Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Chaos and Order

Written by: on November 10, 2023


Dr. Jordan B. Peterson thoroughly investigates the human experience in his book, Maps of Meaning. Peterson provides the reader with insights from philosophy, mythology, and religion; and positions his psychological perspective around understanding the importance of meaning. He opens with “Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture,” and, “The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture.” He stretched my thinking in his opening page by summarizing the structure of culture and how disruption leads to the “return of chaos” and our natural defense against it. This immediately brought to mind Genesis, and my excitement to listen to his lecture on The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories: Genesis.”


Dr. Peterson is brilliant and his book is complex. It was by no means “a fast read.” I coupled it with a handful of video lectures and was often rewinding it to try and grasp the fullness of his analysis. I felt connected to his lectures, however, I enjoyed the book over the videos because I was able to pace myself and concentrate on comprehending the material. The essence of belief systems and their influence on our perception of reality are not exactly relaxing topics. Nonetheless, I was able to gain a lot from his profound explorations, delving into fundamental inquiries about the nature of meaning and the complexities of the human psyche.

Origins of Chaos and Order

When I think of chaos today, I cannot help but see it as a product dating back to the three rebellions; Adam, the fallen gods, and Babel. From a Christian biblical perspective, chaos and order manifest and reconcile in the foundational accounts of creation, the fall, and redemption through Christ. The Bible’s initial account in Genesis depicts the divine act of creating order and structure in the cosmos, illustrating God’s creative power in bringing order out of formlessness or chaotic state. However, the intrusion of chaos enters the biblical narrative (post-creation) through the disobedience of humanity, leading to The Fall and the introduction of disorder, suffering, and separation from God. Peterson articulates the biblical narrative as a redemptive “Hero’s Journey” where God, through His divine order and plan, seeks to restore harmony and meaning to a fallen world. The ultimate resolution is found in the promise of redemption through Jesus Christ (our hero), whose sacrificial death and resurrection bring order to the chaos of sin and offer humanity a path to reconciliation with God. In this Christian framework, chaos represents the disruption caused by sin, while order reflects the divine plan for restoration and redemption. Key biblical sources shaping this perspective can be found in Genesis, Psalms, the books of the prophets, and the Gospels, particularly the teachings of Jesus in Paul’s epistles. 


Genesis is my favorite book of the Bible. Genesis has always stood out and my family has quoted me saying, “If I had to choose only one book in the Bible, I would choose Genesis.” I think the reason I love it so much and have read and listened to so many commentaries on this particular book is due to my fascination with the mysterious origins of everything. The Bible, our world, and spirituality in general are mysterious enough without the need for dark-mystical engagement. Peterson discusses that enigma in both his book and lectures and incorporates mythology to unpack his thoughts on chaos, order, spirituality, and the psychological significance of Genesis. He credits the immense deepness of this book and describes it in his lecture as a “timeless piece of beautiful literature, that has outlived civilizations and holds truth today” (paraphrased). I believe the late Christian scholar Dr. Michael Heiser would agree with Peterson’s statement and has even recommended that we attempt to “read the Bible from a fictional perspective” to help us grasp the fullness and meaning of the entire story.


I enjoyed Peterson’s take on mythology and the truth buried in the legends. I can see through my own study how our Christian beliefs are rooted in many of the mythological tales and how Chaos has disrupted our entire existence. This is not surprising because sin and the dark powers at large have skewed the truth that many people group into one fairy tale. That is my point though, as Jay Woodward would say, “The truth is stranger than fiction,” and it is okay to view the Bible in a supernatural context. It is supernatural.  Although summarizing Peterson’s points of view from his lectures and books is nearly impossible in a few hundred words, I really enjoyed this week’s topic and gained a lot from the experience. I particularly favored the visual maps and analysis associated with his theory on the Regeneration of Stability from the Domain of Chaos (figure 9 below).” Maps are guides and Dr. Peterson provides the reader with a brilliant breakdown of how we got where are and how and why we want to return to order and to God. 



 1. Peterson, Maps of Meaning, 13
2. Ibid
3. Peterson, YouTube, The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories: Genesis
4.  Dr. Michael Heiser, The Three Rebellions in the Bible, Unseen Realm 102, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOgrU4RzAmU&t=27s
5. Genesis 1:1-2
6. Peterson, YouTube, The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories: Genesis
7. Dr. Michael Heiser, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Konb50LyC5w
8.  Dr. Peterson, Maps of Meaning, 79

About the Author

Michael O'Neill

Director of Operations / Executive Pastor at Kinergy, Inc. Federal 501c3 Non-Profit Organization. An experienced entrepreneur, leader, father, wellness professional, and owner of a multi-location medical practice with my wife, Nicole O'Neill, MD.

13 responses to “Chaos and Order”

  1. mm David Beavis says:

    Hey Michael,

    Thank you for your summary. I have grown to love the book of Genesis more since I have learned that this is an Ancient Near Eastern story depicting how the authors understood reality. That doesn’t mean the events are not historical and did not happen. John Walton in “The Lost World of the Flood” would argue that Noah’s story really happened, but Genesis is using the story not for history but “theological history. What is your favorite story in Genesis and how what would you guess Peterson would say about the meaning behind that story?

    • Kristy Newport says:

      I like your question David…its a good one! I look forward to hearing Michaels response!

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      It is hard to identify my favorite story in Genesis. I am drawn more to the origins of life, the universe, hidden types and prophecies, and I love how God shows his omniscience through the bloodline. For example, did you know that the first 10 generations (Adam to Noah) tell the story of Jesus in their names? This gives proof of the seed and accuracy of the biblical genealogy. There is also an acrostic from Adam to Abraham and many others starting from Abraham all the way to Christ just to name a few interesting gems in Genesis.

      Hebrew Meaning
      1 Adam = Man
      2 Seth = Appointed
      3. Enosh = Mortal
      4. Kenan = Sorrow
      5. Mahahlalel = The blessed God
      6. Jared = Shall come down
      7. Enoch = Teaching
      8. Methuselah = His death shall bring
      9. Lamech = The despairing
      10. Noah = Rest, comfort

      If we sew the meanings together, we get, “Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing comfort and rest.

      The first word of the Bible, “Berisheet,” does something similar. I believe it is alluding more toward the total lifespan of humanity and not necessarily the Gospel independently like the generational prophecy above. The first two letters together (Bar) mean, “The Prince has left his home,” or the first three letters (Bara) mean, “The Creator came out of his home.” You keep a similar rhythm with the word and you continue to tell the story… ”The Holy Prince will crush,” “The plan and the signal,” “The plan of the Prince,” “The plan of YHWH,” and “Strong destruction by Fire.” It’s an awesome and confident display of the total game plan, who is in charge, and the awe of it all. I’m blown away sometimes when the hidden gems of the Spirit reveal themselves. I have a list of like 40+ types, prophecies, and unique scripture that point to an overall timeline. I started making an infographic back in 2020 with everything all on one page but I haven’t had a chance to go back to it and update it. The popular YouTube video Messiah 2030 (1 and 2) was great and offered a lot more scriptures I would like to add to my collection.

      I think Peterson would agree with facts and I think he is open-minded to things of the supernatural. I also think he would not be surprised when types reveal themselves everywhere and he is probably familiar with most of them if not all. I also think Peterson would agree that all of the Bible, regardless of what category you place the style of writing, points to Jesus.

      Thanks, David

  2. Kristy Newport says:

    I like your quote:
    “Jay Woodward would say, “The truth is stranger than fiction,” and it is okay to view the Bible in a supernatural context. It is supernatural.”
    I am glad you enjoyed the book this week. It was a good stretch mentally.
    I pray Peterson knows Jesus Christ as the True Antidote to Chaos.
    I am going to be eager to hear what you think about Spell Bound from Lieberman

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Thanks, Kristy. I hope he finds Christ too. I’m not certain if he is a fully devoted follower of Jesus yet but from things I have read, he is drawing closer and I believe his daughter has converted. We need more special minds like his to be a strong voice for Jesus.

  3. Caleb Lu says:

    Michael, thanks for your thoughts! I also love Genesis and am especially drawn to the practicality of what following God looks like despite how supernatural it all seems.

    Chaos and disorder did seem to enter in through disobedience. I think of the line in the book of Judges that gets repeated “and they did what was right in their own eyes”. That seems to be the primary problem set out from Genesis 3, that everyone wants to decide what is right and wrong for themselves.

    I do think that we have some sort of responsibility to help bring order to chaos, and I’m wondering (and if you have a thought on this I would love to hear it!) if part of our responsibility, as followers of Christ, is to be ok knowing that chaos is part of world and will be until Jesus returns.

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      This is a great question and I believe you are right. From Satan himself to us. We want to do it our way. Sin has diluted the fullness of what God had intended for us and I look forward to experiencing it all one day with Him.

      I do feel a responsibility to order, in my life and in the Kingdom. Perhaps this goes back to our Great Commission discussion in Oxford with Martyn Percy – some are sent out to teach while others are here to just believe. I think the chaos is only going to get worse and we don’t necessarily have to be okay with it but we do have to be aware so we can defend ourselves. As leaders, I think we can play offense against it too. While some may be commissioned to just believe, we unfortunately don’t get to sit back and watch the show. As Godly leaders, I believe we have to take what we know, share the Gospel, practice what we preach, and submit to the direction and path God leads us in. It’s definitely not the easiest of the two routes but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

      Thanks, Caleb.

  4. Michael,

    Great post and example. You really did a great job here, I personally found Petersons book a little more challenging. Way to dig for the gold and share it with others. Well done!

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Thanks, Greg, I’m headed to your post now. I look forward to your take on Peterson. He’s not everyone’s favorite, and his voice actually bugs me too, however, I think he’s brilliant and I pray he leads people to Christ one day.

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    It was a 3rd grade class that I was teaching on Genesis that brought me one of my favorite church memories!

    It was a little girl that told me…. I cant believe God gave Adam and Eve a second set of clothes even though he was mad at them! He loved them so much, he still gave them new clothes!

    You see… I had read the story over and over… but stopped my memory of the story when they covered themselves with figs and such. But the reality was, that even in their sin… God gave them something more presentable to cover themselves before they left the garden.

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Thanks, Alana. I think the “covering” you are describing is an extremely deep and interesting subject and is apparent throughout the scripture. I think you just inspired my next blog, thank you!

      We can learn a lot from children. When I dedicated baby Z and gave the message, I asked the audience to not help Zion be more like them, I asked them to be more like Zion.

      Thanks, Alana!

Leave a Reply