Naturalism—the belief that only natural processes are and have always been at work in our universe—has serious implications in regard to free will. Dr. Sam Harris has a PhD in neuroscience and is an outspoken naturalist; in his 2012 book Free Will, Harris emphatically declares, “Free will is an illusion.” Instead of regarding man as an immortal soul housed in a physical body, whose will is challenged, but not entirely overridden, by physical constraints, Harris only sees the physical constraints. As a proponent of naturalism, he must reduce every “decision” to a material cause, regarding measurements of neural activity as the key to determining what decision an individual will make. He says, “Consider what it would take to actually have free will. You would need to be aware of all the factors that determine your thoughts and actions, and you would need to have complete control over those factors.” Herein lies the problem with Harris’ thinking, somehow because one does not have complete control over physical factors relating to actions, one does not have any control over one’s thoughts and decisions. One cannot make a decision above those influences for good or bad. However, C.S. Lewis points out the flaw in this thinking:
But at those moments when we are most conscious of the Moral Law, it usually seems to be telling us to side with the weaker of the two impulses. You probably want to be safe much more than you want to help the man who is drowning: but the Moral Law tells you to help him all the same. And surely it often tells us to try to make the right impulse stronger than it naturally is?….The thing that says to you, ‘Your herd instinct is asleep. Wake it up,’ cannot itself be the herd instinct. The thing that tells you which note needs to be played louder cannot itself be that note.
In fact, people do have the capacity to choose what to believe and what to do. If not, then right and wrong are emptied of meaning. Morals have no significance if man is unable to choose differently from the course of action he pursues. The universal sense of justice—that we should be fair to fellow human beings—requires that when individuals are unfair they could have chosen to be fair. Instead of a might-makes-right worldview, we desire the scales to be balanced. The Bible’s teaching that beliefs and decisions having a bearing on this life and an afterlife gives life, morals, and justice meaning (Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 17:30-31; 24:25).
Naturalism is missing something. With its lack of free will, lack of foundation for right and wrong, and lack of an afterlife, naturalism ultimately leads to nihilism. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon considers what is the ultimate meaning in all that is done “under the sun”; thus, limiting his scope to just this life with no final judgment, he concludes, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (2:11). His only recourse from this despair was realizing man’s duty to God, the judge of the good and evil, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). This weekend, in our seminar with Dr. Jeff Miller, you have heard the evidence for God creating the universe and having a purpose for your life. Which will you choose?
 Harris, Sam. Free Will. New York: Free Press, 2012. p. 5.
 Ibid. 13.
 C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. p. 10.