If the “meaning of life” has already been determined, then it doesn’t make sense to develop some new meaning in life. Has the meaning of life always been the same from generation to generation? Generally speaking, the meaning of life has several different components, but it is for everyone.
Below, we will see what three people observed about the meaning of life. King Solomon described four parts to the meaning of life. Jesus taught us what our good work should motivate others to do. In the thirteenth century, a theologian named Thomas Aquinas called the main goal in life the ‘last end.’
Aquinas stated that some people are in error about the meaning of life. He knew it to be an error when people seek happiness in things such as wealth, honor, reputation, fame, power, or striving to be better than the rest. While striving to do well and working hard to achieve good results are not a negative thing, looking to them to fill our happiness-tank is a useless pursuit. Some people seek happiness in temporary pleasures. Some people seek happiness in loving others to boost one’s own ego (instead of loving others for GOD’S SAKE). Some people seek happiness in creation, food, drugs, or alcohol instead of the Being who made the universe. Aquinas determined that the goal of human life is perfect happiness, not imperfect happiness. He referred to the meaning of life as the “last end.” He determined that lasting happiness is found in a good relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today, some people think that happiness “comes and goes,” but according to Aquinas, that kind of a temporary status he called pleasure. Pleasures and imperfect happiness come and go, but perfect happiness is permanent. Some people seek temporary thrills, but God offers permanent happiness, permanent peace, permanent redemption, and permanent restoration in a personal relationship with Him.
Before Aquinas, Augustine previously determined that all men agree in desiring the goal which is happiness. Do you agree or disagree with Aquinas and Augustine? Is permanent happiness the main goal in life?
The Lord “satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 102:5).
“Happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 143:15).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged us to let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good work and “give glory to our Father who is in Heaven” (Matt. 5:16). What does it mean to “give glory”? Jesus taught us to let our good work motivate other people to draw near to our Heavenly Father, giving Him glory, which includes noticing a divine work happening in us, and then giving thanks to God for doing a good work in and through us. For example, the apostle Paul gave thanks to God for doing a mighty work in the life of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 9:15).
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon gave his advice for having a meaningful life. He wanted to spare future generations from the consequences of seeking after idols. Seeking idols leads to foolishness, meaningless, and emptiness. Solomon offered his wisdom by discovering the meaning of life in the following four ways:
- Seeking after God
- Considering the work of God
- Fearing God, and
- Keeping His commandments (Ecc. 7:13, 12:13)