What determines the events happening in this world? Is it pure chance or rather determination? From a philosophical standpoint, both are highly interesting concepts. But doesn’t it also depend on what we as individuals believe in? There are so many questions revolving around chance and determination in relation to our planet. Is every incident caused, or, for that matter, based on, a foregoing event? Or are certain occasions simply not predictable at all and happening by pure chance? Let’s allow our thoughts to wander and ponder a little about what this world we call home, as well as our lives, depend on.

Underlying Regularities But Chance Remains

Chance
Chance – the existence of the earth is based on laws of nature, yet the formation of the complex interplay of the initial particles is unexplained – Death Valley, CA, USA

Did this earth come into existence because of a great creator, or as a result of an interplay between natural forces? There are several schools of thought. But many philosophers believe that chance, in this regard, would mean that the world was completely independent from earlier stages, and nothing pretty much played together. And would an “uncaused cause” really destroy the order of the cosmos, as Chrysippus suggested? If we go back to the laws of nature, this might even make sense.

Nature’s patterns sometimes reflect two intertwined features: fundamental physical laws and environmental influences – Brian Greene

But how come there apparently is abundant evidence of chance existing? In fact, Aristotle was the first to believe chance to be a fifth cause. Our very existence is based on mathematical laws, on atoms, and numbers, notations, and formulas. There is interconnectedness with every step. Hence, a caused cause. Everything makes sense; everything is intertwined. Even mathematical theorists studying games of chance believe that chance and its outcome can be determined to a certain extent. But what and where is the origin of all that? Where did the order of the world philosophers and scientists talk about really begin? And here, we seem stuck. The logical, mathematical explanation about how the elements that caused this world to come alive is gone. Did it simply form “by chance”?

It’s a Mix

Because even if the big bang caused the formation of the earth, what then exactly caused the formation of the tiny, complex particles that actually led to it? Since this is unexplainable, one could really believe that the big bang might have just happened coincidentally.

It may be true that there are underlying laws and regularities that make up the foundation of this world. And maybe this means that certain things are predictable. Yet, we as humans have seen all too often that there are many things beyond our control and all too often hard to explain.

A Higher Power Determining Humanity’s Fate

Determination
Determination – as the biggest religion in the world, Christianity determines the providence of humanity, hence, its path of fate – St. John’s Cathedral, Antigua

A higher power – whether it be a God or something else – is the underlying force of everything that is beyond our control. With roughly 2.3 million believers, Christianity is the biggest religion in the world. And it is determining the thinking of its followers and, ultimately, their view on the world. The belief in God as the creator of this earth is the opposite idea of what philosophers suggest how our planet was created.

Religion versus laws of physics and nature; since what was before the big bang cannot be really explained, one could almost think that a higher power was before the laws of nature came into being.

The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God – Euclid

This also leads us to thinking that determination and chance are a combination and maybe can only exist as an interplay. No doubt that natural regularities exist, but they would not be ruling our earth if chance didn’t have a say first.

Chance or Determination by Belief

Taking another look at Christianity as one world view and its underlying principles, the providence is what determines the fate of all of humanity. So, there is a higher being that has control over all that is yet to come. Our future has, hence, already been determined, if this is what we believe. However, we don’t know what it looks like just yet. We might not know what’s to come next; what path we will walk; what our fate actually looks like. Maybe we can all agree that this world, and thus our lives, are “determined by chance” through another higher power – or even being. We might perceive it as chance, but if we look under the surface, deep down inside we know that determination, one way or another, is part of the mix.

But, whatever we believe, it should make us feel even more alive. And let us allow ourselves to not always try to understand some of the mysteries of life and existence. Some things are more beautiful if they are left untouched.

Are you a believer in pure chance? Or do you think everything happening in this world, in our lives, is based on a foregoing event and maybe already predetermined by a higher power?