God and coincidence

Do you believe in fate? Coincidence? Full divine providence? Or maybe a combination? In religious circles a good many people believe God is controlling our lives, in that there are no coincidences. I’m not delving into whether God can do this, or has the right. Rather what is the case.

For me, I don’t think God has written our every step and interaction. I think that for the most part, we live in a state where God does not intervene. I think he does, but it’s not as often as some religious adherents would believe.

Let me offer a vague example. Say there’s a situation where it would seem things have been going on too long. However, two new doors had opened. One door was shut by something outside your control, and the other, which came after the one closes, appears to be wide open and a much better option.

Now, if God is micromanaging, the situation which is dragging has not been in vain as it appears. The closed door which you were looking forward to was merely to allow you to take the latter open door which seems like a much better fit. All part of the plan.

Conversely, this could all be a massive coincidence. However, there’s another way to look at it. Say the first situation is where you should remain, and taking the new opportunity is wrong or even sinful. This would mean it’s not God steering you through the new door.

What’s your take? How do you feel about coincidences? How unlikely does a series of events need to be before you’re willing to ascribe it to divine intervention or fate?

Comments

  1. DJDroppy says:

    If God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3; cf. Col. 1:17), how can anything happen outside of His predeterminate counsel? Are you claiming that God wound up the universe, watches it operate according to physical laws, and only occasionally reacts or intervenes? Do you believe that God’s omniscience extends from eternity past to eternity future? What does Proverbs 16:9 mean?

    • DJ

      First, forgive me, I don’t know why your comments keep being held for moderation. They should go through.

      Second, I am not a deist, or have deistic leanings. My point is, does God determine which shoe I put on first? Or my favorite color? Or my favorite hockey team? I don’t think so. I think by and large we move about of our own volition. This is not to say God doesn’t k ow what we’ll do. I’m not an open theist either. I think God intervenes as often as he will to achieve his purposes. The frequency is somethjng I don’t know.

  2. Jason Long says:

    John,

    For someone who knows the Scripture it is surprising you don’t believe them. God says he has ordained all things. It seems you cannot deal with the tension between Gods ordination of every detail of our lives, and the responsibility we have to work and make choices. There is tension there, but the Scriptures teach both.

  3. I think his purpose is to ensure as many people freely come to him for salvation

    Interesting, but I’m still asking why? Why do you think a creator would even have this need?

  4. It doesn’t seem reasonable that a creator makes a specific requirement for his creation to be saved. “Love” and “mercy” don’t enter into it.

    My point is this: Christianity sets up the scenario and tries to define rules and consequences for following or not following these rules. I’m simply asking why this scenario was set up in the first place.

    I’m not questioning the rules themselves – I’m questions why you think these rules were put in place to begin with.

    • What significance does that have for you. What would it change to know the answer. It’s not like you’d convert, right?

      • Ignoring the fact that there is no evidence to support the assumption that the “creator” you describe exists in the first place, the salvation scenario is illogical and unreasonable. Your use of words like “love” and “mercy” simply illustrate the emotional bond to that belief.

        If you actually had an answer to the question, it might cause the sceptic to further examine the case. Unfortunately, adherents don’t have anything more to offer that anecdotes, feelings and conjecture.

        • Ok. Again, there’s a difference between there being no evidence whatsoever, and there being no evidence which compels you to change your mind.

          Thus any explanation i offer you’ll just make the same confusion, apparently.

  5. Dan Forbes says:

    Your response to Jason Long is incorrect. To ordain that something come to pass is to make a decree. Gods decree is carried out. It is not changed or thwarted by anyone or anything. So to decree that something comes to pass is to determine that it will be carried out.

    • I can ordain that my daughter eats a bowl of ice cream but its not the same as me determining it to happen.

      There is a difference. its the difference between knowing it will happen and allowing it, and actively causing it.

  6. Dan Forbes says:

    That is not so with God. What he ordains comes to pass. What you ordain does not. If what you ordained did come to pass, the. Your daughter would eat the ice cream.

    • Dan

      Of course whatever God ordains comes to pass. But that’s just saying what God allows to happen happens. Knowing and allowing is not the same as directly causing.

  7. DJ Droppy says:

    Do you have any Scripture references to back up your “I don’t think” and “I think” statements in the second paragraph of this post? Or are you just speculating based on your own logic, opinions, and personal conception of God? How is this any different from a person saying “I should go to Heaven because God is love and I’m not such a bad person?” We both know that what matters is what God says about sin in His word and what He thinks about that person’s spiritual condition, not their own opinion. What does God say about Himself and His role in the universe? Where in the Bible do you find confirmation of your opinions?

    • DJ

      I don’t see any indication that anyone, including God, when they speak of God’s influences over us that he scripts it all. What we do see is God giving us commands and guidelines and expectations.

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