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The Meaning Of Life

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What Is the Meaning of Life?
What Is Man’s Origin, Purpose, and Destiny?

From: The Gospel Way

Question #1: Where Did You Come From?


How do you explain the origin of the human race? Since we are alive, it is natural to wonder where we came from. One reason many people are confused about the meaning of life is that they do not understand the origin of life. To know <b ‘mso-bidi-font-weight:=”” normal’=””>why we are here, we must know where we came from.

Many People Hold Mistaken Ideas about the Origin of Life.

A commonly accepted explanation for the origin of life is organic evolution – the hypothesis that man evolved from “lower animals,” which in turn came from simpler life forms, all the way back to the first microscopic life, which sprang accidentally from non-living matter. But this theory has major problems.

Where did the first living thing come from?

What caused life to begin where there had never been life before? Science has repeatedly demonstrated that life comes only from life. This is a law of science called the “Law of Biogenesis.” The opposite of this law would be spontaneous generation – life beginning spontaneously from non-living matter. But science has repeatedly proved this cannot happen.

So every living thing must come from a previous living thing. You received life from your parents, who in turn received it from their parents, etc. The same is true for all living things.

But evolution requires that, when you go back far enough, non-living matter somehow came to life by chance where there was no life before. Evolution requires spontaneous generation in complete violation of scientific evidence. So evolution cannot explain even the origin of the very first form of life.

Where is the evidence that all modern kinds of living things came from an original kind?

Living things can adapt to their environment, but where is the proof they can develop into entirely different kinds of organisms such that all kinds came from one original kind? Years of human experience and scientific experimentation confirm that living things reproduce “after their own kind.” The offspring of a fish is another fish, not a snake, bird, or man.

Scientists have searched for years for the “missing links” – fossils of organisms that were halfway between the kinds of plants or animals we have now. Millions of fossils have been found around the world. If evolution is true, there should be thousands of fossils of missing links, but there is no evidence of these remains anywhere. Why not?

Why is man so unique from animals?

If man evolved from animals and is really an animal but just slightly more complex, why do we have characteristics so vastly different from animals?

Why do people appreciate beauty in art, music, and poetry? Do animals create new paintings, sculptures, symphonies, and books of poetry that they and other animals can enjoy?

Why do men have a conscience and a sense of moralsWhy do we feel guilty when we have done wrong, even when we have not been caught or punished? Do animals naturally possess these spiritual qualities? Why do only people wonder about such issues as where we came from? Do animals debate even such issues as creation vs. evolution?

Why do we possess rational thought so much higher than animals? We can find minute variations in degrees of “intelligence” among animals, but there is a vast gulf between any animal and man. Men build machines and tools to work for us, train animals, use fire, perform mathematic and scientific calculations, read and write, and pass our knowledge on to others.

If we developed from the animals, why are there no animals that possess these characteristics almost as much as we do? If we develop from the animals, why are we so different from them? Evolution is not an adequate explanation.

Consider the Bible Explanation for the Origin of Life.

Genesis 1:11,12,21-28

All kinds of life were originally created by God in six days. God is an eternal, living, all-wise, all-powerful Creator (cf. Exodus 20:11; Hebrews 4:4).

Instead of life coming from non-living matter, life came from life – the eternally living God. Living things reproduce after their own kind, because God created them that way. And man is unlike the animals, because he is “in the image of God.” We did not evolve from animals, but we share God’s nature.

Acts 17:24,25,28

The world and everything in it were made by God. He is the source of life and gives all the blessings that are necessary to life. Here is an explanation for the origin of life that fits what we see around us, fits the nature of man as compared to animals, and we will see that it provides a satisfying explanation for the meaning to life.

There is sufficient evidence to compel any honest person to believe God exists and the Bible is His word. We do not have time here to examine all the evidence, but we encourage those who have doubts to investigate it. We simply observe that the Bible explanation makes far more sense than any other alternative, and that those who do not accept the Bible really cannot satisfactorily explain their own existence!

If you would like to study evidence for the inspiration of Scripture or for creation vs. evolution, please see the links at the end of this study.


Question #2: Why Are You Here?


Do you really understand why you exist? Surely this is a fundamental question that everyone wants answered. Without meaningful goals, life is senseless and empty. Lack of purpose leads to unhappiness and even mental disorders. People need a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment in life.

Many People Are Mistaken about the Purpose of Life.

This is one consequence of evolution. If organic evolution is true, then there is no purpose in life. Life is an accident, and people search in vain for any meaning to it. So, many conclude that there is no higher purpose than to make life enjoyable for themselves and others.

Some pursue riches and material possessions.

They believe material things will make life happy and pleasant. But then they always want more: a bigger house, newer car, nicer clothes and furniture, etc. They are never satisfied.

All people need some material goods, but is this the highest goal of life?

Some pursue pleasure: entertainment, recreation, travel, etc.

Their goal in life is “fun, fun, fun.” “Wine, women, and song” (or “drugs, alcohol, and free love”). “Be a party animal.” “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

This philosophy is emphasized by modern entertainment. It is the beer-commercial mentality: “You only go around once, so reach for all the gusto you can.” “It doesn’t get any better than this!” One of them even names its beer “High Life.” But does life really not have any better purpose than to booze it up?

Many modern entertainers have achieved “the high life” to the ultimate, but are they happy? If so, why are so many of them plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, mental breakdowns, early deaths, and suicide?

Is that really a satisfying life?

Some pursue education.

They want to accumulate knowledge and worldly wisdom. Like the Athenians, they spend their time in nothing else than to hear or tell some new thing.

In all these areas, there may be some wholesome activities that may have some benefit. But is there really no higher goal in life than these? Whatever benefits they activities provide are temporary and incomplete at best. No matter how much you have, you always want more.

In fact, modern Americans have achieved these goals to a degree beyond the imagination of most people of the world and of history. We have gadgets and toys, houses and lands, college degrees, and every kind of entertainment imaginable. But do you see evidence that Americans in general are truly satisfied with life? Society is filled with crime, broken relationships, mental illness, addiction, and unhappiness. Politicians profess to see “crises” on every hand.

Many people in the world never achieve these goals. And those who do achieve them are still looking for the purpose of life. There must be something more.

The Bible Teaches the True Purpose of Life

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; 12:13,14

The author experienced every enjoyment of life that some people pursue: wealth, pleasure, and education as great as anyone who ever lived. Did it satisfy? What was his conclusion? It was all “vanity and vexation of spirit” (2:11). The earthly pursuits that most people emphasize simply do not satisfy in the end.

What is the real purpose of life? “Fear God and keep His commands” (12:13). God created man, because He had a purpose for us to accomplish. And He designed us so that, unless we fulfill that purpose, we have no real sense of accomplishment. Instead we create problems for ourselves.

What would happen if you tried to bake lasagna in the clothes dryer? What if you tried to run your car on Jell-O instead of gasoline? What if you tried to eat with a shovel and pitchfork instead of spoon and fork? What if you tried to mow your lawn with fingernail clippers?

Problems often result when things are created for one purpose, but we try to use them for a completely different purpose. Likewise, our lives are not satisfactory when we do not accomplish the purpose we were<b ‘mso-bidi-font-weight:=”” normal’=””> created for.

Matthew 6:19-21,24,33

Our main concern in life must be to work in God’s kingdom and have a right relationship with Him. Other concerns may have some value but are far less important.

Note v24. You can have only one master. You cannot put two things in first place in your life. God requires that serving Him must be the most important thing in life to us. Each of us must make a choice. Either God will be first, or something else will be first.

Matthew 22:36-39

The most important work God intends for us to accomplish life is to love God and love our fellowman.

John 14:15 – But love for God requires us to obey Him (1 John 5:2,3).

1 Corinthians 14:37 – God’s commands are revealed in the Bible.

Lasting fulfillment in life comes only from obeying God’s word and thereby serving God and man. We will not discuss here all that is involved in serving God, but we simply emphasize the importance of understanding our purpose in life. Until you understand the teaching of the Bible, you do not really understand the purpose of life.

(See also 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Luke 12:15-21.)


III. Question #3: Where Are You Going?


Do you understand what comes after death? You may or may not feel that your life on earth is secure, but what happens when you die? What will your destiny be when life is over?

Many People Are Confused or Unsure about What Comes after Death.

We can be certain that death is coming. We may not like it, but death is a fact of life.

* Sometimes people contract cancer or heart disease that is diagnosed as terminal. But, “Life is a terminal disease.” No one stays here permanently.

* Criminals are sometimes given a death sentence for their crimes. But we all live under a death sentence!

* In college a hippie type roomed in the same house I did. He subscribed to Time magazine, and one day when the mail came we kidded him saying, “Your Time has come!” He became upset. But sooner or later, for every one of us, “Your time will come.”

Death is uncertain only in that we do not know when or how it will come. But there can be no doubt that it will come.

Death is sad and fearful for many because they do not know what lies beyond. Or worse yet, they do know and are not ready to face it! Sooner or later, we all must face death. What then?

Science does not even try to answer this question! Philosophers or religious leaders sometimes speculate that we cease to exist at death or that we will be reincarnated. But they have no proof.

Here is another major question of life for which, apart from the Bible, you cannot know the real answer.

The Bible Tells Us What Follows Death.

Hebrews 9:27 – It is appointed to man once to die, then comes the judgment. Jesus may come before we die; but if we die first, we will be raised from the dead when He returns. Either way, we will face God and be judged for our lives, good or bad.

Someday, God will hold every one of us accountable for whether or not we have accomplished the purpose for which He created us. [John 5:28,29; Ecclesiastes 12:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10]

Matthew 25:31-46 – At judgment, the righteous will inherit the kingdom prepared for them by God (v34). This is eternal life (v46). The wicked will go into eternal fire (v41). This is eternal punishment (v46).

Romans 2:6-11 – What determines the reward we receive? Our works. We receive wrath if we work evil and do not obey truth. We receive eternal life if we continue to work good. Our eternal destiny depends on whether or not we accomplish our Maker’s purpose!

You may ask, “How do you know we don’t cease to exist after death? How do you know we won’t be reincarnated? How do you know we will be raised and judged?”

Acts 17:30,31 – We can know what comes after death because Someone has already died and come back to tell us what comes after death. In fact, He will be the One to judge our lives! [1 Cor. chap. 15]

The resurrection of Jesus, the miracles of the Bible, and the fulfilled prophecy of Scripture are the proofs that the Bible is from God. If the Bible is from God, then we can be sure it tells us the origin and purpose of life and our destiny after life.

It’s Not Good to Be Alone

“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone’ ” Genesis 2:18While reading through the creation narratives in Genesis for the umpteenth time, I was struck by God’s commentary on Adam being alone in the garden. What caught my attention was the observation God made after each stroke of his creative power: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Until, that is, He made Adam. At that point, something was not good: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So He fixed it and did somethingreally good—He made Eve!A couple of thoughts race through my brain at this point. I couldn’t agree more with God’s assessment—man needs woman! Left to ourselves we would be more like untamed savages than decent, sensitive specimens of humanity. I have no idea how off track my life might be if my wife Martie had not come along. She is a consistent check to my social insensitivities, to my self-serving male perspectives on life, to what color combinations work and which ones don’t, and to making life better for our kids and grandkids. To say nothing of her sensitive heart toward God that stimulates me to want to serve and follow Him with greater enthusiasm. Thankfully, for all of us guys, God didn’t get carried away with how good it all was but saw the single flaw and did something to save the world from men left to themselves!Bravo for that stroke of creative genius. As the French say, Vive la difference!The other thought that caused me to stop reading long enough to let it sink in, is that being alone is not a good thing for anyone. God made us in His image—which means that we, like Him, are relational beings. In the beginning, it was a literal paradise of fulfilling relationships as God in an unhindered way walked with Adam and Eve in the garden and they enjoyed the fullest experience of intimacy with each other. So, where did loneliness come from? How did the demon of loneliness that haunts many of our hearts today alienate us from the others that we so desperately need?I want to be clear here and admit that loneliness isn’t always brought on by us or our choices. So this is not a guilt trip. But as the story unfolds, we see the damage of alienation haunting the landscape of life. Adam and Eve hide from God out of fear of getting caught, and Adam blames Eve for his disobedience, which clearly drives a wedge into their flawless intimacy. And the deep fellowship on every satisfying level is now replaced by alienation, blame, distrust, and shame.

Which leaves me wondering, how could people who had it so good end up with everything so out of sync? It all started going south when Eve believed that to live for herself and her own gain was more important than living to love God and Adam. And to make matters worse, Adam followed suit.

The lesson here is huge. Living for what’s “best for me,” while ignoring the needs, wishes, and interests of others always brings alienation and aloneness.

Thank God that He has made a way for us to restore relationships and to recapture a portion of the intimacy of Eden. When we follow the way of Jesus and live to love and serve others, aloneness gives way to intimacy and our self-serving acts of alienation dissolve into a bonding that gets us wonderfully stuck on each other again.

And guys, that should probably start with us since it’s not a good thing for us to be alone!

Stories of Faith

 

 

Stories of Faith

History has provided us with thousands of stories of God’s people down the ages who have faced death with an unshakeable faith and a triumphant spirit. What follows are fifty such stories from the many I have gathered over the years. Though this may seem excessive, they are all stories worth telling and preserving for posterity. Though notproving the existence of life after death they certainly give us ample indications of the truth of the gospel. The power of the gospel often shines brightest at such times. More than that, such stories offer us lots of encouragement to so live our lives that when the end of our existence here comes upon us, and in whatever manner it comes, we may also be ready for our homecoming. The Bible associates concepts such as suffering, a bitter taste, bondage, fear, agony, emnity and corruption with death (Hebrews 2:9, 14, 15; Acts 2:24; 1 Corinthians 15:26, 53, 54). As these stories indicate, Jesus offers us an alternative.

Jesus calls us not only to live well, but also to die well. In fact, our death can even be an act of worship, offering up our lives to God in death as we have in life. Paul regarded it as such. In the Old Testament, when a sacrifice was made, a drink offering or libation of oil or wine might be poured over it. This completed the offering. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says, “Your faith in the Lord and your service are like a sacrifice offered to him. And my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice. If this happens, I will be glad and rejoice with you” (2:17). Esther Popel, in October Prayer wrote:

CHANGE ME, oh God,

Into a tree in autumn.

And let my dying

Be a blaze of glory!

When Charles Simeon, the influential vicar of Trinity Church in Cambridge, was dying, someone bathed his eyes and asked if he was relieved. Opening them and looking up to heaven, he said, “Soon they will behold all the glorified saints and angels around the throne of my God and Saviour, who has loved me unto death, and given Himself for me; then I shall see Him whom, having not seen, I love; in whom, though now I see Him not, yet believing I rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” [1 Peter 1:8]. Then turning his eyes towards his friend, he added, “Of the reality of this I am as sure as if I were there this moment.”

Sometime later, though suffering much, he said, “My principles were not founded on fancies or enthusiasm; there is a reality in them, and I find them sufficient to support me in death.” [24]


The last words of Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher, were, “Oh, wifie, I have had such a blessed time with my Lord.”


When D. L. Moody, the American evangelist, was dying, his son was at his bedside and heard him say in slow and measured words, “Earth recedes: heaven opens before me.” His son’s impulse was to arouse him from what he thought was a dream. “No, this is no dream, Will,” he said. “It is beautiful!…If this is death, it is sweet!…God is calling me and I must go.”

Later he exclaimed, “This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years.” Then his face lit up, and he said joyfully, “Dwight! Irene! I see the children’s faces!” referring to his two grandchildren, whom God had taken home within the past year. Again he said later, “This is my coronation day! It’s glorious!” [25] 


Frances Havergal, the well-known blind hymn-writer, died on 3 June, 1879. When her family could see the end was near, her sister Ellen recited Jesus I will Trust Thee, and Frances “clearly but faintly sang the whole verse, to her own tune Hermas. Then she was desperately sick again, and lay back murmuring, “There now it is all over! Blessed rest!”

“And now,” wrote Maria, “she looked up steadfastly as if she saw the Lord…for ten minutes we watched that almost visible meeting with her King, and her countenance was so glad, as if she were already talking to him. Then she tried to sing, but after one sweet high note, ‘He…’ her voice failed, and she passed away. Our precious sister was gone—satisfied, glorified—within the palace of her King!”


George Mueller, the orphanage builder and philanthropist, told of a Boston merchant, Mr Cobb, who declared on his deathbed:

It is a glorious thing to die. I have been active and busy in the world. I have enjoyed as much as anyone. God has prospered me. I have property enough, but how small and mean does this world appear on a sick-bed! Nothing can equal my enjoyment in the near view of heaven. My hope in Christ is worth infinitely more than all other things. The blood of Christ—the blood of Christ—none but Christ! Oh, how thankful I feel that God has provided a way that I, sinful as I am, may look forward with joy to another world, through his dear Son.

From: Christianity.co.nz