Comments on William Lane Craig on Historical Adam

Thanks for that; I posted the same link on “Getting to know the man”. Great minds think alike I guess.

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Expecting a man with the following viewpoint to come to a rational conclusion when the tenets of his religion are contradicted by evidence is a fools errand:

A Danger
Now there is a danger in all this so far. Some persons might say that we should never seek to defend the faith. Just preach the gospel and let the Holy Spirit work! But this attitude is unbalanced and unscriptural, as we shall see in a moment. For now, let us just note in passing that as long as reason is a minister of the Christian faith, Christians should employ it.

An Objection
Some people disagree with what I’ve said about the role of argument and evidence. They would say that reason can be used in a magisterial role, at least by the unbeliever. They ask how else we could determine which is true, the Bible, the Koran, or the Baghavad-Gita, unless we use argument and evidence to judge them? Now I’ve already answered that question: The Holy Spirit teaches us directly which teaching is really from God. But let me suggest two other reasons I think those who support the magisterial role of reason are wrong.
First, such a role would consign most believers to irrationalism. The vast majority of the human race have neither the time, training, nor resources to develop a full-blown Christian apologetic as the basis of their faith. Even the proponents of the magisterial use of reason at one time in the course of their education presumably lacked such an apologetic. Otherwise, they would be believing for insufficient reasons. I once asked a fellow seminary student, “How do you know Christianity is true?” He replied, “I really don’t know.” Does that mean he should give up Christianity until he finds rational arguments to ground his Faith? Of course not! He knew Christianity was true because he knew Jesus, regardless of rational arguments. The fact is that can know the truth whether we have rational arguments or not.
Second, if the magisterial role of reason were valid, then a person who had been given poor arguments for Christianity would have a just excuse before God for not believing in him. Suppose someone had been told to believe in God because of an invalid argument. Could he stand before God on the judgment day and say, God, those Christians only gave me a lousy argument for believing in you. That’s why I didn’t believe"? Of course not! The bible says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe, and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God’s Holy Spirit.

From Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, William Lane Craig, page 37.

As long as reason is a minister of the Christian faith, Christians should employ it. The corollary of that one is obvious. When reason is not a minister of the Christian faith, Christians should stop using it and then do what… be unreasonable?

You should believe in something when you have been given no good reason to, and only many persuasive reaspons to disbelieve? Uhh no, then you really should not believe.

The mindset advocated in that book is nothing short of insane.

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Oh yeah, I forgot this part from page 36:

“The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over and above the gospel like a magistrate and judges it on the basis of argument and evidence. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel. Only the ministerial use of reason can be allowed. … Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.” -Reasonable Faith, WLC (p. 36)

These are not the words of a man in a rational mindset. I rest my case.


I am a Christian, and I agree that one should not let presuppositions rule consideration of the facts. I am puzzled by Ken Ham and what I understand of Van Til in this respect. I believe that if one presupposes that one’s own holy book is de facto beyond questioning, there’s no way people of different books can dialogue-say, Muslims, Christians, and Hindus (each has their share of presuppositionalists, unfortunately).

I don’t know WLC well, but the only question I have from his setting is whether he intended to say something like “where there is lack of information, one can make a leap of faith.” However, this doesn’t sound like what he’s saying. It’s odd, because 20 years ago, someone explained to me the best stance of a Christian apologist as “I believe Christianity as I understand it is true. However, I am willing to examine all the evidence and change my mind if the evidence contradicts it.” How can any non Christian take us seriously if we don’t take the facts seriously?

At base of this is perhaps a fear that God will judge us if we don’t keep the faith. On the contrary, if God is truly one of truth, then we have nothing to fear from questioning things, even if we don’t come to the right conclusion in the end. In fact, He “knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Greg Boyd wrote a book, “Benefit of the Doubt,” that reflected on his own successive loss of various houses of cards he made to support his faith. He finally realized that it was better to realize that God actually was overjoyed to see his children question. Why would He give us brains and reward us only for not using them? The book was terrific in terms of encouraging honest questioning.



I think it helps to keep Plantinga’s reformed epistemology in the background with everything Craig says.

I think Craig’s main concern is that the God would never put us in a position where we would be MORE rational to reject Christ.

That being said, I’m not sure I agree. Fr Tom Hopko has some very interesting things to say about this. However, Platinga’s reformed epistemology saved me as a teenager from making my faith too intellectualized and never actually having a relationship with Christ.

The inner witness of the Holy Spirit MAKES IT RATIONAL to be a Christian because it’s irrational to go so strongly against what we have no reason to doubt (the deep impression of God’s presence in our life, for example). I’ve read enough of Craig to be pretty sure he would agree with me here. The wording in his book is unfortunate.


So, in other words, “Use the Force, Luke. Trust your feelings.” This should be cited in that other thread on the war between science and religion, as it shows a central epistemological conflict that cannot be resolved.


So, in other words, back the “nature is sufficient on its own” mantra, despite the evidence you already know to the contrary?
Logical rationality is not the only kind of reasoning available in the universe. Ask your wife and kids why they love you, despite your flaws, for example.
And you can’t even explain how nature turned out to be so peculiarly suited to advanced life.
That’s okay; blind faith in raw nature will still turn out, somehow, right? NOT…

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Sorry, what?

That’s not reasoning.

That hasn’t been demonstrated. It should also be clear from the prior discussion that “I can’t explain that” should not be viewed as the same as “God did it”.

Not saying that. Just that “I can’t exactly explain that, but here’s my perspective on it so far” is NOT irrationality --on either your part or mine.
You have faith in your interpretation, and I have mine. That’s what we’re exploring.
It’s your wife’s and potentially, your children’s reasoning I was pointing out. Do you consider them irrational?
Answers to the “why” questions are, in fact, explored by reasoning.
And when a Christian, for example, offers you the answer to why you were born as “because God loves you” that is a faltering first step to understanding the power of the gospel of Jesus the Messiah.

I object to the use of “faith”. It’s confusing. And I object your equating the validity of our beliefs.

Emotion isn’t reasoning. Their knowledge of their emotions isn’t reasoning. You are confusing terms right and left.

It’s not a step at all. And it certainly isn’t reasoning. Reasoning is not repetition of platitudes.


Mental blocks, much less spiritual ones, don’t become you. 'Nuff said…
I object to the trivialization of God on a blog dedicated to the aims we have here, but you have the right to hold and express your views, so I keep the exchange going when it shows any sign of breaking through. Seems like a break is in order.

I can explain it just as well as you can, the problem is neither of us is in a position to determine which one of us is correct. Saying “goddididit because that’s what he wanted to do” is no more an explanation than saying something like “the values and constants of physics can change over time as the observable universe evolved from some larger ensemble of cosmic expansions”. I can’t prove to you that either of those is or is not the case, but it isn’t in any way a point in favor of theism.

The whole idea with theism is to take it on faith, or just declare that by definition, creating a life-giving universe is the sort of thing a divine being would do. But how did you determine that this is what Gods would be expected to do? Do you have access to some sort of extra-cosmic observatory where you can monitor the behavior of the Gods, and from that have collected a lot of data which allows you to infer that Gods are generally likely to want to make life-giving universes? Make some shit up for me, please.

Possibly enough, but I have no idea what you’re talking about, if you care.

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Yes, I do. But it would seem that now is not the time. Merry Christmas!

Happy reading, considering, and deciding.

Merry Christmas!

I suspect that I speak for many here when I say that the ID and creationist movements do far more to trivialize God than anything any atheist has offered here.


Agreed, generally, but not all. It is not the sort of reasoning likely to make much headway from those folks. That much is clear, but not inevitable.

What time would be better than Christmas Eve for showing us your extracosmic observatory?

Heck, I’d settle for even the tiniest support for your fantasy claim that both sides are just looking at the same evidence differently.

You seriously are committed to disbelief in God without a wholly empirical type of rationale? How about for the question of the origin of life itself?

Good night from the west coast.

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That’s the key phrase.

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