Mohler vs. Piper on Determinism and Free Will


Dr. Flowers plays clips of Dr. John Piper, a notable Calvinistic author and pastor, answering the question “Why does the Bible say that God relents and regrets?”

Then Dr. Flowers contrasts Piper’s response with arguments from Dr. Albert Mohler, another leading evangelical Calvinist, against naturalistic determinism.

In part, Dr. Mohler argues:

“The subversion of moral responsibility is one of the most significant developments of recent decades. Though this subversion was originally philosophical, more recent efforts have been based in biology and psychology. Various theorists have argued that our decisions and actions are determined by genetics, environmental factors, or other forces. Now, Scientific American is out with a report on a study linking determinism and moral responsibility.

The diverse theories of determinism propose that our choices and decisions are not an exercise of the will, but simply the inevitable outcome of factors outside our control. As Scientific American explains, determinists argue that “everything that happens is determined by what happened before ? our actions are inevitable consequences of the events leading up to the action.”

In other words, free will doesn’t exist. Used in this sense, free will means the exercise of authentic moral choice and agency. We choose to take one action rather than the other, and must then take responsibility for that choice.

This link between moral choice and moral responsibility is virtually instinctive to humans. As a matter of fact, it is basic to our understanding of what it means to be human. We hold each other responsible for actions and choices. But if all of our choices are illusory ? and everything is merely the “inevitable consequence” of something beyond our control, moral responsibility is an exercise in delusion.

Scientific American reports on a study performed by psychologists Kathleen Vohs and Jonathan Schooler. The psychologists found that individuals who were told that their moral choices were determined, rather than free, were also more likely to cheat on an experimental examination.” <LINK>

Dr. Flowers relates Dr. Mohler’s arguments against the foundational claims of Calvinism’s theistic determinism.


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