What Is the Meaning of Life?

Today begins a new blog thread. Our topic is the meaning of life. It’s a vast subject that should take us well into next year. How will we find the answers? We’ll use science, logic, philosophy, and evidence—apologetics, if you will. Apologetics uses general revelation, the truths God buried in the world around us in science and nature. This is for the skeptic, for those with questions, and for those who just need to be shown. But our search will also rely heavily on God’s special revelation—in the book we call the Bible.

The answers to our questions are important. And let me say right here that the answer to the meaning of life is not “42”, as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would have it. If only it were that simple…

meaningOfLife-MarkTwainEver since man first walked the earth he has known, deep inside himself, there was something greater than himself. And he has sought it. He’s looked for fulfillment, hunted for truth, and sought the meaning of life. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says this: “Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.”

Whatever you want to call it, mankind has been on an endless search for something lasting and true. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT): “God has planted eternity in the human heart.”

We look at ourselves and realize we lack something fundamental and essential, that by ourselves, we are incomplete. We want to know whether there is meaning behind it all. We are mortal, yet we long for immortality. We are temporal, knowing that someday death awaits, yet we long for eternity. In the quiet of the night or the stillness of the day, we may feel the basic loneliness of the human condition. So we long for a love greater than ourselves that will end our loneliness forever. Yes, every human heart longs for something greater than itself.

Throughout the ages, this deep-set need has propelled storytellers, holy men, and novelists on one quest for truth after another. Ever since Adam, humankind has been seeking it. For a time Adam and Eve possessed it. Yet they let it slip away. And because of what they did, every descendant of theirs has been trying to regain what they once had, what was lost.

Psalm 42:1-2 (NLT) describes the longing this way:high-desert-mule-deer “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”

Ah, now the psalmist has put a name to the quest. Is it then God we seek? Is He the object of this endless human quest, the center of mankind’s desperate search?

But too many will say, “No, it’s not God I’m looking for.” So they keep on looking in all the wrong places. And the world has no shortage of answers. The world promises happiness through sex, drugs, and alcohol. Before spiritually impoverished eyes, it dangles the prospects of career, power, wealth, and fame. It marches in the false prophets of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. It promises utopia on earth through Communism and Socialism, but forgets to mention the mass starvations of North Korea in the 1990s and the millions who died in Stalin’s Soviet Union and in Chairman Mayo’s China. And then, as if this weren’t enough, we get Madonna, Paris Hilton, and Justin Bieber. So much for the world’s answers.

So today we begin our search for the meaning of life, knowing that many who have gone before us have failed. But we have something they didn’t have. We have the truth given us by the God who created the universe, the truth preserved in an ancient book. We also have general revelation, the truth God reveals in the natural world around us. So let us begin. Note that for this blog I’ll be posting once a week.