Review of Poythress’ Chance and the Sovereignty of God

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“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33 ESV)

If you have ever been curious about the meaning of concepts such as chance, uncertainty, and probability or if you have ever wondered how those concepts relate to the sovereignty of God, you will likely enjoy reading Dr. Vern Poythress’ Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events. (N.B.: click through for a free PDF copy of the book.)

Over the past decade, Poythress has made common cause, in different ways, with both Cornelius Van Til and Abraham Kuyper by producing an impressive corpus that seeks to demonstrate the Trinitarian foundations of language, logic, philosophy, mathematics, science, and sociology. In Chance and the Sovereignty of God, Poythress has added a volume that considers the Trinitarian foundations of seemingly random events. That is to say, he has developed a “God-centered approach to probability and random events” (5).

The book presents a well-reasoned, biblically-grounded understanding of the nature and measurement of unpredictable events and plausibly grounds both in the Trinity. While they may not persuaded by all of his argumentation, generalist readers as well as mathematicians and theologians will find much to stimulate their thinking about the nature of chance and the foundations of probability.

I recently reviewed Chance and the Sovereignty of God for Fall 2016 edition of the Midwestern Journal of Theology.  You can access the entire journal here, or you can find just my review here.