Meaning in the Universe?

by Glenn Smith

Those who hold that all that exists is matter and energy ultimately must maintain that everything is explained through physics and chemistry and that there is no ultimate cause or purpose in the universe. Things are the way they are because of a long series of chance occurrences. Cornelius Van Til is quoted as having said the following in relation to the materialists view of chance:

If you have a bottomless sea of Chance, and if you, as an individual, are but a bit of chance, by chance distinguished from other bits of chance, and if the law of contradiction has by chance grown within you, the imposition of this law on your environment is, granted it could take place, a perfectly futile activity.

What Van Til is saying is that to the one who denies the existence of God, the only option left is that things are the way

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they are because of chance, and that there is no purpose in the universe. Even such basic principles as the law of contradiction (sometimes called law of noncontradiction) cannot be trusted, for it too arose in our minds due to chance.

It gets worse. In a purely materialist universe, the mind that holds meaning is at best an emergent property, in the same way electromagnetism is an emergent property. Pure materialists hold that mind is an illusion, and all we really have are brain functions, which again arose by chance…

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