I don’t usually get questions. It surprised me to see the notification appear on my screen. It was a doozy, too, taking a bit of time to work through. When I finished, I could see how timely and applicable it was for you guys. I asked permission to use it in a post and was given it, so here you go…
Why can’t we have true meaning apart from God? Why is it that subjective meaning can’t be totally fulfilling?
You’re welcome.I put a lot of thought and prayer into your questions and this is what I have for you.First, we have to define meaning. Dictionary.com’s second definition for it is “the end, purpose, or significance of something. Then we have to ask where meaning comes from. To find the answers to your questions, we have to look at the questions that shape everyone’s worldview, at least two of them:Where did we come from?
Why are we here?Starting with where did we come from. Is everything here because of an accident, created, or has it always been here? The Standard Cosmological Model (Big Bang) indicates there is a beginning. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics informs us there is a finite amount of energy present in the universe and it’ll run out as the stars burn out. This rules out ‘always there’, leaving accident or creation.The fine tuning of the universe and appearance of design implies an intelligent, creative mind at work. That’s on a universal scale, and can be brought to the level of the planet. The same things are apparent here. The world is a wonder.So if it’s all created, why did it choose to create to start with? A choice was made. If it’s big enough to create a universe as massive as this one, it certainly didn’t need us. It’s the beginning glimmer of significance and meaning.Why are we here? There are billions of people, countless trees, animals, viruses, bacteria, life in general. What makes us different? Are we special in some way?If we are the results of random acts of nature, then we have no eternal or significant meaning. At the least it would be to propagate the species with our genetic code. The most would be a legacy, likely forgotten in 100 years, unless it really impacts the world like Galileo, Jesus, or Plato did. Even then, can you ask a random person on the street and get a true answer of what they did or who they were?I argue otherwise in Walking, Talking Miracles. I included the link and attached a picture of the infographic I used showing the odds of any human being born. I think we all are designed for a purpose. Discovering You: Finding Out What Makes You Tick is the short e-book I published going into that. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Consider this, when you are successful, do you feel fulfilled? Or want more, setting the bar higher? If failing that, have you failed at being significant?Looking at how we are made, designed, which points to a purpose; we can say to ourselves “when I ___________, I feel God’s pleasure.The problem with subjectivity is that it’s a matter of perspective. Meaning sits on a foundation of shifting sand. Subjective significance has its place, just not above the eternal one.Made in the image of God, which gives human life its intrinsic value. Made for relationship with Him. If you’re a follower of Christ, then you have that relationship as an adopted child of God. Which cannot be taken from you.Under that, you can be a good person, great dad, loyal, helping others, etc., all of it significant and affecting lives. It will be your legacy on earth. But without God, it’ll fade away. With Him, during the final judgment, we’ll be rewarded for the good we did (store up treasures in heaven), and it’ll have an eternal significance and meaning as well our place with God as his child.I hope this answered the question and I didn’t get too wordy. My friends tell me I have that tendency.
The thing about being questioned is it forces you back up your answer. You claim the answer, but have to build reasons to support it or else it falls apart.
The question points towards the value of life as well. I firmly believe that a lot of our problems today come from the cheapened, devaluation of life that sees people as objects for pleasure or gain. Placed there to make you happy rather than having any value in and of themselves.
Chew on this for a few days and look at the world through the lens of this post, see how it fits, and where it doesn’t. Reasonable comments welcome.