Glorious inefficiency

In a week full of space news, Emma Wilkins responds to the argument that the vastness of the universe is proof that there is no God.

Last week, a space probe we lost contact with in July responded to an “interstellar shout”, and angled its antennae back at Earth. Voyager 2, which left this planet in the 1970s, is now exploring interstellar space. It is twelve-point-something billion miles away. And it’s yet to hit a wall.

One reason that some people don’t believe in an “almighty” God, who made and knows and loves each one of us, has to do with inefficiency—and with excess. They can see how a higher power might create some people, and a place for them to live; but why fill such an absurd expanse beyond? What could be the point?

I can see how the scale of what surrounds this planet could speak not of one who made our world, and us; but of its insignificance, and ours.

Perhaps those who see the vastness of the universe as proof there is no God are right. Perhaps there is no master artist; no grand plan, just chance and luck.

Or perhaps the splendour and the excess that surround this speck in space speak of a being whose power knows no bounds; an artist with no limits, with no need to be efficient; one for whom creating’s pure pleasure and a breeze.

Why make so many planets, moons, stars and galaxies? If you have no deadline, if it takes no toll (if you’re having fun?!), why not?

Either way, what’s to say a little inefficiency is not worthwhile? If we value beauty, wonder, mystery and awe, we might value certain excesses as well. We might view them not as pointless but a way to make a point. Sometimes going well above and way beyond what makes “good economic sense” is not just justified; it’s glorious.