Paul Copan explains the high points of the problems of evil and suffering in 17 minutes. (H/T Apologetics 315)
- the question itself reveals that we are moral beings
- the problem of evil is the great interrupter of human well-being
- every philosophy of life has to address this question
- is God required to give us a life that is easy and comfortable?
- evil is a departure from good, i.e. – the way things ought to be
- a way things ought to be implies a plan for what ought to be
- human evil implies a plan for the way we ought to be
- free creatures have the ability to deviate from the plan
- where does this plan for the universe and us come from?
- how can there be a way we ought to be come from?
- evil is the flip side of good so where does good come from?
- God’s own moral nature is the standard of good and evil
- where does evil from natural disasters come from?
- how dangerous natural phenomena preserve Earth’s habitability
- there is a benefit from tectonic activity
- similarly, God lets humans freely choose knowing harm may result
- people are free to try to find meaning in something other than God
- God is able to use negative things to bring about positive results
- e.g. – when good people suffer, they can comfort and care for others
- can people be good enough on their own without God?
Paul Copan is probably my favorite Christian apologist, along with Doug Geivett. I put Copan and Geivett in a separate category from guys like Meyer and Richards. Copan and Geivett are more specifically defending Christian claims and Christian theology in their work. both get involved with debates and lecturing. They are both very confident in their exclusivism and evangelicalism, addressing tough questions on specific controversial Christian beliefs. I love that. Nothing is off limits for these guys.
If you want to read two good books for beginners on Christian Apologetics that cover a much wider range of issues than Craig’s “On Guard”, then pick up Copan’s “Passion Conviction” and the companion “Contending With Christianity’s Critics”. Awesome, awesome resources.