Most of us believe everything happens for a reason. Whether it is "God's will," "karma", or "fate," we want to believe that an overarching purpose undergirds everything, and that nothing in the world, especially a disaster or tragedy, is a random, meaningless event. Abraham's Dice explores the interplay between chance and randomness, as well as between providence and divine action in the monotheistic religious traditions, looking at how their interaction has been conceptualized as our understanding of the workings of nature has changed. This lively historical conversation has generated intense and engaging theological debates, and provocative responses from science: what of the history of our universe, where chance and law have played out in complex ways? Or the evolution of life, where random mutations have challenged attempts to find purpose within evolution and convinced many that human beings are a "glorious accident."
The enduring belief that everything happens for a reason is examined through a conversation with major scholars, among them holders of prestigious chairs at Oxford and Cambridge universities and the University of Basel, as well as several Gifford lecturers, and two Templeton prize winners. Now, as never before, confident scientific assertions that the world embodies a profound contingency are challenging theological claims that God acts providentially in the world. The random and meandering path of evolution is widely used as an argument that God did not create life. Organized historically, Abraham's Dice provides a wide-ranging scientific, theological, and biblical foundation to address the question of divine action in a world shot through with contingency.