Primarily, Dice are used in games and gambling. When a precision-made die is thrown, the number appearing on the uppermost face is a matter of chance.
But dice are not only used in gaming - there are also some pretty clever conjuring tricks using dice. Ornamental dice are made by the billion to dangle from car interior mirrors, to dangle from ear-lobes, to decorate goldfish bowls, and in countless other imaginative places. They are used in tattoos, and as curious amusements for babies and mathematicians.
On this page, we are looking at three of the main usages of dice:
- Dice for gambling
- Dice for communicating with the supernatural
- Dice for equity
The Church shouts: "Gambling is sin!" and yet the Bible doesn't actually forbid the activity. So why does the Church get so uptight about gambling? Is it because gambling diverts funds to the casino instead of the Church's coffers? Or is it because gambling is like promiscuity - so popular and pleasurable that it must be evil?
If we look closely at the Bible, we are reminded that we own nothing. Everything we have in this life is owned by God (Ps. 24:1). We are stewards of material wealth to be used for the needs of our family (1 Tim. 5:8) and to help others (2 Cor. 8).
Does a bit of gambling 'action' give you a kick? Do you pride yourself in having developed a 'skill' for gambling?
Gamblers Anonymous can help.
The Church abhors gambling because at best, it's a waste of money, and at worst gambling fuels greed. (See The God of Money.) More than that, gambling leads to all the Seven Deadly Sins.
(And don't fool yourself into thinking you are Robin Hood if you donate lottery winnings to God's work. God doesn't need cash to fund His mission. And in any case, consider the source of winnings. Generally, wealthy people don't do the lottery; it is the poor who are tempted. Consequently a significant proportion of winnings come from poor people. Does it honour God for you to take money from poor people?)
A prudent man will insure his house against fire. He pays a premium and if the house doesn't burn down, he gets no refund. In a sense, this is a form of gambling, yet there is no sin involved. On the contrary, it is using money wisely. However, indulging in gambling for high stakes or with a passion which is difficult to control, leads to loss of time, money, and is ultimately ruinous. Such gambling includes the lottery, casinos and the stock market, increasingly via the internet.
But the lottery, casinos and the stock market are no more intrinsically evil than a pair of dice. It's the value we place on such instruments and how we use them that can court evil. Our values and motives are what matter to God.
Life is not a gamble. Life is all planned from the very beginning. And whilst we cannot see what lies ahead of us, we know the course our life should take (Luke 12). Life is not a gamble so don't even think about gambling it.
|Lottery:||(noun) A tax on people who are bad at maths.|
Dice are also used in astrology and divination (cleromancy). Whilst you might dismiss this as bunkum, there is no escaping the fact that in several religions (including Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity) people believe that rolling dice or casting lots can reveal the will of God.
Indeed, in the Bible we read casting lots is actually advisable in certain circumstances and has been invoked to determine God's will1. However, we must be clear in our hearts and minds that we are searching for God's will and not dabbling in fortune telling or sorcery (Lev. 19:26). Remember also that those were the days before Jesus taught us about the Holy Spirit of God. Casting lots to determine God's will was not considered a sin if it were earnestly believed that God's will would be revealed, and not the will of demons.
Other references in the Bible refer to casting lots as a method used to share things equally and fairly.
At the time of Jesus' Crucifixion the soldiers cast lots to determine who would take Jesus' robe as a souvenir2. Just after that, the eleven remaining disciples drew lots to determine whether Matthias or Barabbas should be chosen to replace Judas (Acts 1:23-26).
And this is why we can see dice in the Arms of Christ. The dice are for equity. They represent fairness, impartiality and justice. They remind us that God loves us all (John 3:16 and Mark 5). Equally.