Faith, Assumptions, and Matters of Chance

Mayfield, Kentucky tornado damage

Photo by Dave Malkoff – Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Christians are people of faith. The Scriptures are very clear that it is “impossible to please [God]” without faith (Hebrews 11:6), that we cannot obey the gospel without faith (Mark 16:16), and that we are “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1). More than anyone else, we should recognize not only that God exists, but that He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

At the same time, while God has the power to do more than we could imagine, the Scriptures also indicate that there are times when things happen as a result of chance or happenstance. The wise man wrote, “I saw again under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). When a race, battle, or some other event turns out unexpectedly, that does not necessarily mean that God was directly involved in the outcome. The wise man did not say that “the hand of God” or “the will of God” produced the unexpected result; rather, it was due to “time and chance” which God allows to happen in this life.

As I am writing this article, clean-up and recovery efforts are ongoing following a tornado that went through Bowling Green, Kentucky (and several other areas). Many homes and businesses were destroyed. Several people lost their lives and many more have been deeply impacted by losses sustained in the storm. Thankfully, our family was out of the path of the tornado. However, not far from us there were people who lost everything.

Following events like this one, it is natural to wonder why some were spared and others were not. Why did some lose all of their earthly possessions – or even their lives – while others suffered little or no damage? Was this simply a matter of chance or was it something more? As we contemplate questions like these, it is important that we understand the difference between conclusions that are matters of faith and ones that are simply assumptions.Continue Reading

What the Bible Says About Casting Lots

Soldiers casting lots

The practice of casting lots is found primarily in the Old Testament, though there are a few instances in which it was done in the New Testament. It is a practice that will often provoke questions in the mind of Bible students. The Bible says little about the specifics of the practice, so it is not possible for us to satisfy every question one might have with an answer from the Scriptures. However, let us consider what the Bible does tell us about the practice.
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