The Theological Significance of Chance: Temporal Divine Action Discerned through Probability and Complexity Theory

Alice S. Murray

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis draws on the analogy between the functioning of stochastic systems and the divine act of creation in Christian belief to postulate that God actually uses stochastic processes in the act of creation. If the ordering of stochastic systems relies on a transcendent domain within the cosmos, this implies that the created universe consists of (at least) two levels of reality. If one further postulates that God has created from a domain transcendent to creation, we then have a three domain model of reality in a hierarchy of transcendence. The three-domain structure of reality allows creation to embrace two domains; the eternal and the temporal. The eternal transcends the temporal and embraces it. Thus creation is an example of the whole (eternity) embracing the parts (the moments of history). The whole exerts a teleological organising potential on the parts (temporality). God orchestrates the statistical systems established in the eternal domain to drive the process of creation in its temporal evolution and allows a quasi-random expression of events in temporal history through the randomising action of chaotic processes. This thesis develops a mechanism for divine creation of the eternal kingdom of heaven through a temporal stochastic process of evolution. This stochastic process allows creaturely freedom of action and the riskiness of chance to operate in the temporal domain while the process as a whole is channelled by stochastic constraints toward a purposeful eternal creation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Award date30 Jun 2012
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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