“According to the nature of the universe all things particular are determined, not according to any other nature, either about compassing and containing; or within, dispersing and contained; or without, depending. Either this universe is a mere confused mass, and an intricate context of things, which shall in time be scattered and dispersed again; or it is an union consisting of order, and administered by Providence. If the first, why should I desire to continue any longer in this fortuit confusion and commixtion? Or why should I take for anything else, but that as soon as may be I may be earth again? And why should I trouble myself any more whilst I seek to please the Gods? Whatsoever I do, dispersion is my end, and will come upon me whether I will or no. But if the latter, then am not I religious in vain; then will I be quiet and patient, and put my trust in Him, who is the Governor of all.” ~Marcus Aurelius
A Random Universe?
This is a question that should be easy to answer. In fact, however, there is disagreement about it. Some people look around them and answer that the universe is indeed random. They see things happening that make no sense to them, and so they see randomness. They see people dying who don’t deserve to die, and they see randomness. They see horrid people having a rich and successful life, and good people having a difficult life. All this, they believe, proves the universe is random.
But simply because the reason for some things is unknown to you doesn’t mean there is no reason. Plus a little disorder mixed in with overall order is not randomness. In order to be truly random, all things must be random. The length of a day should not be predictable. One day would be twenty-four hours, the next day sixteen. One day the sun would be much bigger than Earth, the next day smaller. Consistency comes from a lack of randomness.
When a frog lays eggs, chickens never hatch from those eggs. When you throw down a rubber ball, it bounces back. It never turns into a turnip. It never grows wings and flies off. It is predictable. The behavior of nearly all objects is predictable in most circumstances. The behavior of animals is also predictable most of the time. That which is predictable is not random.
An Intelligent Universe?
If we conclude, therefore, that the universe is not truly random, then we must conclude that it is intelligent. Some falsely believe that to say the universe is intelligent means the same as saying it is perfect. No, it is not. Perfect is intelligent, but intelligent isn’t necessarily perfect. W consider ourselves intelligent, and correctly so, yet we are not perfect, we make mistakes. So the universe can be intelligent without being perfect.
Some conclude that if the physical universe is intelligent to some degree, which I think we have just shown that it is then it must be the universe of God. But if this universe is not perfect, that must mean that God is imperfect. But that is only true if the physical universe is the universe of God. It isn’t. The universe created by God is perfect. The physical universe, therefore, was not created by God.
The physical universe is the creation of the Demiurge. This is the false god, the fallen angels. The result is an intelligent universe, but one with definite flaws. It isn’t a random universe, but neither is it perfectly predictable or just.
Which leaves the spiritual universe. This is the original universe created by God. This is the only universe created by God. Some will insist that if God created the fallen angels, and the fallen angels created matter, then God created matter indirectly. That is like saying the person who sold lumps of stone to Michelangelo was an equal creator of David. No, selling a man a stone from which he creates a great work of art does not make you also a creator of that art. So the things created by those beings created by God cannot be said to have been created by God. We are not mere tools of God who can do only what He wishes. If we were, those who say such things would have a point. But because God has given us some degree of freedom, as well as creativity, we are allowed to create as we wish. That doesn’t mean we won’t face responsibility via karma for what we create.
In God’s universe, all is pure spirit, and all is the true creation of God. In this universe, nothing is random. In fact, in the spiritual universe, no beings get ill, grow old, or die. Spirits exist outside the limits of time and space. In a world where nothing changes. Time has no meaning.
The Random Universe of Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius asks why he should care to follow any rules of God or man in a random universe. The answer is that it is pointless to do so. Fortunately, so far as we know, no such universe exists. As warped as it is, the physical universe is far from random. The spiritual one is not at all a random universe. So Aurelius need not worry. There is a reason to follow the lays of God. There is a point in behaving. Even if it doesn’t matter very much in the physical world, it will matter a great deal in the spiritual one. The purpose of spiritual development is to learn of that universe before we leave this one. Following the laws of God and nature is a good start to that quest.