Design or Coincidence

Joan S. Reed

Scientists and people in general are discussing passionately whether the universe is a result of some kind of intelligent design or if it has evolved by itself by pure coincidence without interference from any intelligent or creative power. Hard-core fundamentalists from both sides are heavily defending their own ideas, and at the same time more moderate people are trying to find some kind of combination between the two basic seemingly diverse pictures of the world.
Putting science aside and just using our logical minds, we are confronted with two different problems:

1. If the world was created by a creator, then where did he come from? Did he arise out of nothing? Or has he been around forever? Or was he created by another creator? In this case, where did this creator come from? How many creators exist? Have they created other universes as well? How did the initial creator come into being?

2. If, on the other hand, the world has evolved by itself, then where did all the initial ingredients come from? If no creator has been involved, they must have been present forever, unless they arose out of nothing. Another phenomenon is the fact that the universe is overwhelming in size and complexity. How can anything that awesome evolve by pure coincidence? Nobody would ever expect that the Encyclopedia Britannica is the result of an explosion in a printing house. And the universe is even more complex and enormous than the Encyclopedia Britannica.

No matter which of the two world pictures we choose, we are faced with the fact that something (either a creator or some initial ingredients) must have existed forever or have arisen out of nothing. According to our logic, nothing can arise from nothing, which leaves one single option: something in our world has existed forever. Given that fact, what is more likely: that a creator has existed forever or that some ingredients have existed forever? Isn’t one option as credible as the other one?

Continuing the logic, I don’t think it is likely that the universe (as complex and vast as it appears) is evolving through pure coincidence. To me it seems more plausible that the universe is functioning according to some very intelligent rules, which then indicate some kind of intelligent plan or design. Personally, I don’t have any kind of problem with the possibility of the “Big Bang” and the theory of evolution of species. Who says that the kind of intelligence that designed the world didn’t leave room for improvisation within the frames of design? The pure fact that we, as human beings with a free will, are also part of the universe would make it impossible to create everything exactly in detail from the beginning. Of course somebody might argue that we don’t have a free will, but I don’t think that is likely. (And I most certainly hope not!)

Of course, maybe a third variation of the world picture is possible: That the whole universe is an illusion existing only in our minds!

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