Philosophical Similarities and Differences from the Readings
The three readings address the question about the problem of evil and the existence of God by applying the logical or evidential problem of evil and the philosophy of divine hiddenness. Craig (2008) argues that life would become absurd without the existence of God. Habermas (2008) points out the plight of modern atheists who question God’s existence. According to Craig (2008), the concept of morality would lose the meaning and importance of God, and immortality did not exist. He contends that it would be impossible to determine what is evil from what is not if God did not exist.
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In his writing, Craig (2008) explains that the lack of a divine lawgiver leads to subjective judgments which result in the non-existence of good or evil. Just like Craig (2008), Habermas (2008) outlines the confusion that modern atheists are facing due to their ignorance of the existence of God and His divine hiddenness. Both Craig (2008) and Habermas (2008) dispute the idea of objective morality in their readings, support the moral argument of God’s existence and challenge the view that God and evil cannot coexist. The latter believes that God and evil are logically compatible.
Thomas’ (2008) article is based on the evidential problem of evil and the logical compatibility of God and evil. The reading supports the soul-making strategy used by theists to argue about the existence of pointless evil. According to Thomas (2008), Neo-Darwinist argues that suffering is by design, while Richard Dawkins holds to the idea that suffering has an ultimate purpose. Unlike Craig’s (2008) reading, both Thomas’ (2008) and Habermas’ (2008) readings address skeptical theism by supporting the idea of the existence of pointless evil. While the latter readings major on the evidential problem of evil, the former employs the logical problem of evil to argue about the absurdity of life without God.
Life Without God
Arguably, life is difficult and cannot have objectives or meaning without God. According to Craig (2008), life lacks meaning and ultimate significance if there is no God. It is impossible for man to create meaning for his life because it would be very difficult to tell whose meaning of the universe would be right. Therefore, without God, there is a lacks of objective right and wrong, resulting in an inadequate world. Failure to have intrinsically right or wrong ethical principles disputes the idea of objective morality (Habermas, 2008). As is explained by Craig (2008), life ends at the grave without God, as there is no mortality. As a result, man has no purpose for living and is not any different from any creature. Craig (2008) posits that without God, man is a miscarriage of nature, existing in a purposeless universe and living a purposeless life. The Bible in Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 mentions that life without God is vanity and has no meaning. Death is the end of man and the universe if God does not exist. Thus, the former lives in despair and has no reason to live without God.
Argument About a “Good” Life Without Objective Meaning
Objective meaning makes life valuable and purposeful, but the term “good” is relative. According to the soul-making theodicy, which is explained in Chapter 13 of Dew and Gould (2019), the intrinsic values that a man has can help him live a better life compared to the already-made values which do not involve his effort. Dew and Gould’s (2019) argument that a challenging environment and dangerous world are necessary for creating perfect persons supports the possibility of having a “good” life without necessarily objective meaning. It is also evident from Thomas’ (2008) article that life does not demand objective meaning to be good. The latter article offers Neo-Darwinist and Jesus conceptions of suffering, which defines the good life. According to the former argument, the universe is as we expect it and its main goal is the maximization of DNA survival. Neo-Darwinist philosophy of life purports that man can make life good for himself depending on how he views what happens to him. Similarly, Jesus supports that man must go through suffering from which he can derive goodness.
The Effect of Your Conclusions Regarding the Problem of Evil on the Philosophical Case of God’s Existence
My conclusions about teleological suffering from Thomas’ (2008) article believe in the existence of God. Jesus’ conceptualization of suffering by teleology provides evidence against the pointless existence of evil through the Free Will Theodicy argument. This argument indicates that God has a moral justification for all the evils that happen. The existence of the problem of evil for an ultimate purpose is another major conclusion that supports the existence of God. Further, the complementary role played by the Soul-Making Theodicy is evident that God and evil can coexist for the sole reason of shaping man’s character to become a better version of himself.
The teleology concept of the problem of evil and the Free Will Theodicy is fundamental world views of God’s existence because they indicate His design of creating free creatures. It is by design that God allows evil to exist through the misuse of creaturely freedom by His free creatures. The Soul-Making Theodicy argument is justified by the fact that God did not create perfect beings and, thus, allow pain and suffering to transform them into better creatures.
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Craig, W. L. (2008). Reasonable faith: Christian truth and apologetics: The absurdity of life without God (3rd ed.). Crossway Books.
Dew, K. D,. & Gould P. M. (2019). Philosophy: A Christian introduction. Baker Publishing Group.
Habermas, G. R. (2008). The plight of the new atheism: A critique. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 51(4), 822-823.
King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. Web.
Thomas, T. (2008). Suffering: Richard Dawkins Contra Jesus. Word Press. Web.