I have long-held the view that God is like a fractal in more dimensions than we comprehend. It’s a model that fits scripture too I think.
A few days ago I was at a church BBQ and was discussing this with some brother’s and as I rambled on I realized that I had thought this out more than I had realized and I was kinda fascinated with the idea.
So, here is a brief attempt to describe these ideas.
God is a fractal
I came to this by putting together several attributes of God.
1) He is omnipresent – He sees everything and we see signs of Him everywhere.
2) God does not change or learn
3) God appears to “repent” in scripture and so it seems in history sometimes.
Putting these together I envision God as like a multi-faceted diamond in at least 5 dimensions. This allows Him to never change yet be indescribable. As we pass through life, we see only a sliver of Him at a time. He appears to change to us but this is just like the flat-land man seeing three separate circles pass through the floor as his 3D god lifts his hand through the room.
This model also allows for trinitarian thinking without logical impossibility. It seems to me a functional model that lets me be comfortable with Him as he is.
The fractal part means that God has patterns. Patterns that apply at multiple scales and places yet are all self-similar. Scripture is like this, it has types and patterns of things everywhere. The patterns are consistent even though they show up in the darndest places. Hebrew itself is a language with tons of patterns and idioms. I think it was the language, or close to the language, that Adam conversed with God about the animals on the 6th day of creation. The language is so God-like. It is simple yet rich. Poetic and functional. It is a great language for describing fractal-like things.
Applying this to Scripture helps me too. I often get quite frustrated reading scripture because of the number of unclear variables and seeming contradictions everywhere. I will have to blog some examples sometime – but it drives me nuts. Trying to pin down who God is in scripture as you reconcile all verses on a subject is just impossible.
Many preachers present God as ‘balanced’ but he is not ‘moderate’ or ‘compromised’ or ‘contradictory’ in any way. He is perfect. Yet he is meek, unpredictable, judgmental, emotional, hidden, subtle, repetitious, glorious yet humble, wise but talks to children, simple yet unimaginably complex, etc.
Scripture, we know, is a ‘living word’. It’s not like the words of man. When a man has a thought, it can be quite complex, vivid, amorphous, ambiguous, or contradictory. When he writes it down or speaks that thought, the language is wholly inadequate to fully describe the thoughts. But most communication doesn’t need to be perfectly described.
The mere idea of a ‘tree’ is sufficient for the story. Each receiver perceives a different ‘tree’ but for the idea that is being conveyed, it generally doesn’t matter.
God’s word, we know, has the purpose of acting as a catalyst or seed. “It will not return void.” It will bear much fruit. God wrote it through inspired individuals to tell a story that has some very important ideas but most of the details, though perfect and useful, are not wholly necessary for the word to do its fruity job.
I believe God wrote every word with perfect knowledge of every individual and circumstance and language it would be read in. Unlike man, God knows his audience perfectly through all of time. So the word, like God, is an incomprehensible, multifaceted gem that to one reader reflects blue while to another reflects pink. The dimensions are accurate and solid. The basic truths are crystal clear and unchanging, but the interpretation varies as the viewer varies and as the application and circumstances of its application change.
When Daniel received and wrote the prophecies he had, it changed him and affected his view of God and his choices going forward. When Cyrus read the prophecy of the rebuilding of Jerusalem by himself by name in the words of Daniel, he was changed. He consequently changed history by his decision and the word bore fruit.
So was the prophecy just for Cyrus? No. It has affected millions of readers through time and convinced many, I am sure, of the reality and character of God. The word bears fruit even though different readers may get different things from the same verses.
So when I read scripture now, I see that it is a message written just for me (and everybody else) that has unique knowledge of my circumstances, attitudes, history and perceptions each time I read it. He knew what I would get out of it when I was 12 and what I would get out of it when I am 54.
This is NOT to say that the bible does not contain clear, reliable, authoritative information. It does. There are many passages that clearly communication a clear meaning the is universally understood. Yet, like the parables of Jesus, it is meant for some to perceive and some to reject.
Much more could be said, but I just wanted to get this down for the record.