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BULLETIN EIGHTY FOUR
Meaning what ?
Meaning what ? she said. He wondered what was behind this.
Such is the kind of conversation which can cloud the communication skies.
Some extend their query, and pretend to know the answer, even when it is asked of the universe, and what it signifies.
Meaningless! they say, as if they were meaning metres, and could determine the presence of or absence of meaning and the extent of it, in those terms. if however the model you choose with which to work makes meaning meaningless, what is the point of assessing it! It does not relate, like trying to find bank notes in a furnace! It is an immediate clash in method, a revealing contradiction of what logically is a nullity. Consider more.
Thus, What did God MEAN when He did these things or those ? becomes a flat negation: There was no meaning, and there is none in the universe, on this model. If there is no meaning on this basis, then, the statement to that effect has no meaning; and without meaning a statement has nothing to view, to declare, in terms of which linguistically to exist, no power to transmit any thought, such as this, that it is the truth. When all is (allegedly) meaningless, a statement to this effect cannot be exempted or excepted. Meaningless, it is useless for information or truth.
Such a model with such a statement about itself, is thus an excrescence, a woe, an internal collision, an explosion before the car gets out of the garage. Meaningless! consider the appalling and grotesque self-exhibition of self-contradiction. It is just one of the results of rejecting the facts, that endure without difficulty as shown below. As an attack on God, moreover, it cannot even get off the ground, blowing up in its internal scenario. In its assertion, is its denial.
How then could this meaninglessness be known in order for a response even to be rationally stated ? To be prepared to answer this question means that you are deeming the model, the nature of the universe, the character of the situation capable of being investigated for meaning, and yourself competent to detect, as with some gas, its presence or absence and the nature of either. You do not ask whether there is a doctor in the room because of some fantasy, but because there is a real possibility that the answer may be yes, and you are assured that you are capable of understanding the presence (or otherwise) of that answer.
Similarly, to state that there is no meaning in the universe, requires you to consider this a reasonable question: IS there any meaning in it ? and this a reasonable reply, No, there is not.
You COULD not be making such a statement without, in other words, a capacity to detect it, if there were. Otherwise, that would be mere arrogant spouting. But how are you, the meaning metre, able to tell if objectively there COULD not be any meaning in the universe ? that is, if your model for understanding excluded not only God, but meaning itself and point ?
If it were only atoms and space between them, oh and the laws of atoms, the constraints over them, the system for them ... and so on and on, but if there were some sort of nonsensical simplification like this, then meaning would be irrelevant. Opinions on the topic would be absurd. They COULD not be true; thus NO statement on the topic could be true, since the BASIS FOR IT would be missing. It would be like asking if you had any money in the bank, when there were no banks. A meaningless statement. But if you make a meaningless statement about meaning, then far from conveying a rational thought, you are just talking nonsense. If you ask, Is the stone breathing ? or affirm that the truth is that it is not, your sanity might be questioned.
For there to be an objectively true answer to the question of meaning in the universe (as one whole) therefore, you would have to have access to the truth. For that, there would have to BE truth. For this, in turn, there would have to be a surveying, knowing, apprehending speaker who, beyond these events which so pre-occupy some, could perceive it as it really is, without limit or distortion, and communicate the knowledge so obtained, and present without deviation or skewing in the process on the part of the recipient. But that is a theological model.
In fact, it is the ONLY model which is rational. In the models which make no provision for truth, on the other hand, such as materialism, all relativistic religions, and those who make a god who is so utterly diverse in all, from man, that he could not even be logical, or be logically attested, for to be logical would assuredly be a likeness to human capacity.
It is a mere contradiction in terms even to tell us what the view is, in such cases. If there is no truth, if the model contains this component. In that case, there is certainly no rational possibility in telling us about it, or even that proposition itself, that life has no meaning, for example. If for example, it were true about truth, then in that model, telling us so has to be false.
All others affirm what they neither know, can test or is available for testing. Every time you move from God in efforts to understand, you run into insoluble problems, irrational situations or unstable equivocations. It is like a highway situation: wrong way, go back.
Among the rest of religions, there
are those which are affirmations on the part of a man, who is not god,
pretending to have the knowledge of God, mere humbug; and on the part of those
who claim to have heard from God. Of these, which have achieved a credible
degree of acceptance, there are those which have evidence for the case,
correlative to the power of the Speaker (as claimed) and the teaching capacity
of man (God knows audiences, since He created them, this the theological model
and of course necessity, as given in detail in
TMR). There is just one such example,
known as the Bible, which not only actually, but overwhelmingly meets these
criteria both of avoiding self-contradiction, and establishing itself by evidence (cf. Method,
SMR Chs. 1-3. 6-10).
Meaning in Multitudes
Meaning here has the following ingredients.
1. It is affirmed by the One who claims to be writer.
2. It is asseverated on the basis of the verification of His speech (e.g. Isaiah 41, 43-45, 48).In terms of the most unlikely fulfilment, as Karl Popper rightly claims, the degree of unlikelihood contributes to the certainty of the proposition. These events predicted are in such quantities, such detail, so often, in so many practical situations, so readily available for disproof on the the least variation, so often so astonishing in their scope, and over time, needing to meet almost unlimited factors of influence, unknown to man centuries or millenia earlier, that to doubt them becomes almost a religion in itself, where reason is uninstalled.
3. It removes the clash of the immense precision and labour discernible in DNA, with variables for communication almost too staggering to take in, with not only wisdom but wit of an almost mocking magnitude (that is, to man when he thinks of being his own god, though he devised neither his birth day nor his exit time, nor his world, nor its laws, and cannot even create life yet!), all this with labour lost in senseless silence, in any such model. Indeed, then is content dismissed, folly in man unremitting and to some extent unremittable.
Now however, using the information divinely donated (along with our bodies, and the controlling universal laws), we see the creation and the communication matched, the latter adequate to make sense of the former and the former apt for sense to be made by the latter. Harmony on all sides is the result of truth; but it is far away when the abuse of freedom becomes not nominal, but normal and inveterate to the many. Liberty to love is also liberty to smash, crash, cavort, abort and wreak destruction. Modern man is becoming more and more adept in this provocation and his dizzy and growing oblivion to destiny. Destiny, however, does not sleep because he in such numbers, does so!
4. Moreover, by showing the basis of freedom, it gives scope for the only possible type of model which suffices for the ingredients of its formation. The freedom granted man*1 is so great that God may be cursed, dismissed, mocked, reviled, ignored and so on, though of course, with any reality so treated, there are results for this approach (cf. Matthew 24:22). Freedom is like that; it also gives (the only possible and utterly necessary) basis for love, for robots do not love, however sophisticatedly subtle may be the modes of determining what they do.
5. This explains why nothing, incapable (in this as in all things whatever), not being a rational basis for everything, or for anything, but mere nonsense exercise in irrationality, with which the nil model abuses our race, is not merely deficient and derelict, but the ultimate in the unsublime indolence of reductionism. In this, the facts are ignored as some kind of explanation by blindness. As to this nothing, being excluded from the base, when man awakes, it does not even leave an absent start, but merely illustrates the depths of commonplace confusion, its height and its breadth.
Thus, on the contrary, instead of a basis that accounts for nothing, as nothing must, you have in the Bible a full account of all, every facet, every phase, every commencement of creation, every stoppage, every blessing, every curse (like mosquitoes), indeed for the value of life in terms which meet all its functionalities. Further, now you have an eternal source, resource and recourse. Thus, in terms of ALL, the totality and the ultimate, any failure to exist EVER would mean it never could come; for nothing-at-all, as all at ANY time, opportunity, situation, would require the same for ALL time, since it is entirely unproductive by nature. But we do not have nothing; moreover we are here.
Instead, You have man with his aesthetic, gracious, discerning, evaluating, understanding powers, and his disastrous uses of such things, all accounted for, discounted as necessary, and recounted as to his ways and opportunities.
6. Moreover, when following reason to this plateau, model, you see the depth and reality of the exceedingly broad human desire to ascertain meaning, gain eternal life, find the correct approach to life and find the due use of power. Alas this last, normally in many empires has been so atrocious, so wilful, so barren in concept and childish in outreach, as to show the necessity of having the tuition, information, communication of God and USING IT.
Indeed, when the meaning document, the Bible as attested in many ways, some of which are above but many are found in works cited above and elsewhere in the 242 volume presentation on this site, is investigated, digested and understood, what then ? Then, it is found that there is not only a meaning, but one that is not mean, though it is exacting to man's many mildewy misunderstandings of his place.
This, when powerful, man is likely to expand ridiculously. This may be in such rigors and rituals as in Marxism, for the people, though inordinately dictatorial over them; or Nazism, of the people, though limiting which people; or materialism, to turn people into virtual puppets, despite their magnificently free powers to muddle, misfire and mis-state, while killing off a few million here and there in not very impressive trials. Instead, it might be in humanism, though man simply does not manage, and is evidentially in the presence of hi-tech construction - himself, which is beyond his making, and that in terms of sub-systems which he neither did nor can create, and which in his God-rejecting type, make him like a child in the wild.
7. When turning from the Bible,
man's moral mayhem, with all kinds of horrendous rationalisations, now coming to
efforts to change the gender of immature children to contradict the DNA
which orders in its own way regardless, augmented by massive persecution of
Christians, a specialty, is marked. It provides a profound, negative
attestation of the folly of his actions and self-made religions; though man's
conduct here is wonderfully clear on the freedom granted. True, there have been
wonderful things, like love instead of hate, faith instead of pugnacity,
splendid kindness instead of suppurating oppression: there have for that matter
been it seems, millions of believers in the Lord; but they have rarely ruled,
though counterfeits, as Christ foretold, are numerous and subtle (cf. Matthew
7:15, Matthew 23:8-10).
The Wonder of Meaning
The meaning found, then is wonderful. Man is currently in the midst of a cursed world, on account of his turning from God (Genesis 3, Romans 5, and 8:18ff., Acts 17:26ff.), at the first, and as confirmed to the last in large measure; and the love of God is yet more vast. He the Father of the race, though many are divorced and dissever continually (cf. Isaiah 50:1ff.), God loves, and and operates as Saviour for the (human) race which He made, which as one whole is coming increasingly near to the predicted confrontation with God (Revelation 19:19), He has acted out this love. This is found in this infinitely valuable site.
8. It is in the Person of Jesus Christ, where God went beyond evidence into personal action, beyond protestation to activation, and as in Hosea 13:14, instituted the death of death in and upon Himself. It is as foretold in detail (Isaiah 50-55, Psalm 16, 22, 40, for example cf. SMR Chs. 8-9). Concentrated and multiple are the testimony to Him as to His power, paths and predictions, indeed the predicted status which He occupies in Himself (relative to the Old Testament), healings, raising from the dead (of others and in terms of Himself), as all majestically accomplished as nations surged to see what was going on, yet His own people rejected Him despite (and in some ways because of - John 11:47-51) all this. Even that rejection was faithfully recorded a millenium in advance (Psalm 22, Isaiah 49:7), just as His coming was mentioned from the outset (Genesis 3:15), His sacrificial death date delivered by Daniel*2.
Here is the personal meaning for persons, the personal basis, place, significance, model, Saviour, and in His coming, there was to come at last, the sending of the Holy Spirit, applying His principles and powers and provisions individually (John 16); for now there is a clear and straightforward indication of the meaning of individuality, as likewise of its relationship to family and nation, and race; but only in godly terms, in the Christian race (cf. I Peter 2, Ephesians 2) and this not through some assertion of cleverness, or superiority, or power to punch, or whatever vile thing man may devise.
It is rather that only when man becomes at peace with God, reconciled to the Lord who made him, covered by sacrifice for the sins which swamp the race, that he is readied for realisation of the result in the family of God. Many are the mutants even of this, that man in his sects and religions have created. Only one thing works: believing in Him and doing what He says, not to be forgiven, but BECAUSE forgiven; for man simply is not good enough to cover for his own sins, and without the salvation of Christ, is simply not covered. Then he is rather like a man early in the Chernobyl disaster, without protective clothing.
But there is scarcely any limit to
what might be said of meaning. Yet once you find the Lord Jesus Christ and know
Him, there is only the vast expanse of meaning, clouds to challenge,
sunshine to warm the heart and wintry times to test the faith. Here is life, in
all its depths, not in the to be pitied reductionist fallacies and figments,
fidgets and fumblings.
See in this field: Volume 35, LICENCE FOR LIBERTY
For this, see Daniel 9. In detail, the prediction is presented in Christ the Citadel Ch. 2, which in turn has various other references to earlier presentations on Daniel 9; and it is also available in the book which assembles exposition of Daniel, namely Highway of Holiness ..., in which this appears as Ch. 4).