2) the ordered universe
“God does not play dice.” Whatever Albert Einstein meant when he referred to “God”, there can be no mistaking the import of this well-known quote. The universe which Einstein studied, the universe which amazed him with its endless mysteries, the universe which he, more than any other human, helped to explain, this universe could simply not be ruled by chance alone. Someone, or something, must be providing certainty, order, predictability. Without that someone or something, our universe could only be subject to the whim of chance, a chaotic and unpredictable reality which could never submit to the inquiries of physicist or mathematician.
What set men like Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler apart from the great majority of their contemporaries? Why did they suspect the true nature of the universe while others persisted in their primitive superstitions? What led them to explore the solar system as they did, and discover its governing principles? They were led by their undying conviction that their investigations would prove fruitful because of their strong belief in the Creator. They were armed with an expectation that they would find an orderly universe, one governed by mathematical principles and physical laws written by a Creator. Einstein tips his hat to these pioneers of science: “[T]hose individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of science were all of them imbued with the truly religious conviction that this universe of ours is something perfect and susceptible to the rational striving for knowledge” (Ideas and Opinions). To the 21st century mind, this expectation seems self-evident. Of course, we know the universe obeys the laws of physics. Of course mathematics is consistent. Of course the universe is orderly.
Ah, but not so fast! When Einstein confirmed these phenomena, he found them utterly remarkable! Einstein refers to this order as an “unexpected event”, and also declared that it should be regarded as a miracle:
“Well, a priori [reasoning from cause to effect] one should expect that the world would be rendered lawful [obedient to law and order] only to the extent that we [human beings] intervene with our ordering intelligence... [But instead we find] in the objective world a high degree of order that we were a priori in no way authorized to expect. This is the ‘miracle’ that is strengthened more and more with the development of our knowledge.”We take this ordered, law-abiding universe quite for granted. We regard it as expected, unremarkable. Does this confidence reveal how much we’ve learned, or how little we actually perceive? Is Einstein passé? Was he naive? Or did he see more deeply into the mystery of the universe than we are able, or willing, to look? Is the 21st century skeptic afraid to acknowledge that the order of the universe demands the existence of an “Orderer”?
I find a fascinating juxtaposition in the nature of our cosmos. The same universe governed by law and order is also subject to wild and unpredictable randomness. Clearly, this randomness plays a central role in the progress and development of the universe, and in the evolution of life on our planet. Such randomness is all we should expect in a universe of the materialist’s imaginings. But randomness is not all we have. And randomness, Dawkin’s “blind watchmaker” if you will, can only be productive and meaningful in a context provided by an orderly universe governed by unbending laws. When I consider these remarkable realities, I am compelled to acknowledge the wise and wonderful hand of the Creator.