HOME

 

 

    NEWS

INTERVIEWS

RESOURCES

ABOUT

View by:

 SUBJECT

 THEME

QUESTION

  TERM

 PERSON

   EVENT

Moltmann, Jurgen. “Reflections on Chaos and God’s Interaction with the World from a Trinitarian Perspective.”

In his paper, Jürgen Moltmann first describes five models of the God-world relation: (1) According to the Thomistic model, God is the causa prima of the world. God also acts through the causae secundae which serve as God’s instruments. (2) The interaction model postulates a degree of reciprocal influence between God and the world. This model can include the Thomistic model, but not vice versa. (3) The whole-part model, taken from biological systems theory, emphasizes that the whole is more than and different from its parts. In complex and chaotic systems this difference shows up in the form of top-down causality. The whole-part model is more inclusive than the previous models and sheds light on God’s indirect effect upon the world as a whole. (4) The model of life processes emphasizes the open character of biological systems. The present state of a living system is constituted by its fixed past and its open future or, more generally, by what can be called tradition and innovation. Here the world process is open to God as its transcendental future. (5) Finally, Moltmann considers two central theological models: creation and incarnation. Here God creates by a process of self-limitation (or tzitzum). The limitation on God’s omnipresence creates a habitation for the world; the limitation on God’s omniscience provides the world with an open future. God’s self-limitation allows God to be present within the world without destroying it. Moltmann believes this model is the most inclusive of the five.

Moltmann next offers three comments on how these models function in current theological discussions about chaotic, complex and evolutionary systems.

(1) He is critical of the interaction model, seeing it as a theistic model in which God is the absolute Subject who may intervene at will in nature. In the modern period it was replaced by two even more problematic models: deism and pantheism. In their place Moltmann commends to us a trinitarian model in which “God the Father creates through the Logos/Wisdom in the power of the Holy Spirit. . . . God not only transcends the world but is also immanent in the world.” According to this model God acts upon the world through God’s presence in and perichoresis with all things.

(2) Next Moltmann discusses eschatology, the new creation of all things. For Moltmann the future is not a state of completion but a process of continuing openness, in which all finite creatures will participate in God’s unending and open eternity even as God participates in their temporality. The openness of chaotic, complex, and evolutionary systems is suggestive of this vision, and seems inconsistent with a future conceived of as completed. “The future of the world can only be imagined as the openness of all finite life systems to the abundance of eternal life. In this way they can participate in the inexhaustible sources of life and in the divine creative ground of being.”

(3) Finally Moltmann asks whether the universe as a whole should be thought of as an open system. The growth of possibilities for such systems, their undetermined character, and their dependence on an influx of energy suggest that the universe itself might be open to energy. “In this case the world would be a ‘system open to God’ and God a ‘Being open to the world.’”

Email link | Printer-friendly | Feedback | Contributed by: CTNS/Vatican Observatory

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions CD-ROM Preview...
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.