The Theology of Recursive Randomness


“All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”

I knew the line from Information Society’s Seek 200 long before I learned it was from the Disney movie version of Peter Pan. And then, of course, there was Battlestar Galactica, in which the line, and the concept of eternal return, were integral to the show.

And, really, for a while there, it had become my life. People had tried to warn me, but I was too proud to admit it.

When I finally did, I tried to Google the line exactly as it was delivered on BSG, which was very slightly different from the Peter Pan/InfoSoc version. But instead, I found this bit of dialogue from the final episode of the series:

Angel Six: “All of this has happened before.”
Angel Baltar: “But the question remains – does all of this have to happen again?”
Angel Six: “This time I bet no.”
Angel Baltar: “You know, I have never known you to play the optimist. Why the change of heart?”
Angel Six: “Mathematics. Law of averages. Let a complex system repeat itself long enough eventually something surprising might occur. That too is in God’s plan.”

And I liked it. A lot. I’d made the decision to break the cycle, but I like the idea of Him being on my side. As I told a friend, it became “time to let Him interject some chaos, and see what sort of new things can happen!” And, as I told my pastor the other day, God has this penchant for being far more creative than I could be. The cool part of being an author is it makes me more appreciative of the talent of the Divine Author.

But the former exchange reminded me of a book I just finished reading, Lucifer’s Flood. The book is the story of Genesis, from the beginning through right before Moses. (It’s the first of a series that will pick up from there.) The book is told from the perspective of a fallen angel who was cast out of heaven after Satan’s rebellion, and is monitoring events on Earth. The first part of the book is a Gap Theory narrative, the remainder is basically a retelling of Genesis with commentary.

Since it was a pretty quick read, it was worth the time for a few bits where the commentary actually brought in some cool takes on things. The bit about Jesus creating planets and fish was fun, for example.

Another interesting note came after the description of the Tower of Babel, when God confused the language of man. The demon narrator was shocked by this, noting that it was unprecedented for God to use chaos. We think of God as a God of Order, and purely in that context, Chaos seems almost contrary to His nature. And, from that perspective, yeah, Babel seems more than a little unlikely. But, clearly, being God, His toolbox has to be rather inclusive.

The juxtaposition made me look at my own life, though. Do I have the tendency to build my own Babels? Is that where the need for divine chaos comes in?

Regardless, I’m more than willing to let His wind blow through the situation, and see what He comes up with.

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