Is God Good? (Resource Materials)

Is God Good?

If there is a god who is all powerful … and we live in a world filled with suffering, violence and death … can that god be good?

By observing human behaviour, the following resource materials put forward a reasonable and rational basis for understanding God as a moral being.

Presentation

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Background information

About the materials

These are the presentation materials for the lecture, "Is God Good?" which was presented at the Melbourne Seventh Day Baptist Church on 13 February 2016. 

ABOUT THE ARGUMENT

The problem of suffering and of evil have long been objections to a God who is moral and good. This argument deconstructs the basis for the problem of suffering, and argues that suffering can only be a problem in a universe having objective morality. Were suffering cast in a universe having no God and no objective morals, then there would be absolutely no cause for complaint.

When we observe human behaviour—including the behaviour of most atheists—we find that people live lives consistent with the idea of there being objective moral values and duties. This is shown by appealing to the way our pluralistic society anathematises 20th century tyrannical rulers and everyday violence.

The argument then moves to questioning why humans deprecate behaviour inconsistent with objective moral values and duties. It explores the extent to which evolutionary natural selection could have contributed to human capacity for evaluating truth, appreciating beauty, and being in awe of the transcendent. Ultimately, we conclude that it is more reasonable to understand that God designed humanity to respond to truth, conscience, beauty and awe; and that these are some qualities of humans that are "made in the image of God," and therefore point us to God's own nature.

Therefore, by attending to human characteristics and behaviour, we identify another argument for God's existence. This argument has the advantage of not only pointing out God's creating and designing role, but also pointing out His moral nature. God is good.

Influences

These materials are informed by:

  • Roy Williams (2008), "God, Actually: Why God probably exists; Why Jesus was probably divine; and Why the 'rational' objections to religion are unconvincing." ABC Books, Sydney, Australia.
  • William Lane Craig (2008), "Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, Third Edition." Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois.

Inspiration for the argument that human qualities are inconsistent with atheistic evolution was drawn from Roy William's God, Actually. The argument for the existence of God on the basis of objective moral values and duties existing is drawn from William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith, pages 172–181.