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Thursday, May 31, 2012

God & Chance

It is in this light that I contemplate future trials. Under this cultural pressure the divisions that separate Muslims, Jews, and Christians will prove frivolous. The one thing that unites us is faith. We cannot and will not shake the abiding belief that each one of us has a purpose, and that humanity has a purpose, and indeed that the world and the cosmos have a purpose. And if there is action which helps fulfill this purpose, there is action that confounds it. We cannot believe that the creation exists by pure chance and accident. We cannot believe that life is simply a game won by those employing the most adept "spin doctor". We believe in right paths to affirm and wrong directions to eschew. While there is often joy and celebration in life, it nevertheless rests upon deadly serious and fundamental purposes. This unites us in a common faith. The challenges to our faith are great; we must stand firm and not yield to intimidation—however massive, impressive, or bullying the spinners of dead-end fantasies. (Overcoming Intimidation)

Since writing the above on May 11, I have continued thinking about how it is possible to accommodate purpose and chance in a unified view of God's creation. While it is true that people of faith adamantly believe in fundamental purpose, is it not possible to accommodate within this perspective lucky accidents and chance? The way that parents typically raise and nurture children plainly indicates that this is possible.

In the nurturing of children parents commonly work on a practical conviction that the richer the nurturing environment the better. One underlying belief is that while nurturing of children clearly relies on purposeful parental design and sometimes exhaustive planning, there is hope bordering on conviction that the richer the experiences provided for children, the more likely that serendipitous unplanned occurrences will occur. For example, on a vacation trip to Washington DC, the parents plan a visit to the Smithsonian. While at the Smithsonian due to limited time, a hastily turn left down an exhibition hall corridor and not right by pure chance introduces the child to life-changing encounters. In other words, despite purposeful and careful planning, there is the hope, even expectation, that chance alone may decisively serve to enrich the experiences garnered by the child.

Thus it seems plausible to me that while purposely creating the universe, God yet allowed – even expected – that fortuitous accidental alterations could occur during creation.

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