Life is Good

God saw all that he had made and it was very good! (Gen 1:31)

Hmmm… Is it good for you?  Is life Good?

Before you answer, stop and think about why you consider things good, and why you consider things evil. Hmmmm…..

Generally, (that is most of the time) our thoughts are based on interpretation of things from a "ME first" attitude, and, consequently, we categorize things as good or evil based on how it affects ME, or perhaps in terms of how it affects the other MEs in the world. The (so-called) GOOD LIFE is one of luxury, plenty, safety, pleasure, etc., etc., etc. Natural disasters that damage and destroy the things we created are considered bad. So, man says, God must be wrong. It isn't all "very good" at all. Things happen that don't suit the desires, attitudes, want-this-want-that goals of human existence.

On top of all that, the other MEs out there tend to be a problem as well! My desire and their desires don't always synchronize into some harmonious mutual understanding and lovey-dovey, (why can't we all get along) relationship. And from the standpoint of the ME, this is not good. But from the standpoint of THEM, it maybe is good. So, isn't all value "relative" (as people like to say) and, therefore, after all, there really isn't any good or bad in some absolute terms, only what you want and what I want, and what he wants, and what she wants, etc., etc., etc.

So, there you go. If what is good is defined only by the ME, without reference to some absolute, there is also no good, and no evil, just confusion and contention between multiple self-serving, independent beings. When considered in a totality, it's all fake, and good and bad is just wishful thinking by bunches of randomly occurring molecular aggregates all banging each other in an attempt to insure self-survival and get the good life.

And so, people say God was wrong. It's not all very good. Or, God doesn't exist, because if He did exist He wouldn't make a world where I don't get what I WANT.

Now, back up a minute here. This whole idea of things being good or evil only works, can only be thought of as important, if we first assign some value to human existence. Get it? We believe we ought to have good (and not evil) because we consider our existence highly valuable. In other words, if a being has no value, it makes no matter at all if good things or bad things happen to it. (Yep.)  No? Well, is it evil if a rock gets smashed and broken into thousands of little pieces of gravel? Huh? If it's just an ordinary rock, no one would care. If it is some special kind of rock (like a precious jewel) we would probably be upset, but only because we place considerable value on some rocks and not others. OK? No?

Here's the thing: moral relativism (which is very popular today) is accepted by a bunch of people because they THINK it makes it possible for everyone to get the good life. But it doesn't work. How can there be good when good is defined in a multitude of ways, from a multitude of perspectives? There cannot, will-not, not-ever-be such a thing. And so we are truly stuck here. The whole idea of the good life only makes sense if there is some reason to assign importance and value to human life. And that requires something greater than ourselves to declare it good. Now do you get it?

When you start with relativistic, humanistic, materialism as an a priori premise, any conclusions you draw concerning the value of human life must of necessity be self-serving and arbitrary. We can claim that murder is wrong because we don't want to get killed by someone else. But we can equally claim that human life has no more value than a rock and be rational and justified in doing so. Arguendo, both the rock and the man are mere accumulation of matter, arising as a result of random events, and neither has any claim to priority of value. Jumping to the punch line – in an amoral universe, nothing has intrinsic value and the universe does nothing to insure life will continue. It doesn't care if you live or die, and (more importantly) it doesn't care if you destroy everyone else to suit your own desires. That's bad, isn't it?

On the other hand, if you start with an a priori premise that there is a Creator superior to his creation, you can then assume as a corollary that the Creator has declared human life valuable. We can begin with an absolute statement that "life has value" and derive actual moral principles as a consequence. Murder is evil because it destroys something declared valuable by a being greater than ourselves. Natural disasters are uh.. disastrous precisely because they wreck havoc on something that is intrinsically good. Preservation of life in the form of laws against murder and mayhem is good for the same reason. Morality is no longer a matter of choice, but imperative, and the idea of a good life is a well-defined possibility, not just an arbitrary, wishful thinking, self-serving attitude.

So, wind it back to where we started. You can only have the good life when you start with the idea that there is something about creation that is good and valuable. Unless God declares it good, there is no good. Human life has value because God created it, declared it good, and gave it purpose. QED (as they say).

But there's the rub (as the saying goes). The good life is only the life that fits the design and purpose of its CREATOR (that would be God) and not the self-serving purposes of the CREATED thing (that would be us). So, I ask you again – is life good?

God considers human life so valuable, with so much potential for good, that He was willing to go to extraordinary lengths to salvage man. (Hint: that's what the Bible is about – God redeeming His creation that has gone wrong because of the stupidity of man.) We, of course, don't always get the point that we need salvation. We tend to think God should have just done things OUR way from the beginning. Of course, as brilliantly explained above, that's not possible because there are a multitude of infinitudes of possible human ideas about just what God should have done to make things good. Turn it around, fellow fools. We don't have the good life because we are not living the life God intended for us. Something has gone wrong, and it's not God that is the problem. God is the solution to our problem and trying to get rid of God so we can have the good life is just plain stupid and irrational.

The Good News of the Christian message is that God is seeking to correct what went wrong and to redeem that which has lost its value before it must be destroyed (salt that has lost its savor is just thrown away). The solution God has is to regenerate man through the infusion of a new life which then replaces the old, degenerate life.

So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away.  Look, what is new has come! And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people's trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (2Co 5:16-19)

On this day (which happens to be Easter) we remember and celebrate that reconciliation that God provided for us. It is a time to reflect, worship and be grateful that at least we now have a chance at the good life. Not some self-serving, get-it-all-for-me life. God didn't do it that way, you see? God laid down the most precious thing He had so that we might have a chance. That's God's idea of good – sacrifice for the needs of others. So, here's a thought, maybe the good life is not pleasant, nice things for me, but, rather, the service of good for the benefit of others. Hmmm…. What do you think?

Human life can have value, and be a good life, but only when we recognize our total dependence on the one who created life and declared it very good. That is the "metaphor" I choose to live by. And I have found it to be true in actuality, and a very good thing to have life, indeed.


Bookmark and Share