Chaos and Order-Are Both Needed in Creation?

And then there are those of us who believe in God’s sovereignty (and omnitemporallity :slightly_smiling_face:), not to mention his providence.

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
Proverbs 16:33

Personally, I prefer the term “stochastic” in the context of science. A bit more neutral and won’t be confused with other meanings of chaos.

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That does order the chaos a bit better :wink:
Also, the often used argument about how evolution can’t happen because of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics can be seen as negated theologically, because disorder was ordered as part of the creation process. Of course, miracles are cited as the reason it could be done, but to state that evolution could not take place is also to deny

Oh well, I try to stay out of those arguments, but I think that gives a line of reasoning for those who enjoy them.
In any case, it would be a dull place in this universe if you took out the randomness.

Entropy can be reduced locally by an input of energy, so it really isn’t a problem anyway.

To put it another way, if the 2LoT prevents a single cell organism evolving into a complex mammal over billions of years then it should also prevent a one celled zygote from developing into a human over the span of 9 months.

One of the analogies that comes to my mind is a casino. The machines and table games are designed in such a way that the house will win money in the long run even though the individual outcomes are unpredictable.

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Your interpretation of Genesis 1:2 is interesting but goes perhaps a bit too far. What it speaks about is ‘formless and desolate emptiness’ and ‘darkness over the surface of the deep’ (NASB2020). I cannot read Hebrew language so I do not know if the text could be translated as chaos. At least the translations I have read do not suggest it.

You are better read than I on that, but I was looking to connect it the end of the Bible in Revelation where John writes of there being “no more sea” in the new creation. The sea was seen as dangerous, chaotic, home of Leviathan, unknown and so forth by those in that time, and I would think it also represents such in Genesis. But, we are often in danger of reading too much into scripture that is not there, both literally and figuratively, so perhaps I am so doing.

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God’s providence is very cool – even fun1 and exciting, and to be trusted all of the time.

1 It was just your random building being moved. :grin:

This is what the computer search provided:

One of the central concepts in the beginning of creation is tohu v’vohu, which describes the disorderly and shapeless state of the world before God created light and life. The word tohu appears 20 times in the Tanakh, but it is translated into English in different ways, such as: waste, futile, meaningless, confusion and chaos. The word vohu appears only three times in the Tanakh, and always in combination with tohu. It has no clear meaning in Hebrew, but it is translated into English as: void, emptiness or nothing. Another word that sounds similar to tohu is tahu, which means random or chance. The word is often used in the expression “lo mid’varei tahu”, which means: not at random or not by chance.


Just thinking out loud, but I often think of the chaos and mess I bring into the lab before I create something useful, perhaps even elegant (?). Perhaps before we conceive of creating, we often face a disordered and chaotic state. We use words that mean within our limitations when we try do discuss theologically significant matters.

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Thanks. Tohu va-Vohu is an interesting expression that has been understood in different ways. Some relate it to chaos, another line of interpretation is exemplified in the following citation:

"In the original Hebrew the phrase ‘without form and void’ appears as ‘Tohu Va-Vohu’ {תהו ובהו}and is a difficult one to translate because it is a Hebrew play on words. The first and primary thing that stands out is the ability of the Hebrew language to describe the ‘absence of things’ in one or two words WITHOUT using the negation form.

In other words, while the English translation speaks about a certain condition that was characterized by the ABSENCE of form or ‘FORMLESS,’ the original Hebrew describes the condition of the earth as ‘Tohu Va-Vohu’ which literally means an ’empty desert’ and is another word for a desert without water.

The big difference between the two descriptions – the English translation versus the original Hebrew – is that the English description makes one imagine a total mess and chaos. In contrast, the Hebrew description does not illustrate a mess but rather describes an empty, waterless land…a land without mountains, trees, rivers and so on – a land that ‘awaits’ to be developed."


Yes, I find the difference and way language is used by various peoples fascinating - thus, a little of topic, I read John1 as a way to understand Genesis (I understand the language and theological insights appear different).


One theme common in all is God’s sovereignty and omnipotence?

  • One of the interesting things about Chaos Theory, IMO, is that chaos is a deterministic system that is highly sensitive to initial conditions: i.e. small changes in the initial conditions can lead to large changes in the system’s behavior over time. [The sensitivity to initial conditions is known as “the butterfly effect”.]
  • So it seems unlikely that any event–including the origination of the system–does not have a cause, in which case; “a random event” surely is not an uncaused event.
  • Reference:

A history of chaos theory by Christian Oestreicher, PhD*

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