8. ~SOUNDINGS~: PART 2 – The Effects | 8th Essay – Chance

by Frank L. Jordan III

8. Chance

 Digital art courtesy of Logospi



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How do we arrive at a deeper understanding

     of the circumstances of life,

          circumstances that can bring us pain, joy,

          and the wide range of experiences in between?


To begin to have a deeper understanding of life’s events,

     a very basic property of life should be examined.

For of all of the elements

     that affect our experience of reality,

          few do so more profoundly

          than the element of chance.

But what is chance?

And how does it fit into the scheme of things?


Chance is a reality of existence

     which is especially removed

          from the activity and influence of God,

          and from those life forms

               which collaborate with God

               in their own development.

But chance can be a substantial occurrence,

     depending on its effect.


The possibility of chance is built

     into the very fabric of this universe.

From the moment there were two or more energies,

     two or more elements, two or more gravitational fields,

          two or more planets, two or more environments,

          two or more life forms, or two or more communities,

               there existed the possibility

               that any one or more of these things

                    would affect any other

                    one or more of these things

                         in a random way, or in random ways.


God did not create chance.

Chance is an essential reality within a universe

     in which energies and matter move,

          in which environments and life forms interact,

          in which people and systems connect.


An occurrence is more purely chance

     when the motivating factors behind it

          are less purposeful, less meaningful.

And since God is the author of purpose and meaning,

     the more God’s presence and power

          permeate a scenario,

          the less things will be left to chance.


For instance, when the universe was young—

     before life, before birth—

          manifested reality was much more chaotic,

          much more prone to randomness.

But the more influence Pure Love exercised

     in the natural world—

          the more God molded reality

          to better reflect the divine plan—

               the more mere chance was abated.


The evolution of life on this planet

     has clearly been a slow process of order and diversity

          arising out of chaos and randomness.

Yes, there have occurred those cataclysmic events,

     like when that stray asteroid struck Earth

          some sixty-five million years ago,

          filling the prehistoric sky with dust,

               and probably choking out the dinosaurs.


But those events are few and far between,

     and not what I would call an act of God.

Pure Love doesn’t go around guiding asteroids or planets.

It seems that God’s methods

     of influencing the environment

          begin in the hearts and minds of living things,

          transforming their yearnings into shapes,

               their yearnings creating some

               trial and error along the way—

                    trial and error sometimes

                    resulting in extinction.


An asteroid the size of Manhattan

     is not readily transformed from within,

          and is more prone to chance from without.

It’s like blindly shooting a load of buckshot

     into the sky at noon every day.

Sooner or later you’re going to hit something,

     but more often you won’t.

The asteroid that most likely wiped out the dinosaurs

     at the end of the Cretoceous period

          could have just as easily missed this planet,

          and we could be arguing with our kids

               about whether they should be getting

               their scales pierced or not!

Not that I really believe that the evolution of humanity

     could have been so deeply affected

          by the omission of one freak event.

But it is possible that if that catastrophe had not occurred,

     we might not be enjoying our present-day status

          at the top of the food chain.


My point is that there has been an element of chance

     running through our universe from the beginning.

But as the universe evolves,

     as this manifestation of God unfolds—

          the collaboration of nature with God emerges—

          the influences of random chance,

               for better or worse, are diminished—

               and it’s almost always for the better.


But it helps to put these influences in their place,

     seeing them for what they are—

          events devoid of purpose and meaning,

          sometimes occurring in a world

               full of purpose and meaning,

               among people seeking only to be happy,

                    only to know their God more deeply,

                    and coming up against those rare,

                         but earth-shattering events

                         that can cut them to their very cores.


It helps to put things in their place,

     for the more they are in their place,

          the less chance there is

          they can become an obstacle

               between us and the One

               who holds us so dear.

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