I don't think that Jonathan or Loren or anyone else citing Proverbs
16:33 is suggesting this as a means of decision-making.
We're simply saying that even in random events like the casting of
lots (random in the sense that they follow the laws of statistics)
that God determines the outcome. Thus from God's point of view there
is no randomness.
This applies to dice-rolling, lot casting, the statistics of genetics
(my kids all had a 50:50 chance of being a boy or a girl, but God
determined which one they would be), which DNA bases are affected by
a mutagen, which organisms in a population dies in some catastrophic
event (where selection plays no role in survival), etc. We're saying
that God is in control even of these apparently random events. This
is why Jonathan finds this to be a great source of reassurance and
comfort...we believe that things that appear to be rooted in random
causes and not to make any sense are rooted in God's purposes and
Thus we must distinguish between randomness and purposelessness from
man's perspective and randomness and purposelessness from God's
perspective. From all appearances, the sorts of things that create
variation for natural selection to work on in evolution (mutations,
recombination, independent assortment, etc.) appear to operate
according to the laws of statistics, i.e. they are random. They are
also purposeless in the sense that the random event is not happening
in order to produce an end result. This is how things are described
from a scientific point of view.
This does not mean, howeve,r that they are random and purposeless
from God's perspective (and ours from a theological perspective). As
God determines the outcome of the casting of the lots, God determines
the outcome of mutations, recombinations, and other random physical,
chemical, and biological events. The result is that God's precise
purposes are accomplished in the evolution of life.
I know that my strong view of God's sovereignty described here does
not speak for everyone. It is highly compatible with my general
theological (Calvinistic) and philosophical orientation. I think the
19th century Calvinists had a much easier time accepting Darwin's
theory because of this. Darwin struggled with the theodicy question
and could not come to view God as being in such control because of
that. Historic Calvinists (and others) have "dealt" with the theodicy
question to their satisfaction and so the existence of theodicy in
evolutionary considerations is just another already solved case.
These issues continue to be with us to this day. I think that one of
the motivations for Howard Van Till's exploration of process theology
(and the process theologians themselves) is this question of
theodicy. "Why do bad things happen to good people?" -- "God can't be
in control or it would be his fault," they say. So we end up with a
God who isn't in control, who merely persuades (rather than coerces
[not my words]), who can't stop bad things from happening to good
I prefer to just bite the bullet with respect to theodicy (as the
Bible seems to) and affirm that God is fully in control, that God is
good and just, that God's ways are not our ways, that we are not God
and cannot fully comprehend his ways, etc.
Hope this helps.
>Jonathan Clarke wrote:
>> Hi Walter
>> You wrote in part:
>> > I've seen that before (on an ASA website) and I think that it is a bit
>> > scary. If I take you literally, I should just toss a coin for my
>> > decisions knowing that nothing is random and God is in charge of the
>> > outcome of the coin flip.
>> > No Thanks :)
>> Why do you find this scary? I find it a great source of reassurance and
>> comfort in the greatness and sovereignty of God.
>I just find it to be overly presumptuous to think that God would answer
>my prayers or questions by communicating via the toss of a coin. If you
>make your decisions that way, perhaps you could give some examples of
>how well it has worked for you.
>Walt Hicks <email@example.com>
>In any consistent theory, there must
>exist true but not provable statements.
>You can only find the truth with logic
>If you have already found the truth
>without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
-- _________________ Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist Chemistry Department, Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.chm.colostate.edu/~grayt/ phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri May 24 2002 - 15:29:46 EDT