Humanity lives on a 196 million square foot rock that is hurtling through space at 67,000 miles per hour inside of a galaxy that is 100,000 light years long, among a pool of roughly 200 billion galaxies. Humanity is either the epitome of insignificance, or blessed beyond imagination by a loving Creator. The mere fact that we have been able to not only exist, but flourish, should be an indication of the latter. Psalm 8 really draws our attention to both or insignificance, and our blessings.
There are only two paths in life, the path of righteousness and the path of wickedness. As we make our way through this perilous journey of life, we come to realize that there are certain things which are always wrong, and certain things which are always right. The distinction becomes objective, and we are made aware that there are two, very real, opposing aspects of this world, good and evil. Two paths on the same journey. We cannot be on both paths, it is an objective impossibility to do so, and so we must choose our path, the path of the righteous or the path of the wicked.
Do our minds deceive us into believing in God? Do we fool ourselves into thinking we see the divine when really there is only nature? Are our mental faculties programmed to infer intelligence exists in places where it ultimately does not exist? These are arguments made on the basis of a concept called agent detection, a supposed evolutionary trait designed to help us to survive in the wild. The idea is that by examining a situation, like rustling in some bushes, we may be able to avoid danger if we are able to quickly distinguish intelligence involved, like a tiger waiting in those same bushes. So let's examine this concept, and its impact on faith.
The Kalam cosmological argument is one of the most popular Christian apologetic resources, and has been so for quite some time. The argument is fairly straightforward: (i) Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence, (ii) The universe began to exist, and (iii) Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. The first two premises have to be accepted, in order to arrive at the third statement, or conclusion. In quantum physics, there is some questions about the first two premises, due to theories like Quantum Field Theory and the No Boundaries Theory. I believe that even if the first two premises of the Kalam argument are proven false, the conclusion is still necessary. Ultimately, quantum physics will have no impact on the Christian worldview.
The problem of evil is such an interesting philosophical question to examine. If God is all powerful, and loving, how can evil exist? Surely, God must either be limited in power, or in His capacity to love if He will allow evil to exist? Wouldn’t any other option merely be an attempt to justify evil? Today, I would like to take a look at one aspect of this quandary and see if we can find a scenario that does not limit any of the premises in the problem of evil. At the end of this article, hopefully, we will have a single scenario where God can be loving, all powerful, and allow evil.
Two people return to their garden, which they have neglected for quite some time now, and find, among the weeds, the flowers they had planted were still thriving. The first person believes that someone must have been taking care of the garden in their absence. Due to the presence of the weeds, the second person disagrees. I would like to examine this parable, originally written by John Wisdom, and look at the parallels between this story and the theological problem of evil. How can there be an all powerful, good God, while evil still exists in the world? How can there be a gardener, if there are weeds in the garden?
Imagine being told that you have no choice but to murder your own son. How would you deal with that situation? Disbelief? Bargaining? Rebellion? There are many ways that we could choose to try and come to terms with that sort of task, but imagine being Abraham. He is literally commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering. What is the point of this moral conundrum? Has Abraham lost his mind?
The emergence of life from dead matter, or abiogenesis, is the the generally accepted reality derived from the concept of evolution. There are many questions surrounding the details of this process and many theories have been proposed over the years. Indeed, it is up to science to determine how this process may have occurred, however, it is up to philosophy to determine the why. Was this a chance occurrence, or was it by design?
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If God is able to use our actions to produce a desired outcome, do we really have free will? If mankind is unable to resist sin, do we have free will? Does the existence of an all-knowing God imply that we have no free will? This group of questions came to me after finishing the story of Joseph at the end of the book of Genesis and I think they are an appropriate set of questions given Joseph's statement to his brothers at the end of the story.