Member Rara Avis
If everything and everyone ends up in one single black hole, what can anything or anyone matter now? And explain this in such a way that I might see "mattering" as able to transcend mental placebos conjured just to make a more enjoyable trip to nowhere.
Tennyson already did that, Stephen. (In Memoriam, Stanza 27)
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Just because something of great value doesn't last forever doesn't mean it never had great value. Many Christians, at some point, go through a crisis of faith. If you stopped believing in God tomorrow, would that mean that your love for Him today was meaningless? If your faith was to fail, does that mean that God had no value in your life? If you had never heard of God, does that mean that His gifts to you would cease to exist?
Nothing in this mortal realm is constant. Peace, love, joy, faith, all are transitory or, at best, ebb and flow with the ticking of a clock. You can't be happy all the time, and even your faith in God won't be of equal intensity every moment of every day. Joy will always pass, love might die, and faith may fail. But death, both in the physical sense and in the metaphorical sense, cannot diminish the value of our love. What we gain, and the meanings we find, can never be taken from us. To quote another poet, Dylan Thomas said, "Though lovers be lost love shall not,/And death shall have no dominion."
I believe those who best love God, love Him in the Now. That is where they find their personal meaning and value, not in hopes of reward and not in promises of eternal bliss. And I think human love is very much a reflection of that. I can love today, and find meaning in that love, without any guarantees or assurances. Should my love one day fade, everything I found in that love will still be of value to me. Whether that love is for God, a woman, a son or a daughter, the future cannot change the present. And were I to fall into your black hole of nothingness tomorrow, my Today will still have meaning for me.
Stephen, I think you see the meaning of life only as a final destination. But if peace, love, joy, and even faith are all transitory, then the meaning of life can never be a destination. Not for the Christian. Not for anyone. The meaning we give to our life is a path, one we have to walk every single day. For many that path can be a terrible struggle, but even those who find and embrace a guide as reliable as the Bible aren't getting a free pass. I believe God meant for our lives to be a scavenger hunt. Else I suspect He would have skipped all this and went straight to the eternal bliss.
I can't believe that the meaning of one's life can ever be defined by eternity. At best, promises of immortality can define the meaning of eternity. But the meaning of life can only be defined by Life and, individually, by those who live it. One day at a time.