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The Meaning of Life


Perhaps the most disturb­ing issue to any human being is that life is without significance. Many at some time or other have probably pon­dered over this. in the ensuing search for meaning, some become disillusioned with themselves and the things that they have done. Others have seemingly found a purpose for living but at the dusk of their lives often reach the gloomy conclusion of meaningless. These thoughts have pro­pelled many to religious, driven others on the road to escapism, and, more sadly - forced some to suicide. Are there any real answers?

Suppose one says that human existence is accidental and ran­dom, because it can­not be explained. Suppose one says that the destiny of life is death, because it seems an undeniable fact. Then, this exis­tence is nothing more than vanity, and it would he illogical to believe that human beings can lead a purposeful life. Yet, many still struggle, long and labor to find significance. Why?

Perhaps religion can provide some answers. Indeed, if a religion calls itself as such, it must. For what good can a religion bring if it only outlines moral principles but fails to enlighten those who are puzzled by the questions of “existence” and “death”? Is there significance at all? Where is meaning? What is the way to subdue the fear that human beings may hopelessly tread from one horrifying nihilistic pole to the other - what is life and death? The answered questions more often hide the true essence of life. In view of this, it is necessary to look for a religion that gives the answers. A correct view would be able to both explain the source of life and provide solutions to the human search for meaning, which persists in the face of the seeming reality and finality of death.

The Christian faith poses the same ques­tions of meaning (Matt 16:26) and answers them. It proclaims a life that does possess the highest sort of meaning: beyond this physical life lies the Kingdom of God to be inherited which is characterized by the abiding presence of God.

Jesus has prescribed a pattern for all to be saved (Rom 6:17, 18), that is to be born of water and the spirit (Jn 3:3, 5, 7; Tit 3:5). Jesus’ in-depth exposi­tion of being born again does it underscore, to reinforce the direct relationship of these two issues into the kingdom of God. He would not say something insignificant at a critical moment to an old man (Nicodemus) who was risking his own life to see Him. The Pharisees would persecute him if they knew he was with Jesus. The emphasis “truly, truly”, which He placed before “unless one is born of water and the spirit” confirms that to be born has a direct relationship to salvation.

However even if Christianity provides the solution, there is no guarantee that Christians could live on meaningfully and joyously. To only confess that Jesus is Lord does not make life meaningful, but conforming to the will of God does (Mt 17:21). Thus, the significance of life begins at the juncture of being born again, which essentially produces the eternal hope of bliss. But hope may turn to hopelessness, if faith vanishes. To put it in another way, the initial faith in God’s words is not enough to ensure contin­uous significance of life unless it is kept to the end (Heb 3:14). A sudden loss of significance in an already Christian life is possible and it is a terrifying prospect. It would be even more meaningless for one who knew and kept God’s will to turn away from Him later, than for those who do not know Him (2 Pet 2:20-21). Such a person knows the beginning and the end and yet uncontrollably lets what is precious slip pass him. This is indeed pitiful. Even in the True Jesus Church, a person’s life can be robbed of signif­icance if he does not keep the will of God or preserve his zeal in the Lord to the end (cf. Heb 10:38-39). So, faith and determination to cling on to Him continu­ously (1 Pet 1:5) are necessary and the hope of secur­ing a place in Heaven is what makes life purposeful.

In short, the meaning of life begins with the understanding of the origin of life and its end. A religion that cannot provide this understanding does not paint a clear picture of life. Christians, members of other religions, or atheists alike, must have this answer, or this present life is without meaning. The question on “existence” and “death” must be answered, and the life after death secured.