Seeking God's will in physical phenomena

From: Mervin Bitikofer <>
Date: Sat Dec 03 2005 - 07:27:57 EST

A second send under a new subject heading ... I don't think the first
one got through.
This is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but also posing a serious theological
question in which the 'small probability' thread meets the 'God's will'

Why not divine God's will by using 'chance'? In Acts 1:26 the lot was
cast (after prayer to know God's will) to determine the twelfth
disciple. And there is a good bit of Old Testament precedence to
determine God's will in the (what I assume to be random) process of
casting lots. Why do we not take this option seriously in our
'enlightened' times? How many churches today choose their leadership in
such a way -- (there probably are exceptions that actually do). But
obviously the Bible times crowd took quite seriously that God would
intervene to make his will known in this direct fashion. Of course, one
could point out that the Spirit had not yet made its debut in the
tongues of flame -- maybe no lot casting was needed after that. On the
other hand Peter & Paul (both Spirit-filled men) might have resorted to
this in their disagreement over John Mark or their other disagreements.
But they didn't.

Maybe today we're more inclined to line up our thinking with Solomon's
Ecclesiastes 9:11 (911? I can just see conspiracy enthusiasts scooting
to the edge of their seats) "...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 favor to men of skill; but time and
chance happen to them all." More likely -- we are more comfortable
with God's will showing up in a revelatory way that is brought to the
surface as we dicker with each other over scripture and in prayer.

Could it be that we don't really trust God to intervene in this physical
way any more? I'm not advocating that we start -- but I think it
interesting to pose the question 'why not?' One of the profound lines
in the Lord of the Rings series is when Gandalf is ruminating over the
'chance' of the ring falling into Bilbo's hands '...chance,/ if chance
you call it/'. There is some Christian profundity in that I believe.
I would love to see a theological study on the mathematically analyzed
thing now called 'random'.

Received on Sat Dec 3 09:16:49 2005

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