Many people believe that the order of the universe is evidence of the existence of a higher power. After all, how else could such an intricate and perfect system have come into being? Others believe that the order of the universe is simply a product of natural laws and processes.
Regardless of one’s beliefs, there is no doubt that the order of the universe is a mystery. We are constantly finding new ways to describe this order and adjusting our worldviews and behaviors accordingly. The diversity of beliefs and ideas across cultures and religions makes the mysteries of the universe all the more beautiful and exciting.
For some people, faith is about having blind and dogmatic beliefs about unanswerable questions. For others, faith is about trusting the natural order of things beyond our control and recognizing our own limits of knowledge.
Every year, on November 23 we celebrate World Fibonacci Day, remembering the natural wonder and mystery of the Fibonacci sequence: a sequence of numbers that appear very frequently and unexpectedly across mathematics and as a golden ratio in many natural patterns such as the number of petals on flowers, or the configurations of DNA molecules, or the logarithmic spiral of a nautilus shell. The Fibonacci sequence serves as a reminder of the harmonious order in the universe. As Carl Sagan pointed out, the order of the Universe is not an assumption; it is an observed fact.
This sense of order in the universe transcends all faiths and is seen as proof of the existence of a superior intelligence since it is hard to prove that this can happen just by chance. To work with flawless perfection, the entire universe across an infinity of space and time has to work in perfect harmony.
We are constantly finding new ways to describe the order we see in the universe and adjusting our worldviews and behaviors accordingly. This diversity of beliefs and ideas across cultures and religions turns the mysteries of the universe into something beautiful and exciting, rather than terrifying. Is there some fundamental order in the universe? Is there some higher power behind it all? Do we truly have free will if the universe is predetermined in this way? Or is all this perceived order something that exists primarily in our minds? These are the questions that all religions have grappled with.
For me, faith is less about having blind and dogmatic beliefs about unanswerable questions and more about trusting the natural order of things beyond our control, recognizing our own limits of knowledge.
“Under my watchful eye the laws of nature take their course. Thus is the world set in motion; thus the animate and the inanimate are created.”
—The Bhagavad Gita (9:10), Hindu text
“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.’”
—The Hebrew Bible (Gen 1:14-18), Jewish text
“It is He who made the sun a shining radiance and the moon a light, determining phases for it so that you might know the number of years and how to calculate time.”
—The Qur’an (10:5), Muslim text
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
—The New Testament (Romans 1:20), Christian text
“Even naturalistic, ‘secular’ Buddhism does, I’d argue, posit a kind of ‘unseen order.’ As enlightenment begins to dawn, reality, which had seemed all chopped up, turns out to possess an underlying continuity, a kind of infrastructure of interconnection.”
—Robert Wright, journalist and religion writer
“[Religion is] the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto”
—William James, philosopher and psychologist