Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Craig shoots a hole in the bottom of his boat

Craig reserves his ire for Tom Oord's deism. What's striking is that Craig's objections to Oord's position invite parallel objections to the freewill defense:

Such a view is manifestly unbiblical. To give just one small example of God's apparently nonmiraculous intervention, consider how God prevented Jesus' falling victim to King Herod's murderous intentions following the departure of the magi (Mt 2:13). This was not a miraculous angelic appearance, interrupting or interfering with the law-like regularities of existence. Joseph merely had a dream…God is frequently described in Scripture as interacting with human agents to direct the course of events. If it is not an infringement of human freedom, then Oord's view does nothing to explain why God did not  similarly warn the other parents in Bethlehem, whose children perished by Herod's sword or act to prevent innumerable other evils. 

As for God's miraculous interaction with human people, consider the following scene from Jesus' arrest in the garden (Lk 22:49-51). Here Jesus interferes with a law-like regularity to undo an evil freely perpetrated by one of his disciples. It would be easy to multiple such biblical examples of God's miraculous activity, with or without human intermediaries.

God, on Oord's view, refuses to get involved in human affairs so as to warn people of impeding dangers or to move someone to prevent or rescue another person from suffering. He stands idly by, doing nothing to help, with no good reason for his noninterference. 

Even if God is incapable of interfering with nature's law-like regularities, presumably he at least freely chose in the first place the laws of nature that are in force. But then Oord's deity must bear responsibility for choosing laws that would issue in creatures so vulnerable to natural evil, rather than choosing other laws or refraining altogether from creation. 

But any deity that is essentially such that it values the regularity of the laws of nature above the well-being of human people cannot in any recognizable sense be called good. Oord's God does not love Amy Monroe enough to interfere with the regularities of nature as she is raped and strangled. In the US criminal justice system Oord's deity, due to his "depraved indifference" and "reckless endangerment," would be guilt of crimes such as manslaughter and even murder, C. Meister & J. Dew, eds. God and the Problem of Evil: Five Views (IVP 2017), 145-47. 

It's odd that Craig is oblivious to the fact that freewill theists make all the same appeals. So where does that leave his own theodicy? He's generated a dilemma for his own position. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comments on Craig's view of my theodicy. I was alerted to your post, and I thought I should respond.

    Craig WOEFULLY misrepresents my view! I'm not a deist. I not only think God is involved in EVERY creaturely life and event, I think God is NECESSARILY involved. So I'm less a deist that Craig would be, although I don't consider either of us as deists.

    The point of my work is that although God is involved in EVERY creaturely life and event, God NEVER controls any creaturely life or event. God is by nature uncontrolling.

    Oddly, Craig seems to think we must choose between an absent God [deism] or a God who controls creatures, or at least COULD control them. He opts for the latter view. My view is in between: God is neither absent nor controlling but always present and influencing.

    For what it's worth,