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I have been given an assignment to address the view held by some people that "the Universe provides." My first thought was to investigate the New Age movement and beliefs but, although I found an extensive Wikipedia article, I could find nothing specific about this.

I have an old friend who has delved into many New Age philosophies and absolutely believes that many of her prayers addressed to the Universe have been answered in positive ways.

According to one ‘Happiness Coach’ you can you make the Universe work in your favour. You just need to set a clear intention and ask the Universe to know what you want. Then you just open your mind and let it come to you from unexpected sources. "The Universe always aligns with your beliefs."

I suspect that this idea is not new - worship of the sun, moon and stars goes back into antiquity; likewise astronomy and belief that planets can affect and influence people and events.

I have to answer the question "What scripture addresses this idea that "the Universe provides". Unfortunately, I'm running out of time and could use some help in finding Scriptures to present the biblical view.

P.S. As a Bible-believing Christian I do not subscribe to the view that the Universe provides. I believe God, the Creator, provides.

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    "as the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers (Acts 17:24-31)" I don't see what that passage has to do with Epicurean or Stoic philosophy. The Epicureans for one believed that prayer distracted the gods from their repose, so shouldn't be done. The Stoics believed that prayer was outside Providence and thus not useful for asking. However, neither appear to ask the universe to fulfill wishes.
    – eques
    Sep 19, 2023 at 13:24
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    What frequently amuses me about such people is that they're simply substituting the word "universe" for "god." Perhaps it doesn't cross their minds that the only practical difference is that they're no longer accountable in the long run to anyone or anything. Honestly, I have trouble trusting such people to vote.
    – JBH
    Sep 19, 2023 at 13:55
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    @MikeBorden - Ha, ha! Very funny, but no - I am not seeking biblical refutation for the worship of many gods. I'm seeking biblical refutation for the worship of, and praying to, and ascribing power and authority to lumps of rocks and suns and stars in a cold Universe. That sort of thing isn't new, just as astrology isn't new.
    – Lesley
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:01
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    Pantheism is the belief that God is everything and everything is God. Pantheism allows for Polytheism (many gods) but is not identical. For a Pantheist praying to the universe would be the same as praying to god. They utterly conflate the creator and the creation. Sep 21, 2023 at 11:31
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    @User14 - Yes, especially verse 24 which reminds us that it is the LORD who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Himself.
    – Lesley
    Sep 22, 2023 at 14:45

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To treat of the creation as if it was a person capable of communication and able to answer a request for provision is idolatry :

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [Romans 1:25 KJV]

How insulting and how contemptuous of a faithful Creator, who provides for the needs of his creatures ; to forget or ignore or deny him, and to turn to the created object.

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    I have used that Bible quote in my answer to the question I was given. Thanks you.
    – Lesley
    Sep 24, 2023 at 7:05
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Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? - Matthew 6:26

We do not know for certain what occurs within the brains of birds, whether they have some sort of intellectual acknowledgement of a creator God. There are those who hold animal life in high regard (or human life in low regard) and render us equivalent: We are just another animal, they say, evolved from some previous animal and lucky enough to be highly evolved and dominant in some respects.

The Bible makes it clear that animals and humans are not equivalent (Genesis 1:26-28). We are in the image of God and they are not. We are to rule over them, not they us. We are given to make use of them for food, clothing, servile labor, etc. and not they us. We are different; deliberately different.

Jesus did not say, "Look at the birds of the air and see how the universe provides for them.". Perhaps the birds are absolutely clueless as to how they come to be fed. Perhaps they consider it not at all or perhaps they attribute it wrongly. To stop anywhere short of ascribing all creation and provision to God is to reckon as does a beast. To pray to the universe or to attribute any of our provision to the Universe is to reckon as any other beast, at best. We are much better than they.

And yet this is exactly what we are told is the consequence of thinking overmuch of created things, of worshiping them above the Creator:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. - Romans 18-25

Nebuchadnezzar's heart was transformed into the heart of a beast because he exalted Himself (a created thing) over the Lord God and he remained thus "till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." (Daniel 4:25).

If the universe provides anything, it does so because God rules over the universe as both creator and sustainer "for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.". It is a revelation of the wrath of God that man, created in His image and with understanding of Deity within them, when he exalts creation over the Creator, is given over to reckon as a beast, declaring "The Universe always aligns with your beliefs.".

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    I hope you don't object to me using part of your post in my answer to the question I was given. Many thanks.
    – Lesley
    Sep 24, 2023 at 7:07
  • @Lesley Not at all. Sep 25, 2023 at 12:28
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You could start with "Evey good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" James ch1 v17, RSV).

I believe James is intending a contrast with the "lights of heaven" (sun, moon, stars), which people of that time were prone to look to hopefully. The contemporary equivalent of "the universe". The point is that these lights are dependent, not self-dependent. They DO change, visibly, so they don't comtrol theit own destiny. They can give nothing in their own power, because everything they have comes from their own source, their "Father".

The same points can be made about anything else in the created universe and the created universe itself. You might also look to the many other verses (e.g. in the Psalms) where the dependence of things upon their Creator is stressed.

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  • I have used that Bible verse in my answer to the question I was given. Thank you.
    – Lesley
    Sep 24, 2023 at 7:05
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The Lillies of the Field (Luke 12:22-31; Matthew 6:24-34, KJV)

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God shall supply all your need (Phillipians 4:19)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

All that ye ask for in prayer shall be provided (Matthew 21:22)

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Ask, and it shall be given to you (Matthew 7:7-11)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

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    Excellent Bible verses, which I have used in my answer to the question I was given. Thank you.
    – Lesley
    Sep 24, 2023 at 7:06

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