The philosophies of men – Determinism

In Colossians 2:8 we are warned to beware lest anyone take us captive through philosophy and empty deceit and reflecting on this I wonder if most Christians today realize that, like Christians ever since this letter was written, we need to be on guard against the “philosophies of men”. I wonder, since we don’t seem to be too interested in teaching what these doctrines are in most churches, if we would even recognize what these philosophies are that we are warned about, much less have the ability to effectively combat them when they rear their ugly heads and cause “wars and divisions” within the body of Christ.

Because of this I want to dedicate a series of posts to identifying a few of these philosophies which are running amuck in most churches and in the lives of most Christians and, once identified, how to combat these philosophies through well-placed questions.

The core of this philosophy is that God directly causes every event that happens. This is vastly different than the Biblical notion that God is sovereign over all of creation but He is not the only one active in his creation creating history.

One of the easiest ways to spot this deterministic attitude (which is more in line with the Greek fates or Islam’s Allah, but also has a representation in the naturalistic worldview as “genetic”) is when people make comments like “well, I suppose it was just meant to be”, “everything happens for a reason”, or “it’s in his/her genes”.

The fallicy of this view is seen most clearly in 1 Corinthians 15 wherein we are told that the last enemy to be defeated is death. Consequently death was the first result of the fall so it is rather odd when people claim that 

The easiest way to combat the ingrained philosophy of determinism in people is to draw their attention back to the fact that God gave Adam and Eve, and indeed all of us, the ability to choose (within limits) our own courses in history and that without this disctionction, there is nothing seperating God from the sin and evil present in the world around us.

Ultimately, this deterministic philosophy is attributable to laziness as it takes real effort to judge and evaluate what is right and wrong and work accordingly to make the world a better place by fighting the effects of the fall.

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2 responses to “The philosophies of men – Determinism

  1. I am curious Wes… are you equate determinism with the doctrine of predestination?

    on a side note, have you seen the article AP published today on Faith? It is quite disturbing!
    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Church/Default.aspx?id=150084

    Does this mean Oprah (and visible people like her) is influencing more people, or she is just part of this trend?

  2. Depends on how the doctorine of predestination is presented. If by predestination you mean double predestination where God chooses some to save and damns others (either explicitly or implicitly) then yes, that form of predestination devloves into determinism.

    If you think Oprah is incredible, you should visit the Augusta Chronicle forums:
    http://forums.chronicle.com

    After getting back into active debating and evangelizing I am thoroughly convinced that we live in a post Christian culture and programs like FAITH simply don’t cut it.

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