Term ‘God’

Contrary to the impression Dr. Craig’s talk may have given you, I am not here tonight to argue for an unqualified atheism. People use the term ‘God’ with many different meanings. Some of them use it to refer to a being whose existence I might be able to accept. If by ‘God’ you mean what I think Spin- oza meant by that term—an impersonal system of eternal and immutable laws of nature, which explains everything that happens in the universe, but does not itself require explanation—then I think it quite likely that there is a God. What I’m here to argue against is just the God of Christianity.

I assume that by ‘God’ Christians generally mean an eternal, personal, first cause of the universe, who has infinite perfections—omnipotence, omniscience, perfect goodness, and so on—and who has revealed himself to man in the Christian scriptures. The idea of God as an eternal, personal, first cause of the universe, possessing all perfections, is common not only in Christianity, but also in Judaism and Islam. I take it that the most impor- tant thing which distinguishes Christian theism from these other forms of theism is the acceptance of the Christian scriptures as the revealed word of God.* And that’s what I shall be arguing against tonight. If the Christian scriptures are supposed to be God’s revelation of himself to man, then he is not the perfect being Christians claim he is.

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When I was a child, I accepted the Christian religion in which my parents raised me. But when I became a man, I put away the faith of my childhood. For a while I called myself an agnostic, because I felt that I could neither

1. Reconstruct each of Craig’s five arguments in standard form.

2. For each of Craig’s arguments, what is the main objection that an opponent could raise? What is the best way for Craig to respond to that objection? Is his best response good enough? Why or why not?

3. Craig cites authorities at many points in his speech. Assess his appeals to authorities using the standards in Chapter 15.

4. Is there any strong reason to believe in God that Craig left out? If so, present that reason in argument form as forcefully as you can.

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