Tough Questions Answered

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What Is the Meaning of Life?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

This is the one of the most basic and fundamental questions that every human being must come to grips with, or waste their lives away.  If you don’t know what the end goal of your earthly existence is, you will drift like a boat without a rudder on the high seas of life.  You will chase one thing after another, never making any progress, because progress implies that there is something to progress to.

The Christian answer to this question is powerful and compelling.  Recently, as I was reading philosopher Peter Kreeft’s little book, Prayer For Beginners What Is the Meaning of Life?, I came upon Kreeft’s wording of the Christian answer to the meaning of life.  Prayer, Kreeft explains, is a necessary activity for attaining the meaning of life.  In this context, he explains what the meaning of life is:

Becoming saints is the meaning of life.  It is why we exist.  It is why God created us.  It is the reason he banged out the Big Bang, . . . and why he providentially provided this one perfect planet, and why he breathed his Spirit into the Adam he formed out of its dust, and why he does the same to every baby conceived, and why he prepared a chosen people, and sent prophets among them, and finally came down from Heaven into a mother and a manger and a Cross, and was forsaken by God so that we need never be forsaken, and rose again, and sent his Spirit to haunt our hearts—all this stupendous effort was for one end: to make saints, to make little Christs, to give his Son brothers and sisters.

The whole universe is a saint-making machine.  And prayer is the fuel that powers it.  He was not called “Jesus” (Savior) merely because he was to save us from the punishment for our sins; he was called “Jesus” “for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).  His purpose was not just to make us safe but to make us saints.  Prayer is our first step in becoming saints.

The meaning of life is to become like Christ, to become a saint.  It is not to become wealthy, it is not to gain honor before other men, it is not to become famous, it is not to gain power over other humans, it is not to seek bodily health so that we can live longer, it is not to revel in fleshly pleasures.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Heb 12:1-2


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Comments

  • Boz

    Bill Pratt, maybe you could do a follow-up post on this topic:

    What Is the Meaning of Life? The Christian answer to this question is XXXX.

    XXXX is true because …………..

  • Ggodat

    Boz,

    What do you think the meaning of YOUR life is? Without a God do you really think that anything you do has any bearing on the future? Even if you were to find the cure for cancer all people would still die and the cure to cancer would infinitely be meaningless.

    Sadly, it seems what you ascertain to be the meaning of your life is to battle Christians daily. I still have no idea why any self-respecting atheist would waste 5 minutes on this blog. Do you also spend as much time on Sasquatch blogs trying to debunk them? If not, why not? There is far less evidence for Sasquatches than there is for God. Youshould spend more time debating Sasquatch and unicorn apologists. It would be a far greater use of your invaluable time…

  • Andrew Ryan

    “Even if you were to find the cure for cancer all people would still die and the cure to cancer would infinitely be meaningless”

    It’s you who sounds nihilistic here, not the atheists. You think it’s utterly pointless to try to relieve human suffering? I hope you don’t work in any of the caring professions!

    If this life is all we have, I think you’d agree that makes it MORE precious, not less. Can you think of any commodity that become less valuable when it becomes scarcer? I’m guessing you don’t work in any of the financial professions either.

    I don’t know about Boz, but I see myself as performing a public service posting here. I’m doing my bit to make the world a better place by increasing truth and decreasing falsehood. Though you probably don’t understand why that is a good thing…

  • Ggodat

    If this life is all i have then i really dont care about anybody else’s suffering. And if you were a true atheist you would agree. After you die nothing you did will have any relevance on humanity. All life will cease to exist.

    The difference between you and Christians is that we know there is something after this physical life and our lives have a purpose on earth greater than relieving suffering. Suffering will continue on this earth as long as it is around but my home knows no suffering. My home is wrapped in truth. This earth only knows lies.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “If this life is all i have then i really dont care about anybody else’s suffering”

    If you make caring about the suffering of others conditional on the existence of a God, then you never really cared about others either way – God or no God. I pity your family, for you obviously think little of them.

    “And if you were a true atheist you would agree”

    I might as well say if you truly followed the teachings of Christ then you’d see relieving suffering as being an inherent good. And you clearly don’t.

    “The difference between you and Christians is that we know…”

    I don’t think this word ‘know’ means what you think it means.

  • Ggodat

    If there is no moral law definer then there is NO MORAL LAW! It’s as simple as that. Absolute morality cannot be scientifically explained, ever! It cannot be evolutionary (which by the way has no scientific proof either) because then all morals are just subjective. If no God, then no morals and then “I don’t care about the suffering of others”. You just don’t get it. I pity your family because you have led them down a hole of destruction. It’s bad enough to ensure your own damnation but to do that to your family is inexcusable.

    But i guess you show your caring by supporting the murdering of 53M+ babies in the last 40 years. What a love…

  • Anonymous

    I do not think it means what you think it means:

  • Anonymous

    And here I was assured that the meaning of life is 42.

    What chance does the infant born with encephalitis have of becoming a saint? The children drowned by tsunami, crushed under ruble, infected by parasites and ravaged by debilitating disease? Of what use is the suffering of life in the animal kingdom through starvation and predation? This trivial answer about meaning is incoherent when faced with ALL of life on this planet; one must see the world only through anthro-centric glasses shaped by a universe sized arrogance to honestly think life’s meaning – indeed the universe as a whole – has been shaped for this single branch of the primate family living on this speck of cosmic dust.

  • Anonymous

    From Matthew Arnold:

    …. the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
    So various, so beautiful, so new,
    Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
    Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.

  • Andrew Ryan

    So Gogodat, first you say you enjoy the suffering of others, then you say you hate your family and now you say you approve of the murdering of millions of babies. You must be a right laugh at parties!

  • Anonymous

    Ggodat, can you give an example of an absolute moral law? You seem to think that

    a) such a law exists,
    b) is knowable,
    c) underlies morality,
    d) cannot be explained by science
    e) requires a god

    Disbelief equals damnation, which must be moral because…. but god, who causes almost all human abortion, gets a nod of approval for this act because it’s god causing it, and god is moral because god determines what is moral, but if anyone else causes an abortion than damnation is the result because it’s immoral… unless you’re god, in which case its not the act that determines morality but the agency … and around the mulberry bush we go! It’s called Divine Command Theory, by the way, and you can read about why it’s such a moral problem.

    Consider just the problem of suffering and then perhaps you’ll begin to understand just how much effort has gone into trying to understand how you can continue to believe your highly problematic assertions.

  • Ggodat

    I think maybe you shoud go get checked for a stroke…

    So, are you then denying a moral law exists? Please say yes because then I want you to get shredded when you explain to me why the murdering of your entire family would be a bad thing vs. just your opinion. I personally dont believe murder is good. I believe it is objectively morally bad but you cannot have a dog in this fight if you deny a moral law.

    As for God causing almost all human abortions… did you lose your California 420 card or something. Please even try to explain one of the stupidist statements I have ever heard. How does God cause abortions? How do you know He causes them? Are you in a book club together where he revealed this information?

  • Ggodat

    Nice babble, now using science explain to me where exists the origin of the universe, of life, the first apple tree. You can’t. I work for a semiconductor company so “science” isn’t something new to me. We use scientific models to calculate how a device will work under certain voltages and temperatures but they never perform as modeled. All we know is clearly not from science. I know when I’m hungry but science didn’t tell me. I know i’m arguing with a brick wall so i will cease this because it is not worth my time.

  • Anonymous

    About 8 to 20 percent of women who know they are pregnant have a miscarriage some time before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

    If god knows and cares for all (Matt 10:29) then he allows for spontaneous abortions, making him the largest abortion provider on the planet. Of course, I’m quite willing to let him off the hook because I see no reason to think he even exists.

    So I’m waiting on this absolute moral law. You mention murder but I don’t know if you mean this as an example or understand how this tautology (murder means the ‘illegal’ killing of someone) can be linked to your god rather than human rules of acceptable and unacceptable social conduct. I am confident you have the answer to so fully and assuredly inform your opinion on the matter.

  • Anonymous

    All you’re doing is avoiding answering the question of explaining how you know what you say you know. I’m not the guilty party in this avoidance.

  • Ggodat

    All you are doing is avoiding explaining how morality can be objective without a God… or you are denying objective morals which is just lunacy. If I were to punch you in the face i’m sure you would always object…

  • Andrew Ryan

    So you’re saying murder being wrong is both objectively true and somehow also subject to the existence of God? How does that work – if it’s objectively true then it can’t be subject to something else.

  • Ggodat

    You are so wrong! How would you know that it was objectively true unless a pure authoritarian figure deems it true? How otherwise can anything be objective???? Certainly not because you say so… This is just remedial philosophy guys..

  • Andrew Ryan

    You have a fine line in not answering questions. Quite simple here: you’re saying it’s objective but also subject to the existence of a deity – how do you square this contradiction?

  • Ggodat

    ummm, you have a fine line in not answering questions! Again, do you believe in objective morality? If yes please explain using the scientific method where it came from. If you dont, then please agree with me that the killing of your entire family is ok even though your “opinion” may not agree with that….

  • Andrew Ryan

    I don’t even know what you think you mean by ‘objective morality’ as you claim it is dependent on something. Therefore I can’t answer your questions on whether such a thing exists, or whether a particular action would be ‘objectively wrong’ or not – the concept as you hold it appears to be incoherent. So please, again, explain how it is both objective and subjective and then I can answer your question.

  • Ggodat

    You “can’t” answer it because you will paint yourself into a corner! By objective morality i mean something that is wrong in all situations for all societies for all times… e.g. the torture and murder of innocent people. Do you think that murdering innocent people is universally immoral regardless of time and society? If yes, please explain who authored that moral law and by what authority they gave it? If your answer is man or evolution then you refute yourself because the moral law becomes subjective.

    No more rhetoric.. man up and answer the question. And yes, my position is that absolute moral law is dependent on a pure and holy being that has the authority to claim the moral law. Without such a being we are just like the animal kingdom where there is no moral law. The empowered or strongest decide what is best, which is totally subjective.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “And yes, my position is that absolute moral law is dependent on a pure and holy being that has the authority to claim the moral law.”

    Excellent, so you admit you don’t believe it is objective, and is instead dependent. Will give you my answer when I have time, but we’ve now established you don’t believe in objective morality.

    Boom roasted!

    By the way, just google ‘list of transitional fossils’ and get yourself some education.

  • Ggodat

    You are quite the idiot. Objectivity has nothing to do with dependence. The moral law is and ONLY is objective because a pure and holy being with the authority to define it DID! If this authority did not exist THEN THERE NEVER COULD HAVE NOR EVER COULD EXIST A MORAL LAW! Everything would be a value judgment and just your opinion vs. mine.

    As for not answering the question, of course you can’t answer it because you are at least smart enough to know that you can’t make yourself look like a complete fool.

    Seriously Andrew, bring some better intelligence to the table or go back to the beet farm. You’re not even worthy of a “boom roasted” anymore. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Objectivity has nothing to do with dependence? You’re right – that would be subjectivity. You’ve stated several times that your morality is completely dependent and conditional on your God’s say-so. By definition this makes it un-objective. Something cannot be both objective and conditional. All the ad hom’s you care to throw won’t change this simple fact.

    Boom roasted!

  • Ggodat

    ID 10 T

    You just cannot use your brain can you? I guess you then decree that there is no moral law which is objective. You clearly have no recorse to admonish what Stalin, Hitler, Christian Crusades, Mao and others have done in murdering hundreds of millions of people. You can make no claims for good or evil because they do not exist in your pshchotic world. You are an insane person.

  • Ggodat

    PS. You can’t answer the question! Just admit it. There must be a few synapses working in your feeble mind…

  • Matt

    Andrew, you seem to think we subscribe to the divine command theory. This is probably a pearl, but you have to know that God is absolutely constant. His character and ethics don’t change, so His commands are not conditional. If He were but an earthly king, a man whose opinion changes, then our ethics would be conditional upon how the king feels and who is king. The Lord, however, always holds the same things to be right and is always sovereign; no one can depose Him as king of the universe. But God is not interested in destroying his enemies, but reconciling us to him. John 3:16-21
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

  • Andrew Ryan

    Matt, saying God’s commandments don’t change doesn’t solve the problems of Divine Command Theory, and doesn’t avoid the Euthryphro Dilemma.

    That aside, it is Gogodat making his morality conditional. He’s making it conditional on God’s command. By definition it is therefore not objective.

  • Anon

    Bill, you are dangerously close to becoming the second Orthodox convert on this site if you keep thinking this way…

  • DonS.

    Thank you Bill for providing a wonderful revelation on the meaning of life. Peter Kreeft has summed up what I long sensed to be the meaning of life but couldn’t express myself in words.

  • DonS

    Like Boz you have some strange need to battle Christianity. If you think you’re performing a “public service” as you say you’re highly dilusional and very needy. Your rantings here on a Christian blog reveals a deep psychological problem.

    Maybe go to an atheist website where you can provide your public service – not here.

  • Andrew Ryan

    A content-less moan from you, DonS, that makes no attempt to actually counter anything I said.

    And you think it’s ‘needy’ to attempt to improve the world? Quite the opposite.

  • Andrew Ryan

    DonS, do you really see nothing worth arguing against when you hear a Christian like Ggodat say: “If this life is all i have then i really dont care about anybody else’s suffering.”

    Do you back up that statement? Do you think that’s a good attitude?

  • Alex

    “Becoming saints is the meaning of life. It is why we exist. It is why God created us.”

    Sometimes I just have a hard time with these explanations. I mean, Christ’s main reason for having to come to earth was to redeem mankind right? So, is he saying that God created man so that we could NEED to become saints, instead of just making saints in the first place? I just don’t get this reasoning. Also, is this a desire of God’s – to have a bunch of little saints running around? Or is it that God thinks he is giving us what we want- that somehow, before being created, we had a desire to be created, go through human life, and eventually become a little saint? You know, I have read a lot about the free-will debate – that without free will we would be like robots. But, if we believe that God created us and placed us in a giant “saint-making machine” – where becoming a saint is more or less a game of chance, I guess we are more like characters in a video game than robots. Still, it’s not a very encouraging picture for me.

    I much prefer – God created you and gave you a heart so that you could chose your heart’s desire and learn how to achieve it while working in harmony with your fellow man.
    I can already hear it – “and God made your heart’s desire to be with God……” So much for freedom

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