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E-Book Review of William Lane Craig’s “Does God Exist?”

A Compelling Case For The Existence of God31lQJ9apbvL._AA160_

E-Book Review By David P. Craig

Just because this e-book is short (approximately 60 pages) does not mean that it is simplistic or not weighty. This treatment by Craig packs a wallop. At the outset Craig lays out the outline or skeleton for his cogent articulation and reasoning for the existence of God thus: “A good argument must obey the rules of logic; express true premises; and have premises more plausible than their opposites.” Put simply, a good argument for the existence (or non-existence) of God must meet three conditions: (1) obey the rules of logic; (2) its premises must be true (correspond with reality); (3) have premises that are more plausible than their opposites.

Craig begins with the Cosmological argument for the existence of God in by developing the following formulation: (1) Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause. (2) If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. (3) The universe exists. (4) Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God. He then gives philosophical and scientific evidence demonstrating that the existence of a God that is a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universes makes more logical sense than the plausibility of His non-existence given by atheistic philosophers and scientists.

The second argument unfolded by Craig is called the Kalam Cosmological argument and is set out in this simple formulation: (1) Everything that begins to exists has a cause. (2) The universe began to exist. (3) Therefore, the universe has a cause. Craig delves into some complicated mathematical arguments in this section to show the amazing cogency of the Kalam argument. He also gives some compelling evidences from astronomy via studies by Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin. He also appeals to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and thus concludes: “On the basis of both philosophical and scientific evidence, we have good grounds for believing that the universe began to exist. Since whatever begins to exist has a cause, it follows that the universe has a cause.”

The third argument developed by Craig is the Teleological or Fine-tuning formulation: (1) The fine-tuning of the universe is due to physical necessity, chance, or design. (2) It is not due to physical necessity or chance. (3) Therefore, it is due to design. Here Craig tackles Richard Dawkins central argument from his book “The God Delusion” head on and proceeds to tackle his seven objections one at a time. Craig carefully dismantles Dawkins objections and gives a very plausible defense of the argument of design as a reasonable explanation for God’s existence.

The Moral argument is simply stated by Craig in the following manner: (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. (2) Objective moral values and duties do exist. (3) Therefore, God exists. Craig concludes his ethical defense for God’s existence in this way: “The moral argument complements the cosmological and design arguments by telling us about the moral nature of the Creator of the universe. It gives us a personal, necessarily existent being who is not only perfectly good, but whose commands constitute our moral dues.”

Craig’s last argument is based on the classic Ontological argument as espoused by St. Anselm in the 11th century and in the modern era by the great theistic philosopher Alvin Plantinga: (1) It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists. (2) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. (3) It a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world. (4) If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world. (5) Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world. (6) Therefore, a maximally great being exists. (7) Therefore, God exists.

Taken together the five arguments developed by Craig make a compelling case for the existence of God – especially when compared with the counter arguments atheists give in their own apologetic of plausibility for God’s non-existence. I highly recommend this clear and intellectually sound defense of the cogency of God’s existence as the best plausible argument for our own existence which brings purpose and meaning to one’s life through the culmination of God revelation in sending His Son Jesus so that through Him we can be reconciled and restored in a right relationship with Him by His grace and for His glory.

Craig concludes why the defense of God’s existence continues to such an important window to the Gospel in our day stating, “Christians who depreciate theistic arguments because ‘no one comes to faith through intellectual arguments’ are therefore tragically shortsighted. For the value of natural theology extends far beyond one’s immediate evangelistic contact. It is the broader task of Christian apologetics, including natural theology, to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the Gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women. It thereby gives people the intellectual permission to believe when their hearts are moved. As we progress further into the 21st century, I anticipate that natural theology will be an increasingly relevant and vital preparation for the reception of the Gospel by thinking people.”

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Book Review on William Lane Craig’s and Joseph E. Gorra’s A Reasonable Response

“A Great Application of 1 Peter 3:15”: Book Review by David P. Craig

ARR Craig and Gorra

One of the most famous verses in the Bible used in the field of apologetics is 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV). In apologetics when a person “defends” the faith of Christianity it’s easy to get “defensive” when arguing with someone of another opinion. The beauty of this book is that Craig and Gorra are able to give the finest evidences for the Christian faith and answer the biggest objections to Christianity and do so while “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

Craig and Gorra are not  only a gifted apologists, but loving evangelists and truly demonstrate how the gospel can be the center piece of all evidence with reference to offensive evidences as well as defending attacks on the Christian faith.

The six sections of this helpful book in answering difficult questions are as follows: (1) Questions on Knowing and Believing What Is Real – questions such as: Does Knowledge require certainty?; What is the criterion for a good argument?; Is there such a thing as objective truth?; and Is the price of biblical errancy too high to pay? (2) Questions About God – such as: Is a Maximally Great Being Possible?; Is Trinity Monotheism Orthodox?; and In What Sense Is God a “Simple Being”? (3) Questions about Origins and the Meaning of Life – like the following: Must the Cause of the Universe Be Personal?; Is there a contradiction in God’s creation of time?; Is life absurd without God?; and Is Scientism Self-refuting? (4) Questions about the Afterlife and Evil – like: Does creation benefit the lost?; Do the damned in Hell accrue further punishment?; and Was the slaughter of the Canaanites an act of “Divine Genocide”? (5) Questions about Jesus Christ and Being His Disciple: What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God?; Can one justifiably infer Jesus’ resurrection on the basis of the empirical evidence?; and What does it mean to have a personal relationship with God? (6) Questions about Issues of Christian Practice – such as: Do we live in a Postmodern Society?; How might we think about a Christian marrying a non-Christian?; and “Can someone be a “Christian Homosexual?”

Also of immense help are the three appendixes which include: (1) Tips on using the book for small group study;  (2) Fostering question-asking and answer-seeking environments; (3) Civility guidelines for (online) “third places.”

Perhaps nobody will agree with 100% of the answers given, or be totally convinced of all the evidence or answers provided. However, anyone reading this book will benefit richly from it. The myriad of questions addressed by both believers and non-believers are answered cogently and practically. I will return to this book again and again as a virtual encyclopedia of great answers to great questions on the Christian faith. You will learn from these seasoned apologists how to “always be prepared to make a defense to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” and you will be guided in how to do this “with gentleness and respect.”

 
 

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