I have addressed the link between meaning and immortality in the past here and here. In this essay I’m going to explain briefly why immortality does not, in itself, convey meaning.
Consider the following scenario. There is no God and the blind, purposeless process of evolution gives rise to a kind of creature called Homo sapiens. It turns out that when Homo sapiens reaches a particular stage of functional complexity, gives rise to a strange substance called an immortal soul that is the seat of the individual’s conscious agency. After the demise of the body the immortal soul goes on existing. And in ten trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years when all the stars have burnt out and the universe has all but succumbed to the heat death of the universe, there all those souls will remain … existing.
Now consider a second scenario. There is a God who used evolution to create a kind of creature called Homo sapiens which, it turns out, is a biological organism which, when it reaches a particular stage of functional complexity, becomes a moral agent that is called to live in accord with the objective transcendental Good and so to cultivate acts of righteousness and mercy and love. After a period of time each of these creatures will succumb to their created mortality and lapse back into nothingness.
If we are to choose which of these two scenarios is more likely to offer a transformative sense of meaning for individual lives, it quite clearly is not the life that simply goes on forever and ever.