Splattered Paint

Thinking back over some of the conversations I’ve had with God, I thought maybe I’d caught him in a lie. There seemed to be a basic contradiction in what he’d told me. He’s described his creation of the universe as one of designing processes and letting them run. He’s said that he took great care to set up the processes like evolution that eventually created man. But he’s also said that he’s not above tweaking things every once in a while along the way.

So which was it? Do things just evolve, or does God direct them?

He told me it was like this. Imagine that you’ve got a can of paint and a giant canvas laid out on the floor. You have in mind a general pattern that you’d like to see splattered across the canvas and you dip your hand in the paint and flick it. (God’s very into tactile things, so he figures, why use brushes.) By the speed and direction that he shakes his hand in, there’s a certain predisposition for the way the paint will array itself, but the tiny details of it are still pretty random.

That’s kind of what the Big Bang was like. God cast the stars across the universe in a fractal explosion, that gave birth to reality itself.

Then God, his hand still dripping paint,, approached the wall and began to look at the details. Here and there he would see patterns in the paint that appealed to him but that were not quite complete. At some of those points he holds his hand over the canvas and waits for a drop or two of paint to fall from his fingertips and fill in the final details. That doesn’t invalidate the original splattering of paint and doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong or useless about trying to figure out the direction and velocity of the original globs of paint.

So to bring this back around to evolution, just because every once in a while, one of the random mutations that do the work of evolution might have come from the roll of a loaded die, doesn’t mean that the laws of probability don’t work or that natural selection is wrong.

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