Stephen Jay Gould is a very intelligent man and an effective communicator. He’s written extensively on the natural world and science. He’s also reflected on the big important questions of life. Here’s what he wrote in one place on the meaning of our lives:
We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because comets struck the earth and wiped out dinosaurs, thereby giving mammals a chance not otherwise available….We may yearn for a ‘higher’ answer – but none exists. This explanation, though superficially troubling, if not terrifying, is ultimately liberating and exhilarating. We cannot read the meaning of life passively in the facts of nature. We must construct these answers for ourselves.
It should be obvious from that quote that Stephen Jay Gould is not a Christian. Rather than believing what the Bible says about the origin of the world, Gould holds to the theory of evolution. He believes that man has descended from fishes and primates and so on. But more than that, he also believes that there is no meaning to human life apart from the meaning that we make for ourselves. Sadly, this is a common way of thinking.
Nevertheless, it forces us to think about these questions for ourselves. Why are we here? What does give our lives meaning and purpose? Do we construct our own meaning? These are questions that we need to reflect on with an open Bible. God’s Word gives us the authoritative answers to these questions. In the Bible, we don’t find theories, we find truth. In the Bible we find the revelation of who our God is.
The Bible reveals to us that God is almighty. This almighty God is also our faithful Father through Jesus Christ and because of the gospel. When we understand those biblical teachings, then we also more clearly understand how our lives have direction, meaning and purpose. Our lives, and indeed the lives of all humans who’ve ever lived and ever will live, take on significant significance when viewed through the lens of these truths.