In the novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is 42. When I was around 15 years old, I decided I would read the book that many of my friends thought was so good. I sat down and opened its pages and began to read. Hours later I closed the book and never picked it up again. I did not finish it, nor have I ever had interest in doing so. I’m not saying it is a bad book, but it did not draw my interest as a teen. There are various reasons I could discuss, but a book review is not the reason for my words today. I will say perhaps I did not like the book because the book drives the point home that our lives are meaningless.
For some reason, on my 42nd birthday this book and its answer for everything has been in my thoughts. Why? I’m not real sure. Maybe the reason is on my birthday each year, it is a time when I reflect on this life and the time I have spent living. Today is the 42nd time this planet has traveled around the sun since I came forth in agony and blood. Is there any meaning to any of this life? What is the point of it? What is the answer to everything?
Drawing on a football analogy, I am in the 2nd quarter of my life. If nothing catastrophic happens, I can expect to live to around 80, which is the life expectancy of a male in the USA. So I will die between 75 to 100, which is the 4th quarter of life in numbers and when a football game comes to its end. I’m not a huge fan of football by the way, but I always enjoyed playing it (I learned a lot about myself). And the one time I actually went to a stadium, I enjoyed watching a game. Honestly, the Houston Oilers, my football coaches (minus one), along with other players and team mates ruined my interest in the game. The latter and other children’s parents did the same for baseball too.
I’ve always been one to question everything, and I have been curious my entire life about everything. I use the word everything because it encompasses the entirety of this life journey, and this last year questioning everything has risen to an entirely new level for me. The nature and fabric of existence itself has been rolling around in my mind, and the fundamental understanding that our very perception of the universe is a series of sensory inputs given to our biological, chemically based central hub where we connect to this physical reality (the brain).
One thing I have found interesting, is how little we actually know. People strut around declaring how much they know, but in the reality we as human beings know so little when I step back and survey what we actually can perceive at any given moment in regard to this universe. The reality is we are limited, and we do not even understand the shallow limits where we wade in the waters of this existence. The arrogance of humanity is astounding, and a little part of me smiles every time I see a news article where “scientists” or others admit they are wrong or are declared to be baffled. Of course you are wrong. Of course you are baffled.
For example, I read an article recently that talked about how every generation tries to explain the brain by the most advanced technology of their day. At one-point people thought the brain may be a hydraulic pump, a type of clock, a steam engine, like a telegraph network, or even a super computer in our day, but the reality is they are all wrong. Is it bad to be wrong? No. Unless it leads to arrogance and an oppression of other possibilities. Of course if being wrong results in damaging consequences like destruction or death, that is bad.
So what is the meaning of life? I’ve concluded that is different for each individual. After all, we have to come to our own understanding as we grapple with this existence and our place in it. There is no one size fits all. There is no simple answer like 42. For me, this life is a very short (the older I get the more I understand that) road where I learn the true value, indescribable worth, unlimited love, and infinite complexity of the One who is my Creator. This life is going to be so important to my eternal future and existence.
It is days like a birthday when I truly appreciate the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes (What kind of a name is that anyway? It simply means ‘teacher’ in the Hebrew). “’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’” (NIV). This is coming from a man who experienced and possessed all this material life offers for physical, temporary, short lived human beings. And not only that, Solomon was blessed by the Creator with greater wisdom than any human who has ever lived.
“I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be” (1 Kings 3:12b NIV).
Even with such great wisdom, when he was older Solomon’s heart turned away from His Creator despite all of the tremendous blessings and gifts that He gave to him (1 Kings 11:4). It is one of the greatest tragedies of all human history in my opinion because he was given divine wisdom. Rather than following the Creator, his heart followed after false gods. Really that is the great distinction on this planet between religions, and I have come to one simple conclusion.
The One who designed, constructed, and built this existence, the One from whom began our existence in a vast, limitless, colorful, diverse, fiery demonstration of artistic expression, that One is the true Creator. That is the One I want, and the One whom my heart is devoted. Taking on human form, He came to us to continue demonstrating his majesty in the greatest act of self-sacrifice and display of love in all of human history. Yahushua (Jesus) is the One. He is the Creator, and the One where we discover meaning.
Solomon’s conclusion was this after writing out that all of life is meaningless. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and, “…Fear Yahuwah and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For Yahuwah will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NIV, note I’ve changed ‘God’ to ‘Yahuwah’). In verse 6, Solomon simply writes, “Remember your Creator…” That simple and elegant three words has profound, beautiful unending relevance to the meaning of this life for me. All that is good (including the love of my wife, son, family, and friends) comes from the first Source.
Repent of sin. Believe in Yahushua who is our only hope in the coming wrath due to the overwhelming, persistent, horrendous evil wrought by humanity. I believe we are rapidly approaching the time (many reasons) when the demonstration of the Creator’s wrath will be poured out like a cup filled to overflowing. Those who reject and deny Yahushua will drink that cup down to the last drop, and there will be no relief to the divine fire that will burn everything. No matter where or how fast people try to flee, they will not be able to escape what is coming.