What Does Meaninglessness Mean?
To make a long story short, once upon a time there was construction. This was followed by deconstruction, proving that man can destroy in a single generation what it took 13.7 billion years to build. Our task then is reconstruction, only perhaps on a firmer and more self-critical basis, so as to be better able to fend off the inevitable intellectual vermin who embody the catabolic force, the spirit of darkness.
These combative assouls will always be with us, and they do render a cosmic service, in that they will either kill us or make us stronger in the ability to vindicate Truth. As Peter says, don't sweat it, but "always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you," and as Paul says, be prepared to demolish "arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God."
First of all, someone needs to explain how meaning can arise in a meaningless cosmos. Sounds basic, but there are certain universal principles that man is entitled to know (for God doesn't leave us wholly in the dark), such as the laws of identity, noncontradiction, and never walking the pitcher.
Another one is that the greater cannot come from the lesser. Yes, we are aware of the fact that local conditions may temporarily overcome entropy, but this begs the question, since it doesn't explain how the information got into the local conditions to begin with. Rather, it still assumes what needs to be proved.
Besides, how would it be possible to prove meaninglessness? Isn't any proof proof of meaning? One might well say: I prove, therefore truth is.
Now, meaning can only exist if a thing refers to something beyond itself, whether we are talking about an individual person, all of history, or the entire cosmos. If the cosmos is ultimately a closed system, referring to, or situated in, nothing beyond itself, then any meaning we come up with is just a dream.
Thus, Christian eschatology embodies the principle that history does not achieve its own consummation within history. Simple as. Or, either it does or it doesn't. There can be no in between.
This then is one of the ground-floor principles that divides left and right: the left always exploits the primordial but misguided hope (a corollary of the Fall) that history can achieve its own consummation here and now -- that we can "fundamentally transform" things in such a way that we waltz straight back into our lost paradise. Then we will live as large as the little gods we are.
But history cannot consummate itself in time for the same reason man cannot do so. Rather, as Ratzinger writes, "such an expectation is irreconcilable with the perpetual openness and the perpetually peccable [i.e., capable of sinning] freedom of man." You might say that the leftist's dreams of terrestrial utopia are an insult to man's propensity to badness. The leftist forgets that man likes to rebel on principle, and that if he can't rebel against the light, then he'll even rebel against darkness.
In this regard, the leftist makes the inverse error of libertarians who seem to believe that the free market alone is able to foster or regulate morality. As Ratzinger observes, in utopian socialist planning, "the salvation of the world" won't come "from the moral dignity of man." Rather, it is supposed to arise "from mechanisms that can be planned," but which ignore "the values which support the world." The conservative liberal occupies the middle ground, in the belief that the free market does not create morality but must assume it.
Another cosmic principle is alluded to above, in that man is a perpetually open system. Another name for this open system is person. Now, how does such an infinitely open system -- open to the infinite -- arise in a supposedly closed cosmos? All other animals are enclosed within their nervous systems, so Kant had the right idea, just the wrong species. Persons by definition are radically open to what is outside and above them, i.e., to relationship and transcendence.
Bottom line: "eschatology, precisely because it is not a political goal, functions as guarantor of meaning." Conversely, deny it and meaning evaporates. The eschaton, in our view, is the "divine attractor" at the end of history, or which draws history in its wake. In a formulation we have deployed before, Jesus is end-made-middle, or transcendence-made-immanent, or consummation revealed now, or beyond-history made history, or O made ʘ, or Person(s) made person (and ultimately mankind), etc.
Ratzinger even favorably (I think) references Teilhard, who "defines Christ as the Omega point of evolution. Natural history and human history are for him stages of one and the same process," which I think goes to Paul's comment about how the whole darn creation groans for salvation. History "keeps approaching this goal without ever reaching it," which is again why applied utopia is a recipe for genocide. The latter "becomes a design for a prison instead of a search for true freedom."
The dysluxians of the left habitually conflate goal and gaol.