English Class: Western Literature

Chaos vs. God’s Orderly Design

In his writings, Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733) brought forth an idea that greatly influenced society. It was the idea of spontaneous order and that society was not formed by design, but rather by human action. He maintained that people’s’ selfish actions were what shaped society instead of God. Mandeville proposed that whatever good or evil befell society, it was the result of random, thoughtless actions. This went against established Christian thought. Christians believed that God set down certain laws and rules over the universe, society, families, and individuals. These rules were intended to give stability, predictability and prosperity to the governed. Even now the universe obeys God’s laws, and it is still running well. Humans, on the other hand, have shown what happens when God’s laws are rejected. Our society is brought down by the lawlessness of humans, humans who do not believe in the consequences of their actions. However, the laws of God make it impossible for actions to produce random results. God’s laws are not dependent upon a society enforcing them, the day of reckoning will come sooner or later.

As to the idea that laws come from spontaneous order, I would suggest that we take a look into the First Law of Thermodynamics. This law states that all things tend to disorder. For example, imagine that a farmer planted a garden and then left it alone. If systems are capable of regulating themselves without outside involvement, why then does a garden left to itself not prosper? An untended garden will not grow and reap produce by itself, but rather it will deteriorate and go to ruin. It should be easy to conclude from this simple example that outside involvement is necessary for a system to function properly. Without God’s help we will succeed as little as a garden left to itself.

Not only did Mandeville eat away at the Christian foundation, but he also built the foundation for Darwinism.  By saying that economic order comes from individual spontaneous actions, Mandeville gave Charles Darwin the idea that life came about by random processes. Darwin tried to explain that life came from nothing, and that nothing produced something capable of creating its own laws of nature.  Because both Mandeville and Darwin did not want to acknowledge that God existed, nor did they want to be accountable to Him, they came up with the idea that society and life in general can function without God. By undermining God’s involvement and purposeful design, Mandeville and Darwin caused generations of people to believe in random processes, in other words, chaos.

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