Description: Review: historicity of bible, body, soul, spirit continued
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Is the Bible History?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are we alive? That’s the topic we’re discussing and we’ve been talking about
it now for over 9 months. In fact, I think this is broadcast #184 that we’re on today. And what we’ve talked
about really is the origin of the life that we have here. And we’ve been talking in the early months of this
year about whether the creation took place by a directionless evolutionary process or whether it took place
through some kind of programmed or planned development.
And of course we’ve concluded with Einstein that the order and design in the universe presupposes an
intellectual mind that designed and planned it and we concluded that the intellectual mind must be at least as
personable as we are in order to make us persons. And then you remember we proceeded to examine some of the
people that have claimed to tell us what the Creator of the universe was thinking about when He made us and
what He had in mind for our lives and therefore what the purpose of our lives is.
And we examined people like Buddha, and Zoroaster and Confucius and the Hindu scholars. And discovered that
they all had the same limitations; they all were just human beings, had never left the earth any more than any
of us had, but died and were buried like the rest of us. And they all differed from the one remarkable man
that lived in the first century of our era. He was a man that actually didn’t die like the rest of us. He did
die, but after three days, He came alive again and lived for more than a month here on the earth.
And such is the historical evidence and the documentary evidence that is available in places like the British
Museum, that we came to the conclusion intellectually that He must actually have been a historical figure.
That he actually did live and say the things that He is said to have lived and said. And we realized that as
we began to look into the history books that tell of his life, we were dealing with history that was more
reliable than that of the Caesars or than that of the Roman or the Greek emperors. And so we concluded that
this man really was the Son of the Maker of the universe.
And so we’ve been discussing and studying His explanation of why we’re here, because we reckon He’s the only
one who really knows. It has to be somebody who got beyond the furthest star that we can see with our radio
telescopes. It has to be somebody who has succeeded in doing, you remember, what that dear author said he
wanted to do…”Stop the world, I want to get off!” It has to be somebody who has managed to stop the world
and get off it and come back and tell us what it’s about.
And so we’ve concluded that that’s what this man Jesus has done and that His explanation of the meaning of our
lives is the one that really counts. Because all the rest are limited within this temporal space-time frame
that we all endure. And only His breaks out of it. And of course what He has said is that we were meant to
live our lives by the direction of the Maker of the universe. That the Maker of the Universe made us with
three levels in our personality and the innermost level is the spirit. And the spirit is the part of you that
is the real you.
It’s you as you really are, underneath, away from all the things that your mother or your father want you to
do — away from what your wife or your children want you to do, or what your boss or your teachers want you to
do, what your desperate necessities in this life make you want. It’s you as you really are. You, independent
of all those desires and drives and pulls and shoves, it’s you as you really are — that’s your spirit.
And the Creator intended you to get to know Him through your spirit — through the real you to get to know Him
and to find out why He had put you here and then to pursue that. And of course if you had done that then
there’d have come to you a great sense of identity and self-worth. And of course you would have filled your
own mind and emotions with the plans and the desires that He had for you and they would be utterly satisfied
and fulfilled, because of course He made you for a set purpose and if you fulfill that purpose, then you are
And on top of that, the world itself would have been filled with not only the thinking of the Creator, but His
life. So we would have a universe that probably did not have earthquakes in California and did not have oil
spills off the Santa Barbara coast, and did not have mining disasters in Wales, and did not have cities that
were so cluttered and filled with impure oil and with machines that make more dirt. That we would have had a
world that was nearer the paradise that we all dream of.
But of course, we determine to “forget it”. We’re going to live this life on our own; we’re not going to live
from the inside out, we’re not going to refer to our Creator. We’re going to do what we think we ought to do.
We’re going to get from this world what we need and that’s what, of course, began to happen to us. We looked
around and we saw, “Now wait a minute. There’s nobody here who cares about me but myself. And there are
billions of us trying to get the limited resources on this world, on this earth to keep them alive, so I’d
better grab what food shelter and clothing I can.”
And so, that became the dominating drive in our lives. We began to be dominated by the need for security, for
physical security first of all: for shelter, roofs over our heads, for clothing to keep the cold out and for
food to keep us alive. We never got past the point of saying, why do we want to stay alive? We just felt, “Oh,
we ought to stay alive.” And so we have dedicated our lives to getting all the food, shelter and clothing we
possibly can and get what security we need.
Actually, deep down, we want more than security. Deep down we’re missing the great sense of stability and love
and care that we were intended to get from our Creator. After all, there’s no security like the one you have
of walking through your factory with the hand of the Creator of the universe in yours — I mean, that’s
security! There’s no security like going up the Matterhorn with the one who made the Matterhorn right beside
you. That’s security that nothing else can give.
And of course, we were all the time trying to find that kind of security; getting all the food, shelter and
clothing we could. What we were actually after was a deeper thing than security â€“it was love. Because that’s
of course what the Maker of the universe feels towards you. Now, you may be cynical and skeptical and all that
but actually, He does. He loves you — that’s why He made you. Why do you think He’d go to all this trouble if
He didn’t love you? So, He does love you but we turned our backs on Him and of course we missed out on all
The result was we had to get the security that love provides from somewhere else. And so, that’s why we’re all
scrambling. You know we’re all scrambling. You know how it goes. You scramble for this week’s wage and then
you fight for next month’s wage and then you try to fight to get a raise and then you try to do something with
the money that will, in fact, ensure that you have something when you retire and you spend most of your life
worrying and fretting.
That’s what old Auden said you remember, “In headaches and in worry vaguely life leaks away.” And so it does.
“Vaguely, life leaks away.” To get the car, then to look after the car, then to repair the car, then to
replace the car. It just goes on and on forever. Old Wordsworth is right. “The world is too much with us;
getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours.”
That’s true. We’re a pretty miserable bunch, all going after the old dollar or the old pound or the old
shilling — whatever it is. And we do that because we desperately need the security that we were meant to have
by knowing the Maker of the universe and by really realizing that He was our own Father.
We did the same thing of course, with happiness. We felt we’re only here for a few years, so we’d better get
what happiness we can. And so the search after happiness has become a dominating and enslaving thing for most
of us. We’ll do anything to get happy — you know it! I mean we’ll destroy our own bodies to get happy,
because the only way we can really get happy is blotting out all the misery around us.
So, after you’ve gone from the wine to the hard stuff and and after you’ve gone from the hard stuff to the
crack and then from the crack to the heroin, then from the heroine to the cocaine, it’s hard really to get
completely blotted out unless you take the final step. And some of us, even among our own young people, are
taking that step. Because it’s impossible to find the happiness and the fulfillment that we were originally
going to get by simply doing what the Maker wanted us to do with our lives.
And of course the whole problem of self esteem is a dominating one. Most of us feel worth nothing. We feel
we’re nothing, we feel we’re just a cipher; we’re just a consumer statistic. And of course we determine, no
we’re not! We’re not! We’re significant! We’re unique! We’re unlike anybody else and we’re going to make
everybody else realize that. And of course the sight of 5 billion of us trying to make the others respect them
is pretty hideous.
On top of all that, what is happened is we have gone dead inside. Our spirits have gone dead. We’ve forgotten
who we are. We can’t remember who we are. We’re busy being pulled like little puppets by all the strings of
needs for security, for significance, for happiness that surround us.(cid:9)And that’s the situation most of us find
ourselves in. Most of us find we’re dead, even though we’re alive. Let’s talk a little more about that