Above Chance

Paul, walking down the streets of Athens, saw altars with many and various inscriptions. One altar, inscribed TO THE UNKNOWN GOD, was the basis of his wonderful address contained in Acts 17:22-31. Doubtless another of the altars he saw was inscribed TO TYCHE, the goddess of chance, for the ancient Greeks paid so much attention to chance that to them it seemed a deity. The ancient Romans did much the same and venerated their goddess Fortuna, whose charming little temple still stands, to the delight of every visitor to present-day Rome.

How crude and how absurd the ancient pagans were to worship chance! This is one's first reaction. But has this practice been so utterly uprooted? People still seek enjoyment in games of chance and hope to improve their financial position by speculating on the stock exchange. We use such phrases as "What good luck!" We say things happen "by accident," and many countries are plagued with traffic and other accidents. Certain disasters are often described in insurance policies as "acts of God," though it would be difficult to find a more inaccurate definition! As these various instances show, many of us still believe more or less that our circumstances and happiness can be affected by some supernatural, irrational power called chance.

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