Chaos and Complexity: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action

Edited by Robert John Russell, Nancey Murphy and Arthur Peacocke
Vatican Observatory and CTNS, 1996
ISBN-13: 978-0268008123ISBN-10: 0268008124

This collection of fifteen research papers explores the implications of chaos and complexity in physical, chemical, and biological systems for philosophical and theological issues regarding God's action in the world. It resulted from the second of five international research conferences being co-sponsored by the Vatican Observatory, Rome, and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley. The overarching goal is to contribute to constructive theology as it engages current research in the natural sciences and to investigate the philosophical and theological elements in ongoing theoretical research in the natural sciences.


Crutchfield, James P., J. Doyne Farmer, Norman H. Packard, and Robert S. Shaw. “Chaos.”
Drees, Willem B. “Gaps for God?”
Edwards, Denis. “The Discovery of Chaos and the Retrieval of the Trinity.”
Ellis, George F. R. “Ordinary and Extraordinary Divine Action: The Nexus of Interaction.”
Gilkey, Langdon. “The God of Nature.”
Happel, Stephen. “Divine Providence and Instrumentality: Metaphors of Time in Self-Organizing Systems and Divine Action.”
Heller, Michael. “Chaos, Probability, and the Comprehensibility of the World.”
Kuppers, Bernd-Olaf. “Understanding Complexity.”
Moltmann, Jurgen. “Reflections on Chaos and God’s Interaction with the World from a Trinitarian Perspective.”
Murphy, Nancey. “Divine Action in the Natural Order: Buridan’s Ass and Schrödinger’s Cat.”
Peacocke, Arthur. “Chance and Law in Irreversible Thermodynamics, Theoretical Biology, and Theology.”
Peacocke, Arthur. “God’s Interaction with the World: The Implications of Deterministic “Chaos” and of Interconnected and Interdependent Complexity.”
Polkinghorne, John. “The Metaphysics of Divine Action.”
Stoeger, William R.. “Describing God’s Action in the World in Light of Scientific Knowledge of Reality.”
Tracy, Thomas F. “Particular Providence and the God of the Gaps.”
Wildman, Wesley J. and Robert John Russell. “Chaos: A Mathematical Introduction with Philosophical Reflections.”

Chapter Summaries