Friday, December 4, 2009

Order, Chaos, Teleology and the Wonder of It All

Like Wittgenstein, I often find myself in awe that anything at all should exist whatsoever. Why is there something, rather than just nothingness? Still, I am even further awed by the sheer harmony that our universe exhibits. Why should something so small, like a molecule, be intelligible to me - an evolved species of ape?

Consider the great order found throughout the entire universe, and indeed through all of existence itself! The laws of logic and mathematics are just an attempt to scratch at the surface. In Taoism, there are two eternal principles that eternally oppose each other. These two principles are Order and Chaos. Yet, for those of us who have been persuaded by our Western presuppositions, we opt to state that there is only one. Even chaos is intelligible, and since intelligibility presupposes order, what we discover is that there is Order even behind elements of chaos.

I'm compelled to believe that this Order exists, since without it, I cannot make sense of out anything at all. The question now is whether Order is personal or impersonal. If Order is personal, then we may be justified in resurrecting (as it were) teleos. There is purpose in our existence, and meaning in our experience. For anyone wondering about life, we have two initial ways we can choose to live. You can choose to live in such a way that you marvel at the exquisite regularity of Order. You're other choice is to reject this, but once that's done, your entire worldview will collapse. So long as chaos is intelligible, you continue to give credit to Order.

Yes, I do associate Order with God, but not in a pantheistic Stoic way. Order exists eternally, beyond creation, and flows directly from God's infinite wisdom. Given that we are made in God's image, we too are capable of understanding the world around us. God is rational, so any creature made in the "image of God," will likewise be rational, at least analogically.

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