This post will finally address the question “What’s the Point?” The answer to which is also the meaning of life. It’s not even that hard. I don’t know why it’s given philosophers so much trouble over the centuries.
To be fair, we’ve been given a significant advantage in answering this question. We know that God is the First Cause of existence, and He’s given us a book that, among other things, lays out the narrative for why we exist and what our ultimate purpose is. This book is the Judeo-Christian Bible.
So how do you find out what the ultimate point of the Bible is? The same way you find out the point of any book – skip over to the ending.
Most people think that the Bible ends in an apocalyptic judgment where God takes off His shoe and hits the world upside the head with it (commonly known in the book of Revelation as Armageddon). But Armageddon happens in Revelation chapter 19. The Bible goes on for three more chapters after that. The last actual event in the Biblical narrative is . . . a marriage. The meaning of life is marriage!
For those of you reading this who happen to be married, relax and wipe that horrified look off your face. I didn’t say the meaning of life is your marriage. Rather it is the marriage mentioned at the end of Revelation – the marriage of Jesus Christ and His Bride.
This begs two questions:
1. Who is the Bride of Christ?
2. Why does Christ want a bride anyway?
Let’s start with the second question. In the last post, we asked why God desires our love, and more fundamentally, why would a complete and perfect being have any desires at all? We concluded that having desires does not necessarily mean that God lacks anything. There is in fact one thing a complete being can desire – more of what He already has. Ok, so what does God have that He could want more of?
More is better
In this post, we saw that because God is love, “God” has to be at least three “persons” (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) who have the exact same nature (always and completely Right and Just), thus they are in perfect harmony in thought, deed, and will; and in perfect, harmonious love.
So if you have three persons in perfect harmony, what could bring them more joy? What could be better that having three persons in perfect love?
How about FOUR persons in perfect love?
God can desire to add a fourth person to the group. That fourth person is “The Bride”.
So who is the Bride?
Well, the Bride would of course eventually be with God. But in order to be with God, the Bride would have to be like God. The Bride would have to be immaterial, transcendent, and eternal. The Bride would have to have a nature that consisted of principles as its first cause. The Bride would have to be spirit. The Bride is . . . us!
Well, not all of us, only a certain segment of us who meet certain criteria; the primary criteria being our choice to love God, and all that’s involved in that choice. After all, if the fourth person in going to be in harmony with the other Three, love would seem to be a rather fundamental prerequisite. This sub-set of humanity is also called “the Church”. No, I’m not referring to the building down the street with the Cross on it, (or even necessarily to all the people who occupy it). The Church consists of those who choose God under specific circumstances called “Salvation”. We’ll cover Church and Salvation in detail later.
The entire Biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation; the entire narrative of existence from beginning to end, is the story of the Father’s desire to produce a Bride for His Son; The Son’s efforts to make such a marriage possible, and the Holy Spirit’s work to make the Bride worthy of the wedding.
We can be a part of the Bride if we choose. We can also choose not to be. But the consequences of that choice are rather unpleasant, though completely just (I’ll discuss those “consequences” much later).
Now if you’re a guy, don’t let the imagery of being a “bride” freak you out. The term is symbolic (as is “Father” and “Son” for that matter) to help us better relate to concepts that may be a little difficult to grasp. The bottom line is that God wants us to join Him, to be like Him, to be in harmony with Him, to be one with Him and add to His joy. He makes this desire pretty clear:
Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are . . . “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. – John 17: 11, 20-21 NKJV
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. – John 14:2-3 NKJV
HERE’S THE POINT!!!!!
We were created to be one with God. We are meant to be like God. That’s the point. That’s the higher purpose that we all feel drawn toward. We’re drawn toward it because it is what we were made for, and anything else we try to force fit into this desire and anything we try to replace it with leaves us unsatisfied, because anything else is less than what we were made for.
The point is to be like God, but there is a problem. God is always and completely Right and Just. Only someone completely righteous can enter God’s presence. Only someone completely right (having all the information) can be completely just. We are not always and completely right and just (not even close).
Now there are mechanisms that God initiated that can lead to our righteousness – things like the Church, salvation, and grace (you know, all that doctrine I glossed over earlier), but I haven’t fully addressed those concepts yet. For now, let’s simply say that the meaning of life is to be like God, which is to be always and completely right.
In my next post, I want to highlight one way that we can actively be more like God by intentionally becoming more “right”. The answer to “how to become more right” also happens to be the secret to achieving world peace! The answer is . . . jellybeans!
See you next week
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Related Podcast – Heaven Is the Meaning of Life