I note that David J. Bartholomew has written extensively on a theological view of chance. What is a brief summary of the views he expresses on this topic in the following works or elsewhere:

  1. God of Chance
  2. Uncertain Belief : Is it Rational to be a Christian?
  3. God, Chance and Purpose: Can God Have It Both Ways?

Additionally or alternatively, where can I find on-line reviews of these works?

  • do you just want the abstract of each?
    – depperm
    Feb 9, 2017 at 16:21
  • @depperm that would be a good start - a great answer would dig a little deeper, but I'll take what I can get Feb 9, 2017 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


David Bartholomew's view is that God uses chance.

The idea that God may have actually used chance, and still be using chance, may help to dispel the negative role it often plays in current theology. 1

As mentioned in a previous article, unpredictability is an all-pervasive part of life, and it contributes much to the excitement and interest of living. ... This may well be a mimicking of God’s ongoing creative activity on the cosmic scale. 2

  1. God of Chance (free download)

From the Preface

The central message of God of Chance is ... that chance has to be seen as within the Providence of God. It is not something which requires the abolition of theism nor is it an illusion. We increasingly use chance as a tool in scientific work and it would surely be surprising if God had not got there before us.


  1. Uncertain Belief : Is it Rational to be a Christian?

Do miracles happen? Is the Bible true? What about the paranormal? Does God exist? The underpinning of belief have crumbled in a world where science sets the standard of what is true; people continue to ask these questions but there are no agreed upon answers. At the rational level, uncertainty is inevitable. Probability theory provides the tools for measuring and combining uncertainties and, thus, the key to progress. Assessing the state of the argument from a probabilistic perspective is long overdue. In Uncertain Beliefs, David J. Bartholomew examines and refutes some of the more extravagant claims, evaluates the weight of some of the quantitative evidence, and provides an answer to the fundamental question: is it rational to be a Christian?

More in-depth abstracts on each chapter here

Book Review

  1. God, Chance and Purpose: Can God Have It Both Ways?

Scientific accounts of existence give chance a central role. At the smallest level, quantum theory involves uncertainty and evolution is driven by chance and necessity. These ideas do not fit easily with theology in which chance has been seen as the enemy of purpose. One option is to argue, as proponents of Intelligent Design do, that chance is not real and can be replaced by the work of a Designer. Others adhere to a deterministic theology in which God is in total control. Neither of these views, it is argued, does justice to the complexity of nature or the greatness of God. The thesis of this book is that chance is neither unreal nor non-existent but an integral part of God's creation. This view is expounded, illustrated and defended by drawing on the resources of probability theory and numerous examples from the natural and social worlds.

Book Review

Essay Review by William A. Dembski

1 http://religion.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.001.0001/acrefore-9780199340378-e-23#acrefore-9780199340378-e-23-div1-7

2 https://blog.oup.com/2016/10/christians-god-chance-compatibility/


"Chance" is an abstraction that is used when causes are unknown or unknowable. When we have no reason to believe that actual causes influence outcomes in one direction or another, we assume, for the sake of being able to think about and consider something, that the sum of influences averages out to zero. Given that the sum of all influences can range from infinitely large to infinitely small, the existence of no significant bias sometimes occurs in reality--but most of the time, randomness is just an abstract assumption. Maybe what is meant here is that God sometimes just lets things happen, rather than constantly actively intervening to cause every step of every chain of events. Of course, all this gets into consideration of the nature of God. I'm pretty sure God exists as a concept in the minds of many humans, and that there is much variation as to what or who is God, what God does and does not do, and pretty much everything about "God." Who can know? And how is it that some people are so certain that God is as they conceive God to be?

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    Does your answer represent your own views or is this the view of David J. Bartholomew? Please provide a source to back up your answer.
    – Lesley
    Nov 21, 2021 at 13:03

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