Tag Archives: Naturalism

Sunday Terminology: Determinism

Determinism: The belief that man’s actions are the result of antecedent causes has been formulated naturalistically and theistically. The naturalistic view sees human beings as part of the machinery of the universe. In such a world every event is caused by preceding events, which in turn were caused by still earlier events, ad infinitum. Since man is part of this causal chain, his actions are also determined by antecedent causes. Some of these causes are the environment and man’s genetic make-up. These are so determinative of what man does that no one could rightly say that a given human action could have been performed otherwise than it in fact was performed. Thus, according to determinism, Bob’s sitting on the brown chair rather than the blue sofa is not a free choice but is fully determined by previous factors. [1]

[1] Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical dictionary of theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984), 428. Print.