One of the things that most amazes me about the universe is its order. And its order is even more striking in the face of another force of apparent disorder. Let me explain.
The Source of order. When we look at things we can observe that, left to themselves, things tend to fall apart and and become disorderly. I think that science calls this process entropy and that it is related to the second law of thermodynamics. But consider with me for a moment a house in Detroit. Let’s say that in 1890 human beings assembled basic elements like wood, nails, brick, glass, and so forth and ordered (or assembled) these materials into a complex system known as a house. It has divisions, known as rooms. It has a purpose, known as shelter. Now, as long as humans live in or near the house and maintain it, the house continues to exist as an orderly and purposeful system. But suppose now it is 1985 and, due to the economic factors, the house becomes abandoned. Within a few years the order of the house will begin to decay. Perhaps within fifty years it will have completely collapsed and been reclaimed by the earth. This illustrates the tendency of things to fall apart unless they are acted upon by some force outside themselves to order and sustain them.
The Paradox of order – As we look around we DO see that entropy (the tendency of things to fall apart or revert to less complex states) does exist. And yet we ALSO observe the exact opposite. All around us is order and purpose. Somehow things have sprung up into orderly systems. Explosive disorder (the big bang) swirled into orderly and complex systems known as Galaxies and solar systems. Here on earth from the most basic elements of dust and water, complex life forms have developed. These life forms exhibit order and purpose. A complex ecosystem interacts at multiple levels and exhibits tremendous order and synergy. And all of this exists in world where we also learn that, without some unifying force things tend to fall into disorder. Life is ordered energy and death is disordered energy. Order is a paradox.
What causes the order and directs the purpose and complex interaction and order of all things? To me, creation shouts the existence of one who orders and directs its. We who believe call this someone, “God.” It seems evident to me that without God’s purposeful ordering of things, the tendency of things to fall apart and return to basic, less complex systems (entropy) would envelop all things. Just like the abandoned farmhouse described above, all the complexity and biodiversity we see in the world around us would collapse and be reclaimed by more basic elements. Like the farmhouse, something or someone sustains all this, and orders it. Creation shouts out God.
I suppose I might call this argument for the existence of God, the Argument from the Paradox of Order. But in reality it is rather close to an argument that St. Thomas advanced in the Summa long before my current feeble attempt:
The fifth way [of demonstrating God’s existence] is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God. (Summa I, 2.3)
Here is a beautiful video that rejoices with wonder and awe at what God has made: