The important difference between the Tao and the usual idea of God is that whereas God produces the world by making (wei), the Tao produces it by “not-making” (wu-wei)-which is approximately what we mean by “growing.” For things made are separately put together, like machines, or things fashioned from without inwards, like sculptures. Whereas things grown divide themselves into parts, from within outwards.
Because the natural universe works mainly according to the principles of growth, it would seem quite odd to the Chinese mind to ask how it was made. If the universe were made, there would of course be someone who knows how it is made-who could explain how it was put together bit by bit as a technician can explain in one-at-time words how to assemble a machine.
But a universe which grows utterly excludes the possibility of knowing how it grows in the clumsy terms of thought and language, so that no Taoist would dream of asking whether the Tao knows how it produces the universe. For it operates according to spontaneity, not according to plan. Lao-tzu says:The Tao’s principle is spontaneity. But spontaneity is not by any means a blind, disorderly urge, a mere power of caprice.
— Alan Watts, The Way of Zen (via samsaranmusing)