When Worlds Collide: The Meaning of Life

Any discussion or consideration about the source of life and the value of a human life inevitably leads to the issue of the meaning of life. Given our worldview, we maintain that life is from God, and that fact alone invests every human being with value. But how does that translate into imbuing life with meaning?

The prevailing thinking concerning the source of life, from the towers of academia down to the towns and cities in which we live, as expressed by Peter Singer, is that “We can assume that somehow in the primeval soup we got collections of molecules that became self-replicating; and I don’t think we need any miraculous or mysterious [explanation].”[1]

This worldview collides headlong with the biblical worldview of the divine origin of life. It is little wonder, then, that the meaning of life, or perhaps more accurately, the meaninglessness of life, was summarized by one of militant atheism’s most vocal adherents, Quentin Smith: “The fact of the matter is that the most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing … We should … acknowledge our foundation in nothingness and feel awe at the marvelous fact that we have a chance to participate briefly in this incredible sunburst that interrupts without reason the reign of non-being.”[2]

But does Christianity have anything better to offer than “feeling awe” that we are part of this interruption of “non-being”? Does the Bible, that ancient tome, reduced by society to the level of folk tales, myths and legends, or relegated to the dustbin of history, have anything better to offer us as to the meaning of life?

Allow me to digress for just a few paragraphs. The great theme of redemption runs throughout our Bible, from the well-known story of redemption in Egypt on the Passover night all the way through its final pages, when we hear the song raised to the Lamb: “Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood” (Rev 5:9).

Paul, in his great passage in Titus 2:14, tells us that Christ came to “redeem us from all iniquity.” Here, he stresses the redemption from evil and its vices. In Galatians, it is the edict or verdict of our guilt which redemption has removed. In Colossians 1:14, redemption has freed us from the enslavement that bound us. These are some of the wonderful fruits of redemption: it has delivered us from vice, a verdict of guilt, and from being vassals to sin and Satan.

Peter, however, adds another aspect of redemption germane to our consideration. He writes that we are redeemed, not “with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers” (1Pe 1:18 KJV). It is not only redemption from the vices that marked our former life, the verdict of guilt attached to that life, nor the vassal state that imprisoned us; we have been redeemed from the vanity of life – its emptiness. Redemption has made life worth living!

Redemption – A Motive to Empower

The appreciation of grace and its resultant love which has been shed abroad in our hearts (Rom 5:5) is now the motivating power for our lives. On a human level, we often seek to manipulate, even our loved ones, with guilt. God, in contrast, always motivates by grace. Our various devices, from phones to radios to alarm clocks, may tell us when to get up and face the day; grace alone tells us why we should get up and face the day. Each day is a day filled with the potential of pleasing God our Savior.

Redemption – A Meaning to Exist

Around us are people who literally celebrate Friday afternoon when work is finished so they can begin their weekend of partying. They attempt to find meaning in parties, drugs, alcohol, and rushing from one event to the next. The non-stop round of activities is meant to fill a void and invest life with some self-contrived meaning. Above all, it is engineered to avoid serious thought about the meaning of life. “Amusement” literally means “an absence of thinking.”

Redeemed lives, however, do not need “events” to make life worth living. Yes, we enjoy conferences and assembly meetings, as well as the social gatherings of the Christians. None of those events are without value and enjoyment. But what has turned the “vain conversation” or manner of life we once lived into the meaningful life we now enjoy is the relationship with God redemption has forged. Peter reminds us that it is “by him do [you] believe in God … that your faith and hope might be in God” (1Pe 1:21 KJV). Earlier in the chapter he has exhorted us as to holiness in our lives by reminding us that we “call on the Father,” or better still, “we call Him Father” (v17). This new relationship has opened to our vista entirely new horizons and possibilities.

As children by birth, sons by adoption (son-placing), and heirs by grace, every moment of life has been imbued with the riches that divine grace has conferred upon us. We have been “blessed … with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). And we have been “made nigh” (Eph 2:13) who once were afar off. We who were enemies have been “reconciled to God,” enjoying the relationship as a friend of God.

Redemption – A Mission to Endeavor

Linked with these wonderful realities is the fact that all we now do has the potential of reaping reward for us at the Bema and bringing eternal glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just the “spiritual” service we do in preaching, witnessing, teaching, serving other believers, etc. Slaves were told that they could “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” by being good slaves (Titus 2:10). Work can bring pleasure to God and heap up reward against a coming day by serving their masters “with good will as to the Lord” with the assurance “he shall receive of the Lord” (Eph 6:7,8). In the everyday work life of the believer, pleasing God and subsequent reward with its eternal value are realities.

In a similar manner, the mother who raises her children by the standards of the Word of God, the husband who loves as Christ loves, the father who leads as the Father leads, and the children who “obey … parents in the Lord” (Eph 6:1) will find that domestic life now carries the potential of eternal honor.

There is no aspect of a believer’s life that has been compartmentalized from the rest. As one seamless whole we are able moment by moment and day by day to so live as to “serve the will of God” and thus bring pleasure to the One who has saved us.

The meaning of life and the measure of my life is determined by allowing the will of God to control its every facet – to live in the good that the claims of redemption have made upon me.


[1] “Is There a God,” Melbourne, Australia, 20 July 2011.

[2] Smith, Quentin. “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism.” Philo 4.2 (2000).