Have you ever said to someone, “good luck!” before a test or interview? Maybe they are about to do something they are nervous about, and you want to encourage them real quick before they go.
Do Christians believe in luck? Most Christians do not believe in luck because the Bible says that all things have been ordained by God (Ephesians 1:11). All things are known, beforehand, by God. Therefore, we know things don’t happen because of luck.
Let’s dive in to see what luck means, what the Bible says about it, and what the will of God means.
Do Christians Believe in Luck?
Christians believe in the will of God. Therefore, most Christians do not believe in luck.
However, it also depends on Christians’ view of God having a purpose for everything, or if they believe that God takes a step back, and uses what happens.
Pretty much all Christians believe that everything that does happen is for a purpose. Other people might believe that not everything that happens has a purpose and might be because of chance or “luck.”
Typically if one believes the later, usually they are not Christian. Those who are not Christian usually refer to the world as being created by chance or luck. They would say that we are put into this world by chance.
Christians would say that God created the universe and had a specific plan in mind.
He created people and brought them into the world to be raised by your parents, a certain way, all to bring glory to God.
To understand better of what luck is… let’s find out what the dictionary defines it as.
What Is Luck?
Good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance.Dictionary.com
Luck the force that causes good or bad things to happen to people: This ring has always brought me good luck. Chance the way that some things happen without any cause that you can see or understand: The results could simply be due to chance.Oxford Dictionary
So according to these definitions, luck or chance is what brings good or bad things to happen to people.
But luck is actually understood in various ways. Let’s look at the four ways people typically define, refer to, or understand luck as.
4 Main Interpretations of Luck:
- Lack of control (or known as chance)
- Fallacy (the result of poor reasoning & wishful thinking)
- Essence (the belief that the future is good or bad – luck is influenced by our previous actions – also believed that good luck can be obtained by carrying certain items like lucky charms).
- Self full-filling prophecy (the belief that luck can help us succeed as it can affect our attitude in life)
Some believe that the belief in luck has a scientific side to it, and if you learn the math, science, and psychology behind it, you will be able to create your own good fortune.
Well, what does the Bible say about this?
What Does The Bible Say About Luck?
So in Ecclesiastes, Solomon was pondering life, and how things worked in the world.
Consider the work of God; For who can make straight what He has made crooked?Ecclesiastes 7:13
Solomon was saying that none can mess with what God intends for His will.
I returned and saw under the sun that—The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.
For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them.Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
Let’s break these verses down further to understand what exactly Solomon was wondering.
Solomon had many questions as we see throughout much of Ecclesiastes. He was basically asking if life is all there is, then why doesn’t life make more sense? “I returned and saw under the sun that – the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong”
In a world that made more sense under the sun, then the swift would always win the race and the strong would always win the battle. Yet it doesn’t always work that way (Enduring Word Commentary).
“But time and chance happen to them all”: We can see that Solomon was struggling against a sense of fatalism. In his somewhat contradictory way, he had previously proclaimed God’s management of all (Ecclesiastes 7:13 and 9:1) and now wondered if it didn’t all happen according to time and chance.
So we can see he was going back and forth about this matter between God’s will and management of His Creation, and if life was based on time and chance.
Some Christians go to the story of Ruth when discussing chance or luck in the Bible. The story of Ruth talks about how she stumbled upon a field where she met a man who ended up completely changing her life for the better.
So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.Ruth 2:3
She “happened to come.” Some believe this was chance, and others believe this was God guiding her there.
Most Christians believe Ruth experienced the very natural moving of the supernatural hand of God at that moment, and in every moment of her walk with Him.
Many times when we are walking in the Spirit, we can only see the invisible hand of God by looking back.
If we spend too much time trying to look for His hand ahead of us, we can make problems for ourselves forgetting how God has already taken us this far.
Solomon, who was considered the wisest man in the world, had these questions. It’s understandable that we might also have these questions. It can be somewhat difficult to understand how God’s will and management work.
Let’s dive in further to see what God wants us to understand when it comes to His will, and God’s providence.
What Is God’s Providence?
Have you ever heard a non-Christian say, “Everything happens for a reason”?
On the one hand, it is good that a non-Christian express doubts that purposeless things happen. On the other hand, I know that when most non-Christians confess that everything happens for a reason, they do not have the right reason in mind.
Usually, they are just admitting the belief that blind, impersonal fate controls everything. How can blind, impersonal fate have a reason for everything?
Purpose comes only from personal agents who make a plan and follow it. If everything happens for a reason, something – or rather, Someone – must decide the reason for it.Ligonier Ministries
As Christians, we know that everything happens for a reason because the personal triune God has created all things and has a plan for everything that happens.
He is sovereign over all such that even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from His will (Matthew 10:29). He works out all things, not just some things, according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
This is essentially what theologians mean by providence – that God has a plan and a purpose for the world. But that it doesn’t just stop there. God governs history.
God isn’t merely a passive observer of history; rather, He has designed history to achieve a particular end and He directs history so that it will surely reach that end.
As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says,
People ask this questions, ‘What are God’s works of providence?’
God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions.”
Difference Between God’s Sovereignty & God’s Providence
Many get confused or wonder if God’s providence and His sovereignty are the same thing.
God’s sovereignty is his right and power to do all that he decides to do.
Job 42:2: “I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
God’s providence includes what sovereignty doesn’t. Providence is sovereignty in the service of wise purposes.
Providence is wise and purposeful sovereignty.
Absolutely everything that needs to be done to bring about his purposes, God sees to it that it happens.”John Piper
I would encourage you to listen to this podcast by Desiring God where John Piper discusses God’s sovereignty and providence – Are God’s Providence and God’s Sovereignty the Same?
God’s purpose is central to his providence, so as Christians, it is crucial that we understand what the Bible says God’s ultimate purpose is.
God’s providence means not only that He is governing and directing all things but also that He is sustaining all things.
All Christians have some doctrine of God’s providence because the Bible teaches clearly that God rules over all things.
God’s Providence Revealed In Scipture
The biblical doctrine of providence is not limiting God’s control to only the major things of history. It’s talking about even what might seem, the smallest of things.
The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord.Proverbs 16:33
We can compare the “casting into the lap” as somewhat equivalent to that of a dice roll.
It may seem totally random, but the results of the roll are actually not random, and what the Lord ordained, which is crazy.
Dr. R.C. Sproul reminds us that there is not one “maverick molecule” in all creation operating outside the sovereign control and direction of the Lord.
If the tiniest thing were to go astray, the cascading effects could change everything.
Ultimately, as Dr. Sproul also reminds us, there is no such thing as chance.
God’s Providence Applied In Our Lives
As human beings, we are the pinnacle of God’s creation. We can remember one’s birth and purpose in life are under God’s providence.
Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to bePsalm 139:16
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.Jeremiah 1:5
But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any manGalations 1:15
We can know the success or failure of individuals is in the hand of God’s providence.
.No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts anotherPsalm 75:6-7
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.Luke 1:52
God’s care can be without our knowledge. Sometimes we don’t even know when God is looking out for us; he does it without our knowledge sometimes.
I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me, there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me.
God’s Providence Summarized
Even seemingly insignificant things are under God’s providence.
Therefore God says to not worry or stress about your life.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing.Matthew 6:25
God says He will take care of the sparrows even, and not one goes unnoticed by God.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.Matthew 10:29-31
How much more does God care about us the Bible says.
We can try to strategize and plan our lives out. We can seek counsel and use wisdom to try to go on the right path. But ultimately it is the Lord who dictates our steps.
The human mind plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps.Proverbs 16:9
God loves His people and has a loving kindness to the whole of creation.
God’s providence is seen in that He meets the desires of His people.
God provided for Abraham.
And Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on togetherGenesis 22:8
God provided for Moses and the Israelites.
And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.Deuteronomy 8:3
And my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19
To continue to look at the providence of God in the Bible that can be applied to you, click here (where I found these passages of Scripture about the Providence of God).
The Will Of God
There is the revealed and unrevealed will of God. The revealed is what God tells us through His Word, and by showing us through what He does. The unrevealed will of God is what we do not know, or cannot see right now.
God chooses what He reveals and does not reveal to us.
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.Deuteronomy 29:29
If we are to know the Lord, the Lord must reveal Himself to us. But in revealing Himself, God does not reveal everything there is to know about Him. He keeps part of Himself hidden, whether because we could not comprehend what He keeps hidden or because He simply chooses to exercise His sovereign freedom and not tell us certain things.Ligonier Ministries
God calls us to remember that He knows the beginning from the end.
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’Isiah 46:10
God will do all He wishes and is directing all around us. His promises will stand, and nothing can stop His will for all things.
The essential point is that God’s people must remember this about the Lord – that He knows the end from the beginning and is in control over all things. When we remember this, we will show yourselves men. We can have tremendous courage in our God when we understand and remember who He is and what He does.Enduring Word Commentary
All of our days are already numbered the Bible says.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.Psalms 139:16
What is going to happen will happen. And I think that Christians sometimes refer to chance or luck without thinking too much about it. They may have an understanding that God’s will is overall but still talk about luck.
Can Christians Say “Good Luck?”
Saying “good luck” is not biblical, because God dictates what will and will not happen.
Some Christians believe luck is from the devil. I’m not so sure but have heard a few people talk about how the root meaning of the word luck, comes back to Lucifer who is Satan.
From looking myself, I have not found the root meaning of the word luck to mean Lucifer, but know that it still isn’t Biblical to say, “good luck” or believe in luck.
I believe all things happen for a reason and that God dictates our path as believers. He guides us and works all things together for good to those who love God, for His glory.
I think that things do happen randomly and that it may look like chance. But that ultimately God is the one who sees the path before us and brings opportunities before us.