Sermon quotes on existence

Annie Dillard 

We don’t know what’s going on here. If these tremendous events are random combinations of matter run amok, the yield of millions of monkeys at millions of typewriters, then what is it in us, hammered out of those same typewriters, that they ignite? We don’t know. Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.


Fyodor Dostoevsky

Reason and Knowledge have always played a secondary, subordinate, auxiliary role in the life of peoples, and this will always be the case. A people is shaped and driven forward by an entirely different kind of force, one which commands and coerces them and the origin of which is obscure and inexplicable despite the reality of its presence.


Fyodor Dostoevsky

The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.


Albert Einstein

The greatest tragedy of human existence is the illusion of separateness.

Viktor E. Frankl

Only to the extent that someone is living out this self transcendence of human existence, is he truly human or does he become his true self. He becomes so, not by concerning himself with his self’s actualization, but by forgetting himself and giving himself, overlooking himself and focusing outward.

Bill Gates

I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill. But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there’s no scientific explanation of how it came about. To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs]. I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don’t know.


Abraham Kuyper

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!

C.S. Lewis 

The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt. 

The Problem of Pain

Lord Acton

Before God, there is neither Greek nor barbarian, neither rich nor poor, and the slave is as good as his master, for by birth all men are free; they are citizens of the universal commonwealth which embraces all the world, brethren of one family, and children of God. 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering…but in the development of the soul.


A.W. Tozer

Faith is seeing the invisible, but not the nonexistent.


Dallas Willard

The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.


Simone Weil

Human existence is so fragile a thing and exposed to such dangers that I cannot love without trembling.


Thomas Wolfe

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence. (For Contrast).


N.T. Wright

What are we hear for in the first place? The fundamental answer…is that we we’re “here for” is to become genuine human beings, reflecting the God in whose image we’re made, and doing so in worship on the one hand and in mission, its full and large sense, on the other; and that we do this not by least by “following Jesus.” The way this works out is that it produces, though the work the Holy Spirit, a transformation of character. This transformation will mean that we do indeed “keep the rules”-though not out of a sense of externally imposed “duty,” but out of character that has been formed within us. And it will mean that we do indeed “follow our hearts” and live “authentically”-but only when, with that transformed character fully operative (like an airline pilot with a lifetime’s existence), the hard work up front bears fruit  in spontaneous decisions and actions that reflect what has been formed deep within. And, in the wider world, the challenge we face is to grow and develop a fresh generation of leaders, in all walks of life, whose character has been formed in wisdom and public service, not in greed for money or power.

After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters

Stephen Crane

A man said to the universe:

“Sir, I exist!

“However” replied the universe

‘The fact has not created in me

a sense of obligation.”

War Is Kind

Martin Heidegger

We are too late for the gods and too early for Being.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

Man is the creature with a mystery in his heart that is bigger than himself.

Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), p.23.

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