April 11, 2012

Deus Otiosus

Think of the world as a crime scene, loaded with forensics waiting to be examined for clues as to the nature of the perp, aka God. Much investigation began with applying the WYSIWIG principle to religion. What you see is what you get. To understand God, study his creation. When you do, you don't see a mechanical clock ticking off the hours towards midnight. Instead, you see an unfolding process, one that never quite repeats itself exactly.

This led me to replace my old notion of deus absconditus—a phrase created by Thomas Aquinas to describe a God who is unknowable—with the more directly apt phrase, deus otiosus, or a lazy God. Except lazy isn't quite right either. I think our God embodies the principle of "Work smarter, not harder." The creation we call the universe embodies several simple principles—self-organization, emergence, and chaos theory. (Simple in theory, that is, but complex in the results they achieve, which would be ... well, pretty much everything.)

Taken together, they point to a God more interested in watching a process unfold than in directing events towards a certain outcome. I'm working on a series of blog posts that will explore these ideas, ultimately to appear as a follow-up to A Misunderstood God, which really wasn't all that much about God. The new collection, A Lazy God, will stick more closely to the subject: God's creation and what we can infer about its creator.

So consider this my chap book of life. It will be a little rough here and there, but I'm hoping out of the chaos will emerge meaning that will give us something to think about.

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