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Some Gems From Peter Kreeft’s Booklet “A Pocket Guide to the Meaning of Life”

09 Oct

Peter Kreeft is one of my favorite writers – He is a Catholic Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and teaches as well at the King’s College in New York. One of my top five favorite books of all time was written by him called “Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing.” I have a Book Review – which comes nowhere near to doing the book justice on this site. I don’t agree with everything Kreeft writes in this little booklet, nor in most of his writings, but he always gives some great insights, makes one think, and always provides fantastic food for thought.

In this booklet he asks 67 questions related to the meaning of life. Here are a few of the profound insights he gives in answer to some of the questions he asks:

“You need only one thing besides knowing God: you need to know that you need nothing more.”

A GREAT quote from Saint Augustine, “One who has God, has everything; and one who has everything except God, has nothing; and one who has God plus everything else has no more than one who has God alone.”

In answer to how has God revealed Himself? He gives seven ways:

1)    In nature, His creation, as an artist is revealed in art.

2)    In human nature, especially in conscience, His inner prophet in your soul.

3)    In every truth we discover, every good we do, and every beauty we create.

4)    In history, by choosing a people (the Jews) to be His collective prophet to the world, making a covenant with them, giving them His law and His prophets, performing miracles for them (such as the Exodus), and inspiring their sacred Scriptures, which Christians call the “Old Testament.”

5)    Most completely of all, in sending His own divine Son, Jesus Christ.

6)    Through the Church of Christ established “upon the foundation of the apostles” (Ephesians 2:20).

7)    In the book the apostles authored and the Church authorized, the New Testament.

In answer to the question “What is hope?” Kreeft answers: “Hope is believing God’s promises. Hope is faith directed to the future. Like faith, hope is a response to God’s revelation, not a feeling we work up in ourselves. It is like an investment in God. Its opposite is despair, which is giving up on God.”

“Your heart was designed by God Himself to be completely filled by Him alone.” Saint Augustine, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” In every heart there is a God-sized hole that the whole universe is not great enough to fill.

What must I do to find the peace I seek? Jesus’ answers, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).”

How can I come to Jesus if He lived 2000 years ago? Because He still lives today. “He is not here; for he has risen” (Matthew 28:6). Unlike every other man, His tomb is empty He promised His disciples, “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matt. 28:20).

If I believe in Him and am baptized into His Body, what will happen to me? You will receive the very life of Christ: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). You will be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16). Nothing will be able to separate you from God, in this world or in the next (Romans 8:31-39).

The Bottom Line is that Kreeft answers life’s most important questions because they involve your relationship with God, others, purpose and meaning in the here and now, and your eternity. The here and now is preparation for the future. There are more clear books on how to be saved than this one (e.g. Erwin Lutzer’s “One Minute After You Die”) – but Kreeft is always very helpful and insightful.

The one major concern I have with this book is how Kreeft muddies the waters in making any distinction between justification (how one is made right with God) and sanctification (how one grows in their likeness to Christ) – for much better treatments of the distinction between salvation and sanctification I would recommend the following works: Saved by Grace by Anthony Hoekema; Salvation belongs to the Lord by John Frame; Saved From What?; Chosen By God; and Justified By Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul; and Do I Know God? by Tullian Tchividjian to start with.

 

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