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Series: God’s Appointment Book, Occurence, Pattern and Dispersion, Swarm


If you’re an omnipotent being who also allows free will, your day is filled with things you cause and things you allow. Some events you make happen with direct action, and some you let happen, permitting individuals to choose and act. And still other happenings occur on their own due to systems you set up previously, like biology, chemistry, physics, and the powerful magnetism of a Boston crème donut. Conceptions of God’s character have reflected this balance as well: law and love, justice and mercy, holiness and forgiveness, transcendence and imminence.


And whether you believe in a God or not, for us beings with free will our day is filled with the same stuff. Relationships, work, raising children, all are a balance of exertion and occurrence—what we make happen and what happens to us. We, too, set up systems like government, family, credit cards—and happenings spill from them. Our life is a balance of opposites: reason and instinct, mind and heart, body and spirit, intellect and emotion, work and fun, effort and luck. 


And so I spatter primary colors onto the canvas. But the paint must first fall through a system of objects that are controlled by random systems or chance. The primary colors layer, and colors and patterns build by themselves. The strict grid’s a fuzz of droplets. My goal is subverted by randomness. No, wait. Comes into being through randomness. Order and chaos have coffee together. I’m controlling everything by letting other things act. 


I achieve my intention using chaotic, random systems. Is this what God’s average day is like?


Though the painting is painstakingly overseen, the colors mix by themselves and the patterns emerge and the work exerts a will of its own: a meticulously controlled accident. A continuing experiment to better understand Life, God, and Art through exploring the limits of control and the reach of randomness.

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