There is of course an element of truth in each of these answers to the question “What is the essence of life?” And, so too, in many other possible answers. I like the perspective on the essence of life that comes from the well known writer and poet, William Shakespeare. In his work “Measure for measure” the character Isabella is pleading with another character, Angelo, for her brother’s life. She reminds Angelo of the pride that often goes with authority and says something very profound about the essence of life:
But man, proud man,
Dressed in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep …
Notice the words “… his glassy essence …”. It looks like Shakespeare is suggesting the surprising truth that our essence or innermost being is like a glass or like a mirror. Why? Because it is suppose to reflect the qualities and features and the words and the works of the Almighty. We cannot separate the essence of life from what we know about Yahweh, the source of life, and what He has revealed about his plan and design for this world. Let us have a look what Scriptures are saying in this regard.
Gen 2:7 And Yahweh Elohim formed the man out of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils breath of life. And the man became a living being.
LIFE BEGINS WITH YAHWEH
Deut 8:3 And He humbled you, and let you suffer hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, to make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of Yahweh.
NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT IN LIFE THAN THE WORDS OF YAHWEH
Ps 30:3 Yahweh, You brought me up from the grave; You have kept me alive, from going down into the pit.
YAHWEH IS THE ONE WHO KEEPS US ALIVE
Ps 34:11-12 Come, you children, listen to me; Let me teach you the fear of Yahweh. Who is the man who desires life, Who loves many days, in order to see good?
THOSE WHO DESIRE LIFE, SHOULD FEAR YAHWEH
Ps 133:3 Like the dew of Chermon, That comes down on the mountains of Tsiyon. For there Yahweh commanded the blessing, Life forever!
YAHWEH’S ULTIMATE BLESSING IS EVERLASTING LIFE
1 Ch 29:15 For we are sojourners and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without permanence.
WE ARE SOJOURNERS AND PILGRIMS IN THIS LIFE
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited if he gains all the world, and loses his own life? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?
DO NOT GAMBLE WITH YOUR OWN LIFE
Mar 10:45 For even the Son of Adam did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
THE MESSIAH REVEALED SOMETHING OF THE ESSENCE OF LIFE
John 6:35 And Y’shua said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall not get hungry at all, and he who believes in Me shall not get thirsty at all.”
ALL THAT IS NEEDED IN LIFE MAY BE FOUND IN MESSIAH
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to slaughter, and to destroy. I have come that they might possess life, and that they might possess it beyond measure.
MESSIAH IS ABLE TO GIVE LIFE BEYOND MEASURE
2 Cor 5:1 For we know that if the tent of our earthly house, is destroyed, we have a building from Elohim, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens.
COMPARED TO THE KINGDOM LIFE, THIS LIFE IS LIKE A TENT
1Tim 4:8 For bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but reverence is profitable for all, having promise of the present life, and of that which is to come.
HONOURING YAHWEH IN EVERYTHING HOLDS A PROMISE FOR THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE