The Problem with the Problem of Evil – Part 3

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In Part 2 of my post of the Problem of Evil (PoE), I wrote about some of the defeaters of the idea that evil disproves God. Now I’d like to discuss the positive case for God and how that relates to the PoE. This is commonly referred to as the Moral Argument.

When I was first studying Christian apologetics, I became familiar with several of the arguments for God’s existence, including the Cosmologic Argument, the Ontological Argument, and the Teleological Argument. When I first came across the Moral Argument, I thought it was “okay” but didn’t really think it was as strong as other arguments. However, over the past couple of years, my view on this has changed. I now believe the Moral Argument for God’s existence is one of the strongest, only second to perhaps the Kalam Cosmologic Argument.

The Moral Argument’s logical form goes like this:

  1. Moral Laws imply a Moral Law Giver
  2. There is an objective moral law
  3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver

I don’t think anyone can honestly deny the first premise.  Moral laws are clearly different from, say, the laws of physics or other natural laws.  Moral laws don’t describe how things operate or how they are, instead they describe what should or “ought” to be. The Georgia state government gives the laws of the state of Georgia. The government is the “law giver” in this instance. Thus, there must be some sort of “moral law giver” on which we ground objective moral laws.

Premise two is also clearly true. Some things are objectively wrong, regardless the time, situation, culture, etc. It is objectively wrong, in all times, all places, for all people, and in all circumstances, to torture babies for fun. In fact, for almost any evil act, if you add the phrase, “for fun” at the end, there is (at least there should be) universal agreement that that thing is objectively wrong. Atheist and skeptics often make moral claims. “You ought not judge others” or “You’re wrong to speak against homosexuality.”

But where to we get this sense of moral “oughtness”?

When someone complains about an evil act or a natural event (fire, flood, hurricane, etc.) that causes death and destruction, they are making a moral judgment about that act or event. When the atheist complains about some perceived moral evil in the Old Testament, he is making a moral judgment. And unless he assumes these complaints are objective, that is to say they are not just his personal opinion, then his objection evaporates as simply personal opinion.

Side note: In my example of the so-called “genocide” of the Canaanites, someone may be tempted to point out that if it was objectively wrong to kill six million Jews, it was objectively wrong for Joshua and the Israelite Army to kill the Canaanites. The problem with this thinking is the Nazi’s (a) were not following God’s command and (b) they slaughtered the Jews because of their ethnicity and religion; the Israelites (a) were following God’s command and (b) killed the Canaanites because of their abhorrent, sinful practices that including, among other things, child sacrifices to their god Molech.

The conversation might go like this:

Atheist: The genocide of the Canaanites in the Old Testament was wrong.

Christian: That’s an interesting perspective. Do you think it’s objectively true that the “genocide” of the Canaanites was wrong and that’s not just your personal opinion?

Atheist: Of course, everybody can see that.

Christian: So if that’s objectively true, on what objective, transcendent basis are you saying it is wrong?

You see where this is going? If the atheist tries to wiggle is why out by claiming that “society” or “most people” say something is “objectively wrong” simply ask him to define what he means by “objective.” The point here is if something is objectively true, it cannot be a mere majority view. Even if the Nazi’s had won WWII and somehow covered up the Holocaust, or brainwashed everyone into thinking it didn’t happen or what happened wasn’t wrong, that still doesn’t change the fact that it is objectively wrong to kill six million people because of their ethnicity or religious views.

Objective moral law is self-evident, and only God is the source of objective moral law.

Most everyone agrees there are objective moral laws. The real question we have to ask is, who is ultimately responsible for those moral laws? It cannot be society, the government, the United Nations, or ourselves. Thomas Jefferson summed this up eloquently when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence these famous words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Objective moral law is self-evident, and only God is the source of objective moral law.