Ten Key Questions About Life
This study is dedicated to developing a Biblical world view by "girding up" or sharpening our minds with ten key questions about life. These are: What is man?; What is the real meaning of life?; How am I to make moral choices?; What is truth?; What is love and where can it be found?; Why is there suffering and how can we live with it?; What is death?; What hope is there for the human race?; What is real?; Is there any hope in fighting evil and injustice?
What Is Man?
What Is The Meaning Of Life?
How Are We To Make Moral Choices?
Is It Possible To Know The Truth About Ourselves And The Universe?
What Is Love And Where Can It Be Found?
Why Is There Suffering And How Can We Live With It?
What Is Death And How Are We To Face It?
What Hope Is There For The Human Race?
What Is Real?
Can Evil Be Defeated?
What Is The Meaning Of Life?
by: Allan Turner
The Bible says, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Ted Turner, playboy, T.V. mogul, and entrepreneur extraordinary, says, “Christianity is a religion for losers. I don't want anybody to die for me. I've had a few drinks and a few girl friends, and if that's gonna put me in hell, then so be it” (quoted in World, November 11, 1989, page 4). Actually, Ted Turner, the consummate humanist, does not even believe in God. If he did, he would believe in Jesus Christ (cf. John 8:42-47). Furthermore, Ted Turner does not believe in hell. If he did, he would not think a few drinks and a few girl friends to be worth spending an eternity there.
What we have here are two points of view, two mind-sets, two world views: One speaks of duty, the other speaks of license; one says that man is amenable to God and, therefore, obligated to keep His commandments, the other says man is completely autonomous and free to do exactly as he wishes; one is predicated on the truth that there is more to living than man's physical existence (i.e., “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27), the other on the basis that man's physical existence is all there is (i.e., “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,’” I Corinthians 15:32); one point of view represents a theistic or Biblical world view, and the other exemplifies an atheistic or humanistic world view.
Which world view is right? Is there really a God, a Supreme Being, a Creator? Is man just physical, or does he have a spiritual dimension? Is there life beyond the grave? Are heaven and hell factual, or are they simply the figments of deluded minds? Does life have meaning and purpose, or is man a chance collocation of atoms with no reason for being? How you answer these questions determines what you think about the point of man's existence and the meaning of life.
The Biblical world view pictures time (history) as the arena in which God and His judgments meet the obedience or rebellion of man. Consequently, history (time) is important or meaningful. Traditionally, in Western culture, with its Biblical underpinnings, events in time (history) have always been highly valued. It is only recently, as Western civilization continues to move further away from the truths taught in the Bible, that the value of time has been perverted. Modern evolutionary thought (namely, The General Theory of Evolution) is to blame for such a perversion. To the evolutionists, time, like matter, is eternal. Consequently, the atheistic, humanistic mind-set does not see time as the arena in which God and His judgments meet the obedience or rebellion of man. Instead, time becomes the vehicle of salvation. In other words, evolutionists, like humanists, Marxists, and other of similar ilk, view history as “the whole show.”
Such relativistic views of time always define history as a “closed system.” Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd expressed it like so: “History has no windows looking out into eternity. Man is completely enclosed in it and cannot elevate himself to a supra-historical level of contemplation. History is the be-all and end-all of man's existence and of his faculty of experience. And it is ruled by destiny, the inescapable fate.”
As we said previously, one with a Biblical world view knows that history is important, but it is not a god to be bowed down to and worshiped. Unfortunately, history has become an idol in the mind of humanistic man. Values, according to this way of thinking, are nothing more than “historical facts” that chart a course of the development of human reason. Whatever the human sentiments are at any given time become the laws which govern that situation. Rejecting, as they do, the “Law above the law” concept, humanists have bowed themselves in worshipful obeisance to history. History, as the only true absolute, has been enthroned as Lord of the Universe. Accordingly, Oswald Spengler, in his monumental interpretation of Western civilization, The Decline Of The West, closed his two volume book of doom and gloom with this statement: “We have not the freedom to reach to this or to that, but the freedom to do the necessary or to do nothing. And a task that historic necessity has set will be accomplished with the individual or against him.”
It is this philosophy or world view that is currently causing our Constitution to be interpreted by jurists who believe law to be nothing more than the sentiments of the moment. For example, back in June 1972, one hundred and eighty-one years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, in Furman vs. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court “discovered” that capital punishment was unconstitutional. According to the court, capital punishment was a violation of the “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibition of the Eighth Amendment. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has since reversed itself, but that such an interpretation is clearly erroneous can be seen when one considers that the Sixth Amendment, which was adopted at the same time as the Eighth, mentions “capital, or otherwise infamous crime.” Furthermore, by such jurists, a “right” to abortion has somehow been found in that same Constitution. Both liberal and conservative constitutional scholars agree that such a right is nothing more than the sentiments of the judges who “discovered” it. The truth is that abortion is no more a constitutional right than was the unthinkable thought among the Founding Fathers that a mother should be allowed to abort her unborn child. In reality, the Constitution has not changed, only the sentiments of those who interpret it.
Likewise, homosexuality, traditionally thought to be a perversity in Western society, is now being touted as a “viable alternate lifestyle.” The growing sentiment in favor of homosexuality is already being translated into law. Soon, if present trends continue, homosexuality will be perfectly legal, a “right” to be protected by the Constitution. Time has evolved public sentiment toward acceptance of homosexuality; therefore, history, the Lord of the universe, now demands that law reflect that sentiment. This ought not to be!
Each day our society enforces some new sentiment. Even the family, the very backbone of our society, is currently being redefined. The traditional family, we are being told by the social engineers, is a relic of the past and must be eliminated in favor of something more modern. In their book, The Feminization Of America, which is subtitled, How Women's Values Are Changing Our Public And Private Lives, Elinor Lenz and Barbara Myerhoff make their ideas on this subject very clear. Writing about the “blended” or “mine, yours, and ours” families of modern America, they said: “Although it will be some years before research on these new family constellations can yield definitive information, some child psychologists and family therapists are making educated guesses that the children growing up in these families, because of their experience with diffuse affectional ties, will have an easier time with personal relationships in their adult lives than the children of nuclear families.” They go on to say: “The family today is in an unstable, transitional phase as it struggles in a time of flux to break out of the ancient tribal system of clannish, binding kinship ties, an arrangement based on physical and psychological dependency and a narrowing down of the social group—the ‘restricted family,’ as anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss terms it. But as the rigid and arbitrary forms of the past are rejected in favor of more open, balanced, and creative styles of living together, the family's redefinition and reshaping reflect our changing lives and our everlasting need for nourishing, supportive relationships.”
These trends are disturbing to the Bible believer, and you may be asking yourself, “Can we really do anything about them?” When we start asking this question, our enemy is very close to winning the battle. He's about to win because he has cunningly seduced us. Let me explain. When we mention traditional values or speak of the way things used to be, we frequently hear someone say, “You can't turn back the clock,” or “You're just going to have to learn to adapt to the times.” People who think this way view history as a closed system that's moving in an inevitable direction. To them, the values of the past represent archaic (out-dated) thinking, while current trends are identified as modern (inevitable) thinking. To these who bow at the totem of history, historical trends must not be challenged. This “Que Sera, Sera” or “What will be, will be” syndrome uses time as a very seductive metaphor, and if we are not careful, those of us who would not ever think of bowing to history as the Lord of the universe can be trapped into believing a shrewdly devised deception. Remember, the devil is quite cunning (II Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11).
When we speak of the destruction of traditional values and declining morality, instead of allowing the enemy to trick us into using a time metaphor, we should be insisting on the use of a space metaphor. For example, if one were attempting to follow a road to a desired destination and came to a detour in the road, and upon taking the detour found himself up to his neck in muck and mire, but because he believed “One can't turn back the clock,” he continued on until he disappeared under the ooze and slime, we would certainly think that person a fool.
What is my point? America has taken a detour and has become bogged down in the muck and mire of Hedonism, Materialism, and Humanism. America does not need to be trying to return to some past that never really existed anyway. What America needs to be doing is getting on the right road again. We must understand the spiritual and religious aspects of the current problem. Americans must once again learn to think of time (history) as the arena in which God and His judgments meet the obedience or rebellion of man. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14).
The Bible believers' responsibility is to out-think, out-live, and out-die the pagans. Consequently, Christians are obligated to demolish every argument and pretentious thought process that arrays itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). If our thinking is sloppy and shallow, our actions in life will display the same character. If our minds are fragmented and disjointed, our life will probably be the same. If our thinking is full of errors, then many of our actions are going to be wrong! In other words, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
Man, like time, is not God. He did not create himself, nor did he write the laws of his being. Nevertheless, men and women do make themselves. And as we seriously take ourselves in hand, we begin to discover who we are and what we may become. There is real meaning to life. Man is not, as the materialists tell us, simply the product of random chance. There is more to life than the gratification of the flesh. Man is spiritual, a creation of the Almighty God. How we exercise our free will in regard to God's grace in this time/space continuum determines where we will spend eternity.
Honoring God and keeping His commandments—this is the point of it all! This is the meaning of life! Consequently, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).