The Problem of Evil: The External Problem

EvilPart5Part 5 of a 5 part series on the problem of evil. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

External (or evidential) Problem of Evil
Another argument based on the perception of conflict between God and evil is external problem of evil. It is also referred to as the evidential problem of evil. Before discussing the argument and a response to it, we should camp for a moment on the word “external.” This is important because this argument does not rely on Christian doctrines or distortions of doctrines. It is “external” in that it relies on evidence that is available to everyone. What kind of evidence? I suppose I would have to say our common experience with and perception of “evil.” It is almost universally accepted that there is evil in the world.[1] Continue reading

Problem of Evil: The Internal Problem (cont.)

EvilPart4Part 4 of a 5 part series on the problem of evil. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

At the end of Part 3, we began to reconsider the premises in the internal problem of evil. Recall the four premises of the argument.

(1)  God exists and is wholly good, all-powerful and all-knowing.
(2)  Evil exists.
(3)  There are no limits to what an all-powerful, all-knowing being can do.
(4)  A good being always prevents evil as far as it can.

Since the conclusion that logically followed from these premises led to a contradiction, we started to reconsider these premises to see if any, as written above, are false. If one or more of these can be re-written then hopefully the contradiction can be resolved. In Part 3, we looked at (1) and (2), in this post we will reconsider (3) and (4). Continue reading

Problem of Evil: The Internal Problem

EvilPart3Part 3 of a 5 part series on the problem of evil. Part 1 and Part 2.

In part 1 and part 2, we considered distinctions that need to be in view when talking about the problem of evil. Now, we move on to the core of this topic, the internal or logical problem of evil.

Internal Problem of Evil

We now move on to the internal problem of evil. It is “internal” because the argument claims to demonstrate an inconsistency within the Christian worldview. Given the attributes of God taught in Christianity, it is not possible for both God and evil to exist. It is also called the logical problem of evil because it is structured as a deductive argument. A deductive argument is where two or more premises support a conclusion. Consider the following example: Continue reading

Problem of Evil: Important Distinctions (cont.)

EvilPart2Part 2 of a 5 part series on the problem of evil. Part 1

In Part 1 I was considering important distinctions within the problem of evil, specifically the difference between the intellectual and emotional objections surrounding this topic. The discussion continues in this part focusing on the distinction between natural evil and moral evil.

Important Distinctions (cont.)

Natural evil vs. Moral evil

Another important distinction needs to be made between natural evil and moral evil. Moral evil is simply the decisions, priorities and actions of human beings that are contrary to God’s moral law. The nature of natural evil is less clear. Let’s consider two kinds of natural evil. First, there is any kind of natural phenomenon that causes destruction. Such events as earthquake, hurricanes, and tornados frequently result in the loss of human life. Thought of in this way, I believe natural evil is a misnomer. For some the roots of this view may be the concept that all creation was transformed when Adam and Eve rebelled. A very long digression (and change of subject) would be required to discuss why I believe this view is not tenable. In summary, the effect of the fall was limited to Adam and Eve and their progeny, all of humanity. If creation itself, especially the nature of physics and chemistry, was not changed by the fall, then we are left with the conclusion that creation is the way God intended. Continue reading

Problem of Evil: Important Distinctions

EvilPart1Part 1 of a 5 part series on the problem of evil. I was originally inspired to think about this subject after reading Greg Ganssle’s book Thinking About God last year. While I have explored the thoughts and writings of others on this topic I am indebted to Dr. Ganssle for his accessible and effective treatment of this topic.

Introduction

What is the most difficult question to confront the Christian faith? The Problem of Evil is arguably that question. No other challenge to the Christian worldview has done more damage. More accurately, I would say that responses to this topic have done a great deal of damage. For many, the Problem of Evil “proves” that God does not exist. However, properly understood and handled carefully, the Problem of Evil does not dispute God’s existence; rather it gives evidence for the reality of God. Continue reading

Neuroscience and the Soul: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, part 3

Creation-Hands

Part three of three. This series is based on material I presented at a recent conference under the same title. In part one I will discuss some preliminary distinctions that are necessary for this discussion. In part two I will discuss the nature of consciousness. In part three I will discuss the nature of the soul. I am deeply indebted to the speaking and writing of J. P. Moreland. Links to relevant resources are at the end each part.

The Nature of the Soul.
The materialist perspective argues that consciousness is identical to or completely dependent on our physical bodies. The physical brain possesses or hosts consciousness. However, if consciousness is not physical, as I argued in the previous post, we are left with the soul. In this post I will offer an introduction to the nature of the soul. Continue reading

Neuroscience and the Soul: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, part 2

Geometry of the Soul series two. Background design of human profile and abstract elements on the subject of spirituality, science, creativity and the mind

Part two of three. This series is based on material I presented at a recent conference under the same title. In part one I will discuss some preliminary distinctions that are necessary for this discussion. In part two I will discuss the nature of consciousness. In part three I will discuss the nature of the soul. I am deeply indebted to the speaking and writing of J. P. Moreland. Links to relevant resources are at the end each part.

The Nature of Consciousness
For the philosopher of mind who is committed to some kind of physical explanation of reality the existence of consciousness is a profound problem. In this post I will discuss the nature of consciousness and offer reasons why it is not a physical phenomena. Continue reading

Neuroscience and the Soul: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind

MRI_posterior_cingulate

Part one of three. This series is based on material I presented at a recent conference under the same title. In part one I will discuss some preliminary distinctions that are necessary for this discussion. In part two I will discuss the nature of consciousness. In part three I will discuss the nature of the soul. I am deeply indebted to the speaking and writing of J. P. Moreland. Links to relevant resources are at the end each part.

What are human beings? Are we merely the most advanced animal evolution has produced? Is every thought, emotion and creative impulse just a matter of physics and chemistry? Until metaphysical naturalism took root in western culture, the common sense view of human nature, rooted in Christian theism was: Continue reading

My Journey to the Heart of ID, part 3

hqdefaultOriginally published 10/16/2013. Part 3 of 3.
Finally, I come to the real reason for writing this series. I have attempted, in the first two parts, to introduce the uninitiated reader to intelligent design. I have also tried to inoculate the philosophically and scientifically curious against the hyperbole and rhetoric that is directed against intelligent design. In this final post, I would like to make an appeal to the reader to consider attending one of the CSC Summer seminars. Continue reading

My Journey to the Heart of ID, part 2

Protein_foldOriginally published 10/9/2013. Part 2 of 3.

In this installment of my series on intelligent design (ID) I want to delve into why there is so much confusion in discussions about ID. Sadly, as I introduced in the previous post, there is a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding ID. One of the meta-narratives used to inform several myths about ID is its relationship to religion in general and Christianity in particular. Critics, both atheists and Christian, make some fundamental errors in their thinking to support their ideas about ID and Christianity. Continue reading