Scriptural definition of "chance" and implications

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by jdlongmire, May 30, 2008.

  1. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    I am a member of a team blog that debates and rebuts non-Christian worldviews and I was recently working on a post to contrast a chance or randomness oriented worldview to a worldview based on the sovereignty of God.

    So - to the point - I did a search on the terms random, chance, accident, coincedence and came away with only one verse that caused me any angst:



    How do you think Jesus is using "chance" in this instance?

    Did Jesus have a worldview that accounted for randomness?

    Is this an example of God's permissive will?

    Are the Molinists and Open Theists right?

    Or was Jesus using word pictures and concepts that His audience was familiar with? "It just so happened..."

    Your well-considered replys are appreciated.
     
  2. Cutter

    Cutter
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    Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
     
  3. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    What does chance mean in this context? Undirected happenstance? That is the basis of naturalistic theory, you know...given enough time and chance -> from goo to you!
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    Most likely he didnt plan it. That doesnt mean God didnt.
     
  5. Allan

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    I agree.

    The chance regards the mans decision not Gods knowledge.
     
  6. skypair

    skypair
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    OK...

    ...let's get serious. Of coure God foreknew the "chance" would happen. But that doesn't mean He made it happen.

    Drunk driver ... you happen to be on the road at the same time ... not God's fault though He knew about it beforehand. God did not make that person drunk. He might have stopped you from going out -- if you had been listening to Him. But as it is, "time and chance" nailed you, not God.

    skypair
     
    #6 skypair, May 30, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2008
  7. JustChristian

    JustChristian
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    I agree. I don't believe that we are made to act like puppets with our every thought and action controlled by God. I do believe that God can choose to do this as He sees fit.
     
  8. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    I believe scripture - "All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." Not chance - purpose.
     
  9. Gold Dragon

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    I believe God is sovereign over all things, including things that appear to happen randomly, by chance or by probability. That doesn't mean that he is necessarily making decisions behind every event but he may be. Much of that randomness, chance and probability was set in motion at creation.

    Decision making in the Old Testament was often done by casting lots.
     
  10. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    exactly - they understood that God is sovereign over all probabilities.
     
  11. Rippon

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    If that randomness, chance and probability was set in motion at creation, then it is not really random. The Lord is behind it all. He is indeed "making (made)decisions behind every event."He is isn't called the Sovereign Lord for nothing.
     
  12. Rippon

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    Rip: Your ideas about God are demeaning His nature and character.God doesn't just know about things -- He is the main actor -- not a reactor to what people do.He decrees,determines and whatever He declares -- it shall be.

    The concepts of time and chance are not real, God is. Your notions of God are sub-biblical.
     
  13. John of Japan

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    I believe that God has created and set in motion the physical laws of the universe: the laws of thermodynamics, gravity, motion, the movement of atoms, etc. Oftentimes what appears to be chance or accident is simply the outworking of those laws. For example, a set of brakes wears out--exactly as could be predicted from the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The car can't stop, goes over a cliff and falls--exactly as could be predicted by the law of gravity. In that sense, what seems to be an "accident" from our viewpoint is usually just the outworking of the laws of nature set forth by God in creation, and influenced by the fall of man.

    Concerning the word "chance" in Luke 10:31, the Greek word there is sugkuria, and it occurs only here in the NT. However, it has no other meaning than "chance, coincidence," according to the following lexicons: BADG, Louw-Nida, Anlex, Abbot-Smith. Thayer uses the word "accident" instead of "coincidence." There is also a word in Acts 17:17 meaning something similar. So, the Bible allows for chance, does it not? Have at it, gentlemen and ladies.
     
  14. Rippon

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    Concerning Acts 17:17, "... with those who happened to be there." I don't believe in chance meetings, things happen for a reason. The Lord arranges things -- all things. Everything is under His direction, His providence. Paul reasoned with both the Jews and God-fearing Greeks who were simply there. God doesn't act on a whim. The Lord wanted particular people there. Some were there for their hearts to be hardened, and others were there for softening of their hearts.

    In 2 Corinthians 2:15,16 :"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?"
     
  15. skypair

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    A better interpretation of that verse would be that chance happens but, for the believer, it is always turned to good. :thumbs:

    skypair
     
  16. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    I think chance, in context, is equivalent to God's permissive will - that is - for the reprobate, since they are not saved, dwell within a continuum that God allows them to exist in a state of circumstantial indeterminism - that is - except for their final dispensation or to the degree that they are used as components for the sanctification of the elect.

    The redeemed, however, exist within a continuum of full circumstantial predeterminism - all things work together for the ultimate good of the elect.

    Nothing is purposeless for the elect.
     
  17. Gold Dragon

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    Your understanding of the word random includes the concept that the Lord wasn't behind it. Mine does not.

    I can agree with the concept that since creation was a decision that set in motion all things due to randomness, chance and probability that therefore God made a decision for all randome events to happen. I don't believe God has to consciously decide the random motion of molecules in the air need for them to diffuse evenly around a room. Part of the confusion in this discussion is what constitutes a "decision" by God.
     
  18. Allan

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    Of course the bible allows for 'chance' brother :) however 'chance' is in regard to mans understanding (in the limited scope of knowledge and his decisions) not in the sense of Gods knowledge and understanding. :)
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Absolutely. God is never surprised.
     
  20. skypair

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    But Jesus sometimes is. And He, after all, is "the One with Whom we have to do." He is our temporal intermediary with God ("angel of the Lord," Jesus, Spirit of Christ, etc.).

    skypair
     
    #20 skypair, Jun 6, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2008

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