A worldview’s understanding of cosmic origins implies an answer to that most pressing philosophical question, the question of meaning. What is the meaning of life? What is a meaningful use of my life? These are, in some sense, questions of where we are going, and the answer is informed by the answer to the question of where we came from.
If we came from nowhere, we are going nowhere. The only logical implication of naturalism is nihilism. If we are the products of blind chance destined for annihilation, it’s hard to see how anything we do with our lives can be meaningful in any real and transcendent chance. That is, we may bring comfort to ourselves and others for the moment, but all such good is destined for oblivion. Silence has the last word.
I think there are very few thorough-going nihilists; it’s simply too depressing a philosophy, and too hard to reconcile with what we experience of beauty and good and evil, too hard to square with our longing for eternity. Elite intellectuals may embrace philosophical nihilism, and their counterparts in the art world may revel in nonsense, but such ideology doesn’t trickle down well. I think that most naturalists, even the elites, decline to follow their beliefs about the cosmos to the unavoidable conclusion that there is no meaning, no right or wrong. Instead, there is an effort to argue for morality and meaning in spite of the denial of all transcendent reality—arguments never convincing but understandable because the alternative, within their worldview, is oblivion. Much more common is practical nihilism, which shows itself in our culture’s obsession with entertainment—the eagerness to be turned aside from meaningful uses of our time.
There is a much happier alternative, one that emerges naturally from a theistic worldview. If there is a God, then there is meaning. We have a purposeful beginning, and a purposeful destiny. What we do in this life matters, there really is good and evil, and silence is not the last word.
In fact, the revelation of the one true God gives us definite answers to this pressing question. We were created by a loving God in His own image and likeness. His character provides the transcendent standard of right and wrong. His boundless life is the foundation of eternity, and He offers an eternal destiny of life for those who receive, by the Holy Spirit, the gift of life that comes through faith in God the Son incarnate, Jesus Christ.
What we do in this moment is meaningful. How we spend our time matters, because our actions are pleasing or displeasing to the all-worthy God. Our choice to receive or reject the gift of life determines our eternal destiny. Our labors in this life are eternally significant, as we care for others who also have an eternal destiny and for God’s good creation.