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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 eternal plan. Comprehensive in its scope, Chance and the Sovereignty of God lays the theistic foundation for our scientific assumptions about the world while addressing personal questions about the meaning and significance of everyday events.
Number of Pages: 256
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)|
Vern S. Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for nearly four decades. In addition to earning six academic degrees, including a PhD from Harvard University and a ThD from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the author of numerous books and articles on a variety of topics, including biblical interpretation, language, and science.
New St. Andrews College
The prolific Dr. Poythress has gifted us with a unique and uniquely needed work that is both mathematically adept and theologically deep. I know of no other work that so thoroughly addresses the modern sense of chance in a deeply Reformed and philosophically oriented way.
Is this the go-to book for a biblical theological perspective on chance, coincidence, randomness, risk, probability, prediction, and gambling? You bet it is! Dr. Poythress has hit another one out of the park. This book will transform the way you think about everything from quantum physics and weather forecasts to life insurance and card games.
-James N. Anderson,
Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte
Back when I was a researcher in Systems Engineering and Operations Research, probability was my daily breath, so I was delighted to see this work. Not only was this a fun read for me, but I find in Vern Poythress a firm grasp of the mathematical, philosophical, theological, and apologetic issues necessary to guide those who want to think clearly on this topic - a topic which, because of its technicality, many will be daunted by. And Poythress always has an eye for the helpful illustration!
-C. John Collins,
Covenant Theological Seminary
Many think Calvinists simply reject the idea of chance, random events, and probability. But that is not entirely true. My friend Vern Poythress shows in this book that the God of the Bible - and of Calvin - is in fact the foundation, both of causation and of randomness in the world. Poythress is well-suited to develop this argument, with doctorates in both New Testament and mathematics, and as the author of important recent books on logic and science. I do not fully understand the mathematics of this book, but the theology is entirely biblical, and I cant imagine a better place to start for readers interested in this subject matter.
-John M. Frame,
Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Hard read, but very biblical and God-centered apprApril 21, 2014DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Mathematicians, 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 deals with the math and science of probability and chance. As a non-mathematician, I found myself taking frequent brain breaks as I read! Quite honestly, I didn't understand everything I read, tending to get a bit bogged down in some of the details and explanations. But this one thing is true: I came away from Chance and the Sovereignty of God with a renewed sense of awe for who God is and how creative He is.
In the book, Poythress deals with a variety of topics including happenstance, disasters and suffering, human choice, random events, chance, probability, predictions and outcomes, gambling, and astrology. Throughout Chance and the Sovereignty of God, Poythress affirms the greatness of God and our inability to completely understand God and His ways because they are higher than ours (Isaiah 55). Acknowledging God's control over all, Poythress urges readers to praise God for His unsearchable ways. He says, "In every chance event, God provides for us an example of His greatness. We should respond with worship. We should praise Him for His power, his wisdom, His love, His faithfulness, and His creativity"
It seems clear that one of the author's purposes in Chance and the Sovereignty of God is to help readers see God's greatness as evidenced in His control over chance, probability and random events, and, as a result, to worship and praise God because of that new discovery. Though I had difficulty wading through some of the explanations because I'm not a mathematician, I definitely came away with a new appreciation for God's greatness and a desire to worship Him for who He is.
I found the author's tone to be inviting, honest, and academic. I appreciated the clear examples Poythress gave throughout the book, helping make abstract concepts more understandable. Additionally, I appreciated the book's special features, including many figures and illustrations throughout the book that added to the clarity of the author's main points. The appendices delve deeper into some of the topics, such as gambling, diseases, and statistics, giving readers even more to chew on. The general and scriptural indexes make the book an easy reference, helping readers to pinpoint specific topics and references quickly and easily.
Vern S. Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for over three decades. He has six earned degrees, including a PhD from Harvard University and a ThD from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the author of numerous books on a variety of topics, including biblical interpretation, language, and science.
*I received a copy of the book from Crossway for this review; however, the opinions expressed are my own.