Friday, September 12, 2008

The Friday Post 9.12.08 No. 3 Objection #1

This week we really begin to go deeper into what it means to be able to defend our faith. The very first chapter or objection that Strobel brings up in his book The Case for Faith is probably one of the toughest questions that Christians are asked or more accurately told is "Since evil and suffering exist, a loving God cannot..." Strobel's goal in finding answers to this question is to journalistically seek out interviews with the brightest and most intelligent professors, teachers, speakers of the Christian faith and ask them these tough questions. Strobel asked the following question to Dr. Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, after reading an excerpt from his interview with Charles Templeton: How do you respond to Templeton's discourse about a poor African woman holding her dying baby all because there was no rain in their land for months. God could have caused the rain to come but he didn't. Templeton's exact phrase was "considering the plagues that sweep across parts of the planet and indiscriminately kill..and it just became crystal clear to me that it is not possible for an intelligent person to believe that there is a deity who loves."
Kreeft responded that you must focus on the words "is not possible" because to say that there is no God who is infinitely more than you or I is intellectual arrogance. Basically what that means is that to say that there is no God is to place yourself as the highest level being! Kreeft says this in explanation "How can a mere finite human be sure that infinite wisdom would not tolerate certain short-range evils in order for more long-range good that we couldn't foresee?" Kreeft uses this example to further his explanation: "Imagine a bear in a trap and a hunter who, out of sympathy, wants to liberate him. He tries to win the bear's confidence, but he can't do it, so he has to shoot the bear full of drugs. The bear, however, thinks this is an attack and that the hunter is trying to ill him. He doesn't realize that this is being done out of compassion. Then, in order to get the bear out of the trap, the hunter has to push him further into the trap to release the tension on the spring. If the bear were semiconscious at that point, he would be even more convinced that the hunter was his enemy who was out to cause him suffering and pain. But the bear would be wrong. He reaches this incorrect conclusion because he's not a human being."
Kreeft went on to ask "Now, how can anyone be certain that's not an analogy between us and God? I believe God does the same to us sometimes, and we can't comprehend why he does it any more than the bear can understand the motivations of the hunter. As the bear could have trusted the hunter, so we can trust God."
Kreeft also points out that evil can in turn prove God's existence. Not because God created evil, because he didn't, but because there is a standard of good which determines what evil is! God is the standard of good. God made the standard of good. Kreeft also uses this example that if he is grading students' papers and he gives one student a 90% and another an 80% then there must be a standard that lays the foundation to receive a 100%.
Kreeft also uses this example to show how evil proves God's existence. If there is no Creator and therefore no moment of creation, then everything is the result of evolution. If there was no beginning or first cause, then the universe must have always existed. That means the universe has been evolving for an infinite period of time--and, by now, everything should already be perfect. There would have been plenty of time for evolution to have finished and evil to have been vanquished. But there still is evil and suffering and imperfection--and that proves the atheist wrong about the universe.
Stobel explains that Kreeft goes on to prove the existence of a loving God by showing that God didn't create evil, he allowed for the possibility of evil. Which means that he gave us free-will to choose. By nature of choice we have two choices: good or evil. We, therefore, are the ones who allowed evil to happen because we chose evil in the beginning by disobeying God's commands! Thus sin entered the world and ever since we have been cursed by the evil of our wrong choice. Think about this: The point to remember is that creating a world where there's free will and no possibility of sin is a self-contradiction--and that opens the door to people choosing evil over God, with suffering being the result. The overwhelming majority of the pain in the world is caused by our choices to kill, to slander, to be selfish, to stray sexually, to break our promises, to be reckless.
Next week we will continue to discuss this very issue further. For now I think you have a lot to think about and maybe respond to. Next week we will discuss further the three attributes of God and how they line up logically with the way we think! I hope you will take some time each week to read through The Friday Post. These issues are not easy but they do challenge us to grow deeper in our faith with our all-powerful, omnipotent, glorious, and loving God! See you next week where the conversation continues!

For Christ's Cause,


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