We can debate whether those opinions are dominant or authoritative, but to say that it is a Christian idea is blatantly wrong. So when they tell me there’s no such thing as a coincidence, I smile knowingly and say “Yes, I know.” Why not? A wonderful, fictionalized discussion of this issue can be found in the novel HAAZINU (LISTEN UP), published recently by Gefen of Jerusazlem. For a religious tradition, like Judaism, which holds that human beings are endowed with free will, such a conclusion poses something of a problem. Meir, your chavrusa's words are closer to what the Or Sameiach (Rabbi Meir Simcha haKohein of Dvinsk, Lithuania 1843–1926) says in his commentary on the Rambam's Laws of Teshuvah, in an excursion titled "HaKol Tzafui vehaReshus Nesunah -- all is foreseen yet freedom is given" (the title is a quote of Rabbi Aqiva). Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is … Christianity inherited Judaism's axiom of human free will, though it has the occesional problem with it, as you point out. Can you please cite the source of that Ralbag? If I meet someone at a party and find out that we share the same birthday, what we mean by calling that situation coincidental is that our being together at that moment was the result of chance, not necessity. on the one hand they seem to be the source of our greatest irrationalities--seeing causal connections when science tells us they aren't there. To be sure, it is arguably legitimate to believe that some things are really just by chance. A chavrusa, decades ago, expressed the gist of Micha's comment pithily: "Hashem doesn't know what you will do to morrow; He knows what you did tomorrow.". If God knows in advance what we will choose, then it was impossible that we would have chosen otherwise. Despite having grown up in an Orthodox home and attended Orthodox day schools and yeshivot, I don’t recall anyone ever telling me, when I was young, that there are no coincidences. The author may have been better served by taking a harder look at Platinga's arguments. By subscribing to this philosophy we could eliminate all prisons and the criminal justice system saving countless funds for governments to squander in different fashions. ), however one wishes to understand the mechanics of bitul. That God knows the future does not mean that God wills the future. However, when we use the term "free will," I think that's inaccurate on a number of levels. After all, Islam means submission (to God's will) and the deepest theological sense of the word is exactly that man is NOT a free agent. But to say that there is no such thing as a coincidence sounds to me like a stronger claim; it suggests more than the assertion that God has the power to intervene in the natural order or even that He does so whenever He chooses. The other (no coincidence) comes from Joseph when he excuses his brothers' actions by saying saying that it was G-d who did it to send him to Egypt ahead of them to save them from the famine. [pause] There is no such thing as coincidence or accident." The man at the pool of Bethesda John 5:1-7 “ Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. In the Garden of Eden, G-d says that Adam and Eve must be expelled lest, having eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad, man might CHOOSE to eat from the Tree of Life and become immortal and G-dlike. The Man at the Pool of Bethesda. Coincidences are a true paradox. God does not seem to allow for “coincidence.”. Those who say there are no coincidences in the world should answer to all the mystery this gallery holds. The past cannot be changed, so when we look back, we can insist on finding meaning in everything, (i.e. A necessary relationship cannot be coincidental. Thanks for stating the argument so clearly. FWIW, there is no Divine Foreknowledge, thus eliminating that problem. He then explained that mathematicians don’t believe in coincidences, because, whenever they discover a relationship, they try to prove that the relationship they have found is logically necessary. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is … But for Jews to embrace it as a religious tenet, much less elevate it to an ikar emunah, seems like quite a stretch. There is a quote attributed to one George Santayana, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Listen carefully America, go back and study the speeches, promises, and agenda of Hugo Chavez, and compare to what we are hearing today in our America. The man at the pool of Bethesda. In the religious context of this discussion, to say that there are no coincidences implies that everything that happens had to happen because God willed it to happen. John 5:1-7 “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. So to believe that there are no coincidences, that nothing ever happens by chance, means that whatever happens had to happen exactly as it happened; if two events share a common characteristic, that characteristic is shared by necessity. There is, after all, an old and well-known conflict between God’s knowledge of the future and the possibility of human free will, a conflict that has occupied the attention of Jewish as well as Gentile philosophers and theologians. Share this with those who disbelieve in coincidences. The existence of many worlds is not core to his defense of free will. There is only one possible world, the world of God’s foreknowledge. But if this is so, then there is no event, including the actions of human beings, that was not willed by God. So Einstein was wrong when he said, "God does not play dice."