Viable alternatives to

All three of these perspectives have elements In common: They remove a Sovereign God from consideration. They offer no hope of life beyond death (although some immanent philosophies give a semblance of that, seeing us reabsorbed into universal consciousness). All three views proclaim, In essence, that man came from nothing, that we have evolved to find ourselves the highest order of life and that we are In a position to order our own values and define ourselves and our meaning as we go. Of course we could not guarantee our chosen purpose, since we are subject to the choices of others and the vagaries of circumstance.

When It comes right down to It, can we have a real purpose and absolute values without God? People can fathom some meaning in life with these philosophies—If you define meaning as a sense of temporary happiness and enjoying life at the moment. It Is sad that far too many have come to define meaning this way. But these views fail to answer the real questions concerning meaning. Only when you put God In the picture can you find a complete answer that not only gives meaning to this life now but satisfies our longing for purpose beyond this life.

even address the subject of meaning, worship God and express a belief in life after death. Unlike animals, human beings can conceive of eternity and immortality.

Why are we different? Could it be that our faculty of imagining the future, hoping for life beyond our temporal hour, was thoughtfully placed within us by a Creator who Himself has assigned an eternal purpose for human beings?

Some 3,000 years ago, Israel's wise King Solomon wrote that God "has put eternity in [men's] hearts" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God gave us the longing to ask the questions, but not the ability to know the answers unless we come to sincerely seek and rely on Him.

If we choose not to believe that God created the universe, then we must believe that desire What is y°ur PuurP°* in life? Is life only a brief, for meaning beyond our physical Passing span bounded by an eternity of noth-

„ •/, • inqness before and beyond? life is futile. Ironically, if the principles by which evolution is assumed to operate were true, man wouldn't need to develop this aspect of his intellect.

But the fact is that we do think about it.

Human beings are God's creation. He had His reasons for putting us here. Our worth is not of ourselves but derives from the fact that that God created us in His image. It is God who gives value to human life.

The problem is that, since we have removed God from consideration, we have been desperately searching elsewhere to try to find self-worth. We have developed psychologies that emphasize our self-importance. A virtual priesthood of psychologists tells us we can rise above the problems we have created for ourselves by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

Most of our system of psychology was designed to accommodate a godless view of existence. It rejects the concept that our worth comes from a Creator who assigned a purpose to man before He created any of us.

The moral principles of God are embodied in the laws He gave man. Contrary to the predominantly secular views of psychology, how we should live should not be determined by how our actions make us feel. God's laws were meant to work for man's own good. When we follow them, they lead not only to happiness and fulfillment in this life, but they give us a picture of what God Himself is all about. God's law is, in a sense, what He is. His laws reflect His character and nature.

Banning God

Nothing has a more direct impact on our moral choices than whether we believe

Life's Purpose and the Consequence of Ideas 51

in God. The moral choices we make determine the outcome of our lives and, collectively, of society. Our attitude toward law, respect for and acknowledgment of authority, respect for the unborn and even our sexual practices are determined largely by our belief or lack of belief in God. Our conduct toward others, as well as the love and commitment in our relationships, usually boils down to one issue: Do we believe God when He speaks?

Over the past few centuries we have come through a supposed age of enlightenment in which philosophers and other thinkers sent the clear message that we don't need God to tell us what is right or wrong. As a result, atheism and materialism are increasingly accepted as the norm. Those who believe in God and the truthfulness of the Bible often are seen as uneducated, unenlightened, superstitious and archaic —if not downright dangerous.

Says Richard Dawkins, the staunch defender of evolution introduced earlier: "It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)" (Review of Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution, The New York Times, April 9,1989).

Academic and government institutions most responsible for determining society' s thinking and behavior have for the most part banned God from their halls. Most philosophy, psychology, science and history classes begin with an evolutionary premise, that there is no God and life came into being spontaneously and by chance. Thus they include no universal purpose or ultimate meaning for human life in their courses of study.

What is really behind this societal shift, and what are the repercussions?

An underlying motive

What are the fruits of denying the existence of the Creator? Does it distort one's reasoning? The Bible tells us in two verses: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1; 53:1, emphasis added). The same verses describe the consequences of people thinking this way, the first declaring, "They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good." Their entire outlook is defiled.

God understands the motivations of people who deny the possibility that He is real. When they convince themselves that He doesn't exist, what is right and wrong no longer matters to them. They have no objective standard for behavior. They see no reason they shouldn't do as they wish.

The early 20th-century author and ardent evolutionist Aldous Huxley, member of one of England's intellectually distinguished families, admitted: "I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption... Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their [purpose] that the world should be meaningless" (Ends and Means, 1946, p. 273).

Where does such thinking lead? Huxley explains: "For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation/rom a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom ... There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: We could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever" (p. 270, emphasis added).

Huxley confessed it was his desire to be free from moral standards that propelled him and others who shared his thinking to devise a rational basis for dismissing the idea of any innate moral obligations.

How many students in our academic institutions have any idea such motives shaped the theories and philosophies they are taught as fact? Probably few indeed. But startling as it may be, the theory that life evolved spontaneously was spawned and fueled by hostility toward God's standards and values.

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