If there’s a God, why doesn’t this God just appear on television and spell out how we came into being and why we’re here? It would seem a simple enough miracle for the kind of being most imagine God to be.

Are we the product of seven days of creation, as millions believe? Or, as Richard Dawkins, holder of the chair of public understanding of Science at Oxford University, insists, are we the result of a long mechanical process of self-assembly that is purposeless?

A great many people can’t accept either explanation, so they opt for something in between. They imagine God "made" the world by causing and guiding evolution, so they reason that the “days” of creation must be millions of years long.

It’s like a young man who once wondered out loud how long a million years was to God. He was startled when God replied, “A million years to me is just like a single second in your time.”

Then the young man asked what a million dollars was to God. God replied, “A million dollars to me is just like a single penny to you.”

The young man got his courage up and asked, “God, could I have one of your pennies?”

God smiled and replied, “Certainly. Just a second.”

In this view, God set things in motion and intervenes here and there to trigger evolutionary leaps.

Until now, in our Western world at least, these have seemed to be the only three options. But what if you can’t believe in instant creation, can’t believe it all just happened by chance, and can’t believe in the kind of God that got things going and steps in every once in a while to keep them going?

You just may be in luck.

Science may be opening the window onto an alternative way of understanding how we got here that, interestingly, has some features in common with certain Eastern ideas that aren’t exactly new. It revolves around the question of design.

Evolutionists who don’t believe in God don’t believe in design. Let me be up front: I don’t believe in it either. I don’t believe a God of the kind billions imagine designed all the incredible wonders we see around us.

Why don’t I believe a God designed them? Because I’d have to be blind not to see that the universe we live in, from the world of subatomic particles to the events of our lives, is in many ways a cosmic dance of chance. And because chance is so integral to reality, the most incredible aspects of the creation are also in many ways deeply flawed.

Take the earth we live on. Every once in a while, it gets pounded by some huge chunk of debris left over from the formation of the solar system and countless species are wiped out.

And the very crust itself, from which arise breathtaking roses and magnificent giant sequoias, is unstable and shifts repeatedly, sometimes taking with it a hundred thousand people or more. In fact, in the case of the tsunami a few years ago, almost a quarter million perished.

Then there’s DNA, the building block of life. It’s replication lets us live, but it’s also what runs amuck and takes the life of a fifteen-year-old boy in his basketball prime or a thirty-year-old mother with young children as cancer devours cell after cell.

DNA is an amazing copier, but it’s flawed because it’s in large measure a game of roulette.

And yet, despite the randomness, there’s incredible order, and it’s so sophisticated that it looks like design.

We’re not just talking about an occasional animal or organ that appears to be brilliantly designed, but the whole kit and kaboodle. Teeming species in infinite array, and the highly sophisticated organs that make up those creatures, all give the appearance of design.

Given the high level of chance that runs through the cosmos, what are we to make of this apparent design?

Richard Dawkins introduces the idea of designoids. “Designoids objects are living bodies and their products,” he explains. “Designoid objects look designed, so much so that some people—probably, alas, most people—think that they are designed. These people are wrong. But they are right in their conviction that designoid objects cannot be the result of chance. Designoid objects are not accidental. They have in fact been shaped by a magnificently non-random process which creates an almost perfect illusion of design.”

What magnificent non-random process shaped this almost perfect illusion of design?

Dawkins responds, “If an engineer looks at an animal or organ and sees that it is well designed to perform some task, then I will stand up and assert that natural selection is responsible for the goodness of apparent design.” He insists, “Wherever in nature there is a sufficiently powerful illusion of good design for some purpose, natural selection is the only known mechanism that can account for it.”

I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it any more than I believe that a God made everything.

You may believe that all of these billions upon billions of seemingly designed realities, from the atom to the spiral nebulae, from the double helix to the human mind, are the product of natural selection, but I think that’s impossible.

And that is what brings me to the alternative that Eastern spirituality has long pointed toward, that has also been a strand in Western spirituality going way back, and that some savvy scientists are proposing. It is the idea that a tendency toward order, with ever-increasing centeredness and ever-increasing complexity, giving rise to an emerging harmony, is basic to existence because the whole of existence is grounded in being itself, in the way that St. Paul meant when he said that "in God we live, and move, and have our being."

Not a being "out there somewhere" that creates separate from itself, but being itself, which is divine.

Author's Bio: 

David Robert Ord is author of Your Forgotten Self Mirrored in Jesus the Christ and the audio book Lessons in Loving--A Journey into the Heart, both from Namaste Publishing, publishers of Eckhart Tolle and other transformational authors. He writes The Compassionate Eye daily, together with his daily author blog The Sunday Blog, at www.namastepublishing.com.