Friday, 17 August 2007

The Order of the Universe

"It's marvelous, though, to see many of you here tonight...absolutely marvelous...
I know that many of you come here again and again to watch this final end of everything,
and then return home to your own raise families, strive for better societies,
fight terrible really gives one hope for the future of all life-kind...
Except, of course, we know it hasn't got one!"

Max Quadrapleen - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

There are some things in life that bring a great deal of joy, and reading Douglas Adams' "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" was certainly one of these. I still recall the literal 'pain' of trying to read this on a packed commuter train in London for the first time and 'muffling' myself from laughing out - it was, and still is, that funny.

Adam's writes from an atheistic perspective, and the quote above beautifully defines the logical conclusion of that view - the universe is meaningless. Every moment in time from the 'big bang' onwards - every thought or deed or wonder...they are all essentially pointless. Naturally speaking, there's a lot going for that view. Entropy towers above everything - decay appears to be the over-riding constant that marks all, so is Adam's right? Is the universe, our very existence, just a cosmic 'blip' with no meaning beyond the here and now?
The good news is that, even from a scientific perspective, the answer appears to be no.

Discoveries in the realms of physics - generally defined as the 'Anthropic Principal' and in Micro Biology - examined through the theory of Irreducible Complexity - are clearly hinting that nothing is here by chance. To quote from another apt Science Fiction writer's character, Jubal Cain, "The universe was often a silly place at best but the least likely explanation for it was the 'non-explanation' of random chance; the conceit that some things which 'just happened' to be atoms 'just happened' to get together in certain ways which 'just happened' to look like consistent laws and that some configurations 'just happened' to posses self awareness...
No, he couldn't swallow the 'just happened' theory, popular though it was amongst those who called themselves scientists. Random chance was not a sufficient cause for the universe - random chance was not sufficient to explain random chance! The pot could not hold itself.
Religion may well be right". (Robert Heinlein - "Stranger in a Strange Land").

In his message to the Philosophers of his day at Mars Hill in Athens, Paul tells us that the true basis of our lives is the One in whom we live and have our being, the maker and sustainer of all things. That One is revealed in Jesus Christ. If that is truly the case, then our current journey makes everything we do and come to know of very great value.
The universe has a purpose, and we can know something of that through a very real, historical revelation...

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