Many people have debated over a proper way to denote a meaningful life. By reading the Bible, one side may argue that a life lived without belief in an afterlife is meaningless. The other side may oppose this by stating that a life lived in the pursuit of happiness as attributed to each person’s views is certainly meaningful. The latter may be correct, but it is possible for both arguments to be accurate when considering details outlined in this highly influential text. This analysis will convey such details, hopefully bridging the gap between lives that are meaningless and meaningful, respectively.
Happiness is very important for any individual to live a valuable life. When possessing happiness, people are encouraged to do good works that create a better environment to dwell in for themselves and others. As stated in the book Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live” (New International Version Bible, Eccl. 3. 12). Even if there are those who do not believe in some of the Bible’s bold statements, they may find truth in ones such as this.
For example, the good works as mentioned in this verse refer to multiple genres, including kindness, charity, selflessness, love, devotion, and many more. These acts, among others, yield a life of prosperity and privilege to the one who performs them and are not necessarily limited to certain followers of any particular religion. Therefore, it is wise to be happy, as it leads to good works which spawn salutary results for all of mankind. In addition, happiness leads to great benefits for the human body as well.
When people are happy, they are content with themselves, which prevents the need to alter oneself to satisfy others’ needs through appearance, personality, or even beliefs and values. It is written, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit” (New International Version Bible, Prov. 15. 13). Even in tribulation, the ability to maintain happiness produces great strength for the human body that did not exist before, nor can be existent through any other means. On the contrary, when a person is susceptible to heartache, it undermines the human body and crushes the soul and spirit.
When this occurs, people create dissatisfaction for themselves due to their visualization of an appropriate persona that does not match their own at a given moment. When people are happy and content with themselves, they see no reason to assuage others’ opinions and feel personal relief as a result. The extremely trite statement that life is short is certainly not used lightly. It is factual that life on Earth does not last forever, so it is plausible to view such a life as short from a particular standpoint.
This is proven in the statement, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (New International Version Bible, Eccl. 1. 14). Something that is done under the sun is performed on Earth, and chasing after the wind refers to pursuing an idolized entity that cannot be achieved. While some items or existences can be won on Earth, there is still no denial that they do not last forever, as proven in the quote above. Going after such possibilities would be a fool’s gambit, as there is no sustaining reason to do so due to the fact that they will eventually fade away.
This is also a foolish notion because life on Earth itself diminishes in time. With these concepts in mind, there is no doubt that any and all occurrences on Earth will not last infinitely, so it would be meaningless to hold avarice for them. In the Bible, there were numerous characters that lived meaningful lives as a result of their faith in the afterlife ensured through servitude to God. One such character, Noah, accomplished the gauntlet of saving every animal species of Earth from an utterly decimating flood that rendered the planet devoid of life, as evidenced in the book of Genesis.
God was distraught by the ungodly ways of nearly every human being on the planet, so he ascribed Noah with the task of building the Ark as a means of protecting humanity and the animals under its care while the wicked members of mankind would face His wrath. Following the culmination of the devastating flood that destroyed the world he had known, Noah’s life was defined by prosperity and purpose. Without being subservient to God, Noah would not have been given such an honorable assignment, and his life would have been denoted as meaningless as he would be submitted to the wrath of God with the rest of humanity.
There are two ways that one may live a meaningful life as described in the Bible, but one cannot be pursued without the other. The chase of happiness is essential because it provides contentment for oneself that is beneficial to the mind and soul of that person as well as others. Belief in the afterlife is also important due to the immutable truth that any occurrence on Earth is merely evanescent. It is wise to follow both of these ways, as they lead to prosperity and comfort on Earth while ensuring the promises of interminable fortune in Heaven as stated in the Bible.