Order and Chaos

By Dr. Christopher Plumberg

The terms "order" and "chaos" often refer to a fundamentally dualistic way of looking at the world which tries to make sense of the source of both good and evil in the world. On this kind of worldview, order ("good," life," or something else positive) is set against and contrasted with chaos ("evil," "death," or something else negative), and everyday life is seen as the outworking of a perpetual and unceasing conflict between these two extremes. There are fundamentally two different extremes, neither of which outweighs or is capable of overwhelming the other. This is also the idea expressed by the well-known yin-yang symbol, which shows a swirl of black and white shapes (representing evil and good, respectively), intended to picture the continual struggle between these two components of reality.

This view of reality is often mistakenly connected with the Bible. In particular, some have thought of Christianity as a struggle between the God of the Bible and Satan, whom the Bible calls "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4, NASB). Others have substituted other bad things in the place of God's opponent: sin, hell, death, and suffering, just to name a few. Of course, all of these conceptions of God's relationship to other things fail for one very important reason: there is no opposition to God which is equal to Him. In the dualistic picture, "God" will never be victorious over evil, or sin, or the devil, because each of these evils is as strong as He is. But Scripture paints a very clear picture of what will happen to all of these things when God triumphs over them:
When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:7-14, NASB
Here we see that God is the One who ultimately will be victorious. He will defeat, punish and destroy all evil. This is a direct contradiction of the dualistic picture, which sees perpetual struggle between good and evil.

Another difference between biblical Christianity and the dualistic worldview has to do with the nature of God. While order and chaos are generally perceived as impersonal forces which govern the universe, God is most certainly a Person who is capable of love (John 3:16), communication (Hebrews 1:1), creation (Genesis 1:1), and judgment (Hebrews 12:23), to name only a few of His attributes. Therefore, God differs fundamentally from the dualistic expectation in this way as well. There is therefore no room for a dualistic (or "order vs. chaos") conception of reality within the Biblical worldview. Scripture shows us that God is the Creator who does indeed bring order out of chaos (Jeremiah 31:35-36, 1 Corinthians 14:33).

Image Credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight; "Black Hole Caught in a Stellar Homicide"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | God-Father  | Satan-Demons  | Sin-Evil

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Published 12-6-16