Divine Values Give Your Life New Meaning

A spiritual life requires spiritual goals, and such goals are defined by our priorities. Our priorities, in turn, are very much determined by the meanings and values we ascribe to things, people, and events.

Meanings and values do not exist in a purely materialistic and animalistic world, nor are they inherent in the sciences, mathematics, or any avenue of scientific research. Facts and events themselves have no intrinsic value. In other words, no object has meaning or value in and of itself—both are qualities assigned by the individual mind. Things have meaning only within the scope of human experience, spiritual or otherwise.

A true scientist does not ascribe meaning or value to an atomic structure or even to an experiment. Scientific principles, scientific experiments, rules of conduct, or philosophical views have meaning only in relation to their usefulness or relevance to humanity, the differing virtues of which are debatable.

The meanings we ascribe to ideas as well as the values we place on ideals, are mental constructs, but real nonetheless—they are subjective, experiential, and supermaterial realities.

Of all visible life on this planet, only humans are capable of attributing meaning and value to any aspect of physical, mental, or spirit reality. This capacity alone is enough to demonstrate our spiritual roots.

Humans recognize the meanings of symbols, which is why they can master a complex language, use mathematical equations, or comprehend the meaning of meanings. The ability to recognize and use symbols is indicative of self-consciousness, reflective thinking, and intellectual insight—mental qualities that are not only superanimal, but also supermaterial and supernatural—they are spiritual.

The meanings and values we ascribe to things, actions, and events have a strong influence on our goals and motivations in life. But like everything else in an ever-changing and progressive life, our perceptions are changing too. Things we value in our childhood are not necessarily those things we value later in life. And things that are meaningful to us as a teenager may not be as meaningful when we later become parents ourselves.

Spirituality enhances the ability to discover beauty in things, recognize truth in meanings, and discover goodness in values. 100:2.4

– The Urantia Book

The Meaning of a Spiritual Life

We can look at the meaning of a thing from different perspectives. One way is to look at the meaning of a word, such as its definition in a dictionary. Another is to try to decipher the meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or essay—what a person is trying to say. And another is to interpret the meaning of a thing by its significance or relation to something else, such as the meaning of its existence.

Using the dictionary approach, we are simply trying to understand the common interpretation of a word. We wish to understand how it is used, defined, or explained. We may, for instance, wish to understand faith, the soul, personality, or spirituality. Such meanings are important because we cannot truly grasp what someone is trying to say unless we have common ground.

In addition to various definitions of words, there are also differing levels of meaning depending on the object, or context, of a sentence. We could say, for example, “I love chocolate ice cream” or “I love my child.” Both examples are typical uses of the word love, but each one embodies a different level of meaning. If I ask which level of love, or expression of love, is the most meaningful to you, most of us would choose the love of a child over that of chocolate ice cream, especially if you have ever been a parent.

However, when we ask a question such as, “What is the meaning of life?” we are not concerned about the dictionary meaning or the contextual meaning. We are asking, “What is life’s purpose?” or “Why do we exist?” We are asking for the meaning of life in relation to the entirety of existence—does it have an ultimate value, purpose, or objective? From a spiritual perspective, these are the meanings we wish to explore.

Questions about the meaning of life may sound like tired clichés, but nothing is more depressing than a life without meaning. Such inquiries have long been a topic of philosophical discussion, and the study of this metaphysical conundrum could fill whole libraries. But to make a very long story very short, if there is any purpose to human existence, it is impossible for us mere mortals to know what it is unless it is revealed to us from on high. We did not create ourselves and, therefore, we cannot possibly know if there is any ultimate intention for our existence.

In a final analysis, any satisfactory answer to the meaning of life requires reference to a universal, personal, and intentional Agent that must have existed before, and is independent of, the existence of human life itself. In other words, the ultimate meaning of life can be answered only with reference to a Supreme Being.

This leaves us with two avenues of thought. The first is that there is no higher being and life is a cosmic accident and, therefore, we will never know if life has meaning. The second is that there is a greater being who reveals that life is meaningful—that we have a purpose and a destiny.

Without divine purpose, we are inclined to believe that all human conduct is motivated by self-interest (cynicism). And without divine values, we tend to think that all values are relative and unfounded and, therefore, that existence is senseless and useless (nihilism). Both cynicism and nihilism are materialist philosophies that deny the purpose and potential of a spiritual life. But it comes as no surprise that these gloomy outlooks often lead to depression and anxiety.

Nihilism ultimately proves to be a shortsighted view of reality because even a nihilist cannot negate the reality of his own thoughts. And if his beliefs, values, and thoughts are unfounded and unreal, then his philosophy of nihilism would also be unreal.

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.

– C. S. Lewis

The second avenue—that there is a Supreme Being and life is purposeful and meaningful—cannot be substantiated (objectively) any more than the view that life is meaningless. But it is a truth that can be realized and experienced in our inner lives.

This positive perspective of faithful optimism leads to inner peace, confidence, self-esteem, and happiness. And this is true for the simple reason that it is in harmony with the truth of the cosmos. Even though we may not know the full particulars of why our lives are meaningful, we can rest assured that there is some greater and divine purpose to our existence on this earth.

Believing that life is meaning-full is a way of filling our lives with meaning, specifically spiritual meaning derived from spirit contact and spirit guidance. Of course, not all philosophers agree with this view. Some maintain that people who believe they are spirit-led are simply avoiding responsibility for their behavior by giving themselves up to an ultimate authority like God, who then controls them or gives them answers.

But if we follow this line of reasoning, then taking advice from any source—lawyers, doctors, or psychologists—would be considered avoiding responsibility for our actions. The truth is we are accepting responsibility for the course of our lives by looking up to the wisdom and counsel of the spirit realm in a search for meaningful answers.

Discovering new meanings is not necessarily limited to the discovery of new facts or unique experiences. It is more about the discovery of new meanings in those everyday facts and experiences already well known to us. It is the delightful discovery of profound spiritual meaning in a mundane world.

Consider the possibility of finding new spiritual meanings in marriage, family, or rearing children. Look for enhanced meanings in your daily work, in leisure time, or when helping others. Discover more transcendent meanings in commonplace words such as honesty, goodness, patience, tolerance, loyalty, truth, and courage.

Grow spiritually and help others to do so. It is the meaning of life.

– Leo Tolstoy

One example of finding new meaning is to consider the different meaning-levels associated with the golden rule, which is to treat others as you would like them to treat you. On a dim level of understanding, a person likes to have his back scratched so he will scratch the backs of others. But on a more sublime level of understanding, he comes to realize he should treat others with respect and kindness, just as he would like to be treated. And on an even more profound level of spiritual meaning, he realizes he should treat others as God treats them, as a Divine Parent treats them—with love, patience, compassion, and understanding.

The Value of a Spiritual Life

Meanings and values affect our decision-making process, which in turn determines the course of our lives. If we honestly believe, for instance, that life is all about the money, then money will be our prime goal as well as our prime value-motivator in life.

How the love of money could affect our individual attitudes and values in life is reflected in the dark humor of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition as enacted in the Star Trek film series. Some of these rules are: trust is the biggest liability—a man is only worth the sum of his possessions—exploitation begins at home—never place friendship above profit.

To a moral mind, these quips may sound humorous, but to a mind dominated by greed and selfishness, they could actually make sense. The caveat is that any value system dominated solely by material gain or a self-centered lifestyle cannot persist for long in a progressive civilization because it doesn’t work for the benefit of all. It is not only unreasonable, but also spiritually unreal.

As we have seen, some philosophers reject meanings and values because they are not objectively real—but also because they are relative. The fundamental argument in relativism is that, because we all see things differently, there can be no absolute value or truth, only relative ones. The danger with this approach is that anything goes—one value, no matter how immoral, is as legitimate as another. It is a dismal view that tends to devalue human life.

In the God experience, we fully acknowledge that truth is relative. But the crucial difference is that we also believe in the reality of absolute values—the divine values inherent in the nature of God—truth, beauty, goodness, and love. These are the absolute values that make up our spiritual framework, the yardsticks used to measure all thought and action, the goals of perfection. Instead of being an arbitrary framework of moral codes, divine values provide the very foundation for all moral codes.

The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations.

– Martin Luther King Jr.

It is important to distinguish between that which is value and that which has value. That which is value is spiritual or divine in origin—these are values intrinsic to the nature of God. Whenever we morally evaluate any situation, we compare the values of all possible choices. We ask whether things are in harmony with divine reality; are they true or not, are they good for everyone, are they beautiful?

Alternatively, that which has value is that which embodies divine values, such as good behavior, beautiful artwork, or family life. We often hear the call to return to family values. But what are these values? Family life itself has no intrinsic value because the value of family life can be qualified only by the values it extols. Whenever a family (or anything) can be defined or qualified by divine values, then it has value—true spiritual value.

True values originate in God and are manifested in our daily lives by the choices we make, and in the process, they define the value and nature of our families, institutions, and societies.

The human mind does not create divine or spiritual values, it can only discover, recognize, interpret, and choose among them. No doubt, our differing perceptions of value are subjective and relative, but this does not detract from their absolute reality in God. For example, our perception of the physical universe may be limited and relative, nevertheless, few would deny the universe exists.

Most of us have a good grasp of divine values, primarily due to the untiring work of our inner Spirits. But even deeper realizations can be reached through intensive spirit contact. And this we do by means of spiritual communion—meditation, contemplation, prayer, and worship (see Spirit Contact Techniques).

As used here, communion does not refer to a Christian sacrament, but rather to the conventional meanings such as intimate fellowship, an interchange between two persons, rapport, or an act of sharing. Other meanings include cooperation, communication, interaction, and togetherness.

Communion with God is no more than sharing your life with the Divine Source within you. And through this simple act, you gain a greater appreciation for the divine values of spiritual existence. You begin to see life and the universe through spiritual eyes, which makes it possible for you to transcend your material world to some degree and, thereby, to re-evaluate yourself, your family, and your society a little more objectively. Your new spiritual evaluations, in turn, provide you with new direction in all aspects of your life.

A highly developed values system is like a compass. It serves as a guide to point you in the right direction when you are lost.

– Idowu Koyenikan

Four Divine Values

You can achieve a remarkable amount of spiritual growth by gauging your thoughts, feelings, and actions in terms of just four divine values—truth, beauty, goodness, and love—all of which originate in the Divine Source. These values, along with associated ideals, cannot be found in the physical universe, nor are they naturally inherent in the material, human brain.

Divine values provide you with a moral framework to guide your decisions in everyday life; a way to make your highest ideals a living reality. Not only do these vital decisions augment your soul growth, they also open your mind to more progressive spiritual insights as well as a higher sense of God consciousness (see Your Soul—What Is It? and God Consciousness).

Contemplating these divine values and making them an integral part of your inner life and your social life is a highly effective way of bringing yourself into harmony with spirit life—with the nature and character of your inner Spirit. It’s a process of becoming spiritually mature and it’s a way to become healthy and happy in body and mind.


Truth is a divine value that can be discerned in mind and expressed in life by means of moral and spiritual insights, even scientific insights. These three insights, or intuitions, are readily available functions of mind to all who remain open-minded—open to new knowledge, new meanings, new values, and new truths. It is a sad fact that a mind closed by fixed opinions, biases, or bigotries is incapable of experiencing such valuable insights.

Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.

– Buddha

Truth is more than mere knowledge—an accumulation of facts. Facts may be true, but they are not necessarily the whole truth because, by themselves, they tell us little about patterns, relationships, and associations that may exist among and between facts. Discerning truth is an attempt to evaluate the parts as well as the cosmological whole—to grasp the big picture.

There are many kinds of facts, such as scientific facts, historical facts, and social facts. Each fact is an isolated and static bit of knowledge, whereas truth is dynamic, discovering relationships and associations between these fact-bits. These discoveries, in turn, generate more meaningful evaluations of facts.

For example, archaeological evidence for the evolution of human societies consists in a number of facts, such as certain types of artifacts, structures, and geological data. But in and of themselves, they do not tell us much. Only when we interpret these facts in the context of their spatial and temporal associations with each other can we determine relationships, social and economic functions, and how societies have changed over time. 

Truth can be absolute but, in a time-space universe, most of it is relative, always conditioned by continuously changing facts and events. Truth is flexible, yet progressive—it adapts and evolves as humanity’s awareness of the cosmos evolves, but our ‘truths’ will always be relative to the extent of our knowledge, experience, insight, and wisdom.

Nonetheless, there are valid statements of absolute truth, such as “gravity attracts,” or “wheels are round.” And there are many absolute truths we can understand, such as “I exist,” or “God is love.” Even if we disagree with specific statements such as these, any argument that claims there is no such thing as absolute truth is, in itself, a claim to absolute truth.

Even though heaven and earth shall pass away, my words of truth shall not.

– Jesus of Nazareth


God is supremely good and the source of all goodness. By venerating goodness, you become good—you come to understand, to love, and to help others whenever and wherever you can. There is goodness in love, goodness in beauty, goodness in truth, and goodness in a spirit-led life.

Goodness is inherent in the personality of God—a goodness manifesting as parental love, compassion, and forgiveness (see God Is Someone). Through your own spiritual experiences, you soon realize the truth of divine goodness. And this insight into the infinite and eternal goodness of Divinity is what inspires you to be good.

Being good means that, no matter what troubles you encounter, no matter how evil others may be, no matter what injustice you suffer, you always return goodness. Being good under any and all circumstances is a reliable indicator of your spiritual progress.

Goodness begets goodness, but to the one who is truly good, evil also begets goodness.

– Lao Tzu


Beauty is a divine value because Spirit life is the epitome of beauty—there is nothing more beautiful in all creation than the perfection of divinity—the beauty of God. Beauty comes to us in many forms, not just in the marvel of nature but also in our own artistic creations. Yet notions of beauty far transcend the material world; beauty of thought, beauty of action, beauty of spirit, and the beauty of divine love are just as real as the beauty of a rose.

As with all divine values, your inner Spirit gives you the ability to recognize and appreciate true beauty. You can express spiritual beauty and the beauty of God through your actions and your words by being beautiful in your inner life as well as gracious in your outer life. All spiritual achievements are divinely beautiful.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beauty manifests in many wonderful ways—truth is beautiful, love is beautiful, and compassion is beautiful. There is beauty in harmony, beauty in rhythm, and beauty in symmetry. Divinity is beautiful, wisdom is beautiful, and the creative patterns of the universe are beautiful. Learn to fully appreciate the spiritual beauty of the universe and to recreate and manifest this beauty in your daily life.


Love dominates all divine values. It is the ultimate spiritual force—a dynamic and irresistible power that embraces and unifies all other divine values. Love is the outward, living expression of truth, beauty, and goodness. It is a rule for living and provides the highest motivation for all who choose to walk the spirit path.

Love is God’s divine attitude to all personalities, a love best understood as compassionate love—as parental love. The love of God defines the supreme relationship between all individuals from every culture and in all nations.

Love is the greatest of all spirit realities. 143:1.4

– The Urantia Book

Even if you have never been a parent, you can still appreciate the depth of parental love. And you can let it shine in your own life, first by graciously accepting it, and then by graciously giving it to others. Love is not something you possess—it is something you share.

Spiritual love is not a frailty. Any mature expression of love is assertive and practical, not fawning and fanciful. Divine love is intelligently applied, disciplined, compassionate, affectionate, and wise.

The Ideals of a Spiritual Life

Ideals are informed by our values, and together they dictate how we see the world and how we define our ambitions and goals in life. One way to make our grand ideals a reality is by learning to visualize them. This is an extremely useful and constructive exercise yielding practical results (see also Creative Imagination as a Spiritual Technique).

Many unnecessary problems result from a lack of worthy goals or ideals. For example, a poll by AP-NORC (June 2022) found that 85 percent of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction. This is an interesting fact, but there is no mention about what conditions or goals would define the right direction. Only by taking the time to clearly visualize ideal governments, ideal economic systems, ideal social systems, or an ideal spiritual life can we ever hope to achieve these objectives.

It is not only important to clearly conceptualize our present ideals but also to reach for the highest virtues of divinity we can possibly imagine. And this is true because it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to ascend any higher in our spiritual evolution than our highest ideals will permit.

Your ultimate goal of spiritual betterment is to become progressively more spiritual in your inner life, an ideal that finds expression in your outer life. This is the supreme objective of any worthwhile self-improvement program. It is an attempt to become more like the Divine Spirit that lives within your mind, at least in terms of spiritual meanings and values.

Spiritual Loyalties

You cannot serve two masters. You cannot bow down to Mammon, the god of material wealth, while pretending to worship the God of Light and Life. It’s just not possible to have true peace of mind when you have one foot stuck in the mud of materialism while the other seeks firm ground on the rock of spiritual ideals.

Divided loyalties give rise to internal conflicts and unsound judgments. But you can overcome your inner discord and succeed in spirit by being completely loyal to spiritual values, regardless of the circumstances. Loyalties cannot be divided, and the highest devotion is best given to the God of universal love.

There is nothing unspiritual about being highly successful in life or having riches—it is simply a matter of priorities. Self-respect and wealth do not impede your spiritual growth, but self-importance and the love of wealth do.

We do not have a money problem in America. We have a values and priorities problem.

– Marian Wright Edelman

Ambition is a wonderful motivator that should never be inhibited, but self-centered ambition is harmful, not only to yourself but to those around you. If you are obsessed with personal gain at a cost to others, you can hardly claim to be walking the path to God. Having said that, it is still possible to be both ambitious and selfless. It all depends on your goals and priorities.