Lion: I want to propose a different vision than "no end" or "no purpose." Because human thought, as far as I can tell, does nothing without a purpose. Even declaring "no purpose!" serves a purpose. The human mind is forever optimizing -- and I am skeptical of those who claim to have disbanded optimization, because they are themselves advocating for an optimization. There is always an optimization towards the perceived Good.
To serve God is, to me, to serve a purpose. It is not a purpose like constructing a monument, or completing a task, or engaging in a specific form of dance. Rather, it is to passionately pursue a purpose that is beyond imagining, but that juts straight out of our hearts and our conscience. It is beyond imagining, but we can only begin to perceive it through our imaginations. A world without war, a diverse humanity that loves, shared passion with nature, the flourishing of knowledge and wisdom -- surely, these are only just the first words of the first page of that great reality that we cannot see because we are so blind. It doesn't take any more than a 7 year old to see it.
Our imaginations can falter, and our imaginations can easily fall far short of the divine. But reliance on moral instruction, rejection of technology, or rejection of human activity will not (I strongly believe) result in the fulfillment of God's injunction. Without purpose, I don't know what any person can do but twitch or strive to emulate grass. When our folly is evident to us, we wish again to emulate the grass. "Forget the future, think of the now, for all is vanity," like Ecclesiastes. But the human being must suffer for his sins or the sins of others, and press on, continuing to reach. Jesus Christ spoke of the future, and of hope, and of faith. I can think of nothing to do but to seek his father's heart and his father's kingdom.
Me: I can hardly disagree with this!! My thinking about "purpose" is essentially to bolster my concept that "we live, simultaneously, in two worlds" - the world of Nature (the “world God created”) and a "human" world that we create. Two different worlds with two different sets of "rules," and two different types of "laws." In Nature, where we do NOT set the rules, the laws are descriptive, and tell us what "must" happen. If something we think of as a law of Nature doesn't accurately describe what happens in fact (say the "law" of Gravity) then we know it isn't actually a "law." In our world, to the contrary, WE make up the laws, and they don't describe what "must" happen; they describe what we "want to" happen. They are, in other words, prescriptive, not descriptive.
The idea that there is no "end" to life (no “purpose”) is a statement that is true (if it is) only within the world of Nature. My point here is that within the world of Nature (or the world that God created, in that way of describing that ultimate reality that sustains our existence) reality just "is," it doesn't have to be constructed or "achieved."
Within our world, though, the "purposes" we find in life may be many; they are what we decide is worthwhile. The very word "purpose," actually, can be used in the sense of "creating a goal or objective to be achieved." Thus, "I purpose that we should find a way to protect our sacred shores."
There are an infinite number of "ends" or "purposes" to life in the world we create, but they are susceptible to change and amendment. This truth is, in fact, the definition of our human freedom. Such great freedom is ours: but only in "our" world. We are not free to contradict the rules established in the world of Nature. We disregard those rules at our peril. And of course, that is exactly what we are doing, acting like we can disregard the rules or "laws" that govern the world of Nature, and acting like our own laws are somehow "inevitable" or required.
Thanks for much for this helpful discussion!!!