Re: Challenge #1 response

From: Keith B Miller (
Date: Mon Jul 01 2002 - 22:37:11 EDT

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    >1. The casting of lots (dice?) to make decisions. This is a common biblical
    >practice, performed by many different characters over a long span of time.
    >Sometimes it seems to make a little sense, as in Joshua 18:6 where chance
    >seems to be as good a way as any to divide the land. At another time it
    >seems to assume the gods will direct the casting, as in Jonah 1:7. But, of
    >course, this is a parable-story and perhaps we can accept it as such.
    >In Luke 23:24 the clothing of Jesus is divided this way -- again, a chance
    >division makes sense. But in Acts 1:26, the eleven remaining disciples are
    >deciding a serious question. They decide they need a twelfth; they choose
    >Mathias by casting lots. Here, it makes no sense to do this by chance, and,
    >indeed, I have heard a sermon suggesting that the action was out of God's
    >will, as Paul was to be the twelfth disciple.

    I just want to make a brief comment on this example, although the comment
    is tangential to the issue of this thread. I see the casting of lots in
    that same context as the various examples of "fleecing" in the Bible. They
    are direct appeals for God's direction by determing the outcomes of
    physical events. In the case of lots, God's sovereign control over all
    events even random ones is assumed. To me, this provides a direct counter
    to the claim that an appeal to chance or random processes is in conflict
    with God's providential control. In the casting of lots, God's action is
    explicity assumed for just such processes.


    Keith B. Miller
    Department of Geology
    Kansas State University
    Manhattan, KS 66506

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