The Universe seems to have become a contemporary, New Age version of or replacement for God. Have you noticed this? People talk of 'asking the Universe' for help, inspiration or even material goods, in the same way they would once have prayed for them.
I wonder if this is related to a modern tendency to see religious faith as outdated? (Note: I'm only able to speak of the UK's attitude to religion here; I'm aware that this is not the same around the world). It's interesting that if you think of the word "credulous", the word "fool" fairly naturally follows it - maybe this newly negative association for a word that once simply described a person who believed something implies a new impatience with faith.
So perhaps in an age when people seem to equate religion with backwardness, reference to the Universe as an all-powerful force feels more modern. Personally, I feel it's all just labels, and we all use whatever makes sense to us. One God, many Gods, something that isn't anthropomorphic like 'The Universe' or 'The Divine': I think it's all essentially the same and we just perceive it in our own individual (and imperfect, being human) way.