Is that all there is?

So many questions we’re expected to have an answer for these days. Stand for the anthem or kneel in protest? Should we welcome the immigrant or deport the illegals? Can Christians legally decline to provide for a same-sex wedding or should we prosecute and put them out of business? Is President Trump a madman for threatening North Korea’s pudgy “rocket man” or a modern-day Churchill?

A lot of us have thought about all these important matters but how many have devoted any considerable brain function to perhaps THE most important existential question of all:

Is that all there is?

Or perhaps more accurately stated, is this all there is? Is this existence on planet Earth from conception to death the “be all and end all”? This is all we’ll ever be, and this is where it all ends?

The Grammy-winning song for Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?” was based on a short story by Thomas Mann called Disillusionment. In it, Mann seems to be expressing what I believe to be a God-given longing for something more…something beyond the temporal, finite experiences of this earthly life. Nothing really satisfies here; everything is ultimately disappointing, even genuine happiness.

Have you felt it? that subtle but undeniable sense that real, lasting satisfaction is possible but always elusive? I can almost guarantee you that every rich and famous alcoholic druggie has felt it. They have it all, and yet…they don’t. They’ve achieved or acquired all they’ve every dreamed of, and it ultimately doesn’t satisfy.

Is that all there is?

Some will answer with a resounding, “Yup,” and are prepared to be worm food at the end of a life spent sloughing off like skin cells that nagging sense of real but elusive fulfillment. But I think the smart money is on an answer that takes into account that we are more than physical – that intangible longing, and every thought and emotion we experience, cannot be located, seen, nor measured so cannot be physical. The immaterialities that characterize much of our daily experience give evidence of an immaterial world.

We say, “I have a body,” not, “I am a body.” So why should I think that “I” will cease to exist when my body can no longer serve me?

Is that all there is?

There are good reasons to believe that the answer to the question is an emphatic “No,” including the evidences for the existence and divinity of Jesus of Nazareth who clearly taught that just as the grave could not hold him, it will ultimately not hold any of us neither. There is another life to come. God created us for an eternity with himself, not for just a few decades of fruitless struggling to find lasting joy and fulfillment only to become a feast for other finite creatures.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. – Ecclesiastes 3:11