Randomness, creativity and free will

Just a very quick addendum to a previous post.

If freedom and creativity are related to randomness, as some views of libertarianism would have it, and particularly those theistic evolutionists wedded to Open Theism, then it follows that the most free and creative people are those least constrained in their thinking… that is, the insane. The same, I guess, would be true of God if that were the nature of his own freedom.

It was said by a friend of Syd Barrett that when at his most mentally unwell he would lie on his back staring at the ceiling all day – the putative explanation being that since this left every possibility for action open, it was maximally creative.

Maybe there’s a better explanation for human freedom than that. And it doesn’t say much for the alleged creative power of a randomised creation, either.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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4 Responses to Randomness, creativity and free will

  1. Cal says:

    The LORD must be not very creative with all this order and stability!

  2. Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

    Maybe the idea is that it’s the random creation that does all the creating whilst God is a stabilising influence – like the mad artist’s wife who makes sure he has his meals regularly.

  3. Cal says:

    But Creation did not make itself, hence being Creation. It came from the mind of God. Creation must be defined as:

    A) A work of art, a backdrop, a setting masterfully painted.
    B) A game, like purposely collecting a bunch of rabbits and releasing them in a barn only to try and capture all of them.

    If you try to synthesize the first with the second you make God into a schizophrenic, the mad artist and his wife at the same time.

    Granted, this is a lot of frenzy and wildness in Creation. There all sorts of things going on at every level, all sorts of disorders, yet they all robustly form order. A symphony awfully looks like a whole mess of instruments, yet the order resulting is beautiful and art. In fact we consider the more crazy and hectic it is the more artful and masterful as a sense of order appears (at least for those with lively ears not set to dull monotony). There can be order in chaos as chaos is ordered chaotically, displaying an order of no order!

    What many today have a problem with is the Platonism of the past 1000 years in reference to God. Thankfully, the Bible does not present such a dull image, we have a being beyond being. Only in such can there even any settling of the dialectic of freewill, sovereignty. His ways are higher than ours.

  4. Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

    Well said, Cal. Seems to me creation is like the music of John Coltrane or some similar genius. The complexity can be confused with disorder, but the fault lies with the listener.

    I think than when we no longer see through a glass darkly we’ll not hear God explaining the errors in his creation, but instead we’ll have grown the ears to hear the harmonies that were always there.

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