Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Prank or a Plan?

From time to time I need a reminder of the point made seven years ago in the following Mind Change Moment:

Seven billion people now live on this planet. Each day they go in at least seven billion directions. There is no shortage of activity in our world. It is one busy place. But is there a plan? Is there any purpose behind the universe? Are we here for a reason? Did someone put us here who had a plan for our lives? When we ask such questions we are wrestling with one of the greatest philosophical and spiritual issues of all time.

A number of years ago, I came across the writings of the French biochemist and some-time philosopher, Jacques Monod. He taught that life is just one big cosmic accident. He says we are here simply because our number came up in a Monte Carlo game. Although he admits that the universe is amazingly ordered and complex and that realities like the genetic code perplex him (translation: create problems for his philosophy), Monod does not believe that there ever was a plan. Everything you see around you, he says, is purely the result of chance--just a cosmic prank.

On the other hand, Michael Turner, a physicist at the University of Chicago, has described the odds of the universe just coming into being by chance and then not collapsing back on itself. He argues that this would be about the same odds as one would have if he tried to throw an imaginary microscopic dart across the universe to the most distant object we know (a quasar) in order to hit a bull’s-eye that is only one millimeter in diameter. It doesn’t sound like he thought too much of the “it just happened by accident” idea.

Of course, as Christians, we are not left just to conclude that there is a plan from what we see in the creation. God has sent prophets and apostles--and his own Son--to reveal to us plainly what that plan is and how we fit into it. Much of the Bible addresses this matter, but then you have something like the Letter to the Ephesians which is written to spell out the plan in detail. 

If life is just a prank, it's a collection of meaningless accidents. If there is a plan, there are pieces that will fit together. If life is just a random number, you can count yourself out. If there is a plan, there is a purpose to fulfil. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Tom. Those who thought up/give credence to the "multiverse" idea are in the same bucket as Monod. The concept that universes may be created and then die by the millions at a microscopic level lessens the special nature of the one we live in. This idea is unproven, can never be proven, so is a safe, "sophisticated" place for the faithless to camp out.
    Stan Morehead