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Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  15 reviews
What if all events--big and small, good and bad--are governed by more than just blind chance? What if they are governed by God?

In this theologically informed and philosophically nuanced introduction to the study of probability and chance, Vern Poythress argues that all events--including the seemingly random or accidental--fall under God's watchful gaze as part of his etern
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Paperback, 357 pages
Published April 30th 2014 by Crossway Books
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3.98  · 
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 ·  48 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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Jeff Short
This is an excellent book. It started out reminding my of Jonathan Edwards on the decrees of God but soon struck out on a different path. I must caution, for the truly averse, the book does contain a lot of math. The purpose of the math was to show that even what we call chance or random can be seen to involve order and points to the Creator.

In some of the chapters, where Poythress is working out his proofs, you could always skip to the end of the chapter where he summarizes his findings. If yo
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Craig Hurst
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is easy to think that much of the activities in our lives are nothing more than a string of random chance events that have no significance beyond their occurrence or connection to the bigger picture of our lives, let alone the lives of others. Further, when it comes to the good events in our lives we are quick to attribute them to God. But what about the bad events? Is God in those somewhere? Did He ordain them? Allow them? Is He indifferent to them?

Chance. Randomness. Unpredictability. Is th
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Michael Boling
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The question of God’s sovereignty is a perennial point of discussion both among those who oppose God and even within the body of Christ. Does God truly control every single element of every single thing each and every millisecond or is there room for random chance in the eternal equation? Dr. Vern Poythress in his latest book Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-centered Approach to Probability and Random Events takes an in-depth look at this issue of sovereignty and chance.

First let me prov
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James Swanson
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Okay, this book probably isn't for everyone. But it would be well worth your time and perseverance to read this book. The book is divided into four sections:

1. The Sovereignty of God
2. God as the Foundation for Chance
3. Probability
4. Probability and Mathematics

There are also 10 Appendices that cover a range of topics, including gambling and why you can never win and a variety of topics on statistics and probability.

The first two sections lay a great foundation using scripture for the premise of
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Laurent Dv
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Van Tilian/neocalvinist analysis of probability and chance. Explains how to integrate chance in a christian worldview : men can know regularities (seasons for example) but cannot know unpredictibalities (when it will rain for example).On the other hand, God know both, he is sovereign, he controls chance. In fact the triune God of Scriptures is the only right presupposition for chance and its meaning.
Alan Kahn
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I am not a mathematician so this was very difficult for me. But if i was this book would be mind blowing!! :)

Some really fun thoughts in here!
Emmanuel Boston
Vern Poythress sets out to instruct (mostly) Christians in the coherence and randomness God has given us in this world. I say ‘mostly Christians’ because he allows room for unbelievers to read and follow his arguments, but his book is quite explicitly theistic; and while Poythress offers sound mathematics and logic, this book is only an Apologetic, not an Evangelistic—and although I was convinced of the Theo-centricity of his arguments concerning chance, probability, coherence, and harmony, I am ...more
Laura Langley
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mathematicians, scientists, and analysts will find a smorgasboard of material to chew on and savor in Vern S. Poythress’s April 2014 release, Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events, published by Crossway. The book presents a biblical worldview of chance and probability, filled with detail and countless examples.

First off, Chance and the Sovereignty of God by Vern S. Poythress is not an easy read. It’s very academic, as it should be, since it d
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Josh
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
Vern Poythress has done much to encourage Christians to embrace the truth that God is God of all of creation and Christians are called to pursue excellence, not just in the “sacred” things like Bible study, learning worship choruses, and coming up with clever sayings for church signs and youth camp bracelets, but also the “secular” things like art, science, math, and literature. His newest volume sets out to look at the topic of chance, statistics, probability and mathematics in the light of God ...more
Mark Nenadov
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: math, theology
Essentially, this book seeks to apply the Biblical worldview to topics like chance, happenstance, and probability. Poythress is fascinating thinker and really has a great way of communicating his ideas.

I began this book with a great deal of excitement, having recently listened to the author's interview on the Reformed Forum. It's a highly ambitious project. I would say that not only did he avoid failing, he succeeded in bringing forward a highly readable and helpful resource on the subject.

Poyth
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Justin
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
I had a hard time getting into this one. The first third of the book is largely an argument for God's sovereignty. It's well done, but it's a dry presentation of a case that's made elsewhere.

Much of the second third is Intro to Statistics, which is unnecessary for people who know the theory and probably too quick to take root for those who don't (though Poythress's clarity makes it easy to follow the bigger argument). The problem is that the chapters in this section too often boil down "Isn't i
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E
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Poythress' view of chance and the sovereignty of God is basically identical to mine, but that doesn't make this a good book. Why he didn't stop at page 100 is beyond me. He has the incredible ability of saying something in two paragraphs when a sentence or two would have done the trick. And when he branches into mathematics and probability, it's basically Statistics 101.

The good 100 pages are worthwhile. Poythress points out why "chance" does not and cannot exist in a world governed by a sovere
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Wesley
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Flipping coins for the glory of God... I wrestled between giving this a 3 or 4 star review and decided in the 4 star purely because of the appendices. Poythress is clear and thorough in his writing but I would only recommend the book to those who really enjoy math BUT are not mathematicians. Too heavy and dry for those who don't enjoy math BUT too light for the professor of your discrete mathematics course!
But no matter who reads it you will learn to see the glory of the Trinity in the minutia.
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Mark A Powell
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Chance. Randomness. Are these genuine occurrences in an unpredictable world? Not in light of God’s sovereignty, Poythress argues. This book explains how God has created and designed a universe in which the study of probability and chance leads us to Him. Honestly, much of the math in this volume escapes me, although Poythress does a good job of “dumbing it down” as much as possible for the average reader. Sound theology and argumentation abound here.
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William Parr Jr
This is an excellent read.
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Vern Sheridan Poythress was born in 1946 in Madera, California, where he lived with his parents Ransom H. Poythress and Carola N. Poythress and his older brother Kenneth R. Poythress. After teaching mathematics for a year at Fresno State College (now California State University at Fresno), he became a student at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he earned an M.Div. (1974) and a Th.M. in apol ...more