Vanity, Vanity, All Is Vanity!
|November 22, 2006||Posted by GilDodgen under Intelligent Design|
In this UD thread, Mentok brought up something that, it seems to me, is quintessentially behind the ID versus materialism controversy: Is there, ultimately, any purpose or meaning behind anything, especially our lives?
With thanks to William Lane Craig, the author of Ecclesiastes, and Carl Sagan, I offer the following:
In an address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, Dr. L.D. Rue advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some “noble lie” into thinking that we and the universe actually have value and purpose. He commented, “The lesson of the past two centuries is that intellectual and moral relativism is profoundly the case.” However, Rue recognized that a society underpinned by such a philosophy cannot function. If we are to avoid the “madhouse option,” as he put it, we must fool ourselves with a “noble lie” so that we will be driven beyond self-interest. He recognized, “Without such lies, we cannot live.”
But there is a big problem. The noble lie will only work for those who genuinely believe it. Those who are aware of the predicament presented by the meaninglessness of life cannot possibly believe the noble lie because they know from the outset that it’s a lie. We are thus in a terrible fix when it comes to “inventing” meaning and purpose for our lives.
To quote William Lane Craig from his book, Reasonable Faith:
If each individual person passes out of existence when he dies, then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life? Does it really matter whether he ever existed at all? It might be said that his life was important because it influenced others, or affected the course of history, but this only shows a relative significance to his life, not an ultimate significance. His life may be important relative to certain other events, but what is the ultimate significance of any of those events? If all events are meaningless, what can be the ultimate meaning of influencing any of them?”
Our sun will one day become a red giant and then collapse into a white dwarf. During the red-giant phase its corona will expand beyond the orbit of the earth. The earth’s atmosphere will be stripped away and the seas will boil away. The sands will fuse into glass. Our planet and all life will be incinerated. The earth will be sterilized of all life — forever. The stars will eventually all burn out. The universe will then be cold, dark and dead — forever.
There will be no record of anything that anyone has ever thought, done, created, or said.