Add Meaning to Your Life Permanently
WHEREVER we live, we hear of scientific discoveries. Biologists, oceanographers, and others keep adding to man’s knowledge about our globe and life on it. Searching in another direction, astronomers and physicists are learning ever more about our solar system, the stars, even distant galaxies. To what does this point?
Many clear thinkers agree with ancient King David: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling.” (Psalm 19:1) Granted, some may disagree or say that they cannot be sure. But after you have considered the evidence presented in this book, can you not see ample reason to believe that a Creator exists and is behind our universe and our life?
The apostle Paul noted: “Men cannot say they do not know about God. From the beginning of the world, men could see what God is like through the things He has made. This shows His power that lasts forever. It shows that He is God.” (Romans 1:20, Holy Bible—New Life Version) The material we covered in earlier chapters about creation made it easier to “see what God is like,” to appreciate “his invisible qualities.” (New World Translation) Still, seeing that the physical creation reflects the Creator should not be an end in itself. Why not?
Many scientists are devoted to studying the universe, but they still feel empty, finding no lasting meaning. For instance, physicist Steven Weinberg wrote: “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.” Regarding astronomer Alan Dressler’s view, Science magazine said: “When researchers say cosmology reveals the ‘mind’ or ‘handwriting’ of God, they are ascribing to the divine what ultimately may be the lesser aspect of the universe—its physical structure.” Dressler indicated that what is of greater import is the meaning of human existence. He noted: “People have given up the old belief that humanity is at the physical center of the [physical] universe, but must come back to believing that we are at the center of meaning.”
Clearly, each of us should be intensely interested in what our existence means. Just admitting that the Creator, or Master Designer, exists and that we are dependent on him may not give our lives meaning. That is particularly so because life seems short. Many have come to feel as did King Macbeth in one of William Shakespeare’s plays:
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”—Macbeth, Act V, Scene V.
People around the globe can relate to those words; but when they personally face a severe crisis, they still might cry out to God for help. Elihu, a wise man of long ago, observed: “Because of the multitude of oppressions they keep calling for aid; they keep crying for help . . . And yet no one has said, ‘Where is God my Grand Maker?’ . . . He is the One teaching us more than the beasts of the earth, and he makes us wiser than even the flying creatures of the heavens.”—Job 35:9-11.
Elihu’s words underscore that we humans are not the true center of meaning. Our Grand Creator is that center, and any real meaning to our existence logically involves him and depends upon him. To find such meaning and the deep satisfaction it brings, we need to come to know the Creator and bring our lives into harmony with his will.
Turning to the Creator
Moses did that. He realistically admitted: “In themselves the days of our years are seventy years; and if because of special mightiness they are eighty years, yet their insistence is on trouble and hurtful things.” This realization did not make Moses gloomy or pessimistic; it helped him to appreciate the value of turning to our Creator. Moses prayed: “Show us just how to count our days in such a way that we may bring a heart of wisdom in. Satisfy us in the morning with your loving-kindness, that we may cry out joyfully and may rejoice during all our days. And let the pleasantness of Jehovah our God prove to be upon us.”—Psalm 90:10, 12, 14, 17.
‘Satisfied in the morning.’ ‘Rejoicing during all our days.’ ‘God’s pleasantness on us.’ Do not such phrases suggest that one has found meaning in life—meaning that escapes people in general?
We can take a major step in that direction by sensing our place before the Creator. In a way, the growing body of knowledge about the universe may help us. David asked: “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him?”—Psalm 8:3, 4.
And we need to move beyond acknowledging that Jehovah created the sun, moon, and stars and then caused life to abound on earth with all its infrastructure. (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 24:2; Isaiah 40:26; Jeremiah 10:10, 12) As we saw earlier, Jehovah’s unique name indicates that he is a God of purpose and is the only one who is able to carry out his will completely.
Isaiah wrote: “He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.” Isaiah then quoted Jehovah’s words: “I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.” (Isaiah 45:18) And Paul later said of fellow Christians: “We are a product of his work and were created in union with Christ Jesus for good works.” Central to those “good works” is making known “the greatly diversified wisdom of God, according to [his] eternal purpose.” (Ephesians 2:10; 3:8-11) We can and logically ought to be involved with the Creator, seeking to learn his purpose and to cooperate with it.—Psalm 95:3-6.
Our recognizing that there is a loving, caring Creator should move us to action. For example, notice the link between such recognition and the way we should treat others. “He that is defrauding the lowly one has reproached his Maker, but the one showing favor to the poor one is glorifying Him.” “Is it not one God that has created us? Why is it that we deal treacherously with one another?” (Proverbs 14:31; Malachi 2:10) Hence, recognizing that there is a Creator who cares should move us to show greater care for others of his creation.
We are not left on our own to accomplish this. The Creator can help us. Even though Jehovah is not now producing new earthly creations, it can be said that he is still creating in another way. He actively and productively helps humans who seek his guidance. After sinning, David asked: “Create in me even a pure heart, O God, and put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one.” (Psalm 51:10; 124:8) And the Bible urges Christians to “put away the old personality” shaped by the world around them and to “put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will.” (Ephesians 4:22-24) Yes, Jehovah can create a new figurative heart in people, helping them to develop a personality that reflects what he is like.
These are, though, just primary steps. We need to go deeper. Paul told some educated Athenians: ‘The God that made the world and all the things in it decreed the appointed times, for men to seek him, if they might grope for him and really find him, although he is not far off from each one of us.’—Acts 17:24-27.
Meaning Springs From Knowledge
From what we have considered, it should be plain that the Creator has provided abundant information through his physical creation and through his inspired Word, the Bible. He encourages us to grow in knowledge and insight, even foretelling the time when “the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isaiah 11:9; 40:13, 14.
It is not the Creator’s will that our ability to learn and improve be limited to a life span of 70 or 80 years. You can see this from one of Jesus’ most famous statements: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
“Everlasting life.” That is not a fantasy. Rather, the concept of permanence without end is consistent with what the Creator offered our original parents, Adam and Eve. It is consistent with scientific facts about the makeup and capacity of our brain. And it is consistent with what Jesus Christ taught. Mankind’s having everlasting life was at the core of Jesus’ message. On his final evening on earth with the apostles, he said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3.
As discussed in the preceding chapter, Jesus’ promise of everlasting life will become a reality right here on earth for millions of people. Clearly, having this prospect can add immensely to the meaning of one’s life. It involves developing a relationship with the Creator. Such a relationship right now lays the basis for gaining permanent life. Imagine the vistas that such life would open to you: learning, exploring, and experiencing—all without the limit now imposed by sickness and death. (Compare Isaiah 40:28.) What could you or would you do with such life? You yourself best know your interests, the talents you long to develop, and the answers you would seek to find. Your being able to pursue them will give even greater meaning to your life!
Paul had valid reason to anticipate the time when “creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) Those achieving that freedom will have come to enjoy real meaning in life now and will have meaning in life permanently, to God’s glory.—Revelation 4:11.
Jehovah’s Witnesses around the globe have studied this subject. They are convinced that there is a Creator and that he cares about them and about you. They are happy to assist others to find this solidly based meaning in life. Please feel free to look into this matter with them. Doing so will add meaning to your life permanently!
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God in What Sense?
“Scientists and others sometimes use the word ‘God’ to mean something so abstract and unengaged that He is hardly to be distinguished from the laws of nature,” commented Steven Weinberg, Nobel laureate for his work on fundamental forces. He added:
“It seems to me that if the word ‘God’ is to be of any use, it should be taken to mean an interested God, a creator and lawgiver who has established not only the laws of nature and the universe but also standards of good and evil, some personality that is concerned with our actions, something in short that is appropriate for us to worship. . . . This is the God that has mattered to men and women throughout history.”—Dreams of a Final Theory.
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Moses realized that however long we live, real meaning to our life involves the Creator
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Finding lasting meaning in life opens up abounding possibilities