No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

God is great, God is good…


I was recently asked to write a discussion board post on the problem of evil for my Apologetics class.  This topic seems timely.  All of us are aware of the evil that was done by the soldier in Afghanistan.  The interesting thing is that all should (and do) rightly recognize this act as evil.  However not all recognize the fact that the feeling that we all have, comes from a natural law given to us from God.

“God might be great, but if so He’s not good; He might be good, but if so He’s not great.”

A critic would make this argument in an effort to state that there is a contradiction between a good God and a God that would allow evil to exist.  They would argue that if God were truly Omnipotent then he could eliminate evil, evil exists therefore God is not omnipotent.  They make this argument because simply the world is full of evil.  One cannot turn on the news and see evil perpetrated.  A recent example would be of the soldier in Afghanistan murdering women and children.  It is not just the evil of man that is called into question it is the evil that persists from natural catastrophes that call this into question.  As Mackie put it “a good omnipotent thing eliminates evil completely, and then the propositions that a good omnipotent thing exists, and that evil exists, are incompatible”.[1]

“The fact that you think there is evil in the world nearly demands the existence of God”

This logic holds true in that evil must be defined.  What this means is that an individual who would make the above argument would not believe in God.  The result of this belief is that there is no absolute moral law giver.  Meaning that moral values become relative to the individual making the argument.  Basically, what is evil or wrong to one, may not be for another.  The fact that we are able to look at situation (Afghanistan murders) and declare it to be evil, indicates that we must know that murder  is evil.  However, in declaring something to be evil, one must give up the moral relative position, and assume an objective moral position (murder is either right or wrong).  This underscores the idea that an absolute moral law giver would need to exist.  As Geisler and Bocchino state “Therefore, atheism cannot logically offer a definition of evil without appealing to an ultimate standard of good.  If atheists try to do so, they end up affirming the very existence of that which they claim does not exist – the ultimate good (God).”[2]

Ultimately the conclusion that must be drawn is that an atheist cannot look at any given situation and say that it is evil without losing the sincerity to the world view to which they believe.  As C.S. Lewis put it “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line”.  Atheism, when followed to its logical conclusion denies that there is any absolute right or wrong.  This is inherent in their world view.  All humanity experiences the emotion of feeling wronged or experiencing evil.  The only way to account for this is that we have all been given an absolute moral on that is written on our hearts.  This natural law was given to us by God.


[2] Geisler, N; Bocchino, P. Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith (Kindle Location 2806). Kindle Edition.

 

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One response to “God is great, God is good…

  1. DW May 9, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Kantian ethics provide for absolute standards without invoking God by using Universal Maxims – e.g. “Do not kill” is universally applicable (I can apply it to myself and others and others can apply it to me and others without negative consequences to me or others). It is entirely within mere human capability to think of a statement “Do not kill” and then testing it to see if it can stand up as a Universal Maxim. It is dishonest to equate atheism with strict Utilitarian ethics.

    On the other hand, Plato’s question “Does God command it because it is good OR Is it good because God commands it” reveals the futility of appealing to a moral authority, including God. If God commands it because it is good, implies there is a higher moral authority than God and God is simply parroting it. If it is good because God commands it then anything, including murder and rape (which the bible seems complacent about), could be good simply on the basis of God commanding it. Therefore, there has to be a different basis of morality and ethics that does not invoke an authority such as God.

    The article does nothing in answering the charge of Epicurus e.g. where does evil come from if there is a good AND omnipotent God.

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