The Ultimate Question
“…What good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
I believe that this question is at the centre of every religion and philosophy.
This is obvious with religion, but it exists in philosophy as well. I believe that the ultimate question philosophy deals with is the question of meaning.
And meaning is to a large extent hinged on the possibility of eternal life. If there is eternal life then our lives must have meaning, but if there is no eternal life meaning becomes negligible.
And if there is meaning, living meaningfully means living in accordance with our divine purpose.
And the various “philosophies” that don’t believe in eternal life focus on maximizing utility here and now, because they don’t believe that there’s more to come.
But most religions believe in an afterlife and they focus on making sure that one is able to gain that eternal life. Because if you have an eternal perspective, what you focus on changes.
Even though most religions agree that there is an eternal life they have very different ideas on how to get it.
But Jesus’ answer is simple.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
One major difference between Christianity and other religions is displayed in this answer. Christ claims that there is nothing we can do to be saved. But other religions tell us that we must do enough good deeds to earn our salvation.
It is in light of this that Christ gives this very stunning answer. Our next question then becomes, what has God done to secure the salvation of mankind since there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves?
Christ Himself answers that question for us in the famous verse of John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
His answer then is that God’s solution to the problem is giving His son to die for our sins and raising Him from the dead for our justification, and all we have to do is believe in Him.
We don’t have to keep a list of rules, hoping that by so doing God will love us and accept us. Instead, because He already loves us, He made it such that all we have to do is believe. Believe in His son, and what He did for us on the cross.
That’s what we do to be saved. Nothing more, nothing less. This is how God made the impossible, possible. And all we do is respond to this by believing.