A rational world?

13 Jan

We all try to make sense of the world. It's natural that we do. It's what makes us human: to apply some kind of rational thinking to the way we live and act. We try to make order amidst the chaos of things, emotions, experiences.
Implicit in all that is an assumption: that in fact there is an order, there is a rationality, at the heart of things. Or at least there should be! And if there isn't one, we try to impose it.
During the break, I found this quotation (source not identified, other than its author, the wonderful G K Chesterton):
Life, Chesterton said, is 'a trap for logicians'. It seems like things are sensible and orderly, and so we hope to find and live by the pattern in things. But in fact it is much more complex than that. 'It looks a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait.'

What superb insights.
There is order in things, but it is not as complete and not as predictable as we try to make out.
Life is both orderly and mysterious.
That is the order of things and it is wise to live with both dimensions.

Many historical approaches to theology have taken the view that God is the order of all things, the mind behind all creation, the structure of all reality. This was the idea of the Greek concept of 'logos' for example.
Some approaches held that it is the dignity of human life to search for this order and to live in accordance with it. At its best, human life is governed by divine reason or wisdom. There is something in that.
Other approaches emphasized the unattainability of the divine wisdom: it is not for us to know, only to trust, the divine order.
In both, there is the implicit idea of a static or already-determined order or rationale, in God.
Maybe Chesterton's insight needs to be applied not only to life but also to God.
Perhaps life is more interesting to God, too: maybe God also engages with a dynamic reality, not as fixed, ordered and predictable as all that.
Maybe this is necessary, since life and the whole creation is a dynamic partnership in which free agents respond to one another (even positing theories about the other's orderliness!)—and respond in ways that are in fact not always predictable.
There is a trap here for logicians, including theo-logicians
The 'inexactitude' in the order of things may be an invitation to freedom, open-ness and relationship. In short, to life.

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