Sunday, November 18, 2007

The purpose of life.

What is the meaning of life? In the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy the answer was famously 42, which is an oblique way of agreeing with the atheist's answer: there is no purpose to life, but as someone once said, "I do not have enough faith to be an atheist" (Write to me if you know who, but I am not ashamed at my ignorance, even St Paul was wont to write, "Somewhere it is written...").

A Christian should not be left in ignorance for in Paul's letter to the Ephesians we are told in chapter 1 and verses 9-10 << He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment - to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

This is a difficult bit of Greek to translate and I can't do Greek letters on the blog (let me know if you know how). Transliterated it says anakephalaivsathai. The NIV translates it 'to head up' but it is used elsewhere in the Bible to mean 'sum' as in Acts 22:28 (For a large sum of money I acquired this citizenship) or summary, main point as in Hebrews 8:1 (Now the main point of what we are saying...) or to sum up as in Romans 13:9 (...commandment, is summed up in this word) so the ARV has "to sum up all things in Christ" (whatever that means). A popular rendering is the concept of unity, just as the a king brings unity to his subjects who have many diverse origins. Thus the KJV has "gather together in one all things in Christ", the RSV "to unite all things in him", the NEB "brought into a unity in Christ". the word has "cephalo" from which we get our English 'cephalic', a medical term referring to the head, so I suspect the meaning has something to do with the headship of Christ, but what do I know?

I think these language traps distract us from the message of the passage which tells us that the purpose of life is to bring everything together in Christ.

So if you have any other ambition or none you are missing the point.

Life may be tough and things might be going wrong and we may think life is futile, but don't despair. It all comes out right in the end. I know. I sneaked a look at the last page.


lloomis said...

Wasn't " I don't have enough faith to be an Atheist" the title of a book by Geisler and Turek?.... Linda

Terry Hamblin said...

Yes, but they were quoting CS Lewis.