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The Evacuation of Chance, except for Purpose:
and then BY Purpose
and ON Purpose
System ? Very good,
programmed ? By whom ? Not programmed ? How then system ?
Just WAS ? But magic is neither logic nor scientific method. What has inherent controls and constraints without a ground for them is merely magical, an alogism, an irrationality comparable to all the efforts in that direction so often made by man, as when he tried to have spontaneous generation of life, shown false by Pasteur.
You cannot create by creating an illogical image; except of course by 'create', you MEAN the illogical model, image itself; but in that case, alas, it is not the universe which you create, or for which you give grounds for existing, but only your own creativity as part of that creation which is the universe - scarcely a refutation.
No chance is to be found in the system. It has laws, rules, potentials, contrivances, relationships, constraints; and what these permit will occur when the permission operates now this way, now that, as diverse associations, groupings, collocations come from time to time
Inherent associative criteria, such as requisitioned by DNA when a baby is being programmed physically for birth, these are no chance. They are offspring of rules, and powers, and criteria and constraints, and blueprints in code, and controls for the execution of the same, and editing to ensure the better performance of the same, all in precisely the fashion so many human beings would LOVE to make, if they could, in their sheer sophistication of understanding and complexity of contrivance, in their multi-purpose arrangements and their intimately miniaturised provisions.
In our system ALL possibilities ARE, and they are IN the construction.
The irony is this: that it is ONLY in the presence of purpose that 'chance' is meaningful overall concept; and it is not overall!
means, quite simply, this: that to a person of purpose, things can happen, for
good or evil (i.e. benefit or calamity) from NO purpose of that person. This or
that event can fall like a balm or a bane. Far form any plan, aspiration or
program of his/her own, things may occur, which will aid, even abet or
threaten, or indeed frustrate some purpose or plan of the purposeful person.
GIVING CHANCE A CHANCE ?
Relative to such a person's PURPOSE, this is conceived of as a chance contribution: it was not purposed by this party at all. In that context, the term has meaning: but the irony is this, that it is only in the presence of purpose that 'chance' can have meaning.
At that, it is a vanishing meaning, as soon as one's conception moves to the WHOLE. Then there ARE persons with imagination and purpose, capable of error, and there is a system and indeed a series of systems, which may/may not further the purposes of the person or persons.
It is not then a chance system in the least degree: there are purposes and systems, and the latter may jar on your purposes, or not: more or less.
Here lies the limit: WHEN you do not KNOW the author both of persons and systems, the adequate cause (cf. Ch. 9 *6, above) then, the latter may affront, tragically indeed, the purposes of the former. When however you DO know Him, then needless collisions may be avoided though some can help engender patience, humility, and so can act as an antidote to arrogance, perhaps there without its being realised!
It is, in fact, exactly as outlined in Psalm 1 and Romans 5.
This is one example of which many brothers and systems have been noted as in SMR Ch. 3, pp. 422Eff., Ch. 2 Extension, and TMR Ch. 7. As to others, as we have repeatedly seen, philosophy has contortions, because of distortions.
Remove the distortions and farewell the contortions. Simplicity (relatively) replaces the distortions, contortions and abortions of systems which do not work because they offend causality while yet using it (cf. SMR op. cit. and Ch. 5).
to do what is systematically impossible, this always produces contortions
(watch a tennis match when one party is stretched rather BEYOND the limit,
having NOTHING with which to meet the onslaught/assault plan of the other
competitor). 'Nothing' does not do much for the case, in physics or tennis; and
the more you consider it, the less the game goes...
CHASING CHANCE OR LETTING IT CHASE!
Find God, then every fact and facet not only fits into place, with the sort of ease that one finds in a jigsaw puzzle when having studied for hours, and moved it pieces vainly and anon frustratingly about, one finds the picture-perspective needed (cf. Luke 5:4-6). With almost absurd simplicity, one piece then follows another, with facility and order: the picture is complete. How could one have been so slow before!
Thus when you find purpose, you can understand 'chance'; but only in the presence and perspective afforded by purpose. But then, finding purpose, you look to the origin of all, and so find that no such thing as chance exists, EXCEPT in the unseemly or unrealised contributions of various systems to one's purposes, and these the more impactively the less one knows the Lord. Once Elisha mused to himself of something which had happened and of which the Lord had not told him! (II Kings ). This indeed might seem like a 'chance'; but even here, the prophet realised that even though to him it had come unannounced, it was not without God, who knows all and in particular controls the outcomes for His people, also sometimes relaxing controls for those who reject Him so that their own impotence and impudence might the more obviously strike their consciences, if so be they elect to ... think! That is precisely what Psalm 1 is teaching.
Like "the chaff" which the wind blows away, the wicked are then depicted as becoming. That assuredly seems like 'chance', but it is not a systematic oblivion, but a detachment of purposeful intervention, and an attachment of systematic impacts for the lives of those who abscond from God, so that their purposes are naked and exposed, little battlements of personality in the midst of unseeing forces which God, the Lord has made as part of the home of man, the arena for divine prescience and human habitation.
It is rather like a little child. One remembers one little aboriginal boy, daring and charming, aged about 2, who was very affectionate. He would pat the cheeks of my wife lovingly when she would catch him from danger on the road, lest a car should strike him, on occasion. In his innocence of exploits and achievements in a funny and inviting world, as it probably seemed to him, he set off one day and managed to go over the creek on the bridge, up the other side, and proceed towards a rather major artery up on a far hill. Full marks for initiative, but rather less for what MIGHT have happened because the world is NOT automatically controlled for his benefit. Kindness intervened in Christ, for his benefit to be sure, but sometimes such exploits have another end!
The more man behaves like
that in his universe musings and cruisings, out of place, out of mind almost in
his presumption, exploring the exploits of the divine majesty with undaunted
enthusiasm and quite often now, with no authority (cf. Repent or
Perish Ch. 6, A Spiritual
Chs. 1-3), the more he conforms to type, in the last centuries. Whatever is there, he seeks; and whatever he finds, he tends to exploit, as the Spanish Romanists did with the Incas in a situation so abusive and profoundly exterminative, grabbing wealth and assassinating people, that it is nearly worthy of weeping, for such an end to such a civilisation for such purposes and programs as these. They did this; many others did other things not entirely better, as in the American and earlier British slavery exhibits!
The CHANCE may indeed appear as the uninvited guest, to swell the coffers, or bring the curse, as in the American Civil War, or the Spanish Armada, when Spain would have made Britain slaves in the interests of the pope, as to some extent many had been in a good measure earlier, with boy bishops drawing salaries they did not bother to come to the Island to earn, and 'Peter's pence' departing for foreign fields, while heads rolled for foreign purposes, and foreign-made idols were bound on the consciences of the people, or else in many cases, they were bound and their bodies put beyond repair.
The divine reticence in such cases can be profound to humiliate the sheer spiritual madness of the presumptions being made; or indeed, the Lord may intervene most purposefully, using or not, at His entire pleasure, systems in place or added work, as in the Exodus, where He laboured in a special and sequential way, leading up to a separating of families, and a requisition of communication from man to God, in the form of blood ON or NOT ON the door of the people who claimed His mercy, before Israel departed the land! (cf. Exodus 12-15, Psalm 78, Psalm 106).
Again, the divine plan sets in with its profound precision, according to all the wisdom of God, to answer prayer as at Dunkirk, in the case of the Spanish Armada, or to rebuke evil, as with Hitler's demise, his own mental condition contributing not a little to the defeat of his armies when the Stalingrad folly was perpetrated. (Cf. Psalm 50:20-23.)
chance is not a real thing; it is merely the appearance of what is made to
proceed on various premises, logical and physical, chemical and biogenic, or on
various promises which may be invoked, in the Book of the Creator, the Bible.
Here the systems may be conceived of as impactive without purpose, when, in
fact, the extent to which this is allowed, is the PRODUCT of PURPOSE; for even
the permission for this or that impact of system on human personality is
conceived in terms of grace or disgrace, of blessing or cursing, of hope or
stimulus; for God works ALL things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians
THE ELOQUENCE OF IRONY
'Chance' is, to be sure, useful in being indicative of system's actions on purposes of people, or angelic beings; but it is not a creative unit; merely a dissociation of divine control with intervention, over certain things, to the point that their outcome IS the result of divine control. This means simply that HIS PERMISSION for things to proceed in their own created way, like a housewife who does not clean the bedroom as a rebuke to the household, enables things to wreak havoc, but this allowance is the product of purpose ... to do just that!
It is an irony. If HE takes His hand off certain implications and consequences of certain follies, in order to show the weakness of man recklessly adrift, like a tiny boat on a huge sea or ocean, so be it: THAT is a decision, not chance. The play of what is thought of as chance, in the absence of understanding of the mind of God, is in fact a personal permission, for the impact of a systematic consequence, that persons might learn or show or be tested, thus and so, and find the necessity of being linked PERSONALLY to the PERSON who made indeed the stage, with its systems and scopes, constraints and restraints; but made persons to act on it.
They are the players; that is what is primarily is FOR, its purpose. When they worship the stage, that stage may be a fatal one, and involve collapses of the same in various ways, in order to teach them better things to do with their time. It may indeed be very pointed, as in the greenhouse effect: the stage became so prominent with materialism, evolutionism, naturalism, that its contributions to human discomfort is a comforting exposure: perhaps they will listen and look and think awhile. WHO wants the actors to fail so ignominiously as all that! Rebuke can be far better than ruin! Mercifully it is coming first!
Thus it is only when by wisdom, chance is permitted its scope, that system aborts freely on personality; but then it is wisdom which allocates to the systems such liberty, and so 'chance' is merely the impact of such liberties as and when and if the divine hand grants them. At that, they do not control, but merely evidence the lack of personal intervention in what has been made as it is, and contains all it can do, neither more nor less, and is here permitted to DO it.
For the Christian there are many ways in which his life can glorify God, including slow torture, such as on the Cross of Christ, and poverty such as many have. But what is NOT needed is 'chance', except as a swift reminder of the poverty of puny pride, as it afflicts a man as it did poor Amasa (II Chronicles 25:17ff.) or before that, of the error of lassitude of faith, as with ungrateful Asa! (II Chronicles 16:3ff.).
THAT, however, is meaningful only as the withholding of purpose, so that BY PURPOSE, the impact of the world's internal operations might be made, to the awakening of wisdom on the one blind, or blurred in vision.
Chance is then a by-product of the presence of purpose in terms of contrast; and when man is with the Lord, it is not normally needing invocation; though for the unsaved, it may be permitted to play a huge role, as the divine hand exposes more and more the object of divine rebuke or wrath, to the events which come 'naturally'. At that, however, there is an overall control on the outcomes and the issuance of all possibilities, as you see in Revelation 9, and indeed in the entire discourse from Revelation 6-9, 15-16, as events are released by order, so that the equipment so exposed to service, implements itself in due order.
As Amos puts it (3:3-8):
Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey ?
Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing ?
"Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is
no trap for it ?
Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all ?
"If a trumpet is blown in a city , will not the people be
If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it ?
Surely he Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets."
Comparative possibilities in a programmed system are one thing; they are interesting but uncreative. Absolute characterisations are another. Here chance is out till purpose is in; and when purpose is in, the spiritual site of its fabrication is found logically with necessity, though spiritually it may still be disdained, as is usual with many. It is then however that chance is cast out again, replaced through divine design if so be, by untutored circumstance, where this is the method employed by the Person in charge; or by guidance (as with Joseph and Mary sent to Egypt as Matthew shows, with the infant Jesus escaping infanticide, since His death was scheduled for a later and more significant season), or other*1 intervention; and it is all governed by grace for His children. "Precious" indeed is the death of the saints of the Lord! (Psalm 116:15).
They have a purpose and are undismissible till it is done.
So does the universe.
a stage, it is thrilling, as an object of worship, it is trite and more than a
little ridiculous! This is done directly or indirectly, the latter in
naturalism, that modern replica of the obsessive renegacies of old.
The case of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, when that latter godly king was foolishly entwined with the wicked King of Israel at that time, indeed has him in flagrant disobedience to the portent of the word of God, as his father in law, is instructive here.
In true wicked form, Ahab had dressed in common garb in the joint battle of the two temporary allies, thus being likely to escape concentrated attack by the enemy; while Jehoshaphat had not done so. Such an alliance! such ... togetherness! The Lord saw this, and knew HIS mind toward Ahab who had been warned and helped time and again, so that it was a saga of spiritual grace of God toward him, and of endless machinations of the unconverted heart in the face of such tender regard. At last his time had come.
But would not King Jehoshaphat we the fall-guy, and would he not be killed in view of this deadly stratagem ? Not at all. When pursued as he undoubtedly was, being mistaken for the King of Israel, he cried to the Lord, who heard him. How odd it seems at the time when seemingly impossible burdens or enemies cry out against one, and then, the burden goes and the victory comes! So on this occasion with Jehoshaphat! But the Lord had other plans also, than merely to deliver his erring child, Jehoshaphat.
A man drew a bow "at random" (II Kings ), to see if he could send some fire into the midst of the embroiled battle. That simply meant this: that he did not aim at anyone in particular. HE did not, but the LORD knew what HE was doing.
Well, the man presumably mused that someone would be hit as his arrow hovered, flew on and flitted to its end in the enemy lines. Just so! 'By chance' it was Ahab. Chance ? yes in the sense defined above: an event for good or evil relative to the purposes of some purposeful being, which comes without his/her cry, call or intervention. In fact, however, as soon as we establish its RELATIVE position as chance, we find its ABSOLUTE position as directed. It was God who had in DETAIL predicted that the blood of Ahab would be licked by dogs. THIS was the episode which led directly to that foreordained and predicted end.
Ahab was taken in his chariot, being severely wounded, and soon died. When the chariot was washed, the blood came with the water and the dogs licked it. So IN DETAIL was a prophecy in LIKE DETAIL fulfilled under divine and sovereign direction, through an act, in the mind of the soldier whose arrow did the killing, merely 'at random', an unsighted target found by the arrow of divinely appointed destiny, in the divinely appointed time (as we shall see) to lead to the divinely predicted blood being eaten in the divinely appointed place by the divinely stated means (I Kings 21:19). All this was predicted. The means varied; the result did not because it could not. It was governed by God, who "works all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians ).
Time, place, blood, method of removal of same, all were assigned before the 'random' sending of the arrow of death.
In fact, the prophet Micaiah had directly prophesied that Ahab would NOT return in peace from the battle. The way that happened in instructive. The more Ahab blew on the candle of the Lord, the more it flourished. Thus when the two kings before battle called, each one, for some prophet or prophets, Jehoshaphat - perhaps sensing the slavish servility to the king and his evil purposes, which the many false prophets called by Ahab forwarded, these protesting victory in the coming battle - asked for some other prophet. At this, Ahab noted with displeasure that the prophet Micaiah was still there, and that he could be called, adding that this prophet always spoke evil of him. 'Let not the king say so!' said his son-in-law with social grace.
Micaiah first of all
pretended to agree with the evil prophets, but his tone presumably alerted Ahab
to his mockery. Invoked to tell it, he then did so in a most poignant way,
bringing to light his vision of the people of
Ahab asked for witnesses to this, for if he DID return in victory, not in grief, then Micaiah would be identified as a false prophet to whom the death penalty would come, and doubtless with some relish, from Ahab according to the law (Deuteronomy 18:22).
The whole prophetic integrity of the prophet was thus backed by the Lord as HE promised (in Isaiah 44:25-26), for it is He who "confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers", whilst He also "frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad," for it is He who "turns wise men backwards, and makes their knowledge foolishness".
The Lord acted as is His way, and Micaiah instead of being exhibited as a false prophet, was shown a true one, all by the 'random' act of an enemy soldier, who unwittingly, brought to pass the determinate and predicted counsel of the Lord. So did the Lord control in His overall planning with precision, events whether in a system or by intervention, as He pleased; and what was committed to be done through system, even if through the same used without direction by an intervening party, as here the soldier, is merely one part of a plan in which all the components, systematic or personal, are known and pre-arranged, so that the outcome is sure.
Neither system, without human direction, nor human use of system with purpose, can escape the simple fact that God knows all systems, all minds, all purposes, all ends, all aims, and can as readily, yes and far more so, entwine them as an engineer can work out the combinations of explosions on the one hand, and restraining devices to prevent their outcome being in this or that direction too markedly, in the demolition of buildings, or use men on the one hand, and machines on the other, in their construction.
The fact is that God who made all knows all, and men, in multitudes now in love with the stage, have forgotten that the play has a director.
It follows indirectly, just
as it is stated directly, that those who are to be redeemed by the Lord are
likewise known, and foreknown by Him (Ephesians 1:4); and in fact, they are
statedly foreknown as His, before the world was created. It is time the power
of God was realised afresh, for in the puny magnitudes of escalating
technology, man who can be destroyed as a race by an asteroid, if God so
allowed, has become prodigiously inflated in great numbers, imagining so freely
that his little adjustments of the created marvels can bring this or that, when
he does not even understand his own spirit (cf. SMR
Ch. 4, Things Old and New Ch. 9, With
Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 11, pp. 168ff.,
and Ch. 1 above), because his eyes are, in masses
and masses of cases, so tightly closed to the Lord, that the muscles are hurt
in the process (as in SMR Ch. 3, pp. 422Eff., TMR Ch. 7).