The God of Dice

Much of the time, we as a culture (at least the Xtian culture) enmesh ourselves in the security that everything is preordained. We wrap the warm blanket of security around us that says “it’s all planned out, we need not worry… we can do no wrong as long as God has his map drawn for us”.

This is probably the reason we worry, moreso than the actual object of our worry.

Truth is, God knows what’s gonna happen, but he doesn’t force us down that path. God is the God of dice in that respect. This is not to say God is “rolling the dice” with our lives and randomly doing this or that like some cosmic Vegas junkie. No, he’s quite sure of what he’s doing. He knows what we’ll do. He made the rules after all.

Not rules like what numbers are the winning bet, or what odds the payouts measure. God made the rules that say “when ya let the dice go, they will fall”, or “when they hit the mat, if the corner is tilted juuuust this way then it’ll roll such-and-such a way, but if it lands on the other corner, it will roll this other way”. The rules that give us the ability to roll the dice in the first place. Those are the rules we all play by, all the time.

There is no chance, let’s face it. Nothing is truly random. No matter how far back you go, there is causation to everything. Even when invisible, the signs of causation are there. What we call “luck” is simply the minutea of the universe… those individual, tiny, thing that are so infinitesimal as to seem random. Win the lottery? Your ticket was picked by a number seed generator in a lotto quick pick algorithm, and the physics of the balls in the tumbler happened to result in those balls coming out. Was it good fortune that you won? Yes indeed! (though some may debate that… but a good way to prevent it is to divest yourself of relatives now just in case) However, it was not random in the strict sense of random. Coincidental, not random.

So the God of dice says “Here’s the sandbox kids.” and leaves it at that. We make castles, tanks, statues of Eugene Levy and tiny little Taco Bells for our pleasure, then we get mad at the kid on the other end of the sandbox and go smash all his shopping malls and Wal-Marts. If we get really mad, we beat him up too. Everything we do is a chosen path, everything we think is random has a cause in that…even if we’ve buried our heads in the sand and don’t see the fat kid coming to whup the bejeezus out of us and take down our latest sand-Winnebago… there’s a reason he did that, and a reason he thought that, and a reason etc. etc. etc. going back to…? The God of dice.

The rules are there for the box, the sand, the rest is how we interact with it. Is this comforting? Not really. Kinda scary actually. So what do we do?

Well, we may have to learn to take comfort in the fact that God has enabled us to carve out our own path. Yeah, he’s gonna know where that path is leading, and may even nudge if you ask him to, but he’s not gonna force you. What would be the point of that? Our faith, if based on this, is no longer that “God will give us X if we do Y” but rather that “God is true, and the rules will remain for us to work with to get X”. Does God save people? Yes. Does God intervene in our lives? Sure.

But you just contradicted yourself! Nay, good gentiles.

God intervenes through causation like anything else. We have biblical account of him taking a more direct hand, but whether that was then, this is now, or whatever, he’s not too into the burning letters in the sky anymore. So we may not *see* his intervention like we used to, and maybe for good reason (When was the last time you didn’t disdain someone who claims to have seen the hand of God? Be honest. Liar.), it’s still there. That piece of driftwood that floated by when the ship was sinking… it came there for a reason. That reason being, that ship blew up in that method needed in which to send it towards you. Did God intend that piece of wood to move to you? Did he magic it over that way contrary to the explosion?

Well I’m not gonna guess at if God *really* did or not… but a whole lot of coincidence may have conspired to have you there when it drifted by… or maybe God let the boards go where they wanted and just knew one would float by. I tend to think it’s the latter. There’s lots of examples of that kind of “coincidental miracle” in the bible… God telling someone “if you get on that boat, Me help you it’s gonna sink” and then they do, and lo and behold! It sunk! Was that because God whipped up a storm specially for it? Naw the storm probably was something in “the rules” and God made use of it, the same way he makes use of our decisions.

Yes, like it or not, we’re still tools, Xtian or not. We’re not forced, but whatever it is we do end up doing… God uses.

And maybe that right there at the end of it all, is the real comfort.

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