WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

by Ernest O'Neill

Review -- We Are Eternal Beings

Program 65

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, 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 place.

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 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, seventy years, sometimes eighty, or in the case of Harold Macmillan, over ninety 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 seventy to a hundred 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 seventy or eighty 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 this deep down in us, there's a feeling 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 seventy to a hundred 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 seventy to a hundred years, but we ourselves feel we were made to live longer than that.

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 these things yourself.

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