Monday, January 01, 2007

Worldview: Part 2 - Meaning

Sorry for the delay - it was a busy New Year's Eve. But here we go with part 2 of our series on Worldview. If you're just tuning in, you may want to go back and start with the introduction. The last edition dealt with the question: where did we come from? Today's question is: what is the meaning of life?

From a Biblical perspective, the meaning for which we were created springs from our Creator. God made us to have relationship with Him. As Augustine said, "Everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being: You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You."
Throughout Scripture we find many references to the fact that God calls us to co-operate with Him in His plan of redemption. Simply put, the Bible speaks of an originally perfect creation, defined by a deep and loving relationship between God and mankind. This was followed, however, by man's disobedience and rebellion against God, which led the human race into spiritual separation from God. God's ultimate answer to this rebellion was the willing sacrifice of His Son to pay the price for our rebellion, and to satisfy the demands of justice. Jesus Christ became the way back for all of us into relationship with the Creator.
Those who come to God in Christ and are restored to relationship with God become a part of the community called the church. The church has been described by the Apostle Paul as "the Body of Christ." We are His agents in the world, with the expressed purpose of being "ambassadors" for God, helping others to be reconciled to God. As people created in the image of God we are called to reflect His nature by using our creative gifts to make the world a better place. The Bible teaches us that, as Christians, everything we do reflects on God. For that reason, Christians, though not perfect, ought to be exemplary in whatever enterprise they find themselves engaged.
Following a secular worldview would lead to the conclusion that there is ultimately no meaning in life. We are simply here to have a good time while we can. There is no real purpose to help others other than it may make us feel better about ourselves. Some secularists would counter that meaning comes from perpetuating the species and becoming a part of the ongoing process of evolution. But that is only cold comfort when at the end of your life you simply face oblivion and non-existence.
Other religions, such as Hinduism, would tend towards fatalism, as demonstrated in the Indian caste system. According to that religion, you were born as you were as a direct consequence of karma - the cause and effect of how you lived in a previous incarnation. They view it as bad karma to interfere with this process. Therefore, outcasts (lower caste people) in India are unable to rise above their lot in life and are faced with a lifetime of poverty in the hopes that their actions might provide for a better life in their next go-around.
What is your purpose? Is there meaning in your life? Why? All questions worth asking. As Plato said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
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