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

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.


Book Review: Now, That’s a Good Question! By R. C. Sproul

Great Answers to God Questions

I love the format of this book: One of the finest theologians in America today, answering 300 questions from a radio audience off the cuff with answers to each of these individual questions in less than 4 minutes. The questions in this book are the original questions from the live call in audience, and the answers have been edited only insofar as missing assorted “uh’s” and “um’s.”

The questions are broken down Into 22 categories. R. C. Sproul is a reformed theologian and pastor, and his expertise is in the areas of theology, apologetics, philosophy, Bible exposition and interpretation. He is a brilliant communicator and has the ability to bring the cookies on the shelf for the layperson – no matter how complicated the issue. I have included all the categories listed below, along with two sample questions from the section.

1)    Knowing God (19 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Why does God remain invisible?” and “Why does God love us so much?”

2)    Who Is Jesus (9 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Was Christ capable of sinning?” and “Did Jesus ever laugh?”

3)    The Work of the Holy Spirit (10 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Does every human being have the potential to receive the Holy Spirit?” and “What was the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament?”

4)    The Book of Books (17 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “How were the books of the Bible selected and compiled?” and “How do you know the Bible is true?”

5)    The Way of Salvation (23 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Why did God save me?” and “What do good deeds have to do with salvation?”

6)    Sin and the Sinner (13 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What is meant by the term original sin?” and “Are there gradations of sin?”

7)    Faith and Philosophy (14 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Doesn’t science disprove Christianity?” and “Is there a distinction between Christianity and religion?”

8)    The Power and Purpose of Payer (11 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “How can we, as Christians, have more power in our prayer lives?” and “Does God hear the prayers of the non-Christian?”

9)    The Growing Spiritual life (27 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What do you do in your daily devotions?” and “What concerns you most about today’s Christian?”

10) Understanding Satan (6 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Can the Devil read my mind?” and “Has Satan been given dominion over the earth until Jesus returns?”

11) Heaven and Hell (16 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Will we recognize each other in heaven?” and “What happens to animals when they die?”

12) Sharing the Faith (10 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What is faith?” and “Is the Christian faith really rational?”

13) Church Life (26 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What are the basics to church growth?” and “What is the most crucial issue confronting today’s church?”

14) Marriage and Family (22 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What should make Christian marriages distinctive?” and “Are there biblical grounds for divorce, and if so, what are they?”

15) Career Issues (9 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What is the biblical concept, if any, of retirement?” and “How can an employer show employees Christlike dignity?”

16) Money Matters (10 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What do you believe the Bible teaches about tithing as it relates to Christians today?” and “Is there a clear biblical position against lotteries and casino gambling?”

17) Life-and Death Issues (7 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Does the Bible say anything about euthanasia?” and “What should be the Christian stand on the death penalty?”

18) Suffering (12 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “What is the difference between God testing us and tempting us?” and “If God is all powerful, then why does he allow suffering?”

19) The End Times (12 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Are we living in the last days?” and “What does Scripture teach us about the future role of Israel?”

20) Lifestyle Ethics (17 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Should Christians impose their ethics on non-Christians?” and “Is it wrong for scientists to engage in genetic engineering?”

21) Christians and Government (13 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Are biblical solutions to world problems outdated?” and “Should Christians work to have Christian values in public policy?”

22) Puzzling Passages (19 Questions asked and answered) – for example, “Why in the Old Testament does God demand so much violence and war of the Jewish nation?” and “The Lord says in the Old Testament that he loved Jacob but he hated Esau, and in 1 John, John actually says that if we say we love God but hate our brothers, we’re wrong. How can we reconcile these two passages?”

I think this is a resource you will use for life – especially for Christian leaders, pastors, counselors, missionaries, and teachers – who deal with similar questions in their respective ministries on a regular basis. The index in the back of the book makes this a resource that you can use to find if a specific question you are struggling with, or have been asked is included. It is not exhaustive, but has a lot of the questions that most Christians struggle with and are asking. It also makes a great gift for someone who loves to study God’s Word.