On Random Chance and Achievement

Sometimes I wonder about the different things that go swimming across my brain….

Okay.  So, during a walk at work dropping something off for Radiology, I had a thought.  Shocking, I know.  🙂

An atheist/Darwinian/Big Bang theory of existence position states summarily that the universe exploded in a Big Bang, eventually planetary systems as we know it coalesced from the debris, the Earth was formed with the ocean, eventually molecules formed, maybe lightning or something struck, and these molecules evolved into replicable sequences of amino acids.  As time went on, these amino acids would replicate, occasionally there would be changes in the base pair sequences and this would either beneficially affect, neutrally affect or negatively affect that sequences ability to replicate.  If it was beneficially affected, then that sequence had a competitive edge, so to say, in propagating its genetic code into future editions of itself.  If it was negatively affected, then this capacity for replication was reduced, or even eliminated — possibly terminating that cell/organism line.  These errors in base pair replication — mutations — would add variability to a population of organisms.  As environmental conditions changed, some of these mutations would give reproductive benefit to the organism, making them more likely to be able to reproduce under certain conditions over others.  For example, if I were fish, and I had some mutation occur in my genes or in the genes of my fish-partner, and my fish-children happened to have longer fins, then perhaps they would have an advantage (compared to the other fish in the sea) of being able to swim faster and escape being eaten by predators.  So, they would perhaps have a greater chance of being able to live to a nice adult-fish age and have nice, little fish-children of their own — passing on their mutated long fins to their kids, and thus the reproductive advantage.

[Not to say that fish developed longer fins SO THAT they could swim faster and escape predators.  It doesn’t work backwards like that.]

Okay.  That is all nice and makes sense somewhat.  Biology lesson ended.  Now, back to my main thought — all those minutes ago.

If it truly is the case that there is no God — no divine plan, no intervention of any nature to explain our existence or sentience, nothing except random chance — then, what is the point?

There is no point.  It was all a fluke.  And perhaps statistically repeatable given enough permutations.  So, there is nothing special about me.  I am just a random collection of molecules like any other random collection of molecules.  And, possibly at some point, another sequence of base pairs may occur having the same pattern as mine.  Currently unlikely, and we prefer to think of ourselves as unique, but it is not out of the realm of possibility of occurrence.

If my existence is an accident or a fluke, and if I am not necessarily unique, and if I am certainly not the end of the evolutionary chain (since there will always be the possibility for further beneficial mutation), why then would I struggle to achieve anything other than the proliferation of my specific gene set?  What would be the point of doing anything to maintain or improve my health after my child-rearing years?  What would be the point of competing to see who is faster, stronger or smarter after one has secured a mate?

And what are we doing searching for meaning in life?  Didn’t we already answer that?  There is no meaning.  No ultimate goal.  No reward for doing a great or a lousy job.  In the end, does it really matter if our particular genetic sequence is continued?  Not really.  If our line dies out, there will be other lines to continue.  If humans as a whole die out, then some other species will continue to evolve.  If we destroy the planet with pollution and global warming and all the other things that people are worried about — so what?  Organisms will either adapt to the altered environment and pass along their genetically beneficial genes to their children, or they will not.  If all life on the planet ceases, then there’s still always the possibility of amino acids forming in some other part of the universe, being struck by lightning and eventually evolving into sentient beings.

But what if there is a God?  What if we are made in His image and likeness?  Suddenly, then there is absolutely a reason — every reason — for finding out why we were made and what we were made for.  Why do we compete athletically?  To revel in the bodies that God has made for us and in their symmetry, form and amazing capacity.  To form bonds and relationships in the struggle and the teamwork.  Why should we live holy lives?  To, hopefully, go home and live forever in communion with He who created us.

Not only does what we do matter, but we matter.  Individually.  We are unique and special to God, and are utterly irreplaceable.  So each human life is precious and worthy of our concern, help, and protection.  A person’s value is not determined by how well he or she passes on his or her genetic code.  A person’s value is determined by the sheer fact that he or she was made by the Creator.

So, if we have intrinsic value, do we need to achieve?  Well, no.  Not per se.  There is no benchmark of accomplishment to get into Heaven (as far as I know….).


When we struggle and suffer — somehow — God can unite that suffering to Jesus’s suffering on the cross for the benefit of others.

When we achieve, we can inspire others to grow themselves, to be more fully human, to interact, to live, to wonder at the creations of God, to want to get to know God more intimately.  Achievement is always communal, never isolated.  How can you achieve without a benchmark?  How often is achievement recognized as such because of the notice of others?  Ours is not to sit idly by and drift in the wind.  Ours is to form relationships — with God and with others.  And that requires interaction.

It is in our nature to question things, to seek answers, to strive in some way.  And why?  Certainly, there doesn’t seem to be an answer to that question if there is nothing to us besides some random chance.  But if we were created, and created for love — then, there is all the purpose in the world.  For each of us.

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