The Folly of Doing Theology in an Echo Chamber: A Thorough Examination of Piper’s “Two-Wills” View (Part 27)

, posted by stridermtb

[StriderMTB’s lengthy article, “The Folly of Doing Theology in an Echo Chamber: A Thorough Examination of Piper’s ‘Two-Wills’ View,” has been divided into 30 parts and edited for serial publication on this website. Here is a link to the original post. After the entire series is published, it will be made available as a single article on this site. Critique 34 is included in this post.]


Critique 34: THE ERADICATION OF OBJECTIVE MORALITY: IF EVERY CONTRAST TO GODS MORAL GOODNESS IS ITSELF CONCEIVED AND DECREED BY GODS MORALLY GOOD NATURE, WHAT THEN IS LEFT TO BE DEFINED AS OBJECTIVELY EVIL?

There is one more issue we must deal with before we bring this examination to a conclusion. That is, does evil or sin even exist from Gods standpoint and perspective? Or is evil just an illusion of our minds because we lack the “wide-angle lens” that Piper says God’s possesses to justify his prerogative in decreeing all good and evil.

Let us breakdown Piper’s theodicy in the form of a deductive syllogism for greater clarity.[44]

  • Every decision of every person and every act throughout world history is the effect in time of what God specifically and determinatively decreed in eternity past in order to manifest his glorious goodness.
  • God can never do wrong or commit evil against anyone through any of his decrees because He is good.
  • Therefore, everything that God decrees must, of necessity, be right and be good from God’s perspective.

If this is true it would mean from our limited, fallible vantage point some occurrences may be perceived as being morally wrong and evil, but from God’s vantage point it is not wrong or evil, nor is it unfortunate or tragic— because it’s all been conceived by God and purposed by God. Thus in the grand scheme of things all things are fortunate. All things are intended. All things are good. All things are right. All things are purposeful. All things are decreed to serve the good of God’s glory. All hail God’s sovereignty!

In Piper’s worldview we are slaves of God’s glory— our value consists in nothing else. We exist only as objects to be manipulated and used as pieces fitted together to gloriously display the cosmic, divine will and nothing else really matters. We will recall Piper refers to this as, “a pattern or mosaic stretching into eternity. This mosaic, with all its (good and evil) parts he does delight in (Psalm 115:3).”

Now perhaps you are a “Piper pupil” and you can’t possibly imagine that Piper’s theodicy requires the above conclusion; but it’s really not all that difficult to see.  For:

  • If every desire, choice and action of men and women have their ultimate, conceptual origin and intentionality in the decretive will of God (as Piper must concede),
  • And if God never does evil or commits wrong in decreeing anything, and therefore can only decree that which serves the good of his glory,
  • Then, it logically follows that evil itself is simply an illusionary perception in our minds from not “having all the facts” as to how God purposed everything for the good of his glory.

Accordingly evil, as an objective moral category in the universe, simply disappears. It literally does not exist. If it did, what would be an example? Did divine goodness conceive of it, intend it and decree it? If so, then how is it evil in any ontological sense from God’s perspective?

Piper essentially admits this when he astonishingly parrots Edwards who first explained:

“God doesn’t will sin as sin or for the sake of anything evil; though it be his pleasure so to order things, that he permitting, sin will come to pass; for the sake of the great good that by his disposal shall be the consequence.” [45]

So there you have it. The proverbial cat has been let out the bag. God’s universal decrees of sin are divested of their sinfulness because God doesn’t “will sin as sin.” Apparently these divinely decreed actions and events for sin and evil to “come to pass for the sake of the great good” only take on an aura of sinfulness and evil when their predetermined emergence along the stream of human history arrives and they suddenly “pop” into being via the wills of individuals determined to commit them. The key point not to be missed is that when God decreed each and every sin, it was not “sin as sin” but rather a neutered and neutral means to an end. The end of course being God’s glory— or at least Piper’s bizarre and twisted notion of God’s glory.

As alluded to earlier, Piper’s theology results in evil becoming just a construct in our minds we have created to protest against what we perceive to be undesirable events. Little do we know that all events— including rape, murder, child abuse, adultery, gossip, greed and homoerotic pornography— are actually “good things” anchored in God’s good decrees because (according to Piper’s theology) the same God who decreed who will be the perpetrating rapist and who will be the victim to be violated, is the same God that cannot “will sin as sin” and can “do no wrong against anyone” through any of his decrees.[46]

So given Piper’s theo-logic, it follows inescapably that from God’s perspective all alleged evils of this world are ontologically grounded in the good of God’s decrees—thus ultimately rendering them good and absolving them of evil. In Piper’s construct not only does evil not exist— it can’t exist.

It has already been stated, but it bears repeating. If Piper were to disagree with the aforementioned conclusion, then it must be asked of him, what is an example of an act of pure evil? Piper would undoubtedly agree with Arminians that God is the very locus and paradigm of good, for God is divine goodness. But if all evil is conceived by divine goodness and decreed by divine goodness for the sake of manifesting further divine goodness, what then is left for Piper to point to as a contrast to divine goodness?

Piper’s alleged superior “God-entranced worldview” turns out to be nothing less than a Satan-entranced worldview. If Piper wants to deny this, let him answer the following question: Has Satan ever had a thought or committed an act that God did not unconditionally predetermine? The silence of a straightforward answer will most likely be deafening.


[44] The following is a section of 4-part critique of Piper’s Theodicy that I wrote earlier. It can be found here.

[45] Quoted in John Piper’s article “Is God less Glorious Because He Ordained that Evil Be?” See: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/is-god-less-glorious-because-he-ordained-that-evil-be

[46] Piper rightly tries to make the point that God can do no wrong to anyone with any of his decrees, but he wrongly tries to couch this truth into his overall, Calvinist narrative that God has unconditionally decreed all things— including all suicide bombings (that Muslims ironically think is God’s will). His latter point is an extreme extrapolation based on unproven assumptions. See: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-made-it-ok-for-god-to-kill-women-and-children-in-the-old-testament