Share This Episode
The Steve Noble Show Steve Noble Logo

The Meaning of Life

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2022 4:52 pm

The Meaning of Life

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 769 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

December 1, 2022 4:52 pm

The Meaning of Life

Steve talks to Dr. Bill Lovegrove from BJU to discuss life. What is your purpose and how should you accomplish it?

Our goal is to apply Biblical Truth to the big issues of the day and to spread the Good News of the Gospel to as many people as possible through the airwaves as well as digitally. This mission, like others, requires funding.

So, if you feel led to help support this effort, you can make a tax-deductible donation online HERE.  

Thank You! 

Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Grace To You
John MacArthur

The following program is recorded content created by Truth Network.

And now, here's your host, Steve Noble. Well, here's a nice little light question for you to wrestle with today on Theology Thursday with our friends at PJU Seminary, as well as Bob Jones University, just a light little question. And I don't know that it's a question we actually wrestle with very often. If you get asked the question, I found a lot of people, even Christians, will struggle with this particular question. And sometimes, you know, is it going to be the Westminster Catechism?

What what answer? What Sunday school answer are you going to go with? But do you ever actually wonder what is the meaning of life, life in general, perhaps your life? So if you want to look around, this was interesting, I found this on Pew Research, Americans looking at what gives them the most meaning in their lives?

What gives them the most meaning? Pretty open ended question. Sixty nine percent said family.

Now, that's a nice answer, right, isn't it? Especially here at Christmastime, thirty four percent said career. Career is where they found the most meaning. Twenty three percent, this shouldn't surprise anybody, money, just 20 percent find the part of their lives that gives them the most sense of meaning is spirituality and faith. Nineteen percent friends, 19 percent activities and hobbies, 16 percent health, 13 percent home and surroundings, 11 percent learning. So what gives you the most meaning in life?

Of course, Pew Research perhaps doesn't know anything. So you go to the source of all information and that's Wikipedia. So now I go to Wikipedia and I'm looking up what is the meaning of life?

Well, they've got a few options for you. And so pick which one works to realize one's potential and ideals to evolve or to achieve biological perfection, to seek wisdom and knowledge, to do good, to do the right thing. And meanings related to religion. Here's one to love, to feel, to enjoy the act of living.

Here's another one to have power or to be better. Some people say life has no meaning and another person one should not seek to know and understand the meaning of life at all. It's a pointless pursuit. So one more thing and then we'll talk to Dr. Bill Lovegrove and we're going to work our way through this from a we'll look at what the world says, even what an atheist says, and then we'll see what kind of answer can we pull out of scripture and the Atlantic. They talked about this.

They wrestled with this. They referenced the Journal of Positive Psychology and three things that give you meaning in life coherence or how events fit together, which is interesting purpose, the existence of goals and aims or significance life's inherent value. This is the sense that your life matters. Do you feel like your life matters? How do you wrestle with this question?

What is the meaning of life? Dr. Bill Lovegrove, who's the interesting Bill because of your background here. You've got your bachelor's degree at Bob Jones. Then you went on to get a master's in electrical engineering at Clemson and then you stayed around for a little while longer and got a Ph.D. in engineering.

And now here you are the department head of engineering at Bob Jones University. Merry Christmas. How are you? Welcome to the show. Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm doing great.

Looking forward to Christmas. So this is this is no small feat to kind of come up with the meaning of life. And then we've talked and we've done several shows in the past here on Theology Thursday about a book you guys were working through at the university called How to be Animal, which is a fascinating book. And in that book, Chapter five deals with astronomy. And that's kind of what got you going on this particular topic for today's show. But but where do we start here, Bill, in terms of well, let me ask you before that back up. Why engineering?

Wow, that's a good question. I was a physics major and I liked the practical applied side more than the theoretical research side. So made a switch from physics towards engineering. Engineering is about solving problems, building things, designing things.

All of that appealed to me. And then why would an esteemed Christian institution like Bob Jones University have an entire engineering department? You know, Christian college, but engineering seems kind of, I don't know, secular. Yeah, that's a great question. And to answer that question, we go right to the Bible, to Genesis one, where we have what's famously referred to as the dominion mandate. Be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the earth. And we see that as a God given like task for humanity.

Somebody said kind of memorably to me the other day. Why didn't God make cows to give pasteurized milk? That's an interesting thought. Most of us would say that's a really good thing that apparently God left for us to discover, to learn how to do. So this sense of God has called us to learn how to live in this world and we need to go learn how to do that. We need to explore that, leverage the resources God has given us to solve our own problems. That's kind of where I connect up in big worldview picture.

Yeah, that's super cool and a great way of looking at it. So when you're going through and you guys are doing this as a staff and in many ways at Bob Jones University, this very interesting book written by a non-Christian, How To Be Animal, when you got to chapter five in the astronomy issue, so that kind of piqued your interest. Yeah, because I'm in the physical sciences. I'm not really a biologist.

So this thing about, are you an animal? That's not really on my radar. But I have, I guess, a hobby interest in astronomy. I'm not an astrophysicist, but I've done some astronomy. I'm interested in astronomy. And honestly, a lot of this book is not science, it's philosophy.

It's theology, right? So we're not in that detailed nitty gritty of astrophysics. She's just looking at the stars like all of us do, right? Astronomy is like the old basic science.

Everybody goes out at night, looks up at the stars and there's the sense of amazement, the sense of wonder. So she's looking at the stars as a biologist. She's not an astrophysicist either, right? She's not deep into the science of astronomy, but she's looking for meaning. She's looking for a story. And it turns out that that's where she finds a connection to something bigger than herself. She finds some purpose. She finds some meaning out there in space. And isn't it interesting as somebody that's basically a naturalist, that meaning or purpose which is kind of an existential, big way of thinking, philosophical way of thinking is even on her radar screen.

From my perspective as a Christian with a pretty robust Christian worldview, I'm like, of course it's on her radar screen because she's made in the image of God, even if she doesn't accept that. Yeah. And that, I mean, you see that clearly throughout science. There is this sense of wonder, of amazement at the world that we live in, this emotional reaction. When you talk to scientists, you could have the idea from the outside that they're just detached, intellectual, follow the facts. But in fact, there's a lot of emotion in science. There's a lot of reaction to what you're studying and what you're learning and what you're discovering.

Yeah. As if the heavens declare the glory of God or something like that. So we're going to keep talking about this with Dr. Bill Lovegrove, Bob Jones University, the head of the engineering department there. What is the meaning of life? We'll look at some atheistic answers, then we'll end up at the Christian answer.

What's your answer? We'll be right back. Welcome back. It's Steve Noble, the Steve Noble Show Theology Thursday with our friends today at Bob Jones University, often at BJU Seminary. But either way, we're always blessed to have some of the great thinkers and thought leaders down there that join us once a week here on Theology Thursday today.

That's Dr. Bill Lovegrove, who's the head of the engineering department at Bob Jones University. We're tackling just a minor little question. What is the meaning of life?

I just put up on Facebook Live the link to the blog post today, which starts like this. The meaning of life, God, nothing or stardust. If you're old enough, and I am, when I hear stardust, I immediately think of Carl Sagan. And we're going to end up there if you watch that, the Cosmos series. That's what Carl's answer is, is we're all made of star stuff. So we'll get there.

But here's what Dr. Lovegrove wrote, and then we'll continue our conversation. Humans have an instinctive desire to find purpose and meaning in life. As far as we know, dogs do not sit around pondering why they exist. Philosophy is uniquely the realm of humans. Philosophers widely recognize that a few ultimate questions shape our overall view of life. Those ultimate questions are expressed in various forms, but one common set of questions are those of origin, purpose, and destiny. How did we get here? Why are we here? And what is our future? So this is really the deep end of the pool here, Bill, as we contemplate the meaning of life.

And again, thanks for being here today. So let's start with kind of people outside of our camp. People that don't believe, atheists, agnostics, how do they deal with this one, the meaning of life? Well, it's interesting that you bring up Carl Sagan because that's where a lot of people go because the cosmos is bigger than us. People seem to have an innate desire to connect their lives with something bigger than themselves. So you look to the stars and that framing of origin, purpose, destiny is interesting to me because it puts it in the form of a story. There's a past and a present and there's a future and there's a storyline. And that's the way that some people express it. What people want is a storyline.

They want to be part of a story. And when you go to secular astronomy, when you try to explain where did we come from, where did the universe come from, from a secular, from a materialistic point of view, you have this whole Big Bang story. And there's an explosion, there's something out of nothing, which is philosophically interesting. But the science about that that's interesting is in the Big Bang, you only get hydrogen and helium. You don't get the stuff that we're made of. You don't get carbon.

You don't get nitrogen. You only get hydrogen and helium. So the way that they tell the story, what has to happen is all of that hydrogen and helium comes together and forms a star. And in the center of that burning star, these bigger elements are born. And then that star explodes and they're splattered out into space and that becomes the raw material of a new sun, a new planet. That's their story about where we came from. And that's also their story about where we're going, because someday our sun is going to explode. Right. Someday the atoms that make up you and me, we're going to be blasted out into space and we are literally going to become stardust. And we might then be the seeds of another cycle. It's almost a materialistic regeneration. Yeah.

Yeah. And obviously, since we brought up Carl Sagan, he was very passionate about the subject. He was completely in love with the topic. And I mean, I watched that show. I didn't become a believer until I was 28. I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos and I was just enthralled. I mean, I never missed it. It was fascinating.

They had the great music. It was really interesting. And to Carl Sagan, that thought of one day our sun explodes, we're all reduced to whoever's here is all reduced to atoms and that spreads out all over the universe and then becomes another planet. Another thing.

How cool is that? It's really fascinating to kind of consider that, that he's still looking, even though he's a materialist, he's looking for meaning, isn't he? Yeah. Isn't it interesting that so many cultures go in the direction of reincarnation? That's a way to get some kind of story that's bigger than you. To get a future, to get a destiny. This is a secular form of reincarnation. I'll tell you one of my favorite Carl Sagan quotes. He said, our ancestors worshiped the sun and they were far from foolish.

It makes good sense to revere the sun and the stars because we are their children. That's some pretty deep philosophical thinking. Yeah. And some guy searching for meaning.

And I'm not just some smart guy that lives for 78 years and dies and goes into the ground and gets eaten by worms. Right. There's a lot more to it.

That's why he said that in the very first episode. The cosmos is all there was, all there is, all that there ever will be. And everything in the cosmos is made out of star stuff. So you and I, and this like the big conclusion, this is so cool.

Gather in little kids. This is really the, we're all made of star stuff. And I remember being deeply impressed by that. And now I know as a Christian, the reason I was so into that is because I was programmed to be into that. That's part of my DNA as somebody made in the image of God.

The realization and the understanding that there is a bigger story. Isn't that kind of part of the deal? Yeah, that would be exactly right. I mean, you can even see that in the Bible. There's this verse in Ecclesiastes. It's translated various ways, but some people translate it. God's put eternity in our hearts.

God's put something within us that wants something bigger, some bigger sense of meaning. Now, since we're talking about big brained people, what about Stephen Hawking? So I don't follow him as much because he's in the biology world.

If I could bring up another name that might be a little more profitable in this context. Did you say Stephen Hawking or Stephen Dawkins? I said Stephen Hawking. Hawking, who is an astrophysicist.

Dawkins is more in the biology world. He's the one who kind of popularizes the Big Bang, I think. He writes a popular book that becomes very popular that explains black holes and Big Bang cosmology and all of that. But then as you follow him through life and you come to the end of his career, he writes these later books that are very, very philosophical. He writes a book called The Grand Design. One of the things that fascinates me about that book is he brings up the question of philosophy and he says in the introduction to that book, he just says bluntly, philosophy is dead.

It just makes me smile when I read it because that book is largely a book of philosophy. Like Carl Sagan, you look at the things we just quoted. This is a leading scientist, but he's not talking science. This thing about our ancestors worshiped the sun and they were not foolish.

It makes good sense to re-fear the sun. This is not science content. This is philosophy content, right? No, you don't use the scientific method to come up with that.

You use your noggin and your spirit, which is longing for something. That's a good thing to bring up actually when we're talking about the Big Bang, because the Big Bang, if it happened, only happened once. It's a historical event and we can't really study it with the tools of science because we can't repeat it. The whole idea of science is you make a hypothesis and you go test it. The Big Bang is a hypothesis and we can talk about whether it's plausible or not, but just because something is plausible doesn't make it true. There is a true history of the world and we debate about the details of the Big Bang cosmology and whether it actually works or not, but the truth is there is one true history to the universe. And even if the Big Bang is plausible in a scientific sense, it doesn't mean that's actually what happened. Right, exactly. It's such a great point. And then just to understand the Big Bang, when I'm having that conversation with people young or old, I'll say, okay, so let me just clarify your position. There was absolutely nothing and then nothing caused something which created everything. Is that basically where you're going?

And they're like, yeah, but they're not they usually don't get too into that because it sounds so ridiculous. We'll be right back. Welcome back.

It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show. Merry Christmas, everybody. Theology Thursday with our friends at Bob Jones University, as well as BJU Seminary. And today we're working our way through a huge question. What's the meaning of life?

What's the meaning of your life? This is a great quote. Really thought provoking. Our ancestors worshiped the sun. Worshiped.

OK, that's that's a pretty pregnant word. And they were far from foolish. It makes good sense to revere the sun and the stars because we are their children. That was Carl Sagan. Of course, if you're old enough, I'm 56 and I remember watching on TV a spellbound by the whole thing, the Cosmos series. I was not a Christian at the time, would go to church, but didn't really know much at all.

Gosh, back then I was probably, I don't know, elementary school, maybe third, fourth, fifth grade. I was just spellbound by that, but didn't really know that the realities behind it in terms of a biblical perspective. And then you get to somebody like Stephen Hawking, which we're discussing currently, who's also brilliant. And these people, they're brilliant, ignorant in some ways, but brilliant. There's no doubt there. So it's fascinating to look at how they wrestled with this question.

What's the meaning of life? And so we're kind of looking at their perspective first and then we'll end up with what ours should be as Christians, as followers of Christ, talking to Dr. Bill Lovegrove, who's the head of the engineering department at Bob Jones University. And I'm fascinated by people like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking and you being in the academic world and in the scientific world.

That's got to be pretty interesting fodder for you, I would imagine. Yeah. When we were just talking during the break about young people trying to become comfortable with their worldview and be exposed to other worldviews and what do people out there think. And boy, especially if you're going into science or engineering, there's a sense that I'm in a very small minority, right? Most of the scientific community thinks very differently than the way I've been raised. So at some point you have to hear it from them. We can talk all day about this is what they say. This is what they believe. But at some point, you just need to hear Carl Sagan in his own words. You need to hear these people like Hawking say what they really believe. I mean, this is their worldview coming out. This is their philosophy coming out.

They're not just doing science. Yeah. And I think one of the things that we all need to remember and I think we can get and especially in the modern world or perhaps just the world since Twitter and Facebook started is people that don't hold our worldview. I think we immediately it's us versus them.

It's me trying to convince you or put you in your place or whatever. It's a battle mentality. And I know we fight against not flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and spiritual forces of darkness. And it's important to remember when you listen to somebody like Stephen Hawking or Dawkins, who we both mentioned earlier, who's very aggressive, anti-Christian. And oftentimes I think, Bill, that we're just like that's the enemy and we can't stand them and we belittle them, we crack jokes or we just dismiss them. But these are people that are made in the image of God just as much as you and I are. And they're people that Jesus died for just as much as he died for us. I think it's really important for us to just pause and challenge ourselves.

Do we look at outsiders the same way that Jesus did? Because I think oftentimes in this contentious society, we don't. I'd be interested to follow up on that because this started because we're reading this book by this lady by the name of Melanie Challenger. And I don't know her. I don't know a lot about her, but it was never our intention from the beginning that this be an attack on her. This is not really about her. She is not the enemy. In fact, I have a lot of respect for her because she's trying to think through her worldview. She's trying to work out her world. And one of the things she says in the book, she's pushing people to be consistent. It's really the whole point of her book.

If you've adopted as your fundamental premise that we're just an animal, then look at all the ways that this ought to play out in your life. And that's great. I mean, that's exactly what we all should be doing. Absolutely. Encourage our students to do because of hers.

If her worldview is a valuable worldview, it should be comprehensive. Yeah. If it isn't, you're just playing around with a couple of things here and there. But I love that, too. I love anybody that's asking big questions. I appreciate that. And then willing to OK, let's extrapolate.

If I say I don't believe there's any God, there's nothing spiritual. OK, now you've got to deal with the ramifications of that. And as long as somebody is willing to have that conversation like she is, and then she has the guts and the wherewithal to write a book about it.

Man, as a Christian, I love that. And I can work with that because now you've got somebody that's thinking. It's interesting where this chapter ends. This book is mostly about biology and it's about animals. But in this chapter, she starts in astronomy and she ends in morality. And she she tries to explore what does this mean if we're just animals? What does that mean morally?

And it's fascinating to see where that thinking takes her, because basically there are only two choices. If we are just animals, then we should treat animals like we treat people. Or else we should treat people like we treat animals. She's arguing for a consistency of worldview. And I can see the struggle in her mind because she doesn't like either one of those. If you say we should treat people like we treat animals, you follow that to its conclusion and it's crazy. But if you say we should treat animals like we treat people, I mean, either way you say that, when you try to apply that, the world gets pretty weird pretty fast.

Yeah, you just painted yourself into a pretty gnarly, good dystopian novel and three-part movie series situation. But I'm giving her credit for trying. Oh, absolutely. She's taking her worldview and she's saying, what does this mean when it comes down to morality? Yeah, let's test it.

And I'm glad she's willing to do that, too. So we were talking about Hawking, A Brief History of Time, when he was talking about and then he did Grand Design, when he declared philosophy is dead, then the whole book's basically a philosophical book. But then you wrote in the article today, his final book was titled Brief Answers to the Big Questions. In that book, he wrote, no one created the universe and no one directs our fate. There is probably no heaven and afterlife either. There they are, the three ultimate questions. And for Stephen Hawking, the answers are all no, no creator, no purpose, no destiny. But isn't it interesting that he left that door open a little bit, Bill, and said, probably no. If no one created the universe and no one directs our face, then how could it possibly be a heaven and an afterlife? Right.

It's like a package. I don't know what he's thinking when he says that, except maybe that little hesitation, right? Why do you think people like Hawking or certainly Dawkins or I'm sure I've never really gotten into Carl Sagan's perspective on Christianity. But there is at least a palatable level of aggression from them towards Christianity. Why do you think that is? So I've been saying a lot recently that why is a dangerous question. When you ask about people's motives, that's what we're talking about here.

What motivates these people? And it's easy to misunderstand. It's easy to misinterpret people's motives.

So I want to be careful when I'm trying to answer why questions about other people. But we do have a little bit to go on because the Bible talks about this and the Bible talks about people's motives. And the Bible points us in the direction of there are some fundamental spiritual realities that are at stake. It's really not about the science. It's about suppressing knowledge and willful ignorance. And I think there's a sense of if I adopt the other worldview, I know where that's going to come out.

Like if there is a heaven and an afterlife, then I might find myself standing before God someday. And that's a scary thought. That's a fearful thought. That's a serious thing, right? So you kind of draw away from that.

Yeah. And Jesus taught us quite clearly that a lot of people are just going to kind of put their fingers in their ears and go la la la la la la because you don't want to go anywhere near the light because your deeds are dark and nobody wants to be exposed. And if Christianity and God become the ultimate tattletale, nobody likes a tattletale. Nobody wants to be judged. Well, it's from a moral perspective, it's much more convenient for there to be no God. Therefore, there's no accountability.

I can do whatever the heck I want to and it doesn't matter. There's a really interesting passage in Romans, Romans one, where Paul's talking about universal guilt before God. And he says, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodly. And the word that's really a stumbling block to some people is all. Because when you talk about notoriously wicked people, a lot of people would say, if there's a hell, if there's a God, those kind of people ought to go there.

That's where Hitler is, right? Yeah. But when you suggest the possibility of that all, that we all might be in danger of the wrath of God, that we're all guilty, that we're all sinners. We react to that, we recoil against that. People don't like that. And they say, one of the arguments, one of the skeptics arguments is that's not fair.

Right. There are people in the world that don't know about God. So you grew up in Sunday school, you know the 10 Commandments, if you go astray, it's your own fault.

But what about the kid in the outback of Australia? He's never seen a Bible, never met a missionary. He doesn't know right and wrong. How can God judge him? Because he doesn't know anything about God.

And in the next verse, Paul says, your premise is wrong. He does know something about God. God has revealed himself to everybody.

And when you say, well, how did that happen? The answer is creation. They can see the things that God made.

And then he says in application, you can learn two things from that. The power of God and the Godhead of God. That's what it says. And the way that I interpret that, the Godhead of God is guess who's in charge. If you've recognized from creation that there's a powerful being out there that created the universe that is superhuman, that is bigger, more powerful than you, then guess who gets to make the rules? Right. Guess who's accountable to who here?

Who's in charge, right? Yeah. And I don't like that.

People want to run from. That's right. I don't know. Admit that there might be a God out there. That's right. I am ultimately accountable to.

That's right. So to follow up on that, then we're up against the break, Bill. That's why I always say there's no such thing as an atheist, because Romans one makes it perfectly clear that there isn't.

God is the 600 pound gorilla in the room. We'll be right back. Nothing like a little Johnny Cash. Welcome back, it's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show, Theology Thursday with our friends at BJU Seminary, as well as Bob Jones University, Dr. Bill Lovegrove is with us today as the head of the engineering department at BJU University, at Bob Jones University. By the way, just a little side note, coming up, I think it's, I'll double check this, it's next week, December 6th and 7th, maybe the 8th, my friends, John and Andy Erwin have come up with yet another biopic. They did one before on Steve McQueen, they've got one coming out next week on Johnny Cash.

Johnny Cash, who had a very complicated, pretty ugly life in a lot of ways later in life, it really came back to his faith. And so they've got this biopic that's coming out, I think it's a Fathom event, a couple nights next week. That's fascinating, Johnny Cash, so you might want to check that out.

Just Google it, Johnny Cash movie, something like that, you'll find it's coming out next week. And it's really interesting, there's so much to learn there from people that have gone down different roads, we're actually attempting to do that today as we were talking about Stephen Hawking and people like him and Carl Sagan as we wrestle with the question, the meaning of life. God, nothing, or to use Carl's words, stardust, talking, like I said, to Dr. Bill Lovegrove. And again, Bill, thanks so much for being willing to go down this road and bringing this up today, it's such a great topic. Yeah, I'm having fun talking about it. Okay, so, all right, let's get back into our camp. How do we wrestle with this question without sounding like just a felt bored Sunday school class? How do we wrestle with the question as believers with a hopefully comprehensive biblical worldview?

How do we wrestle with that question? What's the meaning of life? So I love to frame that question in the context of origin, purpose, destiny.

That's where we started today. And I say that because that's exactly where the Bible starts. God opens his book to us with these words in the beginning. And we were talking about the big bang, how you get something out of nothing. I think basically philosophically, there are only two possibilities, either the universe has been here forever, or you somehow get something out of nothing.

And the whole idea that you get something out of nothing is kind of crazy. So what we say is we get something out of God. There is nothing but God, and God's eternal, and then we get the whole universe. So in the beginning, God.

So that's your origin. That's where the meaning of life starts. And that's where the Bible starts, right?

That's foundational. So then when you get to purpose, I find that word in Romans 828 very significantly. This famous verse that a lot of people know all things work together for good to them were called according to his purpose.

And there's the word that we're talking about. So we would say God created us for a purpose. You asked earlier, why do you do engineering? Does God actually call people this idea that God created me to do something? God made me good at something. God created me for a purpose. That's kind of what gives my life meaning. And then destiny. There's maybe something romantic about you're going to turn into stardust.

But when I compare that to you can go to heaven and be with God forever, whatever that means, we don't know exactly what heaven's going to be like, but it sounds a step above stardust to me. This came up recently. Sorry to jump in, Bill. This came up recently because my mother died back in January. She was 91. My dad died about three years ago.

He was 90. Some other people that we know have passed away. And that's where people that phrase, they're in a better place. At this point in my life and my walk with Christ, this just came up recently. And I was like, I think that's got to be the greatest understatement in the history of the world. That heaven is, quote unquote, a better place. That's so outlandish.

I'm sure it's deeply offensive to God, but then there's only so much we know. But to your point, I'm like, is it better to turn into stardust and be spread out into the universe to create another planet or whatever? Or is it better to end up in heaven, which is definitely way beyond just a better place?

Yeah. And if I could follow up on that. We were talking about reincarnation a minute ago, and I don't know all the variations of reincarnation and what that means. But my understanding is in most worldviews that believe in reincarnation, you don't come back as you. You don't have any memories of your previous life. It's like a new you. It's a start over. And there's something really disappointing about that.

There's something unsatisfying about that. That gives you an eternity. That gives you a future. But it's a mindless future. It's a selfless future. It's not really me. It's not me living somewhere forever. And that's the promise of Christianity, that you are going to live somewhere forever. And if I could take that a step farther, we have this whole Christian idea of the incarnation that Jesus comes down and takes on a human body. And I'll credit Brent Cook with this.

You had him on the show a few weeks ago. He comes down and he takes a body and he keeps it. He takes it back to heaven with him.

That's so cool. He doesn't just leave the earth and go back to being a spirit. And he paves the way.

He's the firstborn, right? He's charting what's the future for us. I don't understand what it means that I'm going to have this body resurrected in heaven. But that is so cool compared to you're just going to be Stardust and maybe you're reincarnated as somebody else, as something else. That's not much of a future.

No, not at all. And with Buddhists, you know, if you do it wrong, you're going to come back as a dog. And then eventually your destiny for them, it's not Carl Sagan and Stardust, your destiny is oblivion. It's nothingness.

No desire for anything. That's nirvana. You get to a spirit of nothing. You just. I don't know if this is super relevant or not, but my wife and I watched a movie recently.

Not a really great movie, I don't think. This dog that's repeatedly reincarnated. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you're talking about.

Do you know about that? And what's interesting about it to me, and this caught my attention because he remembers his previous lives and it's exactly what we're talking about. He's not just reincarnated as another dog. He remembers his previous life as that former dog. And if that element is not there, that whole plot line is silly.

That whole movie doesn't work. Right. What's the point? Silly.

Right. What's the point? And that's the way I feel about reincarnation.

What's the point? Unless it's me. Unless I have some memories of what happened before.

Yeah, yeah. Such a great, such a great perspective on that. I want to go back to purpose, and we have an origin, we have a purpose, we have a destiny, and I think all of us should get a whole lot more excited about thinking about being in heaven and then heaven eventually coming here than we do.

But back to purpose, because I think this is such important, we only have like four minutes left. God created you in a certain way. You're fearfully and wonderfully made, I would add specifically. You have a predisposition. You're predisposed to certain things.

Certain arenas, certain abilities, certain talents. And I think that's a big part of this purpose is really asking that question. I do this with a lot of my students. How did God make me? And there were markers in your life that probably started pretty early, Bill, that showed you that engineering somewhere in there, you're in the ballpark.

And then all of a sudden you're doing what you were designed to do. As I tell my students, I said, would it be kind of you, loving of you, to purchase a colt that's a racehorse and then raise it in your bedroom? No, no, that would not be kind. OK, why is that?

Because the horse was designed to run. OK, well, what about you? And God designed you to be an engineer, right? I mean, absolutely. And you were able, by God's grace, to find that specific lane. And when you run, because you were created to do that, holy cow, talk about a pregnant purpose.

Yeah, absolutely. I talk to students a lot about what should my major be? What should my career be?

That's the central choice in college. What am I going to be when I grow up? And to a secular career counselor, it's what are you good at?

What do you like? And at a Christian university, it's what did God make you good at? What did God make you for? And in a sense, you're asking the same question, but in a sense, it's a completely different question when you frame it in terms of not just what are you good at, but what did God make you good at? And that's the challenge, and that's something I think would be almost a diabolical little Christmas present to give to everybody today.

Have you ever really wrestled that? How did God make you specifically? Now that doesn't turn out for everybody to be an engineer, a librarian, a teacher, a game artist. But there are predispositions and there are certain arenas, and that's where you get into vocation where you're drawn to certain things and you're capable of certain things.

And I think we have to look back and go, well, that wasn't like he reached into the Lego box and happened to pull out one of those, it's only one thing wide and six things long. I mean, it's very purposeful. And I think once you really wrestle with that, holy moly, I think that completely unlocks this just the abundance of God's grace and love for us, that he's like, hey, you found your niche, which is what I created you for to glorify God. And also, Bill, believe it or not, he wants you to have a really enjoyable life. Yeah.

Oh, absolutely. He doesn't call people to things that they're going to hate. That's not his plan for us.

That's not his purpose. And I want to address the subset of students and people that would say, well, I'm not actually good at anything because I don't believe that. I'm convinced that God made everybody good at something and you can defend that biblically. I think everybody's got some kind of a spiritual gift.

And when you look at the list of spiritual gifts, they're incredibly broad, but everybody's got something that God made you to do. And maybe you need to work a little harder to try to figure out what that is. But when I teach engineering students, that's a certain skill set, and some people are just really bad at that. And I say, well, that's because God made you good at something else. So don't try to force the square peg in a round hole.

Go find out what it is that you're good at, because I'm sure there's something. Oh, yeah. Yeah. That's such a great word.

A buddy of mine that went to be with the Lord a year ago, Lewis Alexander, he would have these little phrases, then he would turn them into bookmarks that he would give you to put in your Bible. And one of them just simply said, Bill, God don't make no junk. Yeah.

That was it. You say, I've got I'm not good at anything. You just told the God of the universe that he made it made some junk. Right. And God don't make no junk, man.

Everything he made. It's a clever way to say it. Especially. Yeah, it's awesome. Bill, it's been a great conversation. Stay right there. We'll pray with you after here in just a minute. But it's been great having you on. I hope we can have you back again. Thanks so much for leading us today and teaching us. This is Steve Noble on The Steve Noble Show. God willing, I'll talk to you again real soon. My dad always used to say, ever forward.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-04 18:40:05 / 2022-12-04 18:57:15 / 17

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime