Where then is this knowledge and wisdom to be found? Where is the source of true meaning? Is it found in the world; in its philosophy, science, education, religions, or worldly wisdom? While all of these fields are capable of helping us in our day to day struggles, they are not able to give us an answer to the larger question of purpose. They certainly may be treasured, but they are not that which really counts, which is more valuable than the sum total of all else. The Bible informs us many times that this treasure can only come from above, i.e. from God.
True purpose and wisdom can only come from revelation, that is, from God revealing himself and his will and ways. It is not able to be found in the natural world, or by the exercise of clever reasoning or science. As we have already seen, the world we live in has been made subject to vanity. Our own mortality and limited perspective restricts our ability to rise above our environment, for we are all part of the material world. Our view is limited by the bounds of our sensory perceptions and the natural boundaries of our native capacity and natural environment.
In this day and age, if we are to rise above the constraints of our environment, then we need to understand things from God’s perspective, which can only occur if we hear what he says and reveals. This information and this way of thinking is only found in the Word of God, in that book we call the Bible. Other than that, it is not now attainable anywhere else. It was Paul who clearly explained the limitations of human reasoning, when he said –
1.Cor.1:19-21 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1.Cor.1:25-26 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
From these words it is clear that Paul is saying that true wisdom and purpose can only be found if God chooses to reveal it. It cannot be attained by the exercise of human will, intelligence, reasoning, science or logic to the exclusion of God. It must be ‘by revelation’, which means that God must reveal it, otherwise we will only grope in darkness. It is also clear that much of what is thought to be wisdom in the world is far astray from the great truths of God, and is more the product of human pursuits and reasoning.
In this regard, we need to be on guard against any who claim to have special knowledge or revelation from God. If what they speak is contrary to what God has already spoken then they are simply false teachers, or what the Bible calls false prophets. They are more common they we realise, as the prospect of status, fame, power and money seems to attract certain types to this occupation. (Consider Matt.7:15, Gal.1:6-12, Deut.13, Isaiah.8:19-20, 2.Pet.2:1, 1.John.4:1 etc.). Paul is very emphatic on this point, and to emphasise his point he states that – ‘even if we (the Apostles), or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you that what you have received, let him be accursed’ (Gal.1:8).
We cannot emphasise this point firmly enough. We live in a world full of self-proclaimed ‘self-ware’ people, who claim unique experiences and a spiritual connection to God, or to some form of higher consciousness. This claim is spread across numerous religions and philosophies. As we noted earlier, it is a manifestation of the unique human capacity to be self-aware. The great danger is that the ‘spirit’ and the ‘spiritual experience’ that we may feel from various forms of enlightenment is not of God, but really only the stimulation of those parts of our created potential with ideas that have not come from God. The Bible labels this whole arena of experiences and beliefs as ‘idolatry’. As unique as we may imagine our experiences to be, they are the product of psychological and physiological stimuli. The conditions for the ‘beliefs’ and experiences being genuine are bound by the words that we have referenced above. That is, they must come from God and they must be in conformity with what God has revealed already. It is in this area that all false claims are exposed as non-genuine.
The other point worth making here is that you cannot really only agree with the parts of the Bible that you like, or that fit your world view, and then reject or otherwise ignore the rest. Some find this quite challenging and perhaps even discomforting. Since the beginning many people have adopted this approach, and it always ends in sorrow. The outcome of this approach ends up with a form of idolatry, where man ends up creating a version of God according to his own desires. Pauls speaks of this in Rom.1:18-32. In the final analysis, either the Bible contains the true revelation of God in its entirety, or the message is entirely false. You cannot pick and choose the parts that suit you, otherwise you will have destroyed the whole message and its intent. In the reference above from Romans, Paul says that if we do that, then God will withdraw Himself from our help and allow us to fall into confusion and evil. This has been the sad history of humanity and all its various religions. These same thoughts are found in 2.Thes.2:10-12, which context speaks in prophecy of a great apostasy that was to come after the time the Apostles.
As should be clear by now, the author of this work will be quoting and referencing extensively from the Bible to establish exactly what God says on many important matters. He has no desire or intention of expressing his own opinion or wisdom. He believes that the Bible’s teachings are clear enough, and in fact contain God’s revealed will for all to read and understand. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all who seek to know life’s true purpose that they come to know God. To do this they will need to investigate the Bible’s teachings and hear what God says first hand. There is no shortcutting this process. The experience of reading and thinking is itself a form of connection directly with God. To find true meaning and purpose then, all must acquaint themselves with God, and His will and ways, and thereafter freely choose to align themselves with Him in a very personal way. In this day and age God does not compel any to believe but invites all to hear, be persuaded and thereafter respond of their own free will (Rom.4:21).