Each week, we will be releasing one of the student blog posts from the Thinking Series Online Course that we find excellent. This week, we share with you a post written by Blossom de Bruin.
“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”
Well, that’s one person’s opinion – specifically, it is Joseph Campbell’s opinion on the meaning of life. Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was an American writer and lecturer best known for his work on mythology and comparative religion. His philosophy can easily be summed up with the use of his catch phrase, “Follow your bliss.”
Follow your bliss – is that it? Life has no meaning save that which we choose to endow it with? Many people think so; however, these people forget something very essential – the fact that life actually comes with two types of meaning. These two types are subjective andobjective meaning (Steiger). While subjective meaning (the kind spoken about by Joseph Campbell) is open to each person’s interpretation, objective meaning is the type of meaning that can only be endowed on something by its maker. For example, someone could take a piece of wood (relatively meaningless) and create a clock out of it. In creating the clock, the clockmaker has given the formerly meaningless piece of wood a purpose – to tell the time. In the same way, humans are created by God in His image (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, since God is our maker, we can conclude that only He has the power and authority to endow us with the objective meaning of our lives. How can we discover this meaning in our own individual lives? I think one of the best ways to start doing so is to study God’s written word to us (the Bible). In it, we can find clues that guide us towards the purpose God had in mind when He chose to create us.
For example, Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV) states: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Another definitive verse on purpose is found in Galatians 5:13-14 which says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I wanted to highlight these two verses because I think they concisely sum up God’s objective purpose for our lives. These are the two greatest commandments given from God to us, are they not? Love God (first) and Love your neighbour as yourself (second). (Matthew 22:36-40).
In conclusion, I think that if we believe in a loving God who created all humans in His image, then we would be remiss to conclude that life has no meaning outside of the one we endow it. If we truly believe that God is our maker, then we also must agree that He therefore has authority to endow His perfect meaning upon our lives.
Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.