The Meaning of Life – Is that not the ultimate question? What am I supposed to do in life? What career should I go into? Should I get married and start a family? What am I here for? What is my purpose? Unfortunately the answers to these questions can not be found by plugging them into a search engine or supercomputer (and the answer certainly isn’t 42). I have found myself at one point or another asking all of these questions.
When thinking about how I arrived at answers (or still am searching for them), I am confronted with the reality of how lost I would be if I were not a child of God – if I had no one to pray to for guidance, no Bible to go to direction, no Spirit to lean on for comfort. I would be a complete mess. Where would I be if I rejected the existence of God altogether? The atheist philosopher Julian Baggini said, “Atheists have to live with the knowledge that there is no salvation, no redemption, no second chances. Lives can go terribly wrong in ways that can never be put right.” To live in such despair! Sure, someone who lives without belief in God can attempt to live life with meaning, but where is the source of that meaning? Where is the source of their second chances?
C.S. Lewis, once an atheist himself, said “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” When you are a child of God, you see things differently. It’s like a light has been turned on to things you have never seen before. Atheists, naturalists, scientists, physicists, and others would like to explain things of our world from an evolutionary perspective or by chance or whatever else they would like to call it with all their theories (which by the way are just that – theories), but I see things through a lens of which I can only call my God perspective, because when I look at the wonders of what this world holds, I can only stand in awe of what our God has done for us.
The first reason that I could never be an atheist is what I see in Nature. Selby and I like to hike, and most of our vacations are road trips so we can hike in several different locations along the way as well as our destinations. You can see some of the places we’ve been here: jlselby.smugmug.com . Whenever we go to these places or even to places closer to home, I am astounded by the beauty our earth holds. And to see these locations as the seasons change, with green trees and flowers in bloom in spring and summer, and the beautiful change in colors in autumn, and even the stark contrast of winter where there are no leaves and it seems that you can see for miles. Just the change in seasons – a perfectly timed schedule that creates this beautiful production of color for our eyes to see is enough for me to believe there is a divine Art Designer. But there’s more. You see, we have this magnificent backdrop of rolling hills, mountains, plains, forests, rivers, oceans, and streams on this revolving sphere that we call home. Have you looked recently at the pictures from the Mars Rover? We could live on a planet composed of what looks mostly like desert, but we are privileged to live on a planet that is made up of such beauty that I don’t believe explanations that scientists give us about our earths origins are sufficient – there has to be a divine Set Designer. If not, I think it would be simple enough for our earth to be inhabitable but not beautiful, but God chose to give us beauty as well. Today we went to Pedestal Rocks near Pelsor. If you have never been, the rock formations are amazing. Those huge rocks have been sitting there, being whittled away by wind, water, and debris for many, many years. All I could think of today was – God knew on January 4, 2014, 2nd Baptist would hike to see these rocks, I always forget how impressive they are – am I sufficiently amazed by Him? I then think beyond our world when I look at the stars and realize that God created so much more than just our little planet – I am dumbfounded by what we have not even discovered is out there. Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens… 3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
What is man that you are mindful of him?… The next reason I could never be an atheist lies in the complexity of the Human Body. Psalm 139:13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Here we see our Casting Director/Director/Producer. I am a science nerd through and through. I have always been fascinated by the way the body works. Our body is composed of around 30 different types of cells, and we have 100 trillion (in adults) of those cells in our bodies. These cells are of varying sizes and shapes, have different function and produce chemical reactions in order for our bodies to function properly. The center of those cells have a nucleus which contain the DNA (found in a helix configuration) which contains the code for making us human. It is said that if all of the DNA from a single adult human was stretched out end to end, it would reach the sun and back 400 times. All of that code in a specific sequence and some people believe it could have happened all by chance?? Could David have been given some insight from God when he was inspired to write “intricately woven”? Cells that are alike form tissues such as muscles, and tissues can form together to form organs, which are grouped together in systems that work together for specific purposes – all to make our life possible. I cannot look at how all this works together in sync (or sadly, how sometimes it does not), and not be reminded how we have a loving Creator God who created us in His likeness (Gen. 1:27).
Lastly, and maybe not on other people’s “There is a God” list, is Music. I cannot describe sufficiently to you what good music and a well written lyric does for my soul. How an excellent guitarist, or swelling string section, or listening as someone plays a beautiful piano accompaniment or a driving, rhythmic drum beat just does something at the very core of me. How sometimes the music itself doesn’t hit me until I know what the lyric says, and even if I may not have initially loved the melody, because of the words, I fall in love with the song anyway. I still lean toward buying a physical cd, because I cannot always find lyrics online easily when I simply download. There are very few genres of music I do not like, but I am not fond of anything that is shallow in meaning or something that is simply just trying to fill lines with rhymes. I think music is a gift, and I think those who can write are truly gifted. To not only be able to write words that convey what you are trying to say, many times in a way that has never been said before, and to set those words to a melody, and then to fill the background with accompaniment – I believe is God-given – even if they don’t believe in Him. These songwriters have a medium to reach so many people that might be unreachable by just spoken word. One of my favorite Christian songwriters is Andrew Peterson – if you haven’t heard of him, look him up. He is one of those artists reminiscent of Rich Mullins, writing in such a way that not only perks your ears, but tugs at your heart. My favorite song from his last album Light for the Lost Boy, is called “Don’t You Want to Thank Someone”. Here are the lyrics from the second verse:
Don’t you ever wonder why
In spite of all that’s wrong here
There’s still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds?
‘Cause sometimes when you walk outside
The air is full of song here
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs
And the rain comes down
And when you see the spring has come
And it warms you like a mother’s kiss
Don’t you want to thank someone?
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?
Reminder of the beauty of nature, and the fact that it, people, as well as music swells into the melody we call life. I believe this is evidence for a divine Composer, don’t you?
Whether it be nature, the human body, or music or some other reason I haven’t listed here today, the truth of the matter is there are things I don’t understand about the world we live in or why things happen the way they do. But also our opponents to Christianity, who would like to say that everything happened by chance, do not have empirical evidence to say so. I thought C.S. Lewis said it well: “If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts – i.e., Materialism and Astronomy – are mere accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It seems to me that it takes as much or more faith to believe there is no God than to believe there is. I am so relieved there is. It is so much easier to answer those hard questions when you believe upon Him and have Him in your life .