Legacy

C. R. Rao is a very famous statistician who is more than one hundred years old by now. He is perfectly lucid and, being no fool, knows that his tenure in this earthly life will soon come to an end.

He has many impressive achievements. A gifted student and, by some serendipity, being in the right place at the right time, he was mentored in Cambridge by Sir Ronald Fisher, the father of modern statistics. Afterwards, he himself would become a mentor to many excellent mathematicians. He developed and proved very important results, many of which bear his name and are used by millions in every field of knowledge. Few among us could say we have accomplished as much as he has. However, he is now worried that once he passes away his work will be forgotten. 

And I cannot blame him. I do sincerely understand him.

Most of us will be left to human oblivion about three generations after we live. Few, like our famous statistician, will escape anonymity beyond that point. Among the few, only a handful will be remembered by all future generations. Moreover, our planet, our solar system, and our galaxy are all going to collapse at some point;  even our universe will die out cold in a state of maximum entropy, as the second law of thermodynamics tells us, if it is a closed system. Therefore, if there is no more to life than this earthly life, all of us will be forgotten. Regardless of how much good (or evil!) we have done, it will all be forgotten. And, worse yet, nothing that we did will ever matter. Nothing at all. Not a thing.

Ecclesiastes, the Old Testament book, discovered this reality thousands of years ago; atheistic existentialism, less than one hundred years ago, rediscovered it too. We humans, finite as we are, but with longings for eternity, need something that goes beyond death or death will catch us soon. If there’s nothing more to life than this world, we are hopeless.

Now, we can believe the philosophy that there is nothing beyond and, being coherent enough, to embrace the meaninglessness that comes with it. Or we can accept our instincts of transcendence, of eternity, and believe that there is something else —that we do not live in a closed universe, and there is a bigger reality than this world. Concededly, the two options have to be accepted by faith. But as C. S. Lewis put it, given that all our human longings can be satisfied, “if we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” So the longing for eternity betrays those who deny that there is a bigger reality and that it makes our lives meaningful.

Then, for our world to matter it is a necessary condition that there must be a God who made us in His image, which will in turn explain why we have this longing for eternity. Nonetheless, if there is a God beyond our universe, we cannot grasp Him (for the same reason we cannot prove the existence of a multiverse) unless He comes to us and takes us to Himself. That which is finite can never reach infinity, but it is very easy for the infinite to reach what is finite without losing its infinitude.

The good news is that this is exactly what Jesus Christ accomplished! He, being in the form of God, became one of us and came for us, so that we could live with God in eternity. He who is Infinite became finite to take that which is finite to infinity with Him.

Life has no meaning if there is no God. And if there is a God, perfect as He is, we who are imperfect cannot reach him unless He first reaches us. That is why Christianity makes so much sense. That is why Christ is the only way to God. If God, our existence does matter. And if Jesus Christ, we infinitely matter in a personal and existential way, as our instincts rightly advise us.

Since we cannot do anything to reach Him, our only option is to receive by faith what He did for us. That’s all. Just believing. Believing in our hearts that He is the Son of God who came to give His life for us, but was raised from the dead to take us with Him to God the Father. Nothing else is required, and yet everything is offered.

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