by Ian Pacey
From the very beginning of the practice, the chief purpose of Christian apologetics has been the establishment of the existence of God. For millennia, Christians have employed any number of arguments which, when rightly understood, establish the necessity of God’s existence.
Once God is established, as the theory goes, the person who has come to believe in the existence of God will naturally desire to know more about Him. This makes perfect sense until you run into the person who is willing to say that there is a God, but wants absolutely nothing to do with Him, a position known as anti-theism.
Typically, the anti-theist rejection of God goes down one of two roads:
- If God made this world, then God is responsible for all of the trouble and pain we encounter here. On this basis, we must reject Him.
- If God is not directly responsible for our suffering, He should still be rejected because He has the means to do something about our problems, yet remains idle and does nothing.
Anti-theism does not necessarily reject the categories of good and evil. It affirms them. It does necessarily reject right and wrong, but uses them as a means for opposing God.
With such a strong position, what can the Christian say in response to anti-theism?
Here are some suggestions:
- When it comes to the first challenge (responsibility for fallen state of the world), it must be pointed out that God did not create the world as we see it today. The creation was originally good, free from disease and decay of every kind. Responsibility for the fallen state of the world lies entirely with human kind and not with God.
- When it comes to the second challenge (shouldn’t God do something to help us?), it would be wrong to say God is required to act. God acts, but He does so out of His love for creation. Even now, God is working against evil and suffering through the day to day activities of people and their various vocations. In the end, God has entirely undone the effects of human sin in the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.