Eating grass. And all the rest.

Stupid and content.

They’re all pretty much headed to the slaughter. They just don’t know it. Thus the contentment of the brute beast.

I talk to my cats about it all the time. I tell them…

“This is your existence. But you don’t think about it, do you? That’s because you lack self-awareness. Thus you are not troubled by the meaninglessness that is derived from your lack of immortality. Happy, stupid cat.”

(Yes, I really do talk to my cats — Buechner, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Just ask Peri.)

A rock exists.
A tree lives.
A cat is aware.
But humans…
Humans are aware that they are aware.

Self-awareness — something that transcends and cannot be explained by the physical brain.

The kind of consciousness that is present in humans and absent in animals is not attributable to a bigger brain. It’s something else.

A computer may have a bigger “brain” (hard-drive) and “know” more than you or me, but it doesn’t know that it knows. It has no self-awareness. There is no ghost in the machine.

Self-awareness is the great mystery of consciousness. It transcends a neurological explanation and seems to require a theological (or at least metaphysical) explanation.

Self-consciousness appears to be what we call the soul. It is the ghost in the machine.

Without self-awareness an aware being (an animal) isn’t plagued by thoughts of meaninglessness. But self-aware beings must possess immortality to overcome (and not merely ignore) meaninglessness.

Dostoevsky said this (the Russian writer, not my cat)…

“To deny immortality of human beings is equivalent to denying human beings themselves, as the suicide does. Either human beings are immortal, or they are the passive product of their surroundings and thus lack inner worth.”

Without eternal life, existence is just a slow trudge to the grave. Like the cows. The cows don’t know it and are content. We do know and are not content.

And thus the humorous irony of a cow facing an existential crisis.

Of course that’s the joke. Cows do not engage in the quest for purpose and struggle with meaninglessness.

It’s the human condition. Not the bovine condition.

Cows are content, I suppose. But only stupidly so.

The question is can man be happy without God? Without immortality?

I don’t see how. Unless it is through stupidity or substances.

The shallow soul or the stoned brain may attain a kind of happiness…but it is unworthy of a human. The kind of contentment that a human can find apart from God and without immortality is befitting cows, but not humans.

But if our fate is essentially no different than that of a cow (eat, drink, be as merry as possible and die tomorrow)…
How can we be happy?


If death is the end and we know it (and bother to actually think about it) how can we not be depressed?

A self-conscious being must have the hope of immortality or be condemned to suicidal depression.

Yes, that’s my position on the subject.

But since I really don’t want to write a long blog about cows, let me submit the only solution I can see.

We are saved from this hopeless condition by the advent of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:10)

Incarnation and Resurrection.

That is what brings hope to the human race.

And I believe in the Incarnation and the Resurrection.


And so I say to you, Merry Christmas!

I mean it. Go ahead and be merry! You can do it honestly…now that the Son of God has brought immortality to the human race.

Christmas and Easter.

Hope and Meaning.

Good tidings of great joy!



Bonus Christmas quote:

“The sheep corral, filthy as only an eastern animal enclosure can be, reeked pungently with manure and urine accumulated across the seasons. Joseph cleared a corner just large enough for Mary to lie down. Birth pains had started. She writhed in agony on the ground. Joseph, in his inexperience and unknowing manly manner did his best to reassure her. His own outer tunic would be her bed; his rough saddlebag for her pillow. Hay, straw or other animal fodder was non-existent; this was not hay or grain growing country. Stock barely survived by grazing the sparse vegetation that sprang from the semi-desert terrain around the town. Mary moaned and groaned in the darkness of the sheep shelter. Joseph swept away the dust and the dirt from a small space one of the hand-hewn mangers carved from the soft limestone rock that was covered with spider webs and debris falling from the rock ceiling. There, as best he could, Joseph arranged a place where Mary could lay the newborn babe all bundled up in the swaddling clothes she brought. There alone, unaided, without strangers or friends to witness her ordeal in the darkness, Mary delivered her son. A more lowly or humble birth, it is impossible to imagine. In the dim darkness of the stable, a new sound was heard, the infant cry of the new born babe came clearly. For the first time, deity was articulated directly in sounds expressed by a human body. These peasant parents would the first of multiplied millions in the centuries to follow who would be cheered and comforted by the sounds that came from that voice. God is come. God is with his people. Immanuel.”

-Phillip Keller, Rabboni