19 thoughts on “John Piper Implicates God in all Moral Evil

  1. I believe Piper is a disciple of the Edwardian school of Calvinism.

    Perhaps Norman L. Geisler’s analysis from “Chosen But Free” will be useful

    -quote:
    “Jonathon Edwards’ view of free choice, which is at the heart of extreme Calvinism, is a form of divine determinism.
    The late John Gerstner and R.C. Sproul hold the same view.

    It destroys true freedom, lays the credit (and blame) for free actions on another [ultimately God], and eliminates the grounds for rewards and moral responsibility. What is more, it makes God ultimately responsible for evil; it admittedly has no answer to why Lucifer sinned since he had no evil nature to incline him to do so.

    ….Edwards overlooks the only viable concept of free will, namely that is it the power of self-determination.
    That is, a free act, whatever persuasion is placed upon it, is the un-coerced ability to cause one’s own actions.”

    – Page 272 & 269

    Its valuable to note, Geisler recognizes different streams within Calvinism, differentiated mostly by the degree/intensity to which Theological Determinism is asserted as being Universal vs. Particular in scope. (i.e, Whether it is asserted as actively determinative of all things universally, or actively determinative only of some things in particular – e.g: active for good events while passive for evil events.)

    Geisler’s position within the various debates on theological compatiblism/incompatiblism, could be seen as aligned with what is called “sourcehood”, and commonly seen as a form of “weak” compatiblism.

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  2. Anybody who is a “Berean” of the Scriptures can see strait through Prof. Flowers critique of John Piper. Flowers misrepresents Reformed theology by saying that man’s determinations/decisions/choices are not apart of God’s predetermined decree. Flowers places at enmity mankind’s free choices against God’s predetermined decree and this is simply a huge error on his part. Mankind makes free choices according his sinful nature. God is simply orchestrating all events (including man’s free choices) to accomplish His decree. However, God is ACTIVELY orchestrating these events and there’s absolutely nothing that Prof. Flowers or anyone can do to thwart these predetermined events from occurring, whether we believe this or not.
    God, in fact, ACTIVELY accomplishing His predeterminations even in the cases of rape, murder, etc. He is ACTIVELY orchestrating such events for His glorious purpose/plan/decree.
    In the case of rape, we know God ordains/desires that rapes occur because He blesses many of those unions with human conception. No conception takes place unless God Himself gives that conception a spirit since every human is made of both body and soul (spirit). A physical union alone can not produce a soul. Only God can give a living soul to a human being. Therefore, we can conclude that, if God blessed that union between the rapist’s sperm and the victim’s egg with a living soul (spirit), then God ordained/decreed/desired that rape to have occurred. Or else He would never bless the union since the fruit of the womb is “His reward”. There’s no disputing this fact. This is a clear example of God ACTIVELY working through the sinful actions (i.e. rape) of mankind and how these sinful actions are apart of His decree.
    The problem is that men like Prof. Flowers are really the opposer of Romans 9 and aren’t happy with the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself. Prof. Flowers’ contentions are not with Calvinism at all, but with God Himself. Prof. Flowers is saying, “God who can resist your will if you have made me this way with no control over your predeterminations.” Men who mitigate against God’s predetermined and immutable decree are, in fact, resisting His will.

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    1. So following your logic, every raped woman can be comforted that that excruciating experience produced a living person. God got what he wanted, at the mere expense of her dignity and her safety, and at the lifetime expense of her peace of mind and identity as a person who has value. She will always feel used and worthless, and it will take quite possibly a lifetime of counseling to convince her otherwise. She may never be convinced. But God actively ordained it. Can you look into the eyes of a victim of rape and tell them that this was God’s plan for them all along and think they will ever be convinced that their Father in heaven really loves them? Can you tell her parents that? How can you apply this theology and expect an outcome that will cause a broken woman to run to the Father that you claim loves her? The hands that were stretched out on the cross to save her soul were the very same hands that brought forth the greatest and most demeaning pain she could ever imagine. Can you tell that to her?

      Is every person conceived from rape one of the elect? What about those conceived that are reprobate? God determined for that rape to occur so that soul could be thrown into hell forever – will that bring comfort to the woman who brought forth this life? What about the babies that are aborted due to rape? Or are you just referring to babies actually born? Do the aborted babies not have souls?

      What about all the rapes that don’t produce the a human being? How are those biblically justified?

      What about men who are raped?

      What about children who are raped?

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      1. My brother I’m sensing that behind your argument is a sense of entitlement, as if God owes us an explanation or that His mercy/grace can be demanded. God owes no man any reason or explanation for why and how He accomplishes His decree. We simply bow in humble submission and adoration to it.
        Regarding how we comfort a woman/man who’s been raped, we do it with wisdom and prudence. We would NEVER say to a rape victim that this was God’s will as they’re going through their pain. If they’re an unbeliever, we comfort them with encouraging words or provide them with counseling. If they’re a true believer, then we comfort them with God’s promises for His children and provide godly counseling for them. But you never be so insensitive to remind a rape victim, while they’re going through their pain, that it was apart of God’s decree that heinous sins (i.e. rape) happen to people.
        So I I’ll ask you my friend: If God did not decree/will/desire/determine that rape occurs, why does He bless the act with the reward of a child?
        Here’s another question: Which sin is more heinous:
        1) the murder of an innocent God/Man by His creation, or
        2) the rape of a sinner who hates their Creator and only deserves Hell?
        Remember that God is both a benevolent Deity and yet a wrathful One as well! Also, remember that the raped victim doesn’t deserve comfort; comfort is a grace of God originating from His mercy that He alone chooses to give to whomever He pleases!

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      2. I find it interesting that you would never tell a rape victim that they were raped by God’s decree, but rather reassure them with the promises of God. Hopefully they aren’t familiar with Calvinism, otherwise they would know you are hiding the truths of your belief system simply to make them feel better. Also, being raped was apparently a promise of God for them, since He decreed it before time began, which I can’t imagine would bring any comfort. On the other hand, I know that planning rape is no part of my Holy God. I can honestly say no, God did not plan this, rape is not anything that is good, pleasing and perfect, like we know His will to be. This is not heaven, where His will is done. This is earth, where the devil prowls like a lion, looking for someone to devour. If you are looking for a reason for evil, for a purpose, that’s the reason – Satan’s purpose of evil is to steal, kill, and destroy. God can bring beauty from ashes. I believe he can redeem any sin that his beloved children suffer. But if you’re looking for a purpose for sin, that purpose is evil, not glorious. Who has ever heard of “glorious sin”?

        I also find it interesting that you consider the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory to be a heinous sin; yet rape is a fulfillment of God’s decree. Jesus came to earth with a mission, and he gave the ultimate sacrifice and fulfilled something that the Scripture clearly said he would do. He fulfilled prophecy that was given from the very beginning. Now there is something God specifically determined would happen, yet you call it heinous. I call it amazing and incredibly humbling, that Christ purposefully died for the sins of humankind to bring reconciliation to God.

        And why do you think every rape victim delivers a child? Because they don’t. Why do you think every rape victim is a woman? Because they’re not. What about children that are raped? You seem very convinced that you can justify all rape by saying, well, a life was created. Should that baby be love? Of course it should. Will it? We all hope so. But babies don’t come with every rape…just devastation and brokenness.

        How would you feel if you had a beloved woman in your life that was raped? Would you hope for a pregnancy as a result of rape, a pregnancy from a man you might never know, who stole something precious and irretrievable from your loved one? What about the women and children that get raped and then murdered immediately? How do you justify that? They didn’t produce a baby, and a life was taken, so…but it was still a blessed union, right? Sex is blessed by God no matter what the circumstances as long as a baby is the result, is that what you’re saying? I’m pretty sure when a rape victim finds out she’s pregnant, she doesn’t jump up and down with joy and call her family and tell everyone she’s expecting a baby. Is being raped a blessed union just like the intimacy between a married man and woman is? According to your logic, they are one and the same, since babies do come from both.

        So, if God didn’t determine rape, WHY did he bless it with a child? Maybe because God originally created humans to give birth to more humans and to live with Him in paradise. Because His design was for a family that obeyed Him and lived in harmony with Him. But then, Eve sinned, Adam blamed her, and the first family became dysfunctional right out the gate. God didn’t take away fertility as a result of Eve and Adam’s sin. It’s still there – in fact, it would be very odd indeed if no rapes ever produced a child. And Satan continues to step in and pervert God’s design. All of the sudden a rape victim who finds herself pregnant is missing a husband who ought to be there to support her. But this child will probably never have the blessing of the father they ought to have. This child, who should have a father that provides and protects, is raised either by a single mom who’s trying to scrape enough together to support herself and her child, or her parents or other family raises the child, or the child is adopted out to another family, or she gives up and gets an abortion because she doesn’t see any way out. I can promise you, babies of rape do not always feel like a reward – quite the opposite, actually. Of course all life should be heralded into the world with happiness and love. But it’s not – because of sin. In fact, lots of babies born don’t feel like rewards, even if they weren’t conceived by rape because we live in a world that literally throws babies into the hazardous waste bin before they can draw a breath.

        Let’s apply your logic to a third-world country, where giving birth in a hospital and adopting that baby out to a loving family are unheard of luxuries: a young girl is raped, and she dies in labor because there is no one to help her and her baby dies too. But the baby was a reward, right? It resulted in a soul, so it was a blessed union? A soul that might have been purposed, according to Calvinism, for hell in the first place. And this is all decreed for the glory of God. Death and damnation to bring God glory. Well, I serve no such bloodthirsty god, but a Holy and Mighty and Righteous and Just God, who delivers His children from evil and walks with them through the valley of the shadow of death, giving His children no reason to fear.

        There is clearly a plan for how God wants a family to be. Rape is not the way God intends for children to enter the world. It provides no stability and rape is not beneficial to the precious person it happens to. It is a perversion of the gift of sex, shatters families and it is absolutely caused by Satan. God tempts no one, he has given the earth over to men, and Satan is the prince of this world. This is why we so desperately need to pray that God’s will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

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      3. Thank you for your passionate response MKR. But please address the specific questions that I posed to you:

        1) Why does God bless MANY rapes with conception if it was never apart of His decree/purpose/will/desire? Please stay on topic here and answer this specific question.

        2) The crucifixion was sinful on the part of mankind because they crucified they’re Creator without just cause. Of course, on God’s part, it was a TREMENDOUS sacrifice. But once again, stay on topic here. Which is worse: the unjust crucifixion of your Creator or the rape of a sinner who only deserves Hell? Please stay on topic!!

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      4. Thank you MKR for your passionate defense of God’s character! I am in no wise in Troy’s camp… Just ask him! 😉 But I do think his questions deserve a direct response, even if they are loaded. I am responding to you however, instead of him, for he is not willing to admit that Scripture nowhere clearly teaches the primary dogma of Calvinism, which is, that every event into the future forever was eternally immutably determined by God, and that this man-made dogma, if true, is based only on theological and philosophical inferences that contradict clear Scriptures and reason.

        Troy asked – 1) Why does God bless MANY rapes with conception if it was never apart of His decree/purpose/will/desire? Please stay on topic here and answer this specific question. 2) The crucifixion was sinful on the part of mankind because they crucified they’re Creator without just cause. Of course, on God’s part, it was a TREMENDOUS sacrifice. But once again, stay on topic here. Which is worse: the unjust crucifixion of your Creator or the rape of a sinner who only deserves Hell? Please stay on topic!!

        1. I think it is reasonable to admit that God does determine right before each rape happens (not eternally, immutably) to permit the rape to occur and also determines whether to permit a conception or not. This divine determination of allowing sin, does not make God complicit in the sin, for He did not plan it… though He observed the heart of the sinner as it did the planning and carrying out of that evil. And because of God’s just and gracious nature, we know He will justly deal with the sin and provide sufficient grace to the victim. But we must believe that His determination (I choose that word on purpose) to permit this wicked act to unfold was because of some opportunity for a “good” that could not have happened without Him permitting that evil act.

        2. The crucifixion is an example of God determining (not eternally, immutably) at some point to allow the sacrifice of His Son for sin to include the public display of human rejection of that sacrificial Lamb. That rejection: the scourging, mocking, crucifixion torture, etc. is not what produced the payment of redemption in my view. (OT priests did not have to abuse the lambs they sacrificed) That payment was made to the justice of God’s wrath against sin and was unseen, I believe, while Jesus was on the cross. But God allowed the cruel rapacious human abuse of His Son so that we would have a picture of our rebellion that required His sacrifice, and we would also have a picture of His attitude of forgiveness toward us, motivating us to repent and to trust Him for mercy and an everlasting love relationship with Him. Praise His Name!

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    2. Troy, stuff and nonsense. You really should know better but obviously don’t. Jesus himself said woe to those who cause a little one to stumble. And temptations are bound to come but that doesn’t excuse personal responsibility for those actions. Again all we see from this kind of deficient thinking is that God makes us responsible for His choices.

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  3. Troy,
    How does one even begin to address such a sad, putrid distortion of God’s character and works? It demonstrates well the catastrophic damage that Calvinism’s errors do to man’s ability to understand, trust and respond to God. I know you have all your pat answers from your Calvinist script – been there, and could recite them along with you. The difference is that I can, and am willing, to consider other answers as well, and there are many that do not require sacrificing God at the alter of false ‘Sovereignty’ and ‘Glory’. I pray that the good, gracious and loving God break through the blindness that has been cast upon your mind and reveal to you the truth about who He is and how He desires good – not just for you and your select few, but for all men. ‘All’ all, not ‘some’ all.

    I cannot imagine anything more tragic than believing that God not only endorses but actively orchestrates the worst evils that man can contrive, such as rape. What a sick, twisted mind Calvinism creates. In your worldview, there is absolutely no need for Satan, for God compels men to do that which Satan can only try to deceive men into performing. Worse, he ‘punishes’ them for doing what he thought up, ordained and compelled them to do. But it’s ok, because they ‘desired’ to do as he ordained them to do. (Well of course they did – he ordained what they desire, didn’t he? And cursed them with a ‘sin nature’ before they ever drew a breath, so-called ‘Total Depravity’ – a complete inability to do anything but sin. Wow, with a god like that, you really don’t need a devil, do ya?)

    Can you even begin to perceive how evil and perverse your distortions are? Imagine telling an abused young child that the unthinkable sexual abuse at the hand of his father or grandfather was thought up, ordained, nay, compelled by God. I hope to God no one ever dares suggest such a thing to my nephew, who bears those very scars. I cannot even imagine believing such a horrendous, preposterous lie, which, if it were true, would allow no man to love God. I cannot tell you how much I truly, truly pity you and the many like you (including loved ones of my own) who have fallen for such a disgusting web of lies.

    You humbly pride yourself on your humility, your willingness to blame, er, credit God for all things, including rape, torture and genocide. Comes in real handy when all that niggling guilt for ‘your’ sin –which scripture commands you to cease from, but you prefer to just believe that it is ‘invisible’ – comes haunting you. Oh, and the rest of us still see it too. But it’s so freeing to believe that God doesn’t see any of your evil deeds, but merely sees ‘the righteousness of Christ’ – even when you lie or abuse your wife. Such priceless fire insurance. Unless, of course, you are one of the unlucky ones who didn’t get the offer of ‘the righteousness of Christ’, which leaves them burning in hell for the same things you get away with, you lucky dog.

    Nice bennies, if you can get ‘em. Of course, it’s all a roll of the dice, isn’t it? You, of course, could not care less if God just happened to reprobate your own friends and loved ones, your own beloved mother or child, right? Sorry, little Charlie, I love you bunches – too bad God couldn’t say the same. Oh well, too bad, so sad, but just think of all the ‘glory’ you are bringing God! That’s some comfort, now, isn’t it, little fella? You can think ‘Wow, toasting me for my sins while letting my Dad off for the same, or worse, is bringing that narcissistic God some real macho feelings of ‘glory’’, so I should be glad, yes, glad that I was created for everlasting torture! I only regret that I have but one life to give for my God, who loved me so.’ Good luck selling that to anyone with a brain.

    Let’s just say that your, er, limited concern for the unfortunates doesn’t exactly commend you – let alone your God – to others, including the lost, whom scripture states Jesus actually came to seek and to save. But of course Calvinists know – wink, wink – that God is just being disingenuous when he states over and over how much he loves all men, desires all to turn from wickedness, waits patiently in hopes that none will perish, etc. Wink, wink. Sorta like how you talked so prettily to your girlfriend, before you married her and revealed what a self-centered, authoritarian misogynist you really were.

    I’m sure you greet all of the visitors to your church with the message that, as far as you know, God hates them – or ‘loves’ them with that unusual sort of ‘love’ that desires them to burn in hell to make him (are you kidding?) look good. But, hey, he’s God, so them’s the breaks. And maybe, just maybe, the visitor will luck out and be one of the privileged few – like you – whom God actually ‘loves’ in a genuine, scriptural sort of way; you know, like laying down one’s life for one’s friend . . .

    There truly can be no greater corruption of the gospel that what you poor, deluded people believe. You have nothing, absolutely nothing, to offer a lost and dying world but a false, blasphemous claim that God ordains sin, compels men to perform it and then holds them responsible for what they could never have ‘not’ done. Nothing could be more reprehensible, and nothing could be more false.

    I cannot even imagine the shock of standing before God, trying to explain to him how he can’t possibly judge your sin, because you were taught that He didn’t see it. When you saw the naked, you did nothing because you knew God ordained their nakedness. When you saw the hungry, you did nothing, because you knew that God obviously intended them to starve. When you saw a girl being raped, you didn’t bother to interfere, because you knew God planned it, yes, even ordained it before the foundation of the world. (What a God!) When you saw men struggling with sin and disbelief, you offered them Judaism 2.0, a distorted, self-righteousness that makes you as sure as the stunned Jews that God would never condemn you.

    Your clever theology will be little comfort when you stand before the true, gracious, loving God who so clearly demonstrated his generous, sacrificial love that all are without excuse. Even those who beg ‘But I misunderstood. Calvinism was such a convincing system, how could I resist? Just because it was illogical, unloving, unjust and unscriptural? Just because thinking men of every stripe told me how appalling and obscene it was.’ False teachers are so very convincing. Thus, God sent not only written ‘words’, which can so easily be distorted and misinterpreted by false or ignorant men, but the living ‘Word’, who demonstrated his love in such a manner that no man could possibly not ‘get it’; unless they willingly exchange the truth for a lie.

    The truth is that when Jesus said ‘God so loved the world’ he meant ‘God so loved the world’, and not the lie that suggests when Jesus said ‘God so loved the world’ he meant ‘God so loved a select few people in the world’. The truth is that when God states that he desires that none perish, he means that he desires that none perish, not the lie that when he states that he desires that none perish he is disingenuously hiding the fact that he secretly ordained many men to perish. Because he could so easily have ‘regenerated’ them –‘Zap!’ – and turned them into super sinners like the ‘elect’, who can continue in their sin fearlessly (Sin boldy!) because God no longer sees it!

    Note that Jesus was very patient, merciful and forgiving to ‘sinners’ – the adulterers and robbers – but showed little patience to those who were sanctimoniously self-righteous and certain that God loved them, and them alone. The Jews were convinced that they alone were ‘elected’ by God for salvation, and chose to murder their very Saviour rather than consider the possibility that God loved ‘all men’ and desired that none perish.

    The layers are many, and you have been lured into a well-laid trap. I encourage you to seek the Spirit’s help in understanding scripture without the distorting lenses of preconceived notions, which is very difficult to do if you are ‘convinced’ of your ‘orthodoxy’. Such genuine seeking of understanding requires humility, openness and the willingness to surrender every single belief, idea or doctrine you have ever held, if God so leads you. Hang on, because if you come to God with such openness, you are in for the ride of your life. I know. And I am determined to hang on for the duration, even if it means losing everything I ever valued.

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    1. Ok sir I’ll pose the same questions I posed to another commenter on this thread…
      If God did not decree/will/desire/determine that rape occurs, why does He bless the act with the reward of a child?
      Here’s another question: Which sin is more heinous:
      1) the murder of an innocent God/Man by His creation, or
      2) the rape of a sinner who hates their Creator and only deserves Hell?

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      1. A lot of this topic goes under the rubric of “necessary evil”.

        Calvinists and non-Calvnists alike agree that God has created a world in which there are “necessary evils”.

        The question is then: “necessary” for what?

        The Calvinist answer, boils down to “necessary” for God to glorify himself.
        The Non-Calvinist has a different answer.

        But these answers are based upon a man-conceived hierarchy of divine attributes.

        Calvinists naturally see their answer as superior because their answer (according to Calvin’s justifications) glorifies a particular divine attribute, which Calvin’s theology places as the supreme attribute.

        But again, we understand what we are looking at here is man’s conceived hierarchy of divine attributes, which may or may not align itself with what God himself holds as his hierarchy of attributes. He may not even have a self-conceived hierarchy of attributes.

        The non-Calvinst has a different man-conceived hierarchy of divine attributes to which they attribute, the reason evil is “necessary”.

        IMHO: For either group to posture as superior to the other is simply a manifestation of co-opting God to puff-up one’s pride.

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      2. Good Morning br.d! I’m sorry but maybe I’m misunderstanding your comment. So how does your comment relate to the questions I posed and how would YOU answer those questions?

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      3. Hi Troy,
        Hope you’re well.
        Sorry if my post was presented as a direct response to yours.
        I wasn’t attempting to get into the minutia of those questions but to see some underlying conceptions.
        Sometimes getting caught up in minute details for me is like missing the forest while focusing on a few trees.
        But that’s a reflection of me more than anything else.
        If you don’t feel there is a correlation that’s ok.

        Blessings! :-]

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  4. I went to a lot of trouble to craft a second, thoughtful response to Troy, but it really looks like he is just trying to use the old strategy of distract and deflect rather than seek genuine understanding. A gentleman does not insist, after respectful demurral, that others engage in his debate, and on his terms. Br.d. politely suggested that he chose to address the genuine issues rather than be led off down Troy’s chosen minefield of ‘try and answer my loaded questions’. He brings to mind the Pharisees, who were always coming to Jesus with their clever traps, hoping to ‘catch’ him in what they thought were no-win situations. At least they had the grace to sulk away when they were exposed.

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    1. Troy, are you suggesting that we can ‘overlook’ God’s alleged ‘sin’ of compelled rape – what a blasphemous thought! – because it is less heinous than man’s sin of killing Jesus? You can’t be serious.

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      1. I’m not “suggesting” anything of the sort truthseeker. I’m adamantly asserting that the rape of a human being is nowhere near as heinous as the crucifixion. Human beings are not “innocent” and deserve only hell. Anything beyond this is mercy. God, on the other hand, is innocent but yet subjected Himself to His sinful creation who heinously murdered Him unjustly, but this was done according to His own predetermined decree. The Cross was heinous only in the sense that mankind murdered His Creator without just cause. Sinners don’t deserve and therefore can’t demand God’s mercy!

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    2. Good Morning truthseeker! Thank you for your response sir. However, with all due respect, you are absolutely incorrect in your assessment as to why I’m asking these questions. I’m challenging someone’s theological position by getting them to think about Scriptural teachings that mitigate against that theological position.
      Now most non-Reformed thinkers espouse the belief that God has not decreed that heinous sins (i.e. rape) occur to certain people. This is espoused in an effort to disprove God’s meticulous and immutable decree.
      Therefore, I’ve requested that those who oppose God’s decree, give an answer as to why He would “reward” that heinous act with human conception/creation. And heretofore, I’ve yet to receive a meaningful theological response to this question.
      Perhaps you, truthseeker, can provide a theological/biblical response to why God creates during such a heinous event as rape if that rape was not apart of His predetermined decree/purpose/will/desire??

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