Description: God made us in His image and wants to meet our needs
ï»¿WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We are Made in God’s Likeness
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the subject we’ve been discussing here on this program at this time each
day for several months now. What we have said is that the meaning of life, in your opinion or mine, is
governed a great deal by what we believe was the origin of the world. If we believe the origin of the world is
the result of time plus chance, or of an impersonal evolutionary process, then we will tend to see the meaning
of life in terms of just what we can get from this world itself.
We will have a tendency to regard this world as the only source of the fulfillment of whatever needs we might
have. So, most of us have a great need for security, for financial security, and we’ll tend to see the world
as the only possible source of the provision of those needs for security. We will have the same tendency with
our need for self-worth or self-esteem. We will tend to see the world of people as the only source of any
possible self-recognition, or approval, or self-esteem.
It is the same with happiness. We will have a tendency to see happiness as something that we can only get from
favorable circumstances or events that occur in this world. In other words, we will have a tendency to look to
the world of people and things and circumstances for the security and significance and happiness that we feel
Whereas, the meaning of life will be seen on a very different level if we believe that, though there may well
be some sort of an evolutionary process at work, yet it is directed by an intelligent mind. There is, as
Einstein said, an intelligent being behind the universe. Then we will have a tendency to see the fulfillment
of our needs as coming from some kind of a relationship with that intelligent being.
We will see that we are the highest peak of creation and He undoubtedly is much more valuable and real than
the things He has made. So, we will have a tendency to see the fulfillment of our needs in terms of a
relationship with that Supreme Being, rather than in terms of a relationship with the people and the things
and the circumstances of the world itself.
That’s as far as we have got in our discussion. We have pointed out, of course, that most of us have actually
seen the meaning of life in terms of the world and the possibilities of the world of people and circumstances
and things fulfilling our needs for security and significance and happiness. Most of us have become, in that
way, rather perverted beings. We have a tendency to go to the office each day and look to see if the boss is
smiling. If he is smiling, then we feel happy. If he favors us with some kind of stroke or some kind of
praise, then we suddenly feel that we’re worth something.
If, of course, he chooses to give us a bonus that is unexpected, then we will feel suddenly very much more
secure. So, most of us at the moment live our lives in terms of this world and what the people and the
circumstances and the things in this world can provide for us. Of course, there is no need to point out that
most of us are very dissatisfied with that means of fulfilling these very real needs.
We find, for instance, that nobody can ever praise us enough. It doesn’t matter how great our mother and
father are. It doesn’t matter how approving our professor or our teacher or our boss is. It doesn’t matter how
appreciative our husband or our wife or our children are, somehow we never get enough self-esteem. Indeed,
after a life of such praise and acknowledgment, many of us still have dreadful inferiority complexes and a
great lack of self-esteem and self-worth.
It’s the same with security. Many of us have slaved and slaved for years to try to make our job or our tenure
secure, and at the end of it all we still feel very insecure. It doesn’t matter how much we have accumulated
in the bank, or how many stocks and shares we have, we still feel very insecure. We still feel that an
incurable disease could “take us off” at any moment. It’s the same with happiness. It doesn’t matter how many
visits to Spain or to America or to Europe that we have in a year, somehow, we never get enough happiness.
Some of us have gone to incredible extremes to try to get a high that will really satisfy us. Yet, we find
that at the end of all our trying, this world of circumstances, people and things never seems to satisfy the
needs we have for security, significance and happiness. Those three needs are fulfilled in real love. That is
really what we need. We need real love. But, somehow, we are never able to get enough of that love. We can
never get enough of it from people, or things, or circumstances, to satisfy us. That’s the problem that most
of us find ourselves in.
Now, the truth is that there is a whole other side of your personality that you probably have never been aware
of. There is a whole purpose that the Creator, who made you, had in mind that you have never even, perhaps,
begun to fulfill and have never even had a suspicion of. Of course, the fact is that the Creator of the
universe has put you here to become like Him. That’s it!
He has given you a free will and then He has given you freedom to choose to depend on Him or to depend on the
world of people and circumstances and things. You have that choice. If you depend on Him for the needs that
you have, then you will come into a closer and closer and more intimate relationship with Him, and there will
be part of your personality that will come alive from the inside that you never knew you had before. You will
begin to find the real needs of your life being met as you lose yourself more and more in the purpose that the
Maker has for you.
But that, of course, is a whole different story, and that is the story we would like to start today. What is
the meaning of life and what is this side of our lives that many of us have never had any experience of? It
starts with the explanation that this man Jesus gives. He pushed us back, you remember, to words that most of
us remember from the early parts of the Old Testament.
Most of us will remember a certain verse that was read, perhaps when we were at school in Morning Prayer or in
the service at the beginning of each day in assembly. It was a verse that went like this, “Then God said, ‘Let
us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The meaning of that, of course, is that in the times before
creation, in timeless eternity …
…(because that is what eternity is. It’s not endless time, it’s timelessness. It’s the realm that Einstein
has talked about in his theory of relativity. It’s the area that even our greatest scientists begin to delve
in when they talk about the immense space of the universe and the fact that time does not exist)…
….in timeless eternity, before creation, God turned around to His Son, who of course was alive with Him in
those years, if you can call them years, and He said, “Let us make man in our image …” That is the beginning
of understanding of what the meaning of life is. The Creator has made you in His own image. He did that,
because He wants to enjoy your friendship.
You know how you can only go so far in friendship with your Yorkshire terrier. He’s OK with playing with a
ball, but he’s not great at appreciating Beethoven’s Fifth. He’s OK with running back and forward across the
room with you tickling his tummy, but he’s not great on discussing the Theory of Relativity or simultaneous
In other words, to really enjoy someone’s friendship, you have to be made like him. You have to share the same
kind of capabilities. First of all, God made us like Himself with His capabilities so that we could enjoy His
friendship. Let’s go a little further with this tomorrow.