What Is The Meaning Of Life?

My wife and I teach the junior youth (5th, 6th, & 7th grade) at our church on Sunday & Wednesday nights.  We have taught them since September of 2007.  One of the things we started when we took over was questions night.  Periodically, instead of a formal lesson I would allow them to ask any question about the Bible and its application that they wanted.  The purpose of this was threefold.  First, it gave us an opportunity to interact in a non-formal type setting.  Second, it gave me an opportunity to evaluate where the were spiritually.  Thirdly, it gave me an opportunity to see what issues they had on their minds and may be struggling with.  It has actually worked very well.

Now, I am no Bible expert.  Most of the questions I get a basic and I can easily answer but there are times when I get some very good questions.  These are the ones that are really exciting because it shows that the kids are really thinking about important things.  I will occasionally get a question that I don’t know the answer to.  During one of these question nights, one of the kids decided to try to stump me.  He asked the question “What is the meaning of life?” and smugly set back in his chair thinking he had succeeded and at first I thought he had.

As I took a few seconds to consider the question I thought about how I was completely unprepared for it.  But as I thought, it occured to me that there are many variations to this question.  Some other ways that it is asked is “What is our purpose?” and “Why are we here?”.  You may be able to give some other examples of how it is asked.  I was able to answer these questions.  As I explained to him that our purpose, that the meaning of life, was to glorify God he was a bit stunned.  I must admit that I had a moment of pride also.  I shouldn’t have but I did.

Have you ever been asked this question?  If so, how did you answer it?  Was my answer adequate of did I make an error somewhere that I need to correct.

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16 Responses to What Is The Meaning Of Life?

  1. Lucy Lowe says:

    My favourite answer to this question has always been:

    People are DNA’s way of making more DNA.

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  2. Mike says:

    I like the simplicity Freiman uses in Current Events, Conservative Outcomes to explain the meaning of life that he is workin on. He speaks of balance around the teachings of Christian faith.
    http://www.gafreiman.com

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  3. Jesse says:

    Serving God’s agenda, not our own.

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  4. ~R says:

    Yes, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

    This is from a Catechism compiled by C.H. Spurgeon.

    1. Q. What is the chief end of man?

    A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26).

    http://www.spurgeon.org/catechis.htm

    Also, the question and answer night is a good idea I believe. Something else I’ve heard of is to put a box at the back of the room with paper and pen for anonymous questions to be dropped into.

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  5. Pingback: Bookmarks about Meaning

  6. Millie says:

    I also read Freiman’s Conservative Outcomes and particularly loved his predictions and explanation of the aborting issue in the US. I pray his visions are true. God bless.

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  7. Pingback: What is the Meaning of Life? « The Everyday Christian

  8. Helena says:

    I am 13 and I have no idea yet what my meaning of life is and how I feel I should live and where I want to work but I can tell you that the meaning of life is definatley not a generalization of everyone’s ideas and standards in this world.

    I think the meaning of life is to do good in life and make a difference to the world by adding something that wouldnt of been done before. The Meaning of Life is whatever you want your life to mean to your grandchildren and grandchildren’s grandchildren and what you want people to remeber you by.

    There is no specific guidline as to how to live life except for the morals and standards you set yourself, no one individual can come with a set of rules for the entire human race to live by and work by, but you yourself can judge yourself what the meaning of life is x

    Hope that helped
    Helena

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    • Tom Shelton says:

      Helena,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I wanted to respond to a couple points in your comment.

      You said:

      There is no specific guidline as to how to live life except for the morals and standards you set yourself

      This is moral relativism and it does not work. It does not work because the “morals and standards” you set might conflict with the “morals and standards” I set. What do we do then? The only solution is to have one authority who has the right to set “morals and standards” for everyone. That authority is the God of the Bible. He has that right because He is the Creator. The Creator is always greater than the creation and has the right to define what the creation is to do.

      You said:

      I think the meaning of life is to do good in life and make a difference to the world by adding something that wouldnt of been done before.

      This is a nice thought but by this definition many people (maybe even most people) will lead a meaningless life. The sad fact is that many people don’t add anything new or make a difference.

      To find the true meaning of life we have to look to God’s word (the Bible) and see what He says it is. His word says that the meaning of life is to glorify God in all that we do. We do this by recognizing that He is to be first in our lives. Matthew 22:37-38 says “(37) And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (38) This is the great and first commandment.

      Please understand from this brief response that we can’t set our own standards. We must look to God to see what standards He has set and strive to follow those. We know that we are not capable of doing so in our own abilities but when we turn to God, He has provided a way. If you want to know how I will be happy to explain it more fully to you.

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  9. Quentin Schillo says:

    Thanks for such a good explanation. I have come to the conclusion that to glorify God is not only the only meaning in life, it is the only fulfilling and enjoyable way to life life. I haven’t yet found Bible reference to support that if you don’t glorify God you are living in sin, and that sin always leads to suicide. In other words, God isn’t out to destroy those that don’t love Him, it’s just a natural consequence of sin, or a law of physics like gravity or pressure. Sin is death means that eventually you grieve the Holy Spirit until it leaves, and when it does, you die without it. Sorry i can’t prove that by the Bible, but it’s the only logic that makes sense in light of how God is always love, and without love you can’t exist – it’s suicide. The reason i believe this is because i’ve seen so much of it on the street with drug users. Whether it’s slow or fast, all sin is suicide at some level. Just because a person doesn’t live for 20,000 years until they commit suicide doesn’t mean they eventually wouldn’t, if they were not glorifying God. You can’t ever be happy unless you are keeping the 10 Commandments by loving God and loving others! It’s just sad we are nearing the end of the world and there’s one commandment that i can’t even mention because it’s so controversial. Read them carefully and you’ll see that most churches only keep 9 of the 10, except the Catholic – since the Catholic church has changed them by their own power. Eating from one tree was also a test of faith. I believe we’ll see that same test of faith and adherence to proving our ability to glorify (love) God more so now than ever!

    Thanks so much for your excellent question and explanation.

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  10. lemon juice says:

    I would differantiate between the meaning of an individual life and the meaning of life in general. I don’t believe you can assume that one view on the subject will apply to over 6 billion people throughout the world. That’s just a bit unrealistic and people will always fight you for it. I think everyone has to find their own meaning in life even if just to accept their own existence.
    But looking and life in general, the concept, our generation and probably a few more are about experience and evolution. I do believe that everything has its meaning and specific purpose. And even by simply existing and observing reality we are constantly changing it. Those are the basic laws of physics.
    But then again i don’t know if I didn’t overstep here with evolution and changing reality. Although I have to say I’m very curious what your views are on those subjects…

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    • Tom Shelton says:

      Lemon juice,

      You said

      I would differantiate between the meaning of an individual life and the meaning of life in general. I don’t believe you can assume that one view on the subject will apply to over 6 billion people throughout the world.

      The meaning can only be determine by looking to the giver of life. He is the only one who has the right to determine what the meaning of life is. Therefore, we must seek Him and why He has created us. When we find those we have the truth and can be satisfied. It matters not as to whether you seek the meaning for an individual or the mean for all collectively. Since all life originates from God the meaning of life for individuals and the meaning of life for all people will be in agreement. To seek for meaning within an individual is to miss the mark and to be continually frustrated because there is no answer to be found there.

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      • lemon juice says:

        I’m not arguing that an individual life and the collective aren’t in agreement. Just as a tree and the bird that builds a nest on it live in agreement. That does not mean they should not be analyzed as two seperate entities. And whether you seek the meaning of your life or the reason He has given us life the purpose remains the same. You only refrased the question. But your last statement is something I don’t quite understand, why suddenly you say there can be no answer to seeking meening within an individual? It contradicts your previous assumption that meaning should be determined by looking to the giver of life…

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        • Tom Shelton says:

          Lemon juice:

          You said

          But your last statement is something I don’t quite understand, why suddenly you say there can be no answer to seeking meening within an individual? It contradicts your previous assumption that meaning should be determined by looking to the giver of life…

          I don’t see how this is a contradiction. An individual does not give himself life. As such the person can’t know within themselves why life was given to them….or you might say, why they were created….or what their purpose is. The only way to answer this question is to go to the source or Creator. The Creator knows why He created each individual. He alone can give us the answer. To look anywhere else is a waste of time. Only in Him can a person find satisfaction in knowing why they exist.

          Does that clear things up?

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          • lemon juice says:

            Yes, actually now I think I understand what you mean. Your’e talking here about knowledge. So I have to agree. The only one who can tell us what our life means is the only one who knows, so by default the Creator. And I also agree that no individual can therefore know the meaning of their own life.
            But you can still ask the question and through faith, science, your actions, your observations and eventually your wisdom try to find an answer to it. That is why this discussion started in the first place, because we all want to know the solution to a question no person can answer. We can however exchange our knowledge, experiences, beliefs and wisdom. Maybe our opinions will influence one another or maybe they won’t. But we’re still trying to challenge and understand each other through this discussion, at least that’s an assumption I’m willing to make.

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  11. Tom Shelton says:

    As we search for the answer to the question we will be led to God and His word. Some will reject this but others will embrace it and find contentment.

    Like

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