Is There Meaning to Life?
Friedrich Nietzsche was a 19th century German Philosopher and writer born on October 15, 1844 in Rocken, Prussia, east Germany today. His writings fall into three categories: early years, middle years and mature years. In his mature writings he was preoccupied with the origin and function of human values. “Nihilism” was a term that he used to describe the degradation of human values once theological foundations are removed. Nietzsche believed that when theological foundations for human morality are removed a pervasive since of purposelessness and meaningless would ingulf the human mind. In Nietzsche’s mind “God is dead,” because he understood that without God there are no objective moral values; therefore, life is meaningless and purposeless. Nietzsche collapsed in the street of Turin, Italy in 1889 into total mental darkness and remained in that condition unto death 11 years later.1
Blaise Pascal said that Christianity teaches two truths: There is a God that man is capable of knowing, but man’s sin nature makes man unsuitable for a relationship with God.2 Without a relationship with your creator life has no meaning or purpose. Without God everything that you do has no meaning, value or purpose. There is no value in your existence because one day you will be gone without a trace. This is all that Atheism has to offer. Jesus Christ promised eternal life to all who believe in him; he died for our sins then rose bodily from the dead.
Nietzsche was an unbeliever who understood what a universe without God meant; no moral values or duties because life has no meaning or purpose. I happen to agree with Nietzsche because “if God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.”3 However, objective moral values and duties do exist and cannot be explained away by naturalistic evolution. Objective moral values and duties are not instincts, they are based in knowledge. Do you want a life that has value, meaning and purpose? Or do you want Nihilism?
Without God there is no moral anchor, yet the fact remains that all people know what we ought to do and what we ought not do even if we do not fully comply; it is our flesh, Satan and the world that lead us to temptation. Nietzsche is correct to assert that if God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. However, when we observe those around us and search the deepest recesses of our hearts we all know that objective moral values and duties do exist. We all know that certain things are right and certain things are wrong. Since objective moral values and duties do exist then God exists.4
The meaning of life is to know God. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” God is all powerful, all knowing and morally perfect; therefore, he cannot allow anyone morally unperfected into his presence. Man is sinful; therefore, man is separated from God.
Jesus Christ is the answer to our sin problem. Jesus lived a righteous life pleasing to God, God said of him, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to him.” (Mt 17:5b) Jesus promised eternal life to all who would ever come to believe in him, then he willing died in our place. The Bible says, that he was handed over because of our transgression, and was raised because of our justification. (Rom 4:25) What you must do is repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, persevere in the faith and overcome the world.
1 The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 24, 15th ed., s. v. “Nietzsche.”, 936-937.
2 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rded., (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 66.
3 Ibid, 172.