B: But let’s get back to our definition of “purpose” with the following
Example. Consider a grain of rice. What is its purpose? Or, why was it created? Presumably, the Grand Creator – let’s call Him “God” – created it for the purpose of being consumed by a living being, whether as is, cooked, or mixed or even dissolved into a larger dish that is eventually consumed. (It is of course conceivable that a grain of rice may have some other purpose, but let’s just consider this more simplified case of it having only the one purpose, as defined by its Creator.) If, therefore, it is consumed by such a being, it has fulfilled its purpose in its state as a grain of rice (the digestive system of whatever consumed it then transforms it into a myriad of tinier objects; these objects, once part of the grain of rice, now enter various different states of existence, each having their own respective new purposes). The infinitude of this purpose may come in prolonging the mortal life of the creature that consumed the grain of rice, which perhaps increases its happiness for a small duration of time, enabling the creature to do things that may help it in its preparation for the life after this one, assuming there is one – and it is precisely due to the eternal duration of the next life for that creature that the grain is able to fulfill a purpose, according to the definition we gave last time.
If, however, the grain of rice is not so consumed, but instead falls onto the floor and is later swept into the garbage can, finding its way eventually into the dump and decomposing into, well, whatever it decomposes into – again, never being consumed by a living being, including living microorganisms that might usually do so – it has not fulfilled its purpose as prescribed by its Creator in its state as a grain of rice, and therefore may as well have never existed as a grain of rice at all. □
B: Well, then, so it does. It’s certainly possible that an object has more than one purpose, even several, in each individual state of existence. I would like to think that each of us have more than one purpose – although it’s possible that each of these purposes are part of one greater purpose, which may be our individual eternal happiness. And even if an object doesn’t fulfill the purpose it was originally intended for, perhaps due to a poor choice made by some individual, there’s no reason God couldn’t prescribe a new purpose for the object. The main point of the example above isn’t so much what the purpose of the grain of rice was, but that it had one, despite the fact that it’s “just” a mere grain of rice.
That’s an example of what I was saying before, that literally every creation of God’s has a purpose. Assuming we, too, are creations of God, we thus have a purpose. You’ll notice that because of the stipulation of eternal duration in the definition of “purpose,” an afterlife was required for the creature that consumed the grain of rice. Assuming that the existence of an afterlife implies the existence of God, then without God, there can be no real, lasting purpose to our lives. In that discouraging case, there need not be any motive to survive over dying today, since as I’ve said repeatedly before, eventually all of us will die anyway. The only thing that could void this troublesome fact would be the achievement of immortality, making the study of immortality of utmost importance in society. One difficulty, however, with the study of immortality is that any potential solution may be hard to falsify. The science behind it may tell us it works – but science has been misinterpreted before, and while merely testing a possible solution, perhaps the subject would live for a couple of hundred years, and then poof! We suddenly find that people still don’t actually live forever. In this life, anyway. (Even if it could somehow be proven that immortality has been achieved, what would prevent accidental death or murder? There would still be plenty of reason to be concerned about the danger of death.)
I’d be willing to save anybody who tries it the trouble by simply stating (albeit without any scientifically-accepted evidence, of course) that it’s impossible for us to achieve immortality – at least, without God. Why? Because there is a God, and because of our natures each of us will eventually die, by His decree that all must die. This decree does not imply that God is simply a cruel being desiring only our misery; rather, as we continue to exist (in a different sphere of existence) after this life, we are able to find that there was purpose all along in this one. Once again, there can be purpose in this life only if there is another existence that succeeds it.
But if you want to go ahead and try to achieve immortality without God’s help, be my guest. As I said, you won’t, but it may not be a complete waste of time, since you may happen upon many other interesting and perhaps useful things along the way.
A: How do you know?!
B: How do I know what?
A: That there’s a God! Or immortality can’t be achieved, or all the other baloney you’ve been saying.
B (checking watch): Buddy, I gotta go…we can talk about this some other time.
A: Ha! As soon as you get a real challenge you conveniently walk out. You don’t really know, do you!
B: Buddy, trust me, I know. But now’s not the time or place. Well, actually I guess this can be the place, but it sure ain’t the time. I have places to go, people to see. What, you think I’m made of time?! We’ll talk about it later. Trust me.