Does the Bible really teach that there is no such thing as chance?
Visitor: Does the Bible really teach that there is no such thing as chance? My version still says that "time and chance happen to all."
If everything - absolutely everything mind you - was decided before that first "let their be" then Ryle's last paragraph simply makes no sense. All that talk about what we should seek and strive to do and believe is advice impossible to follow because what I believe as well as what I do were, apparently, fully and finally established before the foundation of the earth. Radical Calvinists will vehemently disagree with me about my ability to make any choice - however trivial - but only because God decided some time ago that they would. Nothing to do with them though, just grace that they back the right horse. Me though? Apparently there is a God in Romans who makes things he hates and will eventually destroy. Weird though, don't you think, not to mention any of that in Genesis 1, where things are only "good" and "very good"?
The Bible teaches that God is all-seeing (Psalm 33:13-15), never-sleeping (Psalm 121:3-4) and cares deeply about His people (Romans 8:38-39). He assures us that "you are of more value than many sparrows" (Luke 12:6-7).
The text and all of Ecclestiastes is speaking from a human perspective, so time and chance refers to man who does not know his time. Read the text in context:
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time. Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
The text is saying that man's steps are all decided in heaven by God. It is neither might nor weakness that determines the outcome, but God alone. Chance is not some entity working out there in opposition to God, but refers to what happens to man, without his cooperation. Everyone is subject to chance because each person does not know his time or what might befall him from above.
A false, untenable, absurd result follows from your denial. Your view would have us believe that God doesn't pay attention to us or does not care. If your view were true then you must affirm that there are some things that take God by surprise. If so then you have made chance a greater or more powerful entity or phenomena than God Himself and you would thus dethrone Him.
Instead why not simply read and yield to the Scripture rather than philosophize?
The Bible teaches that men are fully responsible for their sin even though God ordains that all things, including that sin, infallibly come to pass. See the following texts:
"...you yourselves know this Jesus, delivered up according to the DEFINITE PLAN and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:22-24
"for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do WHATEVER YOU HAND AND YOUR PLAN had PREDESTINED to take place." Acts 4:27-28
Your view simply cannot account for these texts apart from some serious acrobatics. I would encourage you to yield to the Text and stop kicking against the goads and Scripture.