The Meaning of Life


Life comes from something that looks very much like itself (Genesis 1:11-12, 26). Where there is life, first there had to be a drive to reproduce. So, at the biological level, the meaning of life is simple: Produce More Life. 

For the birds and the bees, life might seem like a miracle. For human beings in the right circumstance it can be, and a time of appreciation for the amazing complexity of the reproductive process (still mostly far beyond the understanding of the best doctors and scientists). But questions arise. "Where did this child come from?" "Why did this happen to me? "Is this all there is?"

Many people don't have good answers, so the meaning of life is simply to have more freedom to get more stuff: money, power, fans, fun, food, sex... All those things are related back to reproduction, so they come from the same drive that animals have, so those answers still come up shallow and empty. They lead us to being selfish, which is the opposite of what God would have for us (see The Number One Fundamental, Selfish vs. Social, Mammon and the Libertarians).

God wanted our parents to bring us into the world the right way: a stable household, plenty of love, food on the table, good health and a good education in things that make us successful, like the Bible (Jeremiah 29:11). Some of us get it, others don’t. The ones that don’t often wonder why. It seems many people don't want to see that God wants the best for us, and gives us a roadmap for the best chance to get it, whatever our circumstance. Not all hardship is the result of sin (John 9:1-5), but sin brings inevitable pain into the lives of children (see The Problem of Pain).

Let's be brave and apply biology to humanity. Although almost everyone has this critical reproductive drive, we live in a time when life’s goal can be easily co-opted. "Safe Sex" (actually not safe at all) and abortion are so much a part of our worldview that (we think) we can ignore reproduction for as long as it suits us. Some may claim to see nothing but upsides. Sooner or later though, most of us "grow up," as we learn the downsides the hard way.  

Birth control and even getting an abortion takes a lot of responsibility. Many put it off, can't think about it, don't worry about it. When the child is born, the child may lose, but biology wins. Hopefully, maternal and paternal instincts kick in. But of course, the child may not thrive, or survive. Instead of admitting guilt, some Deadbeat Dads (and Moms) think they are winning in the game of life. The father of one of my foster kids told me when he heard about one of the many children that were probably his, with a big smile on his face. But the subtext was the mother and this child were not similarly happy with the situation. Other dads want all their babies and baby mamas to party and be one big happy family, with baby daddy as king of his welfare queens. But what feels good for one person doesn't always feel good for another. 

Too often, there are situations that involve force. It's not "right" according to humans, but the choice for adult females (biologically reproductive, ie puberty) is to wait before getting themselves in situations that get out of control. But reasons to rebel are easy to find, so they trust their reproductive hormones rather than street-smart parents. Young women and men have a habit of confusing love and lust, so what happens is as "right" as it gets according to biology. 

Mothers and fathers should be equally responsible, but in the end, mothers often get stuck with far more responsibility. For those that can't or won't give up the party life, they wound their children deeply, and themselves as well. To a greater or lesser extent, sex outside of marriage always creates problems. Let's keep being brave and consider the realities of those with few opportunities in life. Imagine growing up in the very real world of constant tension, neglect, hunger, fear, abuse, addiction, violence, filth, theft and lies. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder may sound too wordy to be real, but it's all too real. Although we may imagine they are given the opportunity of education and social services to escape these traumas, very often, there is no escape. A deep cynicism sets in, and it becomes a generational curse. Yes, sin has consequences (Numbers 14:18). And at the same time, we are responsible for our own sins (Ezekiel 18:20). 

Though we may feel that God created us with overwhelming lusts that deserve easy fixes (the Bible calls it sexual immorality, eg 1 Corinthians 6:18), actually God's plan is for a man and woman to stay together their whole lives: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate" (Mark 10:9). Though it's not necessarily convenient or may not seem like complete fulfillment, there are tremendous blessings in plain old monogamy.

If you feel overwhelmed by your biology, there are practical solutions. Often, it lot’s of prayer and patience for what the Lord wants you to learn. Like the Bible says, avoid lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:27-32). Practically speaking, a single person has the best chance of finding a solid life-partner at a Christian school, church or Celebrate Recovery meeting. Getting involved in volunteer service and Christian single adult groups (particularly those that focus on serving others and not just for the purpose of playing matchmaker) are an obvious choice. 

Finding the Lord can be a struggle. Sometimes he provides challenges in people's lives that seem insurmountable and unfair. But after sometimes many years of searching, the answers become obvious. 

All life on this planet wouldn’t exist (Improbable Planet, Dr. Hugh Ross) if it wasn't for our Creator, so He gets to answer the question of what life truly means. He says we will find meaning in two things, loving God and loving people (Matthew 22:36-40). And the ultimate meaning will be found when we deny our self and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25). So, if we recognize the problems with living life according to the flesh (Romans 7:18), what is the point of  doing things God's way? You will find that you are appreciated for focusing less on what life gives you, and more on the life you give to others (Matthew 16:24-26).  

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