Chance Versus Design


Sometimes when faced with the certainty of order in the universe, we still cling to the theory of randomness.

Since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes—
His eternal power and divine nature—
have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the skies proclaim the work of His hands. 
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge (Psalm 19:1-2).

In The God Who Is There, Francis Schaeffer refers to the American composer John Cage who believes that the universe is impersonal by nature and that it originated only through pure chance. In an attempt to live consistently with this personal philosophy, Cage composes all of his music by various chance agencies. He uses, among other things, the tossing of coins and the rolling of dice to make sure that no personal element enters into the final product. 

The result is music that has no form, no structure and, for the most part, no appeal. Though Cage’s professional life accurately reflects his belief in a universe that has no order, his personal life does not, for his favorite pastime is mycology, the collecting of mushrooms, and because of the potentially lethal results of picking a wrong mushroom, he cannot approach it on a purely by-chance basis. 

Concerning that, he states: “I became aware that if I approached mushrooms in the spirit of my chance operations, I would die shortly.” John Cage “believes” one thing, but practices another. In doing so, he is an example of the person described in Romans 1:18 who “suppresses the truth of God,” for when faced with the certainty of order in the universe, he still clings to his theory of randomness.

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