by Daniel Bailey
originally published in Gospel Power,
Volume 13, Number 15, April 9, 2006
What is the meaning of life? That's a tough question. Millions of people all through the centuries have spent their lives pondering and searching to produce an answer to this fundamental question of human existence. Many philosophies, religions, schools, cults, and other institutions have found foundations purely in speculating the meaning and purpose if there is one, of human life -- a purpose for all the tragedy, suffering, pain, sorrow, happiness, comfort, relief, and joy that comprise the human experience. However, children of God who have faith that God's Word is true and totally sufficient in providing all that we need to know in this life (II Peter 1:3) have a profound advantage over even the most supreme thinkers and philosophers of the ages, because God provides in the Bible the answers to many of life's hardest questions, if we're but willing to read and accept the infinite wisdom of the Lord.
For instance, consider Acts 17:26-28 -- Paul spoke these words while exhorting the philosophers and orators in the midst of the Areopagus in Athens, and audience that spent all their time pondering and questioning new theories and channels of human thought (cf. Acts 17:21): "And God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being..."
Now, that statement actually addresses a lot more than just the question that began this short study, but notice that the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, explains the meaning of life. Why are we here? What is the purpose of human existence? God tells us that He created all nations of all people on the earth so that we might seek Him and reach for Him and, upon finding Him, learn to do His Will. That's a simple answer to what many perceive to be the hardest question of all.
Just so that we don't mistake this to be the only passage with the same explanation for the meaning of life, consider also Ecclesiastes 12, and remember that these words were written by King Solomon, the wise king, Solomon implored the Lord to grant him wisdom and an understanding heart, which he deemed more important than wealth, or longevity, or victory over his enemies (see I Kings 3 and II Chronicles 1). This wise king went on to explore every aspect of life on earth, all its fleeting joys and sorrows, to discover the purpose and meaning of man's existence. Solomon recorded his findings in the book of Ecclesiastes. The conclusion of this great book of wisdom literature, (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14), reads as follows: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; 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 good or evil."
Wise King Solomon found after all his searching that the meaning of life is not in labor, nor wealth, nor fame, nor power, nor physical pleasure, nor pain, nor folly, but the meaning and purpose of life is to fear God and keep His commandments, because this life is but a brief playing field and all our works will come before God to eternal judgment.
No words can describe the blessing that God's Word provides by sufficiently answering the most fundamental questions of life. The choice belongs to the reader: study God's Word and receive it with an open heart to gain faith in God's answers, to live in comfort and hope that cannot be stripped away but the weariness of life; or else refuse the message as too simple or too contrary to modern opinion, and live a life in speculation and vain philosophy with no stability, only faith in the fickle wisdom of men. As Jesus admonished on so many occasions, he who has ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 19:9,14,15).