before, of the
peace of Walden Pond and the glorious excitement of the Arabian Nights.
We always are trying to get hold of that kind of security. We’re trying to get hold of a security that will
give us a sense of the stability which we believe we were made for. Of course, what Jesus said was, “You were
made for that stability. You’re right. You’re made for that security. There is only one place where you can
get it. You cannot get it from all the things that you get hold of.”
It doesn’t matter how much money you get; you will always end up like Howard Hughes, a poor, old man with
Kleenex tissues stuck to his fingers, dying on the top floor of a luxury hotel. You will always end up unable
to grasp the absolute security that you think you were made for. Finally, you will have to admit that you
cannot get security from the disease that kills you, that you cannot actually make yourself physically secure.
Finally, it’s going to get you. Jesus said that there is only one kind of place that you will get that kind of
security from. It doesn’t matter how well the Conservatives do, or how well the Republicans do. It doesn’t
matter how well the Labor government does or how well the Democrats do.
They never will be able to provide you with enough pensions, enough retirement schemes, enough medical
insurance to give you absolute security. Finally, you’ll die of some disease that they cannot protect you
from. Finally, you cannot even guarantee that your money will be safe this time next year. Finally, everybody
is at the mercy of whatever economic disasters might fall upon us.
Deep down, actually, you and I know that, don’t we? Deep down, it’s amazing, even people like Murdoch, it’s
amazing, people who are millionaires, and are magnificently successful businessmen, always are driven by the
desire for just something more. Someone once said to Rockefeller, “What do you want?” He said, “Just another
million. Another million.”
You’ll never get enough millions to give you that sense of absolute, untouchable security that you feel you
were made for. That’s interesting, isn’t it? That’s what Jesus says. He says, “You have a need that is bigger
than can be satisfied by any number of possessions or things that you might get hold of in this present world.
You have an appetite for security that is bigger than what the world is able to fill.”
He went on to say, of course, that really the appetite for security that you have was put there by the Maker
that created you. There is only one place where you can get that kind of security satisfied. That is from a
consciousness that your Maker not only knows you, not only planned your existence very carefully, but actually
provides for your needs and is concerned about your needs and is interested in what you need and is interested
in your security and is concerned that you do feel secure.
That’s what Jesus said. You know the needs you have for security and the frustration and futility that you
feel in trying to get it from things in this present world is because the need is so great that it can only be
satisfied by the assurance of some person’s love for you. That person has to be one with infinite powers and
abilities to fulfill His desires for you.
So Jesus said, “Stop looking to the wrong thing for your need for security. Start looking to the right
Person.” Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about what He explained to us about this dear person.
Why are we Anxious? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Why are We Anxious?
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re discussing the meaning of life on this program at this time each day. That is, why are we here? What is
the purpose of this existence? Why have you ever come into existence? Why are you here? What’s the reason for
the existence of this planet?
What we have been sharing, as those of you who have been listening for some months know, is that in order to
get an answer to cosmic questions as important and big as this, we really have to find someone who is more
than a human being. At least, someone who has been further than our spacemen have been, someone who has been
beyond the world that we now live in.
We say this because the other people, the other religious leaders that we have often listened to, all share
the same limitations that we share, a limitation on knowledge. They have never been anywhere but this earth.
It’s very difficult to expect them to have any kind of information that we don’t possess ourselves, especially
in regard to the purpose of the earth’s existence.
It just stands to reason that it’s very difficult for someone within the system to explain the reason for the
existence of that system. Of course, there has only been one human being in history who has satisfactorily
proven that he has left the earth and has come back to it, and then lived here for more than a month and then
disappeared again, going back to, he says, “the presence of the Maker that created the earth in the first
That is that man known as Jesus of Nazareth. You know we’ve been talking about the explanations he gave about
our life here on earth. One of the basic statements he made was, “Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh.”
That is, what you’ve inherited from your dad and mom is just flesh. It’s going to die in seventy, to ninety,
to at the most 100 years.
It cannot ever inherit more than what is flesh. Of course, we know that to our cost, as we’ve watched our
friends and our relatives die. We know fine well that we ourselves are going to die someday. Yet, it is
interesting, isn’t it, that we keep on trying to produce in this created life some of the attributes that we
feel we were made for.
We try to produce the sense of security and stability through having enough possessions, or money, or stocks
and shares, or pension schemes – so that we will be able to feel protected from the insecurity and the
instability that is around us. That is because we feel we were made for that, don’t we? We feel somehow we
were made for the security and stability of heaven.
Yet, it doesn’t matter how hard we try, we never seem able to get to that point. Even if we are a Rockefeller,
we never seem able to get to that point where we feel absolutely safe and absolutely secure. Indeed, many of
us look back to our childhood days, as Wordsworth did, the English poet.
We think “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 common day”. It seems we lose the
sense of security and stability we used to have when we were little five-year-olds, knowing for sure that our
mom or dad would supply our lunch for us every day.
It seems impossible to get back to that degree of security and stability. What Jesus explained to us was, of
course, that we never could get that security and stability from things and from this earth and what it
produces. We just can’t. We know we can’t, actually. It doesn’t matter how hard we try, we never get free
completely from angst, from anxiety.
Quite apart from the fear of the mushroom cloud, which seems at the moment to be receding a little with the
arms control agreements that are possible, we never seem to get rid of the angst that is connected up with the
fears of depression, fears of the general strike days, fears of not having enough food to eat.
We never seem able to get absolutely free of that sense of insecurity. It seems, indeed, that the insecurity
is not just satisfied by a provision of things or a guarantee of money. It seems that the security and
stability that we thought we could get, if we had enough material possessions, is something more ephemeral
than that and something deeper and more heartfelt than that.
So, we really don’t know what to do, most of us. We have simply committed ourselves to living in this
fearfulness and this half uncertainty and this insecurity for the rest of our lives. Jesus, of course,
explained to us that the reason we cannot satisfy the security is that it was put there by the Person who made
It is so big and is so realistic in its definition that it can only be met by an infinite Person with infinite
resources. That is the Person that has made us. He is, in fact, a kindly Creator. He has not put us here to
fend for ourselves. He has not stuck us like little flies on this globe that flashes through space hundreds of
miles an hour. He has, in fact, continued to overlook us and oversee us.
He actually does know what you’re doing and he knows what your needs are. This is what Jesus said to us,
“Therefore, I tell you. Do not be anxious about your life; what you shall eat or what you shall drink. Nor
about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothing? Look at
the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet, your heavenly Father feeds
Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor
spin and yet, I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He
not much more clothe you, oh men of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious saying, ‘what shall we eat’ or
‘what shall we drink’ or ‘what shall we wear’? For the Gentiles seek all these things and your heavenly Father
knows you need them all.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore, do
not be anxious about tomorrow. For tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be
sufficient for the day.” In other words, this man Jesus told us that the Creator of the world, who made us,
who is his own personal Father, is also our Father and He knows you and He knows what your needs are.
He will provide those needs for you. He may provide them for you as you work at your normal job. He may
provide them for you at times through wages or salary. But, actually, you know yourself, there have often been
times in your life when the job has failed and money has failed, everything has failed and yet here you are.
Here you are, amazing that it is, here you are. When things absolutely fell apart, still somehow or another,
you got what you needed.
You may say that it was by the strength of my own right arm, but you know there were many times in your life
when you had no strength in your right arm. You weren’t able to get what you needed, and yet, somehow or
other, it was supplied. That’s what Jesus is saying. Look! Stop looking to things for your security. You’ll
never get enough things to get you the security you need, but your Father, who created you, He knows that you
need them, and He’ll be faithful. Look to Him and start depending on Him.
God Gives us Security -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God Gives Us Security
by Ernest O’Neill
Why are you here? That’s the question we’re discussing, evening by evening, on this program. We have reached
the point where we said that it was no use looking to the ordinary prophets and religious leaders for
explanations to this cosmic question. There is no point in looking to them, nor is there any point in looking
to any human philosophers, because they all share the same limitation. They have never been off the earth.
They have never been outside in the cosmos. They have never been beyond what we can see with our greatest
radio telescopes. Indeed, there is only one man who has ever been able to leave the earth at will, come back
to live here for more than a month, and then tell us he was going back to see his Father who had made the
earth and proven to scholars, historians, to lawyers, to literary critics alike that he did do that. That is
the man, Jesus of Nazareth.
You know how we have discussed the reasons we have for believing that he did rise from the dead and broke the
death barrier. So, now we are listening to his explanations of why we were put on this earth and why we exist.
You remember how we have been sharing how all of us have the same experience in regards to the question of
security. That is, we never seem able to get sufficient security.
Of course, Jesus said that. He said, “Whatever is born of flesh is flesh.” You’re born of the flesh. All you
have is created life, and you feel all the time as though you were made for some kind of uncreated life that
has a security and a stability in it that is beyond what this present world seems capable of giving you. But
somehow, you can never experience it with just the elements of created life that you possess.
He said, “It doesn’t matter how you try, you’ll never do it. But of course, you won’t believe it.” But of
course we don’t believe that. That’s why you know you are trying to build up your bank balance as high as you
can. It’s why you are trying to get a better insurance policy. It’s why you’re hoping the government will
provide a better social security system, because you believe that somehow you ought to have stability and
security from the economic instability and insecurity that is present in this world.
Indeed you believe further that you should have a stability and a security in regard to your physical health.
But that seems finally impossible when we pass through the final experience. Yet, we keep on trying. You know
how many of us have absolutely dedicated our whole existence and whatever abilities we have to establishing
security. Indeed, we scramble and scrabble to get enough shekels together to give us an early retirement and
the kind of safety that we think we were made for.
What Jesus has told us, is of course, that we can never get enough safety to satisfy us. Our appetite for
security and stability is so great, is so tremendous, is so supernatural that the money that we gather on this
present earth or the circumstances that we manage to create for ourselves in retirement will never supply us
with enough security to save us from that terrible feeling of angst that we feel at times when we waken up in
the night in a cold sweat.
He said, “We’ll never get it”, because that desire for security and stability is a desire for what we were
made for. We were made for the realization that somebody else that is bigger than our dads, bigger than our
moms, bigger than our husbands, bigger than our wives, bigger than our presidents or our prime ministers,
someone who is bigger that anyone who is on this earth, is actually aware that we’re here.
The reason He put us here was so that we would begin to depend on Him day by day and not try to substitute the
things that we can get and gather around us for His own love and care. That’s what Jesus said. He said, “What
you’re doing is you’re trying to substitute things for love. That’s it! You’re trying to get security from
things instead of from love and you’ll never do it.”
Actually, we know it ourselves. We all joke about the woman who has received her fifth $500,000 (Â£200,000)
diamond and she says dramatically, “Things, things, things! Don’t you care about me, myself?” Of course we
know that in fact, love is deeper than giving people things. That, Jesus said, is our problem. We’re trying to
get security and stability from things that we gather around us when the ONLY thing that will give us real
security and stability is love.
“Indeed, it’s not security and stability we need,” he said, “it’s love.” Security and stability is just an
attribute of love. You can attempt to get security and stability from things and still not get love, and so
you don’t feel you have security. If you get love, even if you don’t have the things in front of you, you have
the security. Actually, we know it ourselves.
We know it from when we were little children. You did not know the state of your dad’s bank account. You did
not know how much money he made week to week. In fact, when you look back today, you wonder how he managed at
all. Yet you know the tremendous sense of stability and security you had because there was somebody over you
and above you who knew (it seemed infinitely more than you did), who cared for you and was concerned for you.
That is what gave you stability.
Same deal with your Maker! That’s exactly what He wants you to begin to feel. In fact, He gave you your father
as just a shadow and a poor example of what He, Himself is. Your own Father is the one who made you. He is the
great Father, who, though He’s all our Father, is yours particularly because He knows you. You’re special to
He, through His Son, said this, “Therefore, I tell you. Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat,
what you shall drink nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food?” We know it is.
Certainly it’s far more than food. “…and the body more than clothing?” Yeah, when we had poor clothes —
still it was more important to be alive.
“Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns.” That’s right. They don’t. You
never see a bird gathering into a barn or sowing or reaping. “And yet, your heavenly Father feeds them.” We
know that. We know that. It’s incredible. We don’t know how it works, but there is a whole system there that
Actually, we do know that it has worked with us, too. At times, when we haven’t been able to sow or reap, or
we haven’t been able to gather into barns, somehow or other the meal has been on the table. Somehow or other,
provision has been made.
Gradually, if we reflect upon it, we begin to realize that this Father may use a paycheck as the method. He
may use a salary as a method. He may use wages as the method. He may use a foreman or a boss or the owner of a
company, but at other times, He may use some other method we can’t explain.
But it is Him that is doing it. That’s why He said, through His Son, “Which of you, by being anxious, can add
one cubit to his life?” It’s right. It doesn’t matter how much we worry. We can’t add a year to our lives. We
can’t add an inch to our stature.
“Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They neither toil nor
spin.” They don’t. You’ve never seen a flower toiling or spinning, and yet, really its dress is beyond
anything that Christian Dior can produce, or anything that the great couturiers in Europe can produce.
“Yet I tell you, even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the
grass of the field which is today alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe
you, Oh men of little faith?” That’s what Jesus said.
He said, “Stop looking to things for your security. Start looking to your Father for it, because He will give
unto you without fail as He has done over the years of your life, right up to this present day.
Trust in God or Circumstances? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Trust in God or Circumstances?
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the meaning of life. Why do you exist? What’s the purpose of your
existence? Why are you alive? We have looked at some of the explanations that various religious leaders and
philosophers have given. But we’ve come to the conclusion that they all share the same limitations we do.
They’ve never been anywhere else but this world. So it’s very difficult to expect them to give us any kind of
useful or authoritative information on the reason for this world’s existence, if they have never been anywhere
but this world.
Indeed, there’s only one person that this world knows anything about that has been off this world, who has
left it, said that he would come back, and actually came back and lived for more than a month with his friends
and with many who did not know him very intimately, and has proven to them and to succeeding generations of
historians and critics that he really did come back from being dead. He is the man known as Jesus of Nazareth.
We’ve been listening to the explanations he gives for the reasons for our existence. You remember, if you’ve
been listening to past broadcasts, one of the things he said most clearly was, “Whatever is born of the flesh,
is flesh.” It can’t be anything else but flesh. But, of course, you won’t believe that.
He said that you have desires and needs you never seem able to satisfy whatever you do with your positions.
That’s most true for all of us in regards to security. I think all of us were brought up with mothers and
fathers who probably encouraged us to make our own way in life and to provide for ourselves because no one
Probably most of us had some experience in the past years of either the fears, or the worries or the anxieties
of our dads and moms about unemployment, about strikes and about the disasters that came upon Europe, it
seems, especially. So, most of us have a healthy fear of not having sufficient money to provide the clothing,
food and shelter that we need to keep alive in this present world.
Most of us end up in that rather ironic position where we struggle, and struggle and struggle to try to get
enough money to buy enough food, clothing and shelter to keep ourselves alive so we can bring into the world
other children who will struggle, and struggle and struggle to get enough money to buy enough food, shelter
and clothing so that they can bring children into the world who will…ad absurdum. Most of us know that often
we’re not making much on it. Indeed, we saw our dads and mums live and die, in not quite poverty, but
certainly not in great abundance. We can see ourselves almost doing the same thing.
Many of us are increasingly frustrated about our own inability to provide that security and stability for us,
and for our children and for our wives that we feel we were made for. That’s what Jesus said. Jesus said that
the reason for that is, it’s not security you were made for. Security is simply an attribute of love. You were
made for love. That’s why. That’s why you feel the need for security; you really feel the need for love. Of
course, what we have been saying over the past few broadcasts is that that’s dead true in regard to ourselves
and our own parents.
Often we didn’t know the little money they had. We didn’t know how little they were able to provide for us,
but they loved us. It didn’t matter how little we had in the house. We had a great sense of security and
stability when we were five or up to maybe when we were 9 or 11 years of age, because we had somebody there
who was greater than ourselves, older than ourselves, who knew more things than we did and still whom we knew
cared about us.
That’s what Jesus says. Jesus says, “Listen, your Father, who created you, put you here so that you could
learn to live in trust in Him. That’s it. Who do you think gives you your money? Who do you think gave you
your job? Who do you think has supplied you with the wherewithal when you haven’t had a job? Who do you think
has arranged your cash flow, has arranged the payables and receivables in such a way that they just match at
the right time?”
How often have you come through a hard time and you’ve wondered, “Where did the money come from? I don’t know
where it came from. How did the bills get paid? I don’t know how they get paid.” He says to us, “That’s
because there is a dear Father, who is my own Father, and who loves you as His own children, who cares for you
and provides for you.
When He put you on this earth, He arranged the whole economic system so that you would have enough. Don’t
worry! You will have enough. That is what He said: “Don’t be anxious about your life, what you’ll eat or what
you’ll drink, nor about your body, what you’ll put on. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than
clothing? (You’re not going to spend your life worrying about clothing, are you?) Look at the birds of the
air. They neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns; yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of
more value than they?
Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to the span of his life? Why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. Yet, I tell you, even Solomon in
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But, listen, if God so clothes the grass of the field which
today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?
Therefore, don’t be anxious, saying, what shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, what shall we wear? For
the Gentiles seek all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His
kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.”
In other words, for goodness sake, start being interested in your dear God, who has made the mountains and who
controls the oceans and who will not leave you without. Start trusting in Him; stop trusting in things. Stop
trying to slave and slave and burrow into the dirt to get enough money and things to make you secure. You’ll
never be secure that way. You’ll never get a big enough house. You’ll never get a house that is safe from the
deterioration of the neighborhood. You’ll never get enough money that is safe from the problems of the banks
and that the economy gets into. You’ll never get enough clothing that will not go out of fashion or will not
get hole-y. You never will.
What is far better than that is to have somebody faithful who will always supply you with whatever you need.
In other words, it’s far better to be able to trust a heart, a loving heart. That’s what you need. That’s the
only thing that will be able to supply you with security. The money doesn’t supply you with security.
Security, through the mathematical calculations of your possessions, is not satisfying to you. This kind of
security is not what you’re looking for. You’re not looking for material security. You’re trying to pretend
that you are, but you’re not looking for a material security.
You’re looking for the security of some dear heart that you can trust, some dear heart that has enough
resources that can actually provide for you. What you’re looking for is an assurance that somebody loves you
enough to take care of you. Jesus said, “That’s exactly the situation. That’s why you were made with a need
for security. So stop looking to things for it. They will never satisfy you.”
“Start beginning to realize that behind that blue sky up there (just look out of your automobile window, or
look out of your bedroom window in the morning, or look out of your living room window)… and realize behind
that great sky is a dear Father, who told you through me, ‘Don’t be anxious about your life, what you’ll eat,
or, what you’ll drink, nor about your body that you’ll put on. Isn’t life more than food and the body more
than clothing? Your Heavenly Father will supply you with all these. This is not just â€˜pie-in-the-sky’ when
you die. That’s true right here and now.” That’s what this man Jesus said and He has been up there and He
Happiness and Security -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Happiness and Security
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That is, why are you here? What is the purpose of your existence? We’re
discussing that, especially in the light of the explanation given by the only man who has ever left the earth
and has come back to tell us what is out there. That is the man known as Jesus of Nazareth.
He’s the only human being who has ever broken the death barrier. He’s the only religious leader who has ever
avoided being buried in the ground and his bones decaying like other human beings. He’s the only one who has
given us any kind of assurance that He actually was from outer space. That’s why we’ve been actually
discussing his words, because we think they’re the only ones worth listening to in regard to the cosmic
question, “Why is the earth in existence?” and “Why are you here on it?”
One of the things, you remember, over the past few weeks that we’ve been sharing is that Jesus said, “Whatever
is born of the flesh is flesh.” That is, it’s just flesh. It will never inherit the kingdom of God. Of course,
we know that in our hearts. Yet, He followed up that statement by saying, “You will not believe that.” He’s
dead right; you know you and I don’t really believe that. We do deep down feel we were made not to go out like
a light and be buried under some gravestone. We do, don’t we?!
Even the most skeptical and cynical among us feel we were made for something to do with eternity. I mean,
there seems to be something of eternity inside us. We feel we were made for the security of eternity and we
feel we were made for the sense of value and self-esteem and self-worth that eternity would give. We certainly
feel we were made for happiness, don’t we? It’s amazing.
We know that this world is miserably unhappy. Around about us is misery on all sides and yet you know we all
spend day after day seeking happiness, don’t we? We’re always looking for it. We’re always trying to get
happiness. That’s why the heroin stuff is going. That’s why crack is going. That’s why all the drugs are
going. That’s why alcohol is so popular. That’s why sex is so popular. We’re dying for happiness. I mean, we
just feel…we were made to be happy, in spite of the fact that most of it goes like a soap bubble. It just
disappears in our hands and we’re left with a wet smear.
Yet, we still think we were made for happiness. We still try to find happiness. Somehow we’re always looking
for it and we try to use relationships to find that moment of intimacy that will give us the happiness we
want. We try to get the fastest motorcycle, the fastest racing car. We try to get the best plane, or the best
water skies or the best vacation or the best holiday. You know how we live for the holidays. We just live for
the Fridays. We thank God it’s Friday. We just live for the weekends. We can’t wait until we get out of work.
Many of us have miserable times at work, because we’re thinking all the time of when we’ll get off work. Many
of us go to the pub, because we’re hoping we’ll somehow get happiness there. Many of us go to movies; many of
us go to dances. Many of us go to all kinds of experiences, because we’re hoping that somehow, we’ll reach
that pinnacle of excitement, that orgasm that will give us absolute happiness, that eternal moment when
….what is it we’re looking for?
Well, you know, probably, what we look for is not just the orgasm. Probably what we’re looking for is not just
the physical thrill, but we’re hoping that somehow we will be completely known by someone and completely
accepted. We know deep down that happiness does not come from a “high” that is chemically induced. Happiness
does not come from a “high” that is physically produced. Happiness actually comes from an eternal moment when
we feel we are absolutely and utterly known and loved. That is the time when time seems to stand still.
We’re constantly looking for that. Many of us have given up on it, and have tried to substitute other things.
But we still know that happiness really consists, not of even circumstances that go well so much as a
relationship that is utterly and absolutely intimate and honest and satisfying. That’s what we’re looking for.
Yet we never seem to be able to find it.
Most of us, of course, have actually declined into just trying to get circumstances that are satisfactory. So
we get up in the morning and you know how our little eyes and minds go out to the day ahead searching to see
if we have some unpleasant things coming up, or, if by any chance, there might be something pleasant coming
up. So we’re utterly the slaves of circumstances.
Most of us are utterly dominated by that. And we live from little “high” to little “high”, from little holiday
to little holiday, from little weekend to little weekend. We are allowing ourselves to be drawn in to that
deception. We know it’s a deception. It’s a lie that happiness consists of favorable circumstances. Of course,
old Dr. Samuel Johnson, you remember, the old English writer, said we always think that if we could only
change our circumstances, then we would be happy. If we could only have our circumstances different from what
we are, we would be happy. Yet, we know that that isn’t true, but we spend most of our lives following after
What Jesus said, of course, was what we know. He said happiness is not satisfactory circumstances. People in
the most miserable circumstances — as you know from your own parents’ and grandparents’ examples — people
from the most miserable circumstances, even in concentration camps, even in prisons, even in the midst of war,
people can be tremendously happy. Happiness consists not of favorable circumstances, but of knowing that you
are known and loved by someone who is absolutely honest with you and by someone who is absolutely the center
of the meaning of the universe.
That is, of course, what Jesus said that we really needed. He said what you really need to know is that the
Maker, the Creator of the stars, the Maker of the Milky Way, the Maker of the Amazon River, the Maker of the
Black Forest and the Ardennes, the Maker of the Thames and the English Channel, the Maker of the Atlantic and
the Pacific, the Maker of whales, and the Maker of eagles, the Maker of integers, the Maker of all the
mathematical equations and all the theories that we put together in our scientific reasonings — that Maker
He loves you. That’s what He said. Jesus said, “If a man loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love
him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” That’s what He said! He said, “My Father will love
you and come to you and make His home inside you and will actually love you as a dear and true friend.
In another place, he said, “Your Father, the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have
believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and I have come into the world. Again I am
leaving the world and going to the Father. My Father loves you. He loves you!” There’s no thrill as great as
walking through the garden of the world with the owner of the world beside you. That’s what makes real
happiness. What Jesus said was, you’re trying to get happiness from things, things, things or circumstances,
circumstances. You’re trying to get happiness from things that can’t give you happiness.
Circumstances will never be exactly right for you…not in this world. They’ll always be slightly wrong. But,
anyway, what gives you happiness is not circumstances, but knowing that the one “significant other” in the
whole universe knows you and loves you. You are safe in that Person’s love. That’s what makes real happiness.
And Jesus explained to us, “Stop looking to circumstances for happiness.” Happiness does not come from what
happens to you. Happiness comes from a deep joy of being known completely, even as you know someone else. That
kind of happiness is yours, because My Father, the Maker of the world, loves you. He loves you.
Where Does our Security Come From? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Where Does our Security Come From?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That is, why are you here? Why are you alive today? In trying to answer this
question over the past few months we have begun to look at two facts which are really opposite of one another.
But they are two real facts in the existence of this world.
One is the occurrence in the first century of our era of a life that seems to be more than human, a life that
seems to be able to break through the death barrier. It’s the life of a person who seems to be the only one of
us human beings who has ever been able to get off the world and give us any kind of intelligent assurance and
proof that He actually came from outer space.
Therefore He knows something more about the meaning of the world from outside the world. In other words, he
has a view of it that even the religious leaders like Muhammad, Zoroaster and Confucius do not have. He seems,
from our intelligent examination of the historicity of his life, to have been able to break through the death
barrier. That is, to go through death, come back and come alive again. He seems to have been able to go beyond
the sky we see with our radio telescopes.
Then, we’ve taken the other fact of your existence (and mine). We’ve talked about some of the realities of our
everyday life. So, we’ve taken those two facts, which are in a way opposite of each other, and we’ve begun to
discuss what the meaning of life is in the light of those two facts.
To look at the second fact first, I would like to try to share with you a favorite song. We all have favorite
songs. None of us can probably sing them as well as the original singers, but we like to sing them in the
shower. So if you can imagine being in the shower and putting up with this pitiful imitation of Tennessee
Ernie Ford …then I’ll try to sing you my favorite song:
And I wake up in the morning with my hand down on my eyes and she says, “Hi.”
I stumble to the breakfast table while the kids are going off to school, “Goodbye”.
She reaches out and takes my hand and squeezes it and says, “How ya feelin’, Hon?”
I look across at smiling lips that warm my heart and see my morning sun.
And if that’s not loving me, then all I got to say, is God didn’t make little green apples.
And it don’t snow in Minneapolis in the wintertime.,” etc.
Now, forget the horrible singing and think of the words. We probably all think when we hear that song, we
think, “That’s living!” Especially those of us who aren’t married say, “Man, that’s living.” “I stumble to the
breakfast table while the kids are going off to school, goodbye. She reaches out, takes my hand, squeezes it
and says, ‘How ya feelin’, Hon?'” I look across at smiling lips that warm my heart and see my morning sun. If
that’s not loving me, then all I’ve got to say…” And we all feel…”That is living!” Probably that is what
most of us that are married want to say with the same dreamy wistfulness in our eyes. Yeah, that sure is
living! I don’t think I’d be far wrong in saying probably 99 percent of the four billion of us here on earth
feel just like that when we get up in the morning.
Our whole being cries out for the kind of tender love and affection that Tennessee Ernie Ford sings about. In
other words, so many of us feel just that way in the morning. We feel we can hardly see whether it’s night or
day. We don’t want to talk to anybody, but we do dream of some beautiful being stretching out their hand and
saying, “How ya feelin’, Hon?” We think, “Boy! That would just be beautiful.”
But it’s kind of tough on the girl, isn’t it? I wonder how many marriages are regarded by the partners as
failures, because they don’t measure up to that kind of ideal. In other words, I’d ask you men, how many of us
expect that of our girls and when they really don’t rise to that, we’ve ever, from that moment, lived in a
kind of constant futility and resentment that they don’t treat us the way we think romantically they should
Of course, it’s kind of tough if you receive that kind of treatment and kind of drift out through the door on
cloud seven into the car, onto the motorway and then expect to see the boss floating towards you on a pink
cloud of euphoria and reaching out, taking your hand, squeezing it and saying, “How ya feelin’, Hon?”
In other words, sooner or later somebody doesn’t treat you as you want them to. Then I’d only have to remind
you of the disappointment, the frustration, the resentment, the critical backlash and the hostility that rises
up and destroys so many relationships, simply because they’re not providing us with the affection, or
recognition or support that we think they should.
That’s a fact of life, isn’t it, that many of us live expecting and, indeed, demanding that other people give
us the kind of love, and the kind of sympathy and the kind of empathy that we feel we were made for. We do. We
feel we were made for somebody to understand us like that. That is one way to live this life, to try to fill
our need for security and our need for stability, our need for peace and happiness, our need for recognition
and our need for identity: through people, through things and through experiences.
We do it through the things around us here on the earth. Through the foods that we eat. Through the physical
relationships and through the aesthetic experiences that we have. Through the things that come into us through
our body, through our flesh, hoping that somehow that we can churn up some sense of wholeness in our minds,
peace and stimulation in our emotions and a sense of freedom in our wills.
Now this man Jesus that we talked of said that that’s living after the flesh. Living after the flesh isn’t
just being sexy. Living after the flesh isn’t just being fat. Living after the flesh is trying to fulfill the
tremendous need that you have deep down inside you for perfect happiness. It’s trying to meet that need from
things, from people and from circumstances. He said, “Look, whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. That’s it;
that’s what you are. You’re flesh. Flesh will never inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Now, don’t get all religious about the term “Kingdom of Heaven”. You know fine well that you have an idea of
what the Kingdom of Heaven is even if you don’t believe in God at all. You still have an idea of what you mean
by Kingdom of Heaven…the Kingdom of God. It’s that perfect state that you dream of.
What Jesus said is, “Look. You’ve only got human, material life in that body of yours. Even in that mind, even
in the emotions of yours, you cannot inherit your idea of the Kingdom of God just by using those things. You
can’t and yet you won’t believe that. Now, actually there is another way to live. There’s another way to live
that is completely different from that.” That’s the one that Jesus outlined. It’s the one way of reality. It’s
the way we were meant to live.
Will you think about that a little? Will you think a little about the kind of demands you put on the rest of
us to meet your needs for security, and compassion and self worth. Then begin to think over the possibility
that there is another source for you to meet those kinds of needs, besides us finite, inadequate human beings.
Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
What is Real Love? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
What is Real Love?
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking about the meaning of life and why we’re all alive here on this earth. One of the special
authorities that we’ve been discussing is a man called Jesus of Nazareth, who lived in the first century.
We’ve been talking about what He has told us, simply because He’s the only man that seems ever to have been
able to break through the death barrier.
All the rest of us are imprisoned here in this present 70 to maybe 80 years, or if we’re Churchill’s or
Macmillan’s, maybe 90 years. He seems alone of all human beings to have been able to die and come back to life
again…and live on this earth for more than a month and then disappear off the earth.
He’s the only one who has been able to give us any sense that He had been beyond the world. That is, that He
did actually know the Creator of the world. We have, over the past months, examined His life from an
intellectual viewpoint and concluded He is either a lunatic, or he is a liar, or he is a legend, or He is in
fact reality; He is actually the Son of the Being, the Supreme Being that made our world, that made the
Of course, we did, as you know, eliminate the possibility that He was a lunatic, partly because He has none of
the imbalance of a madman. We eliminated the possibility that He was a liar, because He is unquestionably
regarded by all peoples, as the highest and greatest ethical teacher the world has ever seen. It is utterly
illogical and makes fun of our whole system of knowledge in the world to conclude that the highest ethical
teacher the world has ever seen lied about the central focal point of His teaching: His own identity.
The impossibility of Him being a legend became clear to us, when we realized that there wasn’t the time for a
legend to develop, because shortly after He died, accounts were circulating about His life. Those were the
same as the accounts we have today. That collection of books is called “Ta Biblia” in Greek, or the Bible
So, we’ve begun to examine the explanation that this man gave us of the meaning of the world. One of the
things that He said to us was, “You’re looking to the wrong source for the love that is built into you, the
love need that is built into you. You have a need for love, affection, kindness and understanding.
You have a need built deep down inside you that makes you feel you were made for perfection. You were made for
eternity. Actually, that is stated in one of the old books in the Bible that was written years and years ago.
It’s a book called Ecclesiastes. In it there is the statement that there has been put into our own hearts
eternity. Actually you would say that, too.
You would admit that you feel you were made for perfect happiness. You feel you were made for perfect
stability. You feel you were made for a perfect sense of security. This present world with its things, and its
people and its circumstances, seems unable to give that to you. Yet, we discussed yesterday how we all are
constantly looking for it. We’re trying to get from people the kind of esteem and self-worth that we feel we
were made for. We’ve tried to get from things the kinds of security and stability we feel we were made for
financially, emotionally, materially and physically.
We try to get from relationships — and if not from them, from chemicals — the kind of happiness and euphoria
we were made for, combined with the great serenity and peace that we think we were made for. Yet, constantly,
we meet frustration because it seems that the human beings around us are not able to give us the attention
that we think we deserve. They’re not able to give us the sense of worth that we feel we should have.
Now, there is another way to live that this man Jesus explained. He put it this way: “The nicest presents you
have ever received come from Someone you’ve never seen.” Did you realize that? Really, it’s true. “The nicest
presents you’ve ever received come from Someone you’ve never seen!” See those fingers you have? Just look at
them. They’re pretty useful, aren’t they? Pretty durable, too. Think of what they’ve put up with. Think of how
they’ve been battered from the time they were first slapped by a teacher, to the time you closed them in the
car door. Those fingers are pretty remarkable little things. That skin is a better self-sealing system than
any you could buy. That’s right. I mean, poke a nail through it, or cut it with a knife and, give it half a
chance, and it seals up.
It’s like the old medical man of ancient times who said, “We don’t actually heal anything. We just sew up the
wound and God makes the skin join together.” It is; it’s a remarkable self-sealing system. Yet, it’s a gift
you got, that skin that covers your body.
Those lungs that you have just keep pumping and pumping. Even when you’re unconscious, they just keep pumping.
Those are remarkable things, those lungs of yours. Then what do you think of sunsets? What about those unique
scenes at certain times of the day which only you have observed. You know what I mean. What about the little
insect, or the butterfly or the bird which you alone played with when you were little.
You alone remember that little fly or that little butterfly. You alone remember that little moment. It was a
moment that nobody else seemed to share with you. You know it. Yet it was very enjoyable. Those and billions
more are love gifts from the one for whose friendship alone you were created.
See? That’s the point. That’s what Jesus said. He said, “All these things that you have received are the best
gifts that you’ve ever got.” You often say that the best gifts in life are free. Well, all those things have
been given to you by a dear Father who made you, who loves you.
It’s His love you were made for. That’s actually the only love that will fully meet your infinite capacity for
being loved. Jesus explained that His Father, the Creator of the universe, is your Father, too. It’s Him that
you need. It’s not the things His friendship gives, like security. I mean real love gives you a sense of
security, doesn’t it?
When somebody really loves you, that gives you a great sense of security, especially, of course, if they have
the wherewithal to meet your needs for food, shelter and clothing. If they are even better than your own dad
was, and they have even a bigger bank account than his and are able to provide infinite resources to meet the
needs that you have for food, shelter and clothing, then the love of that person brings you absolute security.
It brings you absolute security, and brings you absolute peace. Of course, it’s real love that brings
happiness, isn’t it? I mean, the things that are dearest to you are not the things that your wife gave you or
your girlfriend gave you or your sons gave you. The real happiness that you have is them themselves. That’s
why the things are meaningful to you — because they express to you their love.
Actually, if it’s just “Things, things, things!”, like the wealthy millionairess says, “Things, things,
things, all you give me is things. I need love.” … then if it’s only things, they don’t give you happiness.
If the things have behind them a loving heart, then it’s that love, from that dear heart, that gives you
If somebody really loves you, that is what gives you a sense of recognition. I mean, they know you. They care
about you. It’s amazing. It doesn’t matter how unimportant the little husband is or how unimportant the little
wife is. If they love you, they give you a sense of recognition, a sense of value. Actually, when they die
that’s why so many of us feel so lost. It’s love that gives you what you need.
We keep on thinking that what we need is security through things, or that we need happiness through
circumstances, or that what we need is significance through people. No, it’s not. Actually, what we need is
love that will provide all those things. Of course, what Jesus explained to us was that it’s the love of your
dear Father, who made you, that actually gives you a sense of fulfillment.
Love’s Substitution -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the reason for our existence. That is, we’re trying to answer
that massive cosmic question, why are you here? Why are you here on the earth? Why is the earth here? Why are
all of us here? What’s the point of this whole thing? Is it just a tale told by an idiot? Are we just the
result of some mindless time-plus-evolution experience or is there any meaning to it all?
Of course, we’ve talked for a long time, you remember, some months ago, about the fact that there is great
meaning in life itself. That is, there seems to be a great deal of evidence of design and of plan, of
conscious, deliberate conception and purpose in our present world. You remember how we discussed the reasons
we have for believing that there has to be some personal mind behind this whole thing.
It’s the only way in which we can explain the existence of our own personal minds. Because we know that this
kind of order and intelligence does not come from just chance. That it doesn’t matter how many parts of a
watch you throw into a washing machine and how long you allow that washing machine to turn around, it will
never produce an assembled watch that has order and purpose in it. Any kind of order and design in any entity
must come from the deliberate planning of some intelligent mind.
Then, you remember, we discussed the question of whether that intelligent mind had ever communicated itself to
us. We examined the various religious men that have claimed to be able to tell us about that mind. We saw that
they all shared the one great limitation, that they were human beings like us. What did they know that we
didn’t know? They’d never been off the earth. They’d never been beyond the sky. How could they tell why the
world was here? It was like a goldfish inside a goldfish bowl, trying to tell how the goldfish bowl came to be
there in that spot.
The only person that we discovered in all of the history of mankind that has ever even broken the death
barrier — that is, that has died and come to life again, and lived here on earth for more than a month, then
disappeared completely — and the only person who has ever given us any kind of intellectual assurance that He
had actually been able to get off the world and get out into space, and be able to understand what is out
there, is the man, Jesus of Nazareth.
So, we’ve been discussing now for a few weeks, the explanation He has given us about life itself. One of the
things, of course, that He has brought home to us is that we are all pretty dissatisfied and discontented with
our lives. In fact, most of us are, in some way. We all have little satisfaction. We all have little things
that we enjoy. Many of us find life very frustrating. We feel deep down that we were made for a kind of
perfection. Yet, that perfection seems far beyond our reach; not only perfection of our own behavior, but
especially perfection of happiness. We feel we were made for some incredible combination of serenity and of
excitement that somehow, we feel unable to find.
It doesn’t matter how exciting the relationships may be that we manage to get into. It doesn’t matter how
stable our home life may be at times. We seem to still fall short of the happiness that we feel we were made
for. It’s the same with security. I mean, we’re all concerned about the economy. We’re all concerned about the
way the world’s economy is going. But, in the midst of it, is our own personal economy.
We feel we were made to be free from the anxieties of always trying to get the next dollar or the next pound
gathered together. We feel we were made for the stability that at one time we felt when we were little
children and had all those problems in our father’s and our mother’s hands. We feel somehow we were made for
that kind of security and stability.
Yet, the psychologists tell us, “Ah, you’re just being children. You’re just trying to get back to your
childhood.” Yet, deep down, we feel a bit like the English Poet, Wordsworth, that maybe that is the happiest
time. Maybe we were made for that kind of stability. That persists even until old age. We still feel we were
made for that. We feel, of course, that we were made to feel in some way that we are unique. We ARE unique
actually. Nobody else seems to notice it. We feel we were made for someone to acknowledge that. So, we tried
to get that kind of acknowledgment from our wives, and from our children, and from our bosses and from our
Yet, it always seems to fall short of what we feel deep down we were made for. So Jesus said, “You have these
great feelings inside you. These great needs. Yet, you always seem to find frustration in fulfilling them,
because you’re just flesh. You’re just material. You’re trying to fulfill them from material things, from
flesh, from things you can see and touch.”
“You’ll never do it,” He said. It doesn’t matter how you try. It doesn’t matter how many things you get. It
doesn’t matter how you try. It doesn’t matter how many people think you’re the greatest thing since sliced
bread. It doesn’t matter how happy the circumstances are for awhile. You’ll never get what you really need,
because what you really need is love. Not love of just some other man or woman.”
“What you need is the love of the dear person who is My Father.” That is what Jesus said. “The dear person who
made Me, who begot Me, made you. He made the world. He actually loves you. He actually cares about you. You’re
made for His love. That’s why you’re made. You’re made for His love. You feel frustration, because you don’t
experience that love.”
You’ve tried to find it from the world’s love, or from the love of other people, or from the little bit of
satisfaction that things bring you, or the little bit of excitement that circumstances bring you. You’ve tried
to substitute for that love the things that that love incidentally brings as a by-product. So, you’re trying
to go after the by-products and hope that somehow you’ll get the real thing that you need. The real thing that
you need is the love of the dear Person who made this whole world. That’s what you need above everything else.
So, when you go after the other things, you’re missing them.
What we shared yesterday was, of course, all the best things in life are free. Those are the gifts that your
dear Creator has given you: your fingernails, your lips, your teeth, all the things that it takes thousands of
dollars or thousands of pounds to substitute man-made items for. Those things have been given to you by your
dear Father who loves you. Of course, some of us have kind of begun to grasp that. We’ve begun to get hold of
the idea that there is a Supreme Being, and that He may have a kind of affection for us.
He may not be simply an impersonal force, or an “Ã©lan vital” or an impersonal evolutionary process, or a
combination of time-plus-chance. He may not be those things. He may be what Jesus said He was. Jesus said, “He
that has seen me has seen the Father.” Look, if you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father. The Father is like Me.
He has My kind of nature. He has my kind of character. He has my kind of personableness. He has my kind of
understanding and love of children. He has my kind of compassion for poor lepers, and for Lazarus and his
sisters when he died. My Father is like Me.
Some of us have begun to think that that might be true, because undoubtedly He has made some beautiful things,
hasn’t He? I mean, have you ever seen a little Yorkshire Terrier lying over on its back and having its tummy
tickled? That’s quite a sight. Have you ever seen a little baby smiling at its dad? That is quite a sight.
Have you ever seen the first little robin red-breast? That is quite a sight. Whoever made these things is
quite a person, isn’t He? Whoever made Danny Kaye, whoever made Jerry Lewis, or whoever made Harry Secombe,
that is quite some person.
That dear Person is the One who has made you and made me. That’s what Jesus said. He’s our Father. He’s your
Father. Let’s talk a little more about this tomorrow.
How to be Happy and Secure -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How to be Happy and Secure
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the meaning of life, why we’re all here on this earth. We’ve been studying especially the
explanation of the only human being who has ever got off this world and come back to tell us what is out there
— that is, beyond our own spacemen, who, relatively speaking, have pierced into space a very small distance.
This man that we’re talking about gave the kind of evidence that intelligent minds respect for believing that
He actually did go beyond this earth, beyond the farthest limits of space. He did, in fact, communicate with
the Supreme Being who has made our universe. Of course, he’s the man, Jesus of Nazareth.
We’re studying the explanation He’s given us of our present lives. Of course, what appeals to the common sense
is that what He says matches our own experience. For instance, He does say we are just born of the flesh and
flesh will never inherit the kingdom of God. Whether you believe in a heavenly kingdom of God or whether you
believe in a God at all or not, you know fine well that you have inside you ideas of a kind of kingdom of God
or heavenly existence that you feel you were made for.
You know fine well that it is true what this man says — that we never seem able to inherit that kingdom with
just the aptitudes, and the abilities and capacities that we have at present. For instance, do you ever get
enough love? Do you? Now, I know it depends on what you mean by love, whether you mean lust, or excitement or
thrill, whether it means appreciation, or acknowledgment, but whatever it means, do you get enough of it?
You probably answer like the most of us, “No. No, I don’t.” Have you ever enough security? Probably even like
Rockefeller you always say, “No, no. I just need another million.” Or you’ll answer, “Look, I don’t talk in
terms of millions; I just need another pound. No, I never do seem to get enough security.”
Do you ever get enough sense of your own value and worth in other people’s eyes? You probably admit, no. No,
they don’t seem to recognize the remarkable person I am. They don’t seem to appreciate me all the time. Do you
ever get enough happiness? You probably say, “No. A lot of the times I am kind of depressed, and sad, and
worried and anxious. No, I certainly don’t.”
What Jesus said was, “You see all those needs that you have? You’re trying to meet them from the things, from
getting things. I mean, you try to build up stocks and shares. You try to build up insurance policies. You try
to build up equity in your home to ensure security for yourself. It’s not actually security that you need.”
Security is a by-product of something else, and that’s what you need. It’s the same He says with a sense of
importance, or self-worth, or self-esteem, or sense of identity or significance.
You know this popular question we’re all supposed to ask, “Who am I? Who am I?” Well, the answer to that
question doesn’t come from getting all the people you can to think you’re the greatest thing in the world, or
you’re the guy in the “big picture” [movies]. That will never give you enough self-worth or enough
self-esteem. That is a by-product of something else that you need.
Jesus said the same thing about happiness. I mean, you try to get a better vacation next year than you had
this year. You think if you went at a different time maybe you’d be happier. You think if you went with some
other people you’d be happier. Or, if your wife would only behave this way, you’d be happier. If your children
would only do this, you’d be happier. But really, happiness is not what you need. It’s a by-product of
Of course, what Jesus said was, “What you really need is love.” Of course, you may say, “Yeah, yeah, that’s
right. That’s right, but my wife won’t love me enough. My girlfriend won’t love me enough. My friends won’t
love me enough. That’s it. I can’t get enough love.” Yes, but Jesus said, “It’s not their love. I mean, their
love is very limited.” Their love won’t give you security for instance. It doesn’t matter if they’re
Finally, they can’t make you secure from cancer. It doesn’t matter if they’re the happiest people in the
world. Finally, they can’t make you completely and absolutely happy. It doesn’t matter if they’re the most
important people in your time. They can’t give you enough sense of your own worth. The only one who can give
you enough sense of worth, who can give you all the happiness you need, the only one who can give you absolute
security is one who has infinite resources.
That’s actually the person whose love you were made for. You were made for the love, Jesus said, “of My own
Father who begot Me. He’s the one that made you. He’s the Supreme Being, the Creator, the Maker of the whole
universe. You’re actually made for His love.” I know you will think to yourself, “Wait a minute. I mean, I’m a
little fly on this earth. I’m a nothing and you tell me the Creator of the universe whom I have trouble even
believing in, actually loves me?” Yup! That’s right. That’s right.
Here’s what Jesus said, “Even the hairs of your head are numbered. My Father has numbered the hairs of your
head.” You remember, we said, we quoted it last week, “Don’t be anxious about your life, what you’ll eat, what
you’ll drink or about your body, what you’ll put on. Is not life more than a body and food? Your heavenly
Father knows that you have need of these things. Look at the flowers of the field. They toil not, neither do
they sow. And yet, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Look at the birds of the air.
They don’t sow or reap, or gather into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you of much more value
Jesus assured us that you are not just a miniature little cipher in this world. You are not just a consumer.
You are not just a statistic. You are not just a little fly on the world’s surface. You are someone that your
Creator has made unique.
There’s nobody like you and never ever will be anybody like you, and never has been anybody like you. Your
Father the Creator has made you, because He loves you. That’s why He’s made you. That’s why you exist. If you
say, “No, no it couldn’t be.” You reflect for a moment. What’s the most precious thing in life? You know it’s
not things. You know it’s not circumstances that are good. You know it’s not people talking well of you. It’s
love, love; personal relationship.
That’s what is dearest to you about your wife, or your friend, or your father or your mother. It’s the
personal relationship. It doesn’t matter what they possess or what they don’t possess — if you have a real
relationship with somebody that is dear. That’s the thing that never bores. Friendship, a good friendship
never bores. The love of a person for you is something that is the dearest thing in the whole universe.
That’s so with God, our Father. He made you because He loves you. He wants you for His friend, that’s it. He
wants you to be His friend. Jesus explained that to one of His disciples, and this disciple wrote it in a
letter that he sent to some people in the first century. He was called John. He wrote three little letters
that you find in our Bible, in the New Testament, near the back of it.
In First John Chapter 1 verse 3, he said, “…so that you may have friendship or fellowship with us and our
friendship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” That’s it. God, the Supreme Being of the whole
universe does not delight primarily in Mars, or Venus, or Jupiter or the Milky Way. He does not primarily
delight in the DNA molecule. He does not primarily delight in protons and neutrons. He doesn’t even primarily
delight in the theory of relativity, or the Ural Mountains or the Apennines. He doesn’t primarily delight in
the Rocky Mountains or the Mississippi River. He delights primarily in you. He wants friends who love Him
freely, and who enjoy His company. That’s why you were made.
That’s why the Father made you. Jesus says that that’s what will satisfy you, when you begin to realize that
and begin to live in the reality of that. That’s the purpose of life.
Man Made in God’s Image -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Man Made in God’s Image
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the reason for our existence on this program each day. We’ve been discussing the
frustrations that many of us feel in this present life. We feel that people don’t give enough attention to us.
We feel so often that our wives or our daughters or our fathers or our mothers don’t love us enough and we
feel great frustration when we try to establish the kind of financial security for ourselves that we believe
we were made for.
Of course, we feel great dissatisfaction in relationship to the happiness that we think we should have. We all
try to meet these needs of various kinds from the people that we get to know or the people that we’re married
to, or the people that we work with. We still find that they don’t give us the kind of attention that we feel
we ought to have. We do sense a great need for worth and value and yet, we continue to sense that we don’t
feel valuable and we don’t feel worth very much.
So, we travel along through this life with a great deal of unmet needs and unfulfilled needs. Yet, we become
more and more perverted ourselves as we try to fill these needs, because we get angry with people when they
don’t give us the attention or respect that we think we ought to have. We become frustrated and resentful with
our relatives (be they wives or parents) when they don’t give us attention or the love or the respect that we
feel we should have.
We certainly feel increasingly an irritability and a great sense of anxiety when we find ourselves unable
through the money that we earn or the jobs that we have to give ourselves the kind of security and food and
shelter and clothing that we believe we were made for. It seems that we are living in a continual fear of
another depression or a general strike. So all of us have many of the same feelings.
We seem to have great needs deep down that are not able to be met by the people and the things and the
circumstances in the world itself. What we have been saying is that the only human being that has ever given
sufficient evidence to a reasonable rational mind that He has actually left the earth and has been in outer
space and has communicated with the Being that is Supreme and that created the whole thing in the first place
— the only man, that is, Jesus of Nazareth, that has done that — has explained to us the reason we feel this
frustration is we were made by His Father to be His children and to love Him, and to live with Him forever and
to enjoy His company. That’s the purpose of our creation and our existence and we don’t recognize that.
In fact, we don’t really believe that there is a God. So, we find ourselves in the situation where we’re a
little fly on the surface of a spherical spaceship that is charging through space at hundreds of miles in an
hour. We’re one of four billion little flies. We feel we’re unimportant, therefore, and we try to get all the
other 4 billion little flies to think we’re important. They won’t because they’re all trying to do the same
In the same way, we’re trying to establish a sense of security when we’re really in a “Fiddler on the Roof”
situation on this spaceship flying through space, spinning around on its own axis, and we don’t really know
where it’s going. So we find a great sense of inadequacy, a great sense of anxiety from that situation. This
man Jesus said the reason is… that isn’t reality.
You’re not on a space ship that is flying nowhere. You’re not just a little fly that is unimportant. You’re
not the product of time-plus chance, or an impersonal, evolutionary process. You are in fact made by My Father
and My Father is like Me. If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father. He’s a dear, warm heart. He made you
because He wants you as His friend. He wants you to be with Him forever.
He has all kinds of things that have to be done in this universe. He has all kinds of things by which to set
forth the wonder and the glories that are in His own heart. He wants you to be part of that, and that’s why He
made you. That’s why He put you on this world. That’s why, actually, He made you like Himself. That’s why at
the beginning of the Bible, you remember, if you think of the early chapters of the Bible, you think
particularly of Genesis.
Most of us, however cynical or skeptical we are of this whole religion thing, we’ve all read the early record
of creation. Without going into the explanation of the origin of that record, which is just as intelligent and
intellectual as the arguments we examined for the Divinity of Jesus, you remember that the record runs like
this in Genesis 1 and verse 26:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image after our likeness,” and that’s why He said that. He turned
around, presumably to Jesus, who existed before the world was created. He said, “Look, My Son, let us make man
in our image after our likeness.” And that’s why He did it. He wanted people who were like Him. That’s why
you, actually, are made in God’s image. You are. You have the same capacities as the Creator of the universe
has. You have the same capacities as the Supreme Being behind the universe has. That’s why He made you like
that. He made you in His image.
There are reasons for that. I mean, you cannot have much friendship with a little Yorkshire Terrier. You can
play ball with him. He really enjoys you throwing the ball and bringing it back to you. He really enjoys lying
over on his back and allowing you to tickle his tummy. He enjoys having a good meal and sleeping it off. But
he’s very poor at discussing Beethoven’s Fifth. He’s not very good at discussing the structure of a sonnet.
He’s not very good at discussing the theory of predestination or relativity. He’s not very good at helping you
with analytical geometry. He just cannot engage in much real fellowship or friendship with you because his
capacities are limited.
In other words, a superior form of life can’t have much friendship with an inferior form of life, unless that
inferior form of life has some of the capacities that that superior form of life has. That’s why God made us
like Himself, so that we could really enjoy Him, so that He could enjoy us. Now, the interesting thing is that
He made us in the same form as He, himself has.
He is quite a complex personality. That’s why in the second chapter of the Bible you get this kind of
statement. It’s put in very physical terms partly because the Hebrew language is a very physical, in a sense a
cruder, language than Greek. It cannot make all the fine aesthetic distinctions that Greek can. It tends to
talk in very physical and material terms. So, that’s one reason why the account of man’s creation at the
beginning of the Bible tends to us to look a little crude.
Another reason was it was given to man in his childhood. Man in his childhood understood things in different,
simpler forms. So, here’s the way God put it to us. “Then, the Lord God (it’s Genesis 2:7) formed man of dust
from the ground.” The word for dust is “aphar” in Hebrew. The word for ground is “adama”. “Adama”– which is
where Adam came from. God took us and made our bodies first. It’s just dust.
You remember every time you’ve been to a graveside you know that the minister throws soil on the casket or the
coffin and says, “dust to dust, earth to earth, ashes to ashes.” You know fine well, if you dig up that old
body, maybe a hundred years later, all you have is a box full of ashes or dust. The body actually is very poor
stuff. It lasts for about seventy or ninety years, then disappears in the earth.
That’s the physical part of us. Actually it doesn’t mean too much. Then it says, “God formed man of dust from
the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” The Hebrew word is “ruach”. It’s the word for
breath, or air, or it’s the word for spirit. God actually put into you His own life form, His own Spirit —
the thing that makes him God, the thing that gives Him life. That’s what makes you tick.
That’s what makes your heart beat. That was the beginning of your creation. Let’s talk a little bit more about
the way you are made and the capacities you have tomorrow.
Satisfied Living -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s what we’ve been talking about on this program for several months now. Why
are you here? Why do we exist? What’s the purpose of the world and the whole universe? We need to be patient
with each other as we tackle such a cosmic question as this, because it’s as if the old saying about not being
able to see the wood for the trees applies more effectively and more intensely to this question than any
We as a human race seem to be mesmerized and distracted by all kinds of other subsidiary questions to such an
extent that we hardly are able to conceive of this question, let alone to attempt an answer at it. So, I ask
you to be very patient as we try to discuss this together, because it’s as if the whole universe and the whole
of our experience is planned so that we cannot answer this question.
Yet, it is essential that we do answer it and you know that. It’s vital that we begin to get some idea of why
we are here, especially in this age when more teenagers are committing suicide than ever before in our planet,
and more people are in greater despair than ever has been the case in the past history of mankind. So, it’s
vital that we begin to get a handle on this question, “Why are we alive?”
You who have been listening for some time now, know that we have tried to tackle the answer to this question
from the point of view of getting some authority that had some more information on this kind of cosmic issue
than we ourselves have. Therefore, you remember, we decided that we had to go beyond Muhammad, who was just an
ordinary man like us, died and was buried as we will be buried.
We had to go beyond people like Buddha or the Hindu prophets, beyond people like Zoroaster or Confucius. They
were just ordinary human beings like the rest of us, who were giving their thoughts, their best ideas, their
best shots and hypotheses at what the world was made for, and what the purpose of it was.
We resolved to try to go to the one man who seemed to have given evidence that He had passed beyond this life
at some point in His own existence, and had passed beyond the space that we can see with our own eyes or with
our telescopes. We chose a man who gave evidence that He, of all men, had actually passed through the
experience of death and come back to life again.
Of course, we chose that man, the only man who has filled those qualifications, and that’s the man Jesus of
Nazareth. Now, don’t go to sleep. Don’t say, “Oh, that old religious stuff again.” It’s not that old religious
stuff again. In fact, this man Jesus is a historical figure. In fact, that old book we keep on ignoring as
used and misused by evangelists, and religious people and church people to keep us all in our place, that old
book called the Bible, is actually a collection of the best history books that we have in our possession as
Particularly the last third, or the last quarter of that book, consists of about 27 different documents that
are called the New Testament. They give us better information on the activities of this man Jesus of Nazareth
than we have for the activities of Julius Caesar, or Plato (who wrote “The Republic”), or Thucydides, or
Herodotus, or any of the other great figures or literary historians of that age.
We have, you remember, followed through the manuscript evidence that there is to prove that the books that we
now have are the books that were actually written back at that time, and we began, you remember, to examine
the validity and the integrity of the writers of those books to make sure that what we read here was actual
history. Of course, I can only refer to those previous discussions that we’ve had and you can, by all means,
send for cassettes of those if you want to catch up with where we are in this discussion.
But, we therefore decided on a simple, intellectual basis– on cool, calm examination of the documentary
evidence for the historicity of this man Jesus — we did decide that, yes, He did live the life that He is
said to have lived. He was the kind of man they described him as being in these books of the New Testament.
So, we’ve begun to study what He has been explaining to us about the meaning of life, and the purpose of the
You remember, we looked, then, into some clues we saw in our own life that might help corroborate what He was
explaining. Of course, we discovered that none of us are absolutely contented. None of us are satisfied. None
of us are getting as much love, or happiness, or as much security as we feel we need. So we all, equally, are
trying to establish the security that we think we were made for.
That mixture, you remember, we said of the Arabian Nights, the excitement of the Arabian Nights, and the
serenity and peace and the stability of Walden Pond, and somehow we are never able to quite get it. We never
manage to get enough food, enough clothing, enough shelter, enough nice homes, enough combination of vacations
and stability and steadiness to really satisfy us deep down.
It’s the same, you remember, as we talked about our sense of worth and our sense of self esteem. We never seem
able to get enough sense of our own value. It doesn’t matter how many wives we try to persuade to treat us as
king of the universe. It doesn’t matter how many of our friends we try to get to flatter us or to look up to
us. It doesn’t matter how many people seem to vote us to be the best person they know.
They never are able to give us enough sense of significance or importance or self worth to give us that sense
of value and uniqueness that we really believe we have. It’s as if we all feel we are unique but nobody else
knows it. So, there are 5 billion of us little flies on this earth trying to get everybody else to show us
that we are unique, and yet, nobody seems interested in us.
It’s the same with happiness. We try to get a combination of fast boats, motorcars, motorbikes — of nice
vacations, of wonderful relationships with other people — and somehow we never seem to get to that point of
happiness we think we were made for. So, there is a clue there. Somehow or other, we don’t seem able to get
from what we have in this present world of things and people and circumstances the security and the
significance and the sense of happiness that we feel we were built for.
And, of course, we look to the words of Jesus himself, who said, “Really, you know, you’re born of the flesh.”
That is, you’re born of human parents, and what is born of the flesh is flesh. That’s all it is, and flesh and
blood can never inherit the kingdom of heaven.
It doesn’t matter what kind of kingdom of heaven you imagine yourself made for, you can never somehow reach
that point of satisfaction that you think you were built for from what you can get from people, things and
circumstances here in this world. That’s because, really, you were made for something more than those.
You remember we shared how Jesus explained to us that actually the things that we have around us are only
gifts from a dear Creator who actually wants to be our friend. In fact, He wants to be our Father. What we
really need is not so much the things He has given us, not even the sky, and the sunlight, and the beaches,
and the breakers on the Australian coastline. What we need is not so much even that love that so often comes
out from the eyes of our mother, or our wife, or our children.
What we need is not so much even the security that we get at times from the investments, and from the stocks
and the shares. What we need is the love that lies behind all those things and that’s what gives us real
satisfaction. That’s what we really need deep down.
Actually, there is an amazing verse. It’s in another part of the Bible, that’s a part of the Old Testament.
It’s a book that is very rarely referred to, because it actually contains so much, at times, of Greek
philosophy in it. But it’s the book of Ecclesiastes. It has a remarkable verse that says that kind of thing in
Chapter 3 and I think it’s verse 11. It has part of the words of that popular song that we had some years ago,
you remember. The first part of verse 11 runs like this of Ecclesiastes 3, “He has made everything beautiful
in its time.”
You remember, “Everything is beautiful in its own way.” He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also,
“He (that is, the Creator) has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find it.” He cannot find
what God has done from the beginning to the end. But God has put eternity into man’s mind, and that’s
something of what many of us feel. We feel there is something eternal in us, that still we cannot get a
satisfaction from what we see in this world.
Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
We are Made in God’s Image -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We are Made in God’s Image
by Ernest O’Neill
You must have wondered at times in your life what you’re doing here. I think all of us have come to points in
our life where we wonder why. “Why am I here? What is the purpose of this whole thing? I feel that it’s
meaningless.” Of course, this occurs at different times. Sometimes, it comes when we are just bored with our
own jobs and our own day to day existence. Sometimes, it comes at a crisis in our lives when people die whom
Sometimes it comes when we are in real despair about finances or over our futures. Probably, every one of us
has felt that at times. We’ve felt there’s no point in it all. Then, for a moment, we’ve pondered, “I wonder
what the point of it is?” Then, of course, it’s interesting, life itself has a way of blowing those thoughts
away and we carry on for another 50 years. But, finally, of course, we will be highly interested in what the
purpose of it all was. That’s what we’ve been discussing on this program each day. We have been for several
What we have been sharing, of course, is that the real purpose of your existence is that you would actually
get to know your maker, the Being that made you, that created you. Now, don’t turn the radio off. Don’t!
Don’t! Don’t say, “Oh, yeah, more of that religious stuff.” No! I think there are many of us that are tired of
just the old jargon, and fed up with the old clichÃ©s, and don’t want to hear any more of just religion,
religion, or Christianity, Christianity.
We want to know what reality is and we’re anxious to know what the point of this whole thing is. So, do stay
with us. Stay with me, and listen for goodness sake. What we are saying is that the things we are given here,
like the sunset and the sunrise, and the blue sky are not here by chance. OK! Big deal if there is such a
thing as evolution. Maybe there is. Maybe there is evolution. Maybe there’s evolution across the species as
well as within the species. But, if there is, somebody somewhere had to originate that plan.
I mean, this didn’t come about by chance. You don’t get the ordered organization of our blood circulation and
the ordered design of the seasons following one another year after year the way they do. You don’t get the
regular orbiting of the planets round each other as we have in our Milky Way without somebody, somewhere
planning something. We know in our own human lives that where there’s no conscious, intellectual design —
chaos results. So, there has to be somebody behind it all.
Of course, what we are saying is, there was a remarkable being who lived in the first century of our era that
actually showed that it was possible to go through death and come back to life again. That being was the man
known as Jesus. If you study His life from an intellectual view point instead of just preoccupied with
rejecting Him because He is religious or accepting Him because He is religious, then, you begin to discover He
really was more than a human being.
He did have powers over nature and powers over disease. He is regarded as the foremost ethical teacher that
ever lived in the world by those who believe that He was more than a man and by those who don’t believe He was
more than a man. This man Jesus did make some sense in the things He said to us about the meaning of life. So,
we’ve been discussing the kinds of things He told us.
He explained many things Himself and He also pointed out many things to His followers. As a general guide to
us, He said the things that were written (in what He called “the Law and the Prophets” and what we, of course,
call the Old Testament part of our Bible) were true. They were written for your education and for your
information, and nothing of them will pass away.
Now, He explained some things more clearly, but the things that were written back there were written so that
you would understand the meaning of life better. He reinforced in us belief in the bits of the Old Testament
that explain the purpose and the meaning that is behind life. That’s what we have been discussing.
You remember we’ve been talking about the accounts in the early parts of the Old Testament about the creation
of mankind so that we would begin to understand our own natures better, so that you would be able to
understand your own personality better. You know if you respond and say, “This is all myth.” No, it isn’t!
There are bits of it that are metaphorical. There are bits of it that obviously indicate that they’re to be
treated metaphorically and as pictures.
But there are other bits that indicate they are to be taken as history. If you say, “Oh well now, how did
anybody know what was happening there? I mean, was there some little guy sitting in the Garden of Eden with a
paper and pad taking little shorthand notes?” No, no, obviously there wasn’t. Obviously, there probably wasn’t
writing as far as the first man was concerned.
But you know what happened. The Creator of the universe who made it all happen explained to the first men that
lived in our world, explained what He had done and why He had done it. That’s how we ever got the kind of
account of creation we find in Genesis. So, don’t just treat the guys back there as dumb, stupid, idiotic, or
not as bright as we are. They were. They were.
They knew where these accounts came from. They came from the Creator of the universe who revealed them to the
first man that ever lived and he passed the story on down to other people. If you say, “Ah now, they can’t
pass on stories like this unless there is writing.” Sure they can. A lot of our old nursery rhymes, a lot of
our old poems come from men who learned hundreds and hundreds of lines of ballads and passed them on down to
us. You know how much you have memorized, without even trying, of popular songs. You know how many songs you
know that you’ve never actually learned deliberately.
So, it is very reasonable and very probable and very easy to conceive what we have in the Old Testament,
especially in the early books, actually was revealed by the Creator of the universe to the first men who ever
lived. Of course, the Creator of the universe explained to these men how He had, at the very beginning, you
remember (and if you have a Bible sometime, you should look it up.) how He said that at the beginning, before
the world was at full blossoming stage, he said (and it’s recorded in Genesis 1:26), “Let us make man in our
That was God, turning around to His Son, Jesus (His Son, Jesus lived before the world was ever made) and
saying to Him, “Look, my son, let’s make man in our image.” That’s how we were made. That’s why we’re not just
super apes, you know. We’re not just super monkeys. We are actually people that are made in the image of our
The way God made us was in a threefold kind of consciousness, such as He has. For instance, if you look back
at that early chapter in Genesis 2:7, it says, “and then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground.”
That is, He took up some ordinary dust and He made us into bodies. This is what our body is made of and that’s
why, you know, it returns exactly to that.
That’s what our body decays into if you wait long enough after it’s in the grave. It returns to dust. That’s
why we say that, you know. “Out of dust you were made; into dust you will return.” God made first of all our
bodies. Then, that verse says, “He breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life.” Now, what that word for
breath is…is “ruach”. It’s a Hebrew word that means not only air or breath or wind, but it means spirit.
The Creator of our universe put into you some of His own Spirit. Now, that’s why you feel at times you should
do better than you do. That’s it, you know. That’s where that comes from. You may often wonder, ‘Why do I find
it so easy to lose my temper, and yet I still keep thinking I should keep my temper? Why do I find it so easy
to be selfish, and yet I still feel I should be unselfish?”
Why do all of us human beings in this universe find it easier to fight and squabble and grab for ourselves and
yet, we still keep on saying we shouldn’t be like that? Well, because the Creator breathed into us His Spirit.
There is something of His Spirit in us, in our conscience, that makes us want to live better than we know.
It’s because there is part of His Spirit in us that we feel we were made to live forever. Don’t you feel that?
Don’t you? You somehow feel, “Look, it will go on. I don’t know why. I’m not even terribly religious, but I
feel this will go on.” It’s because the Creator’s Spirit is in you. There is something of the Creator in you.
So, let’s talk a little more tomorrow about some of the other implications of the fact that we were made in
His image with some of His Spirit.
The Spirit of Man and God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
The Spirit of Man and God
by Ernest O’Neill
Can you make any sense of life? Can you make any sense of why we are here, or what we are doing here, or where
it’s all going? Many of us are concerned about that and really can’t make any sense of it. So, we on this
program have been discussing that question for some months now. What we have decided to do is to go back to
some of the stuff many of us were taught in our early days was the key to the whole meaning of life.
It’s stuff that really we have learned to despise and toss away as meaningless religious jargon. It’s a little
difficult to go back to it and to break through into understanding it, but that’s what we’ve decided to do.
So, actually, after discussing what kind of authority would help us with this kind of problem, we decided it
had to be somebody who was more than a human being. That’s what led us to thinking of that man, Jesus of
Nazareth, who is really the only man that has ever shown that He could overcome death and could pass out of
this world and come back to it again.
That led us, of course, to the men that He taught and to the things that He Himself believed in. That led us
eventually back to the early book that many of us were taught was the center of truth when we were children.
This is, of course, this old book called the Bible. So, I ask you… don’t turn the radio off. Don’t decide,
“Oh, this is another Bible thumper.” I’m not a Bible thumper and none of us are interested in Bible thumping.
We are anxious to intelligently examine whatever clues we have in our world that would help us with this
question, because we’re concerned. There are more of us than ever before committing suicide. There are more of
us than ever before who are absolutely bewildered and confused. It’s very important to get some clear idea of
what the point of this whole existence is, especially before we pass out of it. Because we had better find out
what it is, otherwise we have little idea of where we are going to.
That’s why we are talking about the account that we believe the maker, Himself, the Creator of the world
revealed to the first men and women, if you like, to Adam and Eve. If there was an Adam and Eve, He revealed
it to the Adam and Eve. But whoever the first two people were (any biologist will tell you, of course, it had
to start with two people), so whoever those first two people were…if it was Adam (that comes from the Hebrew
word “adama”, which means ground), and Eve (which comes from the Hebrew word meaning “life”), let’s accept
that it’s Adam and Eve.
But the truth is, as far as we can see it from this book, that the Maker of the world revealed to them what He
had done. Of course, we were studying these facets of the creation to see how it reflected the very make up of
our own personalities today.
We were looking at that verse in Genesis 2. It’s about the 2nd chapter in the Bible. If you ever have a Bible,
you should look it up, it’s verse seven. It says, “the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground.” That is,
first of all He made us, our bodies from the dirt, from the earth, and then, He “breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life”, that is “ruach”, the Hebrew word for “breath”. It means “spirit”.
You remember we were saying that’s why many of us feel at times we should be better than we actually are.
Because there is something of God’s Spirit in us. This is why we feel at times we were made to live forever.
We do feel that, don’t we? Don’t you feel this at times? I mean, you can be very cynical and say, “NO, this
world will finish in a few years time for me. We’ll die. We’ll just go into the earth.”
But deep down, deep in our deepest heart we feel that we were made to live forever. There’s something more
surely than just seventy years and out like a light. There has to be. Of course, there are other things inside
us that make us feel something is valuable in us beyond us, ourselves. I mean, some people say you’re worth
about seven and six pence. (That’s the old English money, isn’t it?) But it’s something like a pound, one
pound today, perhaps.
Some people say that if you melt us all down, when you examine the chemicals that make us up, and sell it all,
you would get about a pound for us. And yet, you know you feel worth much more than a pound. I mean, not just
because your mother said, “You’re the most valuable thing in the whole world,” which all our mums say to us at
some point. But, you do feel you’re unique. You feel you’re different. You feel, in some way, there’s nobody
like you, and actually this is true. There is nobody like you. You are unique.
One of the reasons why you feel you are uniquely valuable is because there is something of the maker’s Spirit
in you. There is something unique in you that makes you different from your dog. There is, isn’t there? I
mean, you look into your dog’s eyes and sometimes you imagine he’s smiling, but really it’s all your
imagination. There’s something in your eyes that can never appear in his. There’s a spirit in your eyes that
can never appear in his eyes.
There’s something in you that makes you different from an animal. There’s a self consciousness, there’s a self
critical faculty that makes you different from animals. Animals don’t ponder much over what they’ve done that
day and whether it was right or wrong. They just live for the moment. But there is something in you that is
able to look in upon yourself and examine yourself and compare yourself with standards you know are higher
than your own. That is part of God’s Spirit inside you.
The rest of the verse goes, “and man became a living being.” Actually, the King James translation is better.
It says, “and man became a living soul.” The Hebrew word is “nefesh”. It’s as if you put some instant coffee
into a cup of water and that produced a third substance called coffee. God took dust from the ground, made our
bodies, breathed into our bodies His Spirit, and we became living souls, a third substance.
It’s as if we have three levels of consciousness. We have a spirit, a body, and then we have a soul. It might
interest you to know that the Greek word for soul is “psuche”. Through the changes that come, the sound
changes that come in the English language, that etymologically came to be the word “psyche” in English. That
is the word that is put together with the word “logos”, the Greek word which means thinking, or a system of
thinking and you get the word psyche-logos or psychology.
That’s a way of thinking about the soul. That gives you a clue as to what part the soul is in your being. The
soul is the psychological part of you. As the broadcasts go on, we’ll try to talk about what is the make up of
that soul, so that you may begin to know how to operate it yourself in the way it was intended to at the very
beginning. You can see that at the very beginning, the maker, our Creator made us with three levels of
First, a level of body that is conscious of the world outside. It’s through our eyes, our ears, our five
senses that we become aware of the outside, physical world. Then, within that, within the very innermost part
of it, is our spirit. That’s the part that relates to our Creator, or the maker of the universe. Then, around
that, is our soul or the psychological part of us. Some people have said it’s as if we have three coats, you
We have the innermost one, the spirit. Then, the outer one is the soul, and around that again, we have the
body. If you say to me, “What really is our spirit?” Well, probably it’s the real you. It’s you as you really
are. You remember the old classical statement (made by somebody like Seneca or one of the old Roman
philosophers who said), “What a man is when he is alone, that he is and nothing more.” That’s probably your
What you are, independent of all the drives and all the outside pressures that make you perform like a little
puppet, what you are deep down in yourself, what you really are, the essence of you, yourself, that’s your
spirit. That’s the unique expression of God’s Spirit in this universe that you alone have contained and
possessed. That’s your spirit.
The Maker of the universe had a definite plan for us. He made us like that because He wanted to have
friendship with us. That’s why He made us. He made us with the three levels of consciousness that He, Himself
has, because He wanted us to be His friends. He wanted us to live with Him forever, to love Him and to be
close to Him. Actually, He is our Father. He wants us to be His children.
That’s why He made us like Himself. That’s why He didn’t make us like animals, because He couldn’t have
fellowship with an animal. He made us like a person, because He is a person. He wanted to have friendship and
He wanted to have love with us, and for us. He wanted to experience our love for Him. That’s why He made us
like that. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about what actually happened in the process of that creation.
Is Jesus Divine? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Is Jesus Divine?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? That’s what we’re discussing on this program. We have been
discussing it for several months now. We’re trying to tackle that question from an intellectual viewpoint, not
highly esoteric, but simply with common sense as far as we’re able. What I’ve been trying to do is present one
possible approach to the answer of this question, so that you yourself will be challenged and stimulated to
work out your own philosophy of life.
Because I think all of us have often used that phrase, a “philosophy of life”, we know that it is important to
have a “philosophy of life”. Yet, the world is, as one of the old modern poets, you remember, Louis McKee
said, “The world is so plural. It is incorrigibly plural”, he said in one of his poems. In other words,
everything is so diverse. There is such a fragmentation of knowledge in our day. It’s very difficult to work
out a philosophy of life now.
Some of you may be like me. You think you will do it when you’re an eight-year-old or fifteen years of age.
Then maybe at twenty you think maybe it’s possible. Then after a few more years, you begin to see how
incredibly difficult it is to synthesize everything in such a way that it makes complete sense to you. Yet, it
is vital to do it. That’s the irony of our present situation in a life that is becoming more and more diverse.
In a world that is becoming more and more complex, it is becoming increasingly important that you and I work
out a philosophy of life.
Otherwise, we will be dragged in all kinds of directions. Indeed, many of us probably are being dragged in all
kinds of directions. You probably feel like many of us now in the world. You feel that you’re dragged by this
demand and that demand. You’re driven by this need and that need. You’re pulled in this direction and that
direction by obligations that you have to your business colleagues, to your associates, to your friends, to
your family, to yourself, to the need for physical exercise, to the need for cultural experience. Never ending
Or, all the demands that pull us in all kinds of directions.
So, it has never been more necessary than it is today to work out a philosophy of life. We started by pointing
out that it was very difficult to find anyone who had any kind of superior authority on this issue of the
meaning of life, or what was the purpose of it at all, or why did we ever come into existence. You remember
how we looked at people like Muhammad and Buddha, and how we looked at Confucius and some of the Hindu
We concluded that they were all men like we were, ordinary human beings who had never been outside the
goldfish bowl of this world and who really had no more information than was available to us ourselves. That
is, all except one remarkable being that lived about 1,950 years ago here on our earth. He is the one man that
seems to have been able to leave the earth in a way that convinces us that He did really leave the earth and
that He was not just some kind of counterfeiting guru who would hold his breath for a long time.
He seemed to be a man that had actually left the earth and come back to it. He seemed to be able to give us a
confidence that he did in fact know the being that was behind the universe, the Supreme Being. Of course, that
man was Jesus of Nazareth. Many of us have thought of Him as a religious figure, or a face that we have seen
on stained glass windows in churches, or a person whose story is told to children to encourage them to be
It’s a very different story when we begin to examine the records of His life, and the documentary evidence
that lies behind those records. Of course, we discovered that documentary evidence in the form of ancient
manuscripts was far more reliable than any similar evidence we had for people like Julius Caesar or Plato, all
whose existence we never questioned.
So, we started to see that He was in fact a historical figure, that He was not only a human being, but that He
did seem to have the power to destroy death, to go through death and keep on living. So, that’s why we have
become interested in His explanation of the meaning of life. So, that’s why we’re discussing that.
We’re not discussing it because it’s in an old book called the Bible. We’re not discussing it because it was
for years the accepted explanation. We’re discussing it because it seems the only intellectually satisfying
and historically substantiated explanation of the meaning of life that we have in our universe. That’s why we
have begun to get on to examining the explanation of the origin of life as it’s told by a man that this person
Jesus actually believed.
He believed that Moses did live, as the Jewish nation believes, of course, as we have much historical and much
material evidence for believing. He believed that Moses did live and he was in fact the recipient of
communications from the Supreme Being behind the universe. So, that’s why we’re discussing a book that Moses
wrote that we have in fact in the group of books called “Ta Bibla” in Greek which is “The Books”. “Ta Biblia”
of course, became in our English language, the Bible.
That’s why we’re examining what that amazing book recorded as happening at the very beginning of creation. You
remember, we dealt with the old chestnuts that we all learned at school, “Oh, how could this account of the
origin of man ever come into our possession?” Well, obviously the Creator Himself revealed it to either the
first man, the first woman or somebody down the line a bit.
In fact, they wrote what He had revealed to them. That’s how we know of it because obviously there was no
other way. I mean, you weren’t sitting in the Garden of Eden nor was I hiding behind a tree at the time. We
had no tape recorders to record it all. We are dependent on the Supreme Being giving us an explanation of it.
What I would encourage you to do is examine this intellectually and to see to what extent it matches our own
experience of life. To what extent does this explain some of the things in our lives? If you say to me, “Oh,
you’re trying to prove it true by proving it is useful.” No. No. I’m just saying that if it is true then it
will be useful. It would be useful to find out in our own minds, does this explanation of the origin of life,
and the purpose of life match our own present experience of life?
If it does begin to explain some of the things that we have difficulties with, if it begins to make sense to
us in the light of what we have observed as the present situation of the world, then, there is extra reason
for us beginning to take seriously the documentary and historical evidence that shows that this is in fact,
true, and real and actually did happen in those years so many centuries ago.
So, that’s the approach we’re taking. Please don’t be super skeptical and throw the baby out with the bath
water. I’ll agree with any of you who say, “Isn’t religion rather a mess?” I’m with you, it is rather a mess.
If you say, “Isn’t evangelism and all that kind of stuff rather a mess?” I agree with you, it’s rather a mess.
If you say, “Aren’t there a lot of stuffed shirts who are trying to pretend they’re priests and ministers?” I
agree with you. But that does not mean that the origin of the whole truth is Himself suspect.
It is simply proof of the fact that we human beings are pretty poor clowns. We make all kinds of errors and
all kinds of mistakes. The important thing you and I have to do is try to look beneath the surface, and
examine the explanation of the origin of life, and the meaning and purpose of life that is presented in this
old book called the Bible. Examine it from an intellectual viewpoint and see — is there any truth or reality
in it? So, that’s where we’re coming from.
So, I invite you to join us tomorrow. I’d like to go a little further in our study of the origin of life and
the reason for life that we have presented in those early books of the Bible.
Body, Soul and Spirit of Man -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Body, Soul and Spirit of Man
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What’s the purpose of it all? That’s what we’re discussing on
this program each day. What we’re beginning to talk about is the plan that the Supreme Being behind the
universe had in mind when He made us, and why He made us the way He did. One of the problems that many of us
have in our own personal lives is the whole place of our emotions in our own life.
We wonder to what extent our emotions should rule us. Yet, we have real trouble controlling our emotions. We
have great difficulty knowing exactly the place of the intellect in making decisions. We wonder at times
whether our will should rule our minds or our minds should rule our will. Now, it’s interesting that all those
questions are brought together in some kind of synthesis when we begin to study the way the Supreme Being
behind the universe made us.
You remember, we shared a few days ago the verse that is found in the old book of Genesis. We’ve all been so
skeptical about it over the years that we probably have tended to commit it to the ash pit and regard it as
pure myth. Of course, it’s not at all. It’s one of the most remarkable documents that we have in our world. It
has received the respect of more of our great minds down through the centuries than probably any other book.
It itself is so ancient that it is very believable that in fact the Supreme Being behind the universe did
actually explain personally to Moses what had happened when He first made the world. So, it is actually a very
valuable book, but I’m not even going to try to justify it or defend it intellectually to you in these talks.
I simply want you to examine the explanation that is given there of our origin. Just check out — does it
confirm what we’re experiencing in our own lives?
Does it throw any light on those questions that I mentioned at the beginning of the place of the intellect or
the place of the emotions in our personal lives? Anyway, the verse that we were looking at is Genesis 2:7 —
and if you have a Bible, you can look it up some time at home. The way it’s translated in the one I have is
like this. It’s Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.”
Now, forget all the photographic way that is described. Don’t forget that God the Creator was presenting this
to mankind in mankind’s childhood. Mankind has not always been brilliant in simultaneous equations. He has not
always been excellent at how to operate Lotus 1-2-3 on the computer. He has not always been superb at working
out a theory of relativity. So, in the early days, he had all kinds of primitive ideas. It is in the light of
those ideas that God had to explain himself.
So, please don’t get uppity and over sophisticated about it. In fact, the heart of man is explained very well
in that verse, “The Lord God formed man of dust of the ground.” Actually, when some guy sooner or later throws
some ashes on the top of your coffin or your casket and says, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, earth to earth.
From earth you came and to earth you will return” that’s because in fact, your body is made of dirt — earth
Actually, if you go back to one of your grandparent’s coffin, and open it up, you’ll probably see just a
little heap of dust if it’s been long enough. The body is worth, what did they say in the old financial
system, about seven and six pence? And I don’t know if it’s worth a pound today. If you break down all the
chemicals in your body, and melt it all down and sell them to somebody, you’ll probably get a pound for it.
So, it is true that whoever made the world — it seems that in fact, the Father of this man Jesus made the
world — whoever made the world, it is true that our bodies are made just of dust. They’re made just of earth.
So, it’s an indication that certainly this verse does not contradict the facts in that regard. Then you
remember the verse goes on, “The Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”
Now, it doesn’t really matter. It isn’t a big deal whether He breathed it through our nostrils or breathed it
through our mouths. Obviously, God explained it to mankind in his childhood in that way so he would understand
it. Presumably, man in his childhood felt that he breathed air through his nostrils. So God said, “I breathed
into your nostrils the breath of life.” It wasn’t of course just physical life.
In fact, it’s very interesting. The Hebrew word for breath there is the word “ruach”. “Ruach” doesn’t only
mean breath, or air or wind. It actually means spirit also. The intention of the verse is to show that the
Creator of the universe breathed into you and me, His own Spirit. Now, if you say about someone, “Ah, he has a
lovely spirit, hasn’t he? He’s a great spirit.” Or you say, “Boy, Churchill had a great spirit, hadn’t he?”
You mean, it’s the very essence of man. He had a great attitude toward life.
He had a great essence inside himself; that was the very essence of him. When you talk about Churchill’s
spirit you are saying what Churchill really was himself. That’s probably what your spirit is. Your spirit is
probably the real you. As we said a few days ago, “What a man is when he is alone, that he is and nothing
more.” That’s probably you. That’s your spirit.
It’s interesting that the verse says, “the spirit of life”. Actually, the Hebrew word for life is “lives”.
It’s actually, “the spirit of lives”. So, the verse indicates that the Creator of the universe breathed into
this body the spirit of lives…not only a kind of spirit life but also other lives as well. You begin to see
the meaning of that when you go to the last part of the verse, because it says “…and man as a result, became
a living being.” That’s the Revised Standard Version translation.
But the old King James is probably nearer to Hebrew because it says, “and man became a living soul.” The
Hebrew word is “nephesh”. It means soul. It’s as if, you know, the Creator took the body from the dust,
breathed into it its spirit. Then, those two combined then produced a soul. The soul is in Greek, “psuche”.
That becomes in our English language “psyche”. Of course, that gives us our word psychology and psychological.
The soul is actually the psychological part of us: the mind, the emotions and the will. “And man became a
So the explanation there given back in Genesis is that we exist on three different levels. That’s why we’re
different from the animals. We have a spirit inside us, as if your spirit is the real you, and round that you
wore like a coat your soul or the psychological part of you — and around that you wore a coat around your
body. So, you actually operate on three different levels of consciousness.
Your spirit is conscious of God, or can be. Your soul is conscious of yourself; it’s the self-conscious part
of you (the mind, emotions and will). The body is the part that is conscious of the five senses of the world,
and of the other people in it and of the other things in it. That is a very good outline of what you and I
know to be our experience today. We would say, “Yeah, we do exist at those levels. We do exist at a physical
level, at a mental, and emotional and volitional level. We do seem to exist at a spirit level also.”
So, that corresponds to what we have experienced. It is obvious that we are all different in our experiences
of those levels. Some of us who are what they would call in America “jocks” or sport types, and very physical
types, we are preoccupied with the body. We are preoccupied with the physical; preoccupied almost with
responding at a body level to almost everything. Some of us are a little more mental. Maybe an Einstein is a
highly intellectual and exists to a great extent in the intellect.
Maybe Horowitz or maybe Rubinstein lived much more on the emotional level. Maybe some people with strong wills
live on the volitional level. I don’t know who lives exactly on the spirit level. Some spiritualists live on
the spirit level. We believe that it is possible for us ordinary people to live on the spirit level. But that
is the general outline that is given there of the origin and the make-up of our personalities. Let’s talk a
little more about the Maker’s plan, when He made us like that, tomorrow.
Love Relationship with God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Love Relationship with God
By Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever wondered about the fact that so many people say, “God made the world” and that “God is good”?
Yet, you look at the world with cancer, and with earthquakes, and with war and with murders. You wonder to
yourself, that’s surely a contradiction. How could a good God make such a miserable evil world? Have you ever
thought that? That’s the kind of question we’re talking about on this program at this time each day.
We’re talking generally about the meaning of life, and why we’re all here. We’ve come to the point where we
have started to examine the explanation of the beginning of the world as it’s given in a very old book that
most of us have been used to regarding as just a religious myth. It is the book of Genesis in our Bible.(cid:9)
Yesterday we discussed the explanation of the way men and women were made, that was revealed by the Supreme
Being of the universe to that old man, Moses, thousands of years ago. You who listened yesterday may remember
that we talked about the fact that the Supreme Being behind the universe indicates to us that the reason He
made us was because He actually wants our friendship. That’s why He made us. He made us because He wants our
friendship. He wants a relationship with us. He wants our company. Now, that of course immediately causes us
problems because we think, ah, that is a lot of tommyrot [nonsense]. How could anybody as great as the Supreme
Being behind the universe want my company?
That’s unbelievable for a start, but that is what the Supreme Being explained through His Son Jesus to us,
about 1,950 and fifty years ago. And what He explained to us 2,000 or 3,000 years before that when He revealed
these things to this man, Moses. The reason He made you is because He actually wants your friendship. He wants
you to be with Him forever, to get to know Him and Him get to know you. That’s why He made us. That’s why He
made us in His image.
That’s why you remember there is that verse way at the beginning of the Bible where it says, God turned around
to His Son and said, “My son, let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” That’s why He made us, as we
mentioned yesterday, with a spirit-level of consciousness, a psychological level of consciousness and a
physical level of consciousness. That’s why he made us with a spirit that is the real you and around that a
soul which is the psychological part of you — your mind, emotions and will. Around that again your body, your
Because He, Himself exists on three levels of consciousness. That’s why He made us with the same capacities as
He, Himself has, so that we, actually, could begin to have (well, you can use the term “fellowship”, if you
want), but so that we could have interaction with Him. So that we could have personal dialog with Him, so that
we could have a love relationship with Him. Actually if you reflect, that does make sense because probably the
most valuable thing in your life has been the relationships you’ve had with other people.
I mean, even if it’s been with your mother or your father when you were a child. That was the most valuable
part of your life. Indeed, many of us look back still to those relationships and think, yeah, that was the
most real thing I had in my life. It was the most precious thing. Of course, many of us who are married now
will attest to the fact that the most beautiful thing in our life is our love relationship with our partner.
Many of us will say the same about our children, many of us about our parents. We’ll say it’s the love
relationship that we have. Those are the things that you die for. Those are the things you cannot do without.
You can lose money, you can lose property, you can lose future, you can lose success, but somehow if you have
still a love relationship with somebody, that seems to give a richness to life and meaning to life.
So, actually, it does make sense to our own experience of life when we see that the Supreme Being behind the
universe made us, not so that we could be useful to Him, not so that we could make the world a better place to
live in, but so that we could be His friend, so that we could become like Him, so that we could live with Him
forever and actually enjoy developing the rest of the universe together with Him throughout ages and ages.
That’s why He made us with the capacity that He has.
Now, the interesting thing is this. He did not make us unavoidably good. He didn’t. He gave us a mental
capacity like Him, an emotional capacity like Him, volitional capacity like Him, physical capacity, a spirit
capacity. But, He did not make us unavoidably good. That is, He didn’t make us robots. The reason must be
obvious to you. I mean, you can’t have love from a robot. You can’t experience love from a group of people
that you’ve made unable to do anything else but love. You can’t.
You can just have a group of performing dogs. Or, you can have a group of puppets or marionettes. You can’t
have a love relationship with people who cannot do anything else even if they wanted to, but love you. It’s as
if I got you into a room with me and said, “Look, I have machine gunners at the doors. Now, you can’t get out.
Now, love me.” Well, it would be impossible for you to love me.
You’d say, “Wait a minute. I’m being forced to love you.” Love depends on a free-will. Love can only be
possible in an area where there is free-will not to love. Love can only be possible in an area where there is
free-will not to love. In fact, that’s why the Supreme Being behind the universe gave us free-wills. Now,
there’s no point in you and me arguing about all the indications of determinism and the indications that there
isn’t free-will in our world.
Sure, there are plenty of ways in which we’ve subjected ourselves to all kinds of pressures that now almost
force us to do certain things. The fact still remains deep, deep, down in your own heart; you know that you
have free-will. I mean, it may be pretty bedraggled. It may be pretty pressured and pretty limited through
your own fault, but you have free-will. I mean you can turn this off. Now, don’t turn it off! But, you can
turn this off if you want to.
You can turn the car to the left instead of the right. You can decide this moment to say the alphabet or not
to say the alphabet. You have free-will.(cid:9)There is clear consciousness in all of us that we are free to do what
we want. That’s why the Creator of the universe made us with free-wills. He put it this way to us, He said,
“Now look. I’ve given you the capacities that I have, but My inner attitudes, my inner attributes, my inner
qualities, the things that make Me, the love that I have, the understanding that I have, the kindliness and
gentleness that I have — that you have to choose to receive.
You have to choose to receive that or choose to reject it, because I’m not going to force you to live forever
with Me. That would be hell. I want you to choose what you’re going to do. I’m going to give you this life of
70 or 80 to become the kind of people that would be at home with Me. If you want to do that and be that,
that’s good. If you don’t then it would be hell for you anyway. So really, you will end up in a hell that does
not have Me in it.
But, that’s what He said. He put it in terms of trees. Now don’t get all worked up about trees. This was
mankind in his childhood. God isn’t all tied up with apple trees, and Eve eating an apple and all that stuff.
He simply presented it to mankind in his intellectual childhood as a choice between two trees. You remember
the way it runs in that old book the Bible.
In Genesis 2:9, it runs like this, “and out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is
pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil.” So, there was a tree of life and there was a tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The Creator said, “Look, you can have a choice between those trees. He said, “You may freely eat of every tree
of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat. For on the day you eat of
it, you shall die.” Now, He wouldn’t have said that if man had not been too free to eat of it, if he wanted.
So, let’s talk a little more about these old trees tomorrow. You’ll see they shed a lot of light on your own
Do We Have Free Wills? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Do We Have Free Wills?
By Ernest O’Neill
We are talking today about the whole problem of free will. Do we have free will? If so, why do we have free
will? We are talking about it in connection with the general subject we’ve been discussing for several months
now of “Why are we alive? What is the meaning of life? Why are you here? Why do we even exist?” We’ve
discussed for many weeks now the documentary evidence that substantiates our respect for the historicity of
that man known as Jesus of Nazareth.
If you want to examine that kind of presentation, please do send for some of the cassettes of the previous
broadcasts because we have now reached the point in our discussion where we are beginning to talk about the
explanation of the origin of our own lives and of the world that is given in this old book that many of us, of
course, for years have regarded as just a religious myth, that is, the Bible.
But actually it’s a very sensible, down-to-earth book and is not only the basis of all the works of people
like Shakespeare and our poets, but is probably more respected by the scholars of every generation than any
other book. So, it is important to look at it. It’s that book we are discussing in the light of our own
present experience of life.
We are not only urging each other to believe blindly some kind of myth, but we’re examining this
intellectually to see, does the explanation of the origin of life, and the reason for life, and the purpose
for our existence, does that, as presented in this book, make sense in the light of our own present
experience? That can, at least, give us some idea of whether this is likely to be true and, above all, it may
help you, yourself to work out a philosophy of life that makes some sense to you. So, that’s what we are
We’ve got to the point in this explanation which was given to this man, Moses, thousands of years ago, by the
Supreme Being of the universe, you remember, where the Creator of the universe decided to make us so that we
would actually have a love relationship with Him. That’s why He made us.
He made us because He wanted us to be His friends. That, we said, was reasonable to believe in the light of
the fact that the most valuable thing in your life is probably friendship, isn’t it? I mean, the deepest thing
you have is probably your relationship with your wife or a friend or with your Mum or your Dad or with your
son or your daughter. Those are the things that really matter. That’s the highest point of existence here on
earth, a human love relationship.
So, it is perfectly reasonable to believe that what the Creator explained through His Son, Jesus, and through
this servant of His, Moses, in the early years is true. He made us so that we could have a real friendship
with Him and a real love relationship with Him that would go on throughout years and centuries in the future
— in fact, through timelessness — as we were used by Him to develop the rest of His universe.
Then, we said, you remember, that because of that the Creator of the world made us “in his image”. That is, He
gave us the capacities He has. He gave us a spirit capacity, intellectual capacity, emotional capacity,
volitional capacity, and physical capacity. Then, you remember, we said He did not, however, make us
unavoidably good. He did not make us so we couldn’t do anything else but love Him, because if He had made us
this way, then we would have been a bunch of robots, or performing dogs.
In other words, love is only possible if you have free will. You’re only able to love, if you are free not to
love. We have reached the point in this discussion where, you remember, we looked back to the way the Creator
of the world presented this to mankind in his childhood. If you ever have a look at the Bible and glance at
Genesis, chapter 2 and verse 16, you’ll see these words, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may
freely eat of every tree of the Garden'”.
This is a pretty clear declaration of free will. “You may freely eat of every tree of the Garden.” You may do
it. You may, if you want. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the
day that you eat of it you shall die.” Obviously, He was giving a clear direction. Don’t eat of the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil, because if you do, you’ll die.
Now, you only give a command to a person who is free not to obey that command. If they are not free to disobey
that command, then you don’t bother commanding them. That makes sense. So, built into that verse is a clear
declaration that the Maker of the universe said to us, “Now, I’ve given you capacities that I have, but if you
want to be like Me inside, if you want to become the kind of person I am and be at home with Me through
timeless eternity, then, you’ve got to choose that for yourself.”
“You’ve got to choose it. I’m not going to make you like Myself. Otherwise, I’d just have a bunch of
performing dogs. I am going to give you the capacities I have and then you must decide for yourself whether
you’re going to receive My kind of characteristics and attributes I have; whether you’re going to be like Me
inside and, therefore, find it bearable and, indeed, enjoyable to be with Me.”
Now, that was the way the Creator of the universe made us at the beginning. This is the origin of free will.
If you say to yourself, “Oh, why have we free will?” You have free will because it makes it possible for you
to be like the Creator of the universe and to be a fit and worthy friend for Him. That’s why you have free
That’s why you’re free to turn the car to the right or turn it to the left, stamp on the brake, or stamp on
the accelerator at this moment. You’re free to lift your phone and phone some friend. You’re free to do what
you want within the limitations you’ve begun to impose on yourself, of course. But the Creator of the universe
said, “I’ve given you certain abilities you will not lose.” That’s true. You know, it doesn’t matter what
you’ve been like in your life, you still have a mind. You still have emotions. You still have a will. You
still have a body. You still have a spirit.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you’ve still done these things. You’ve still got those things. Those are
the indestructible capacities that God has. We are all in this way like Him. This is why we are able to talk
to each other. It’s interesting, isn’t it? This is why it’s possible for the discussion that we are having
together today to make sense, because actually we are all the same.
I mean, you have the same things in your life as I have. You have the same capacities as I have, because we
are all made in the image of the being that created us. So, we can speak to each other in the same terms. We
can understand each other. But He said if you want to become like me inside, and be actually somebody who will
enjoy my company and whom I will enjoy, you must choose to receive that for yourself. He presented this as a
tree of life we were to eat as opposed to a tree of knowledge of good and evil.
That was the choice that we had. That was the way the Creator made us. He made us like Himself, up to a point,
but like Himself also, in that He gave us free will. Then, He gave us the choice of using that free will,
either to become like Him or not to become like Him. The way we would become like Him, of course, He presented
as this tree of life or this tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What is this tree of life? Well, it’s
really pretty close to the experience that you have with a husband and a wife.
They marry. They aren’t very like each other, but meet them five years later and you would think they were
brother and sister. Meet them ten years later, and you would think they were identical twins, almost. Because,
the truth is, you become more like each other the more you live with each other. You just do. It’s rather
embarrassing the way a son imitates his father. It’s embarrassing to the father.
It’s embarrassing, at times, to a husband and wife when they see how the same inflections of voice are
beginning to be experienced and expressed by both of them. It’s embarrassing to see how alike they are when
they smile, because when you walk with a person for a long time, or you live with them for a long time, you
just become like them. That’s part of what the tree of life is.
The Creator’s plan was that we should live close to Him, much as, you remember, it’s said in those early
chapters of God “walking with Adam in the garden in the cool of the day”. It was through friendship and
company that the Creator planned that we would become like Him. To some extent, this is part of the
explanation of the tree of life.
Now, what else does the tree of life mean? Well, let’s talk a little more tomorrow and it might help you to
understand the way you’re living your life a bit more clearly.
We Were Made for God’s Love -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We Were Made for God’s Love
by Ernest O’Neill
We are talking on this program about the meaning of life and particularly about the place of free will in our
own lives. We’ve reached the point, you remember, where in discussing the explanation that the Supreme Being
behind the universe gave to this old man, Moses, centuries and centuries ago, we’ve come to the point in that
discussion where the presentation of free will is made as something that the Creator of the universe saw
essential to His purpose in first creating us.
His purpose in first creating us was we would be His friends. That’s it. We would love Him. We would know Him.
He would love us and know us. We would enjoy each other. That’s why He made us. That’s why He made you. You’re
not here to fix pipes, if you’re a plumber, primarily. You’re not here to put wires into plugs, if you’re an
electrician primarily. You’re not here to reformat drive C if you’re a computer expert.
You’re here primarily to become like your Creator so that, actually, you and He will be at home with each
other in timelessness. That’s it. This is why He made us with a free will: because He, Himself has a free
will. He wanted people who would love Him, because they chose to love Him. Indeed, that’s the only meaning of
love. There is no such love, except what comes from a free will.
So, He made us like Himself, with His own capacities, and then He gave us the choice of becoming like Him, or
not becoming like Him. You remember, we already presented that as the choice between two trees. It’s described
way back in Genesis, chapter 2, verse 16. There are two trees and He said you may eat of the tree of life, but
you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We’ve been talking about what that tree of
life actually symbolized.
That was how God presented it to mankind in his childhood. Today, He might have presented it as some computer
formula that we would have to examine or analyze or put into our IBM computer. But He presented it then as the
choice between two trees. One was the tree of life. He said we would eat at the tree of life. The tree of life
is really, for one thing, Himself, His own friendship.
Just the way you and I become more like each other the more we talk with each other and the more we come to
know each other. Or the way a husband and wife become more like brother and sister after ten years of living
with each other, because we imitate each other naturally, and especially, we imitate what we love and admire.
Just so, just as it was his plan that we would walk with Him through our lives, we would become more and more
like Him. That was actually His plan, you know.
His plan was that we would develop this world by His directions and by reading His mind. That was it. I don’t
know if you remember the great commission to have authority over the world that is recorded way back in that
book of Genesis, in chapter 1, verse 28. It runs like this: “And God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be
fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over
the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.'”
The Creator actually wanted us to do that — to subdue the world and to fill it, to bring it to completion
and, in a sense, to complete the creation that He had started and bring it into order under His will through
our close relationship with Him. He knew where the gold was. He knew where the oil was. He knew that if you
tried to get the oil out of the Californian coast off Santa Barbara, you’d end up drowning the seagulls in oil
when there were oil spills. He knew where to get the oil safely.
He knows what is under the Antarctic wastes. He knows how to develop the Sahara desert. His plan was that we
would intuitively stay so close to Him that we would actually know what He was thinking. We would be able to
read His mind and He would be able to put into us His own intuitive thoughts. We would, therefore, begin to
develop the world as He guided us.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? A man like Einstein, of all people, has said, “All ideas come from God.” Of
course, any of us that have tried to do any philosophical thinking know that’s a fact. Even though we talk
about inductive logic and deductive logic, yet we have a strange sense there is no such thing as inductive
logic. It’s the whole basis of the scientific method, but we suspect the philosophers are right who say there
is no such thing as inductive logic; there is only deductive logic.
In other words, sometime during the night, some mysterious process takes place in the brain of Einstein and he
wakens up in the morning with the solution or with a hypothesis that he then begins to test deductively and
find out if it’s really true. But where that first hypothesis comes from is quite a mystery. Any of us, of
course, who have had ideas that form the solution to things always find this. It doesn’t matter whether it’s
Sinclair or whether it’s Cray and his computers in Minneapolis.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s old Einstein or whether it’s Frank Lloyd Wright. It doesn’t matter whether it’s
Andrew Lloyd Webber, who writes such magnificent music, or whether it’s Rubenstein. It doesn’t matter who the
originator of the creation is, all of them admit, there’s something mysterious in the actual concept. It
seems, at times, to come from nowhere. Of course, that was the way the Creator meant us all to operate. He
meant us all to operate from that fresh origin of thought and of reasoning that came from His own mind.
Of course, that’s why He said, “fill the earth”, because we would fill it with His own ideas. We would fill it
with His own deep, complex intricate knowledge of the basis of the natural universe. Therefore, we would
develop it in ways that would be beautiful and that would be fulfilling for us, and that would be harmonizing
for the rest of the creatures in the universe.
So, eating of the tree of life means partly that we would have started to live our lives in a close
relationship with the Creator and we would be guided by Him intuitively rather than by our own cleverness. In
other words, I could picture it this way, though it is probably even more childish than the way we tend to
think of the early chapters of Genesis — but it’s as if Adam would be in the garden and God’s plan was that
He would say to Adam, “Adam, see that tree over there? The orange tree? Take some of the fruit, squeeze it,
and the juice is really nice, and you’ll have a healthy, refreshing drink each morning.” And Adam would do
In the same way, the Creator would be so close to Adam and he would be so close to the Creator and they would
have such friendship with each other, and they would talk to each other so continuously that the Creator would
say, “See that river over there? It’s going to flood in the springtime. I want you to dam it up and redirect
it that way.” Adam would do it.
This is part of what living off the tree of life means. It means, getting the directions from the originator
of the universe through a relationship with Him, through a relationship of thought and of feeling, and, of
course, first of all, believing He exists and then, treating Him as really existing. Then, we would begin to
find He would feed His own thoughts through our thoughts. That is part of what the tree of life symbolizes. It
symbolizes much more than that, but at least it symbolizes that.
For instance, some people can see the tree of life is what we call the spirit of God. It’s His Spirit; it’s
the very heart of Him. It’s the very essence of God. It’s the kind of person He is. I mean, He’s the bright
person that has made little Yorkshire Terriers, has made little babies’ fingers, has made the breakers on the
coast of Australia, has made the Hawaiian surf. He’s the exciting Creator that has made these exciting things,
who is more exciting than any of His creation.
Receiving His Spirit means receiving that Spirit within us. It’s that spirit of open ocean and the fresh
breezes that blow through your own heart and spirit that gives you the freshness and the life of the Creator.
That’s part of what eating of the tree of life is concerned with. So, that the Creator said we were to choose
to do. In other words, we were to choose to either live in close relationship with Him and develop the world
that way or to choose to live independent of Him and develop it our own way.
Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about what we actually did.
Does God Give Us a Free Will? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Does God Give Us a Free Will?
by Ernest O’Neill
We are talking on this program about the meaning of life. We’ve come to the point in our discussion where we
are talking about the origin of our free wills and why the Creator of the universe gave us free wills in the
first place, because it is incredible you are still able, despite all the deterministic forces that work upon
you through society and through your own heredity and environment, it’s incredible that you still have free
I mean, you can still turn this off. Now, don’t turn it off. But you can still turn the knob and get rid of my
miserable old voice here. You can still turn your car to the left or the right. You can stamp on the brakes.
You can do what you want. There is a real sense in which whatever state you are in, you still have free will.
We’ve been talking about the origin and the reason for that free will. We’ve been sharing how the Creator of
the universe revealed to His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, and to early servants, like that man Moses, that He made
us because He wanted us to be His friends. This is why you exist. This is the real purpose of your life: so
that you might get to know the originator of the universe and that you might come to know Him personally.
That’s it. That’s it.
You may think you’re here to make money, or you’re here to survive, or you’re here to fix pipes, or you’re
here to teach kids. No! You’re here to get to know the one that made you because He actually wants you to be
His friend. I know that sounds bewildering, and amazing, and incredible, but actually that’s the truth. That’s
why He made you. That’s why He made you like Himself. You’re actually in His image. That’s why we are all so
alike, because we all have the same capacities as He has.
Yet, you remember, we said that He did not make us like Himself inside, because that would be to make us
incapable of love. If He made us unavoidably good, that is, so we couldn’t do anything but be good and do
anything but love Him, then, He’d have a bunch of robots and performing monkeys, but He wouldn’t have free
will agents who could love Him.
So, He made us with the same capacities He has (which was really necessary so we could be friends and have
deep interaction with each other) but then, He let us choose whether we would get to know Him and would become
like Him, or whether we would live independent of Him and become unlike Him. That was up to us what we did. It
would have consequences later on, because really He is the only one who exists at the end of this world. But
yet, He gave us that freedom.
You remember, we said He pictured it to mankind in his childhood way in the early centuries as the choice
between two trees: the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We’ve shared how the tree
of life symbolizes, among other things, the kind of oneness that comes between you and the other person when
you’ve been living with them for a long time. We’ve shared, you remember, how two friends tend to become more
like each other.
They tend to take on each other’s characteristics simply because they are with each other and they love each
other and they’re attracted to each other and they admire each other. So often, the son becomes like his
father, because he respects him and admires him. So, it is with us and the Creator of the universe. His plan
was we would begin to develop the world and to fill it according to His directions.
That is, we would begin to do what He guided us to do through the thoughts He injected into our minds,
thoughts that we wanted to receive from Him. Not thoughts He forced upon us, but thoughts we received from Him
because we wanted to know what He was thinking.
You know, if I asked you, “Would your wife like to see â€˜Les Miserables’?” [the play] you could answer me,
“Yes, she would, or she wouldn’t”, because you know her. You know the kinds of things she likes and the kinds
of things she doesn’t like.
If I asked you, “Would your wife really like to go to the next computer exhibition?” You could immediately
answer yes or no because you know each other. You understand each other. You know the kind of things the other
person is thinking. Indeed, you know it would be true that I could ask you all kinds of finer, more sensitive
questions that would make greater discriminations and finer distinctions than that. And you could still answer
me correctly, because you have gotten to know her.
This is what we mean when we talk about eating of the tree of life. The maker of the universe planned you
would come into this world as a little baby, would come up, maybe, to that age of discretion, and come up
through five, through seven through thirteen years old, and you’d begin to realize: “Well, of course, I was
made by the Creator and He is my father and He loves me.”
You’d begin to talk to Him, not as some kind of psychotic or neurotic, but just as an ordinary human being
that knew he hadn’t come here by chance plus time, and concluded that he had come here by the action of an
intelligent being that was as personable as he, himself was. You would begin to think thoughts up to that
You didn’t need to even talk to Him aloud, because He isn’t physical, but you could think thoughts up to Him.
He, as a result, would pass thoughts back down to you from His own mind and would indicate to you as He
obviously indicated to people like Einstein, “Now, there’s a theory of relativity here that will explain a lot
of things that at the moment are inexplicable. Bit by bit, I’ll lead somebody to go on beyond this theory, but
if you listen to me, I’ll give you hints as to what it is.”
Actually, the truth is, all our poets, all our creative people know that the things that they create, they
don’t really create. They come to them. It’s amazing.(cid:9)All of us are in the position of Einstein and of other
creative people who say, “All ideas come from outside ourselves. We suddenly waken up and they are there.”
Actually, ordinary people like ourselves have some of that experience.
That’s what we mean when we talk about the tree of life. The Maker of the universe wanted us to develop the
world as a result of our friendship with Him and the ideas and thoughts He was giving us. That was the way to
do it, of course, because He knows what is at the bottom of every mine. He knew what is at the center of every
mountain. He knows the power in every river. He knows all about the protons and the neutrons. He knows the
dangers of a Chernobyl and so He would have guided us so we could avoid those things.
You know we didn’t do that. You remember the story of the Fall; it’s called, the Fall in the Garden of Eden,
the fall out of that relationship of closeness with the Creator. That occurred because, in fact, man chose to
eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to know what the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil is, it isn’t about apples. Let’s stop that silliness.
Anyway, an apple isn’t mentioned in Genesis and the Creator of the universe isn’t a kid, you know. He isn’t
some dumb-dumb that kind of kills us because we eat an apple. It isn’t about apples and it isn’t about sex. We
all love “Oh, it’s sexy, sexy”, because we had to wear clothes. No, it’s not. It’s not that stupid stuff. We
need to stop insulting the maker of the universe and insulting all the guys who wrote the Bible by saying that
kind of stuff. No, it isn’t.(cid:9)The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is dead easy.
Instead of listening to God the way He intended us to, you remember, I gave the example. It’s just a silly
little example but the Creator’s plan was that He would tell Adam what to do. Adam would say, “Lord, what do
you want me to do today?” and He would say, “Well, it’s morning. You need something fresh. Look at that orange
tree. See…get an orange, squeeze it and you’ll get some nice juice that will clear your palate.” So, Adam
would do that. That’s the way the Creator wanted us to operate in closeness to Himself.
Now, instead of that, Adam decided, “Forget this, I don’t need to depend on this Creator, this invisible being
that feeds me ideas. I can see that this world is all that I need. All I have to do is note down the things He
told me last time. I remember yesterday He told me to get an orange from the orange tree. O.K., that’s a law
of life. I must get an orange from the orange tree.”
“I remember last spring He told me to dam up that river. Alright, that is a law of nature. I’d better dam up
that river.” We began to develop our own knowledge of good and evil. A whole set of precedents, business
precedents, economic precedents, academic precedents, psychological precedents. We began to develop a whole
series of laws that would enable us to develop the world on our own, independently of the Maker’s direction.
That’s part of what eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is. It’s living this life by our own
cleverness and by our own observations of what in the world will give us what we need. Let’s talk a little
more about some of the effects of that tomorrow.