God, Naturalism, and the Meaning to Life

By Kenneth R. Samples

If the Christian God exists then life has objective meaning. God possesses ultimate meaning, therefore humans (made in His image) would be expected to derive purposeful meaning. But what if God doesn’t exist? Can meaning be created or discovered in a godless universe?

Some atheist philosophers propose that while there is no meaning to life there may be meaning in life by the choices people make. A test of this claim comes by examining the human need for meaning and what the secular worldview of naturalism (the metaphysical view that nature is the sole reality) offers to meet this need.

Human Beings and Meaning

Human beings yearn for authentic meaning, purpose, and significance in their lives. In fact, without a

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sound and enduring reason to live, people often succumb to a sense of despair. At a fundamental level, humans need purpose and hope as much as they need food, shelter, and clothing—maybe even more. And that significance must include genuine meaning to life itself.

Naturalism and Meaning

How could a universe without God have value, meaning, and purpose, especially for sentient beings? If the universe and humanity are merely products of blind, accidental, and purely natural processes, then it is difficult to identify and justify a true enduring value for life. Accidental creatures with no ultimate purpose or end are hard-pressed to impart any permanent significance to their lives.

But why couldn’t a person simply create meaning for themselves by their personal choices?

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Reasons To Believe : God, Naturalism, and the Meaning to Life