Published on August 12, 2015 by Todd Scacewater

Crossway, 2014 | 370 pages

The following is an excerpt from Vern Poythress’s Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God- Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events, reprinted here with the kind permission of Crossway.



Regularities and unpredictable events go together.

Every day in our lives, we live in the midst of regularities on which we depend. The sun rises. Our hearts beat. We breathe air. The cells in our body maintain defenses against infection. Our stomachs and intestines digest food. Our phones function. We are relying on God, who governs the world by his faithfulness, in accordance with his wisdom. His goodness is revealed in what he has made:

for he [God] did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:17)

Every day of our lives we live in the midst of unpredictable events. Every day is new. Every day is uncertain. Every day we ourselves do something a little different, and we sometimes surprise ourselves by what we do. We ourselves, as individuals, are somewhat unpredictable. And prosperity or disaster around us is also unpredictable.

God is creative. His mercies are “new every morning” (Lam. 3:23). If we have received reconciliation and forgiveness from God, through the work of Christ the Lord, we may rejoice in God’s works and praise him day by day.

Not least among these praises, we may praise God for the unpredictable events. If we have come to know God as our heavenly Father, we can rest secure about what is unpredictable, because it is not a surprise to him. He plans it. He rules it. He brings it about. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

A look into the subject of chance and probability should increase our praise. In the subject of probability, God brings together regularity and unpredictability in a marvelous way. He brings together his faithfulness and his creativity.

It is important for us to see God’s hand in chance and probability, because it deepens our respect for him and our worship. It is also important because chance and probability play a key role in our lives through their influence on science. Virtually all of modern science rests on ideas about chance and probability. And these ideas inescapably reveal God.

Materialistic philosophy in our day tries to use scientific progress as a lever to claim that we are self-sufficient, or that the material world is self-sufficient. But it is suppressing the truth. We are relying on God. The scientists themselves are relying on him, though they may make for themselves substitute accounts. They may postulate impersonal law and impersonal chance (Chance!) in order to avoid this God on whom they nevertheless rely.

Let us not make the same mistake. Let us not listen to materialist propaganda. Let us listen rather to the God who made us and who owns us, who speaks to us in the Bible. He tells us about ourselves, our world, and those events that we cannot predict. Let us love him and serve him, the One who is faithful and creative.

(Content taken from Chance and the Sovereignty of God by Vern Poythress, ©2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187,

Buy the books

Chance And The Sovereignty Of God: A God- Centered Approach To Probability And Random Events

Crossway, 2014 | 370 pages

Share This

Share this with your friends!