Does The Cosmos Have A Purpose?

I see no evidence that the cosmos has an end to which it is tending. It’s vast and old, violent and evolving. It appears to care not for us. (Auden captured this beautifully in his poem, “Musee des Beaux Arts.”)

Gravity, for example, brings new stars into existence even as others die and explode. The cosmos doesn’t seem to be tending toward any purpose. And we’re late comers to the whole process. Even our star is a late comer. Others stars came and went long before ours even got here. So the cosmos’ end, if it has one, certainly does not appear to be us. The Holocaust doesn’t help the purpose thesis here. (I’m thinking of Camus’ perspective after WWII.)

If God exists, there may be some inscrutable goal and value to which the cosmos is tending, but again, it doesn’t appear to be focused on us, or anything we can understand. Why, for example, did God use three billion years of death and competition to generate life’s current complexity on our planet? Why make such exquisite cellular machines only to have them EAT one another? Why bring into existence whole species and ecosystems, then wipe them out? (There have been numerous mass extinctions in Earth’s history.) It just makes no sense.

If there was evidence that the cosmos was: (1) young, (2) small, (3) revolved around planet Earth, and (4) daily produced inexplicable and miraculous events, one would reasonably conclude that something purposeful and supernatural was up, even with God not talking. And if each animal appeared to be specially created, that would be interesting. But none of this is the case. And God isn’t talking.

Nevertheless, the fact that there is life and mind in the material cosmos at all is stunning, so maybe something purposeful is up after all. I don’t know.

What evidence would you point to that ought to incline one to believe the cosmos tends to some supernatural purpose?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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One Response to Does The Cosmos Have A Purpose?

  1. We know from the discoveries of modern science that everything in the cosmos has a purpose.

    It is therefore, very rational to conclude that the cosmos, which of full of purpose, has not purpose itself.

    That is an example of Aristotelian/Thomistic reasoning.

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