Chaos Theology

Dispatches from Fr. Charitas

Monday, May 14, 2018

I have been reading about the field of mechanics and mathematics known as Chaos Theory.  I probably thinking that you may not be so interested in such matters as I am, but I read them with a theologian’s eye.  What is this Chaos idea?   ‘Chaos’ is an interdisciplinary theory stating that within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals, self-organization, and reliance on programming at the initial point known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions.  Wikipedia  Clear?  Probably not but let me continue.

At the very outset of the Creation Story we have these words …“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”   Traditionally, theologians have stated that the moving Spirit of the Creator began a process of bringing chaos into order.  But, of late, I have considered that the process is creating order by way of chaos.

When we observe the mechanisms of Life and the physics of the Universe, we find that within the seemingly well-ordered whole is a self-balancing chaos, ever- changing, ever-compensating, and remarkably always giving an internal dynamic to the maturation of Creation.  Nothing is perfect, but somehow in the grand view the outcome of this chaos is a organism that perfectly fulfills its purpose.

oak treeNearby is a grand, old oak.  As far as oak trees it is a perfect example of an oak.  Where if I were designing an oak tree might make the branches straight and the leaves perfectly spaced, the oak tree under the guidance of its Creation chooses to have branches that bend and turn, this way and that, with seemingly little care for perfection.  If you inspected its roots of that oak tree, you find a tangle of roots going every which way.   Yet … in an order that is beyond our human definition of order … this oak tree is a most “perfect” oak, perfectly fulfilling its mission of being an oak tree in Creation.  And in time, its acorn will grow into oak trees that are very much alike but yet each a little different.

Be ye perfect as God is perfect.  But be ye not perfect as the Pharisees try to be perfect.  They are strict with the rules and heavy-handed in control, but in the end, they make poor oak trees.  But to be Loving in an imperfect world by way of imperfect means … is God’s Way of attaining Perfection.

In Christ’s Service always,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz


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