God’s Total Control = Pointless Prayer

I’m currently re-reading John Piper’s book, A Sweet and Bitter Providence and am reminded that Piper is a hard determinist. I’ll likely be posting some thoughts on something Piper calls “the sovereign bullet’ in the near future. In any event, Piper has previously made deterministic statements including:

  • God [has predetermined] every tiny detail in the universe such as dust particles in the air and all of our besetting sins [because] the Bible says, “The dice are thrown in the lap, and every decision is from the Lord.
  • [Everything] including evil is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly.
  • God [ensures that everyone] does what God ordains – even if it involves evil.

So, everything that is going to happen will happen because God has already ensured that it will happen, right? Well, perhaps someone can kindly explain –

If God is sovereignly and totally in control of everyone and everything at all times such that whatever happens is because God wants it to happen, then what is the point of praying? How can change be affected when actions or events have already been decided?

Ironically, not one Calvinist I know actually accepts the deterministic beliefs of Calvinism in that they all wear a seatbelt when driving a car, ensure that their kids do their homework each night, actively seek employment when laid off, replace cars and appliances when they break, go to their doctor when sick and to their dentist for six-month checkups. The hypocrisy is stark. Calvinists certainly talk a good game as to determinism. But as I see it, Calvinists claim all things are determined and then go about changing each and every aspect of that determinism.

Just my $0.02


Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

One thought on “God’s Total Control = Pointless Prayer”

  1. It’s actually crazy to make God responsible for sin and evil in the world, because he tightly controls, determines and is responsible for all actions and outcomes. If I make my child break my TV set, what moral right do I have to punish him for breaking the TV?

    If what will be will be, whatever we do, why do we pray and labour and toil? Why do we preach?

    Calvinism greatly undermines the free will of man and the justice and fairness of God, as well as his love for all men.

    Thanks for this post.

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