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Meditation 640
The Purpose of the Universe

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On the Templeton Foundation website, there is a monthly series on "Life's Big Questions." This month, the question is "Does the Universe Have a Purpose?"

There are twelve short essays with the views of a selection of scientists and scholars. Given the nature of the Templeton Foundation, it is not surprising that the majority of the essays provide varying degrees of affirmative responses, and most of these find at least some of their reasoning in the Judeo-Christian tradition. However, there are four essays which suggest that there is no discernible purpose to the Universe.

In my view, the latter four are on the soundest ground, but all twelve of the essays are well worth reading. I would welcome comments on any of them for publication in discussion.

But I do wonder if the "Purpose of the Universe" is indeed one of life's big questions. To even ask the question assumes that a purpose was assigned by a sentient entity (other than mankind) who presumably, but not necessarily, was the creator of the Universe.

Suppose that is the case, and I don't really think it is. Should that purpose matter to us? Given the vastness of the Universe and the minor part assigned to our planet and our solar system, it seems more logical that our existence is only incidental to the existence of the Universe than to think that we are a fundamental element of the plan.

For all we know, the purpose of the Universe is to act as its creator's bowling ball, and nothing we can do can alter its trajectory as it rolls down the alley.

I won't deny that the Universe is immensely important to us. Our very existence requires the existence of the Universe. But, that does not mean that it was brought into being so we could exist.

If the Universe has a purpose, (and it probably does not) that purpose is irrelevant to mere mortals. There are many more interesting questions to pursue in science and in philosophy.