Looking at the world, our solar system and indeed the universe it is hard not to be in awe. It is fully understandable that Spinoza (1632-1677) called Nature, God. For him Nature is everything, the whole cosmos and in his eyes this was infinite. For him there was no outside God. For him Nature (as being the universe) is God. It is amazing that after 350 years current astrophysics are increasingly looking at the scientific possibility of an infinite universe, replacing the Big Bang theory with that of quantum mechanics.
We are part of Nature and as such we are subject to the natural laws that apply to everything in Nature, there is no outside Being in charge of that, or interfering with that. Everything that happens, happens within this infinite concept of Nature.
With our knowledge we do have an influence in what happens in and around us both in a positive and negative way, but there is nothing religious or supernatural about that. If further scientific discoveries are made to further explain some of the details of the complexity of Nature so much the better. Spinoza mentioned we will never be able to understand it all. We might not have a ‘free will’ as we are subject to the laws of nature, we do have a free mind.
Within those limitations it is up to us how we do want to play a role in this process, and it is within us to make that happen. For that we need to foster our humanistic qualities, we need to be more inclusive, compassionate, oppose war, end poverty, and further evolve at a philosophical and intellectual level as well as a material level.
Only when we have evolved to that level will it be possible to get a better balance between the dark side of humanity (basically flowing from our selfish needs for survival, pleasure, etc) and the notion of good for all. We are well and truly on that way our world is less violent (despite the sensational media reporting), there is less crime, less poverty and there is enough food to feed the 7 billion people if we simply would be able to organise ourselves better to do it.
While we humans can play a positive role in this be part of that evolutionary process, the universe will evolve with or without us. It will be a different universe without us but at this stage we don’t have any concept of any bigger picture and no clue whatsoever what our role and position is in all of this, but there is a good chance that part of the evolutionary process includes a better understanding of that.
So the question of the Greek philosophers are still relevant 2500 years later: questions such as ‘the meaning of life’, ‘where do we come from’ ‘what makes us human’ and ‘what is the purpose of the universe’?