God is our reference point for good
(See Genesis 1&2)
“If God were all-powerful and all loving there would not be suffering in the world. Because there is suffering there cannot be an all-powerful and all-loving God.”
So goes the classical argument used to deny God’s existence based on human suffering.
While this progression has a sort of common sense logic to it, I believe it is fundamentally flawed. It is self-refuting. If God does not exist then we do not have an objective basis for calling anything morally evil. If we do not have an objective basis for discerning between good and evil then the argument is negated based on its own logic. We cannot deem something evil apart from an absolute good.
But the human experience is marked by a constant recognition of moral standards. While some claim that morality is a social construct or a genetic adaptation, such explanations seem to fall short of explaining its universality. The question then, for the naturalist, is where did this moral law come from. Let’s look at the genesis.
The Bible is unambiguous in its claims that God made the world. God called his creation good. At the completion of creation God said that it was all good. This small clue should inform our understanding of the universal moral law. There is an absolute and objective standard of good that all of humanity recognizes, yet few ever consider its source. It’s source is the character of the Creator.
Disclaimer: Searching for an answer to the universal sense of goodness can be dangerous to one’s worldview. Former atheists like C.S. Lewis and Francis Collins were drawn to Christianity due to its clear and compelling answers regarding the source of the moral law. These men, and many others, have found the biblical explanation of the moral law to be the most persuasive.
The argument of evil and suffering requires the concept of “goodness” that God alone can provide. As Francis Schaeffer has said, others often use “borrowed capital” from a Christian worldview in order to frame an argument against it. Without God we have no reference point to deem anything as morally evil.
Thus, the beginning of the Bible reveals Adam and Eve – created in the image of God – placed as king and queen of God’s good creation. Unfortunately, all of this would be distorted due to the rebellion explained in Genesis 3. Readers often gloss over these verses without truly considering the wide reaching impact and implications of these events.
(…to be continued)