What is the ultimate big question?
When we began asking big questions on the podcast and radio show Bigger Questions (formerly Logos Live) over 7 years ago, I must confess I wondered if we'd quickly run out of big questions. Would the show just wrap up after we'd explored some of the common objections to the Christian message?
Many types of 'big questions'
Well, I am surprised because we've just passed our 200th 'big question and I don't think there is any shortage of questions to engage. In fact, there are many more big questions than I initially thought.
Some big questions are more intellectual and philosophical, questions like: 'Is it logical to believe in God?' 'Can you trust the Bible? Hasn't science disproved God? What about other religions?
Yet other big questions are more existential and personal, questions surrounding the search for the good life and how to find meaning, purpose, peace, and hope.
Yet the circumstances of our times offer other topical big questions, like the Banking Royal Commission, the emergence of Covid-19 and the trend to cancel offensive films (interestingly one of our most popular episodes!)
There is a wide variety and scope of life's biggest questions touching every area of human experience.
Always new perspectives
Not only is there variety in types of questions, there is enormous diversity and variety in the answers. For even when two people address a similar topic, like 'can you trust the Bible?, we get very different perspectives and responses - no two people approach any big question in quite the same way. It's fascinating to get different insights, reflections and stories from different guests.
I've also learned that whilst 27.5 minutes on a topic is enough to have a reasonably substantial conversation, it's not enough to be completely comprehensive. So there will always be big questions to ask.
The big one?
So, then, after asking 200 big questions, which one is the biggest question of all?
It would seem the the most common big question revolves around the complex and personal issue of evil and suffering in the world. This topic comes up in so many ways, even in conversations which at first sight didn't seem to specifically address it. The reality of suffering is certainly one of the biggest and most common questions.
Yet, whilst the question of evil and suffering is major stumbling block to faith for many people, I don't think it's the ultimate 'big question'. For underlying all this and indeed underlying all of the 'big questions' is the deeper and perhaps the ultimate biggest question of all: 'is God real'?
For at its heart, all of the big questions in the world touch on the reality and relevance of God in our lives.
Is God real in an intellectual sense? Then there should be intellectual answers and philosophical reasons to those big questions.
How can God be real when bad things happen? There needs to be a way of understanding and appreciating this at both an intellectual and a personal level.
How can God be real if he has nothing to offer or contribute to the major issues of our time?
How can God be real if he contributes nothing to my immediate life or he makes no difference to those who follow him?
This is the ultimate big question.
Consistently across the 200 shows, we have found that in Jesus, God is real and he makes a big difference to his people in this life and also for the future.
These ideas are echoed in 1 John 1, where John writes,
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
This 'Word' makes a big different to the lives of those who follow him and he offers the great gift of eternal life and we still see this being true today.
So, as we pass the milestone of 200 big questions, beneath all of these big questions is the ultimate question - Is God real?
And in Jesus the answer is - yes. He can make a massive difference to our lives and we have 200 testimonies of people for whom this is true.