Friday, March 02, 2012

Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch25

Today we continue with chapter twenty-five of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 25 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] - Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 25 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) - PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] - Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Twenty-Five: The Problem of Evil: Dead Ends and the Christian Answer
(pages 614-646)

Chapter twenty-five tackles the reality of suffering and evil in the world. If God is good, then how can there be so much evil? Groothuis defines evil, looks at the different categories of evil, then outlines and evaluations five answers to evil from other worldviews. These worldviews include atheism, the view of a finite god, the view of God as not omnibenevolent, the view of the nonexistence of evil, and karma and reincarnation. The author shows the great shortcomings of these views in adequately answering the problem of evil.

Next, Groothuis looks at answer to the problem of evil from a Christian perspective, noting that the key themes of Christian doctrine must be taken into account when assessing the issue. The author lays out the objections to theism from evil, then unpacks the classical Christian perspective. He discusses two views of free will—both which offer different, yet strong answers to the issue of evil. Finally, Groothuis concludes by looking at the cross of Christ and how God has ultimately answered evil through this central historical event.

Notable quotes:
The presence of evil in the face of a good God has classically been called the problem of evil. Simply put, if God exists, there should not be such evil, since God would have the power and desire to stop it. Therefore, the existence or goodness or power of God is brought into question(Christian Apologetics, p. 614)  
Therefore, the problem should be debated in light of the evidence for a personal and moral Creator of the universe, who created humans in his image and who pursued them even in their fallen state through his revelation to Israel, culminating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Christian Apologetics, p. 617)
Since the biblical worldview is rooted inextricably in the themes of creation, fall and redemption, the problem of evil must be addressed according to all three themes(Christian Apologetics, p. 625)
Evil is dependent on goodness in a parasitic way. Evil is not a thing or a substance in and of itself, but the warping and twisting of an antecedent good, which results in a lack of proper goodness. (Christian Apologetics, p. 626)     
  1. How has the problem of evil been used as a "trump card" against Christianity?
  2. How does the deductive problem of evil fail?
  3. Why is it important to answer the problem of evil from a Christian point of view and not a merely monotheistic point of view?
Next week
Chapter Twenty-Six: Conclusion: Take It To The Streets


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