Occasionally, a sports commentator will reflect upon the relationships developed among athletes and coaches. They appear to look for something deeper than physicals feats and to a deeper meaning in human relationships. However, beyond human existence, sports have no lasting meaning. The same is true for how many approach life. Many just play life as a game.
Does the universe lack ultimate meaning in the same way? Unless acted upon by a force beyond the universe, the stars will eventually die out and the galaxies will drift into cold dark nothingness forever. Many cannot explain the origin of the universe or appease a meaningless end of life. For the secularist, there is no ultimate meaning of life.
What is the ultimate purpose of life? This question is not about what meaning that someone personally attributes to life, but what is the ultimate purpose of life.
What will make someone happy — friends, money, sleep, good food, sex, and wine? Is there more to life than this? History records a very wise king who had all of these things. He observed, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
What is the meaning of life after death? What lasts after the death of every person anyone has ever loved? What is the meaning of life if life ceases without any ultimate purpose? What meaning is there for having children and their children? Is humanity simply prolonging the inevitable death of everything seeking the right time to euthanize?
Is the sun merely life-support until one day humankind is disconnected? Why are so many so eager to fight climate change and push for social change when humanity will eventually cease to exist on this earth?
As people look off into such a vast proposal of meaninglessness, each person looks at their loved ones for more. Humanity lives in just the right place in the universe to ask these questions. Even the universe is set with its cosmological constants that are fine-tuned for human existence neither by chance nor necessity. The earth is in just the right position in the solar system for life to exist. The solar system is in the right position in the galaxy for life to exist and observe the cosmos. The galaxy appears ideally placed from the center of the expanding universe. There is hope for human existence on earth like the twinkle of the pupil of the universe.
Longing for More
The human experience longs for something more as though something is missing without an ultimate purpose for life. Does life have a lasting meaning?
What happens if the cause of the universe can and does still act upon the cosmos and upon life on this small blue planet? Everything that humanity observes in the universe had a beginning and thus a cause. Because the universe began to exist, the universe must have a cause. Furthermore, that cause must exist beyond the universe and its natural laws. The beginning of the universe is beyond the observation of humanity and thus beyond science. As people puzzle over things beyond nature’s universe and wonder over the magnitude and beauty of the cosmos and life on this blue planet, what can humanity expect to find?
The Cause of Everything
If the transcendent cause of the universe is personal and acting upon human existence, what should people expect? This is why so many turn to a personal Creator — God. Should they expect a personal Creator as one who came in the flesh to live as a man to suffer and die? Would the Creator love humanity despite their faults and fallen state? Would the Creator make the world a better place by living and acting among the creation?
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst,” proclaimed Jesus (John 6:35). Jesus revealed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Christ confessed, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Jesus professed that he and God the Father are one (John 10:30).
Jesus proclaimed, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). Jesus invites, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28–30).
The ultimate meaning of life is more than a personal truth. If Jesus is truly the Son of God, then he is true for everyone and so each person must personally address his life, death, and more. The Gospels report of his life and challenge the world to reconsider the ultimate meaning of life. Within the writings and depictions of Christ, the Gospels offer answers to life’s ultimate meaning.
A Life Worth Saving
What purpose does God have for humanity? God has formed every one of us from conception within the womb (Ps 139:13–15; Jer 1:5). God knows the number of hairs upon every head (Luke 12:6–7). God created all things for Christ (Col 1:16–17). The whole of humanity’s existence is to find God who is not far from anyone (Acts 17:26–27; Rom 1:18–20). By knowing God, humanity comes to know the purpose of life. If there is no ultimate meaning to life, then there is no God. However, God exists. Therefore, there is ultimate meaning to life.
God loves humanity so much that He gave His Son to die for all to save them from justice in the form of eternal condemnation (John 3:16). The apostle Paul declared, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:8). Furthermore, Paul revealed, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). All people feel guilt for doing wrong — evil. For this reason, God sent His Son. Through His Son, all people can have forgiveness of sin. God loves you.
The Christian message is the gospel. Of first important of the gospel is the saving message Jesus’s death, burial, and rising alive from death (1 Cor 15:1–4). Those who are saved have believed and conformed to Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. The apostle Paul depicted, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). Furthermore, Paul explained,
having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, (Col 2:12–13).
By Jesus’s sacrifice, burial, and rising to life again, God saves by grace through faith raising alive believers into new life — a most meaningful life looking forward to eternal life.
In the Fullness of Time
The apostle Paul revealed that God chose according to the purpose of His will to save the faithful in Christ Jesus as He makes them holy and blameless. God decided to save the faithful in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:1–6). God’s purpose for humanity glorifies His grace. God set forth these things in accordance with His purpose. Therefore, God set forth Christ. Christ is God’s plan for the fullness of time to unite all thing in Himself. Thereby, in God’s plan, He redeemed through His blood and forgave trespasses by His grace (Eph 1:7–10). Now, humanity can have joy in life from love. Humanity can look forward toward eternity and find ultimate meaning in this life for their loved ones and themselves.
Life has meaning only in the morally perfect Creator. God is the source of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:20–21). The Christian hymn “Because He Lives” reflects,
Because He Lives God sent His Son, They called Him Jesus, He came to love, heal, and forgive; He lived and died To buy my pardon, An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know, He holds the future, And life is worth the living just because He lives.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:8).
Reflection of Self
What is the point of living another day as though God does not exist? Without God, the beginning and end of life have no meaning, and in between, nothing really matters. What would anyone give for one’s soul (Matt 16:26)? How can anyone remember one’s experiences if that person will one day no longer exist? If there is no existence after this life, then there are no memories and life’s experiences are ultimately pointless (Eccl 1:11).
What matters if people fill their lives with charitable experiences and ethical conduct? Remove all these things, and suddenly, life has no meaning –- without God. What difference will ethical behavior have after death?
What is a person with a family, career, recreation, and yet without God? Without God, life is meaningless and absurd. Without God, there is no ultimate standard of good and evil to make sense of life. This is why humanity turns to God.
The apostle John revealed, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Jesus expressed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6).