William Lane Craig Schooled Me On Evolution

The Catechism says so and this is strictly with respect to humans, not other animals, I think.

The general stance appears to be evolutionary creationism.

The Catholic Church, I think, allows for death before the Fall. However, when A&E got souls they were no longer subject to it. Their sin reversed this state. I might be misrepresenting the RCC position so treat this comment with high skepticism.

That isn’t true. The common stance is theistic evolution + monogenesis, which largely specifically rejected by EC.

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You are right. I didn’t verify before commenting, hence, my my earlier call for skepticism.

Are Catholic atheists Christians?

Perhaps sociologically? But not theologically?

So William Lane Craig’s views on Genesis, Original Sin and evolution could be acceptable to the Catholic Church?

He disagrees on their formulation of Original Sin. That’s a deviation from doctrine. But Catholics tolerate a lot of deviation.

For Original Sin, no.

This is a fascinating discussion.

As a Christian, I just “discovered” that the doctrine of original sin was not essential to the faith. Wow. I also like Craig’s response in the article. Craig has had a foundational impact on my life and faith as a Christian.

Admittedly, @swamidass has also had a huge impact on my faith. I remember once someone asked @swamidass why all the pain and suffering in this world. His response was something like “well, obviously God must think that it’s worth it.” True. God seeing the end from the beginning, and also possessing the power to restore all life, what seems like terminal suffering to us is undoubtedly viewed by God differently. I think about how differently 50 year old and 15 year old humans view reality. Then for me it’s easy to see an eternal God viewing things drastically differently than we do - especially if God can and will restore life. However, as the story of Lazarus shows, God is not removed from our suffering.

At any rate, from people like Craig, @swamidass, David Bentley Hart and Francis Collins I have learned that nature is God’s creation and we should learn from it as it is. So whatever physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, astronomy, geology, etc. tell us about life and reality we should welcome.

Being in this forum I have also learned more about how actual practicing scientists view their work, the questions they ask, the methods they use and how they go about forming conclusions. I always refer people here because I notice how YEC or ID proponents often do not accurately represent standard scientific explanations, the evidence, and the fact that scientists often don’t make the dramatic claims that they are accused of making. Sure Richard Dawkins and others are bellicose but they don’t represent the scientific research fairly either. It’s great to interact with scientists here because I’m learning so much and enjoying it.


That’s Craig’s version of Christianity. For the over a billion Roman Catholics out there, the doctrine of original sin is essential.

Oh wow! So a pandemic that has claimed, in terrible ways, the lives of millions is worth it.

Um God, per the Bible, intends to restore the lives of his only his followers. That makes the suffering and pain of the proportion of people who are not devout Christians pointless.

Dinosaur 1: hey bro I am starving?

Dinosaur 2: me too. How about we go find some Archaeopteryx for dinn… Hey what’s that in the sky?

Dinosaur 1: looks like a rock on fire and its headed straight to us. Yikes! Run!

fast forward sixty-million years later.

Indeed, killer asteroids are a marvel of God’s creation.

Good for you. Its being my experience too.


God has justifiable reasons for allowing the pandemic and 100% of those lives can be restored by God. It’s not as if those lives are lost to God. The Bible claims that all things are for God, from God and to God. We allow people to suffer what we know they can recover from. A parent might let their child get kicked off a team because the child did not study. That same parent would never allow their child to die if they can prevent it because the parent cannot restore the child from death and death is beyond the ability of humans to reliably and consistently restore life from. To us, death seems like the end. Death is not the end for God nor is it something that God cannot restore life from. Death and suffering serve a purpose for everyone. Finally, God loves those millions of lives infinitely more than we do.

Now, I can’t pretend to know what those purposes are and why death and suffering is even permitted. However, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that God - who can restore all life - has justifiable reasons for allowing it.

According to the doctrine of Universal Salvation - which was widely held in the early church for about 500 years after the resurrection of Christ - salvation is universal and God saves everyone. Some brief resources on Christian Universalism:



I am not clear on what the problem is supposed to be here. Please explain. Thanks.

At the end of the day, we are all familiar with things serving a greater good even if they are painful. One thing deaths in my life have taught me is to value people and not things. I think as we persist in existence, the reasons for many things that don’t make sense now will become clearer.

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How did you establish God’s reasons are justifiable? How do you even know his reasons, did he tell you?

Yes, but a 100% of those lives won’t be restored.

Sure and that includes SARS-CoV-2, Ebola virus, XDR microbes, etcetera.

Except God. He allows many people suffer from conditions they can’t recover from.

True. However, it’s no one’s fault that hurricanes, tornadoes, pathogenic super viruses exist and kill humans in the thousands and millions.

Utter BS. What freaking purpose does suffocating for weeks due to respiratory failure as a result of Covid-19 serve?

How do you bloody know? How did you rule out God isn’t a psychotic personality who inflicts suffering on people as he pleases?

You have no case then. You don’t know God’s reasons for why suffering is allowed and if they are justifiable.

So God will save Osama and Hitler? Its no wonder this teaching is heretical to the Roman Catholic Church.

One thing we have learned from science is that God loves flying, burning rocks capable of extinguishing lifeforms on earth.

My aunt, who died two months ago, spent a week in the ICU struggling to breath as her lungs failed due to Covid-19. What greater good did her excruciating pain serve?

Yes death can make us place more emphasis on the more important things in life but doesn’t tell me why people should suffer horribly before they die.

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First and foremost I am sorry about the passing of your aunt. I have learned the hard way that death of family and friends is a pain that doesn’t get better with time - only worse. My answers below are in no way intended to deal with or address the personal and emotional dimensions of the problem of evil. That is a totally different albeit legitimate discussion. Again, I am sorry about the death in your family.

Second, I don’t actually agree with death, pain and suffering. I wish we lived in a different reality. Some pains never leave you but tunnel into your soul. Nonetheless, even though I don’t agree with evil, death, pain and suffering, I trust God. With the wisdom, power, love, intelligence and gift of life through Christ that characterizes God, we can definitely trust that this same God has reasons to allow what we currently do not understand. We do this all the time even with humans.

How do you know God’s reasons are not justifiable or that God does not have sufficient reasons? Are you omniscient and eternal to make that determination?

In fact God has told everyone. In the book of Job we see that God makes it clear that is impossible for humans to know why God allows evil. Job in fact agrees at the end of the book that God has his reasons for allowing evil. The Bible tells us that God is love and we see this revealed in Jesus Christ. In the New Testament the Bible further affirms that pain and suffering is for a greater purpose. Human lifespans are around 75 years, humanity about 200,000 years, the universe about 15 billion years. God is infinite in being and eternal. How could we possibly even have the cognitive resources to consider all the factors God must be considering in creating and sustaining reality. So, we are in no position to conclude that God does not have justifiable reasons for allowing evil, and the Bible repeatedly assures us that all things have a purpose.

A few additional things to consider:

1 - The chief purpose of life is not happiness and the absence of suffering in this world, but rather the true purpose of life is knowledge of and communion (to be) with God our creator.
2 - God’s purpose is not restricted to lifetimes on earth but rather extend into eternity for his creation.
3 - Communion with and knowledge of God is an infinite good as this entails us experiencing the source and end of all reality, our creator and the very reason we exist and were created.
4 - To develop real character and personality and growth creatures need real circumstances, challenges, freedom to act, etc.

Every single event or occurrence in space-time and among creatures ripple throughout all of time. They don’t occur in isolation. Even the tiniest perturbations can have tremendous impact - sometimes far removed in time and space from the initial occurrence. God knows all of this and understands the complexities of managing a creation that ultimately he is drawing to himself. We all know cases where even we permit suffering for greater ends. I don’t see how it’s so difficult to imagine that God cannot do the same.

We can then ask why won’t God tell us. I have no idea. However, imagine trying to explain differential calculus to a toddler. It’s not even clear we have the categories to describe and understand the reality we do experience, much less whatever God knows. However, God assures us that we can trust his love and resurrection power.

How do you know this? Did God tell you :wink:

While this has powerful rhetorical value, it is addressed in my earlier statements and extends your earlier agument.

…and God can restore them from those points. It’s not as if God leaves people out to dry. Sure, in this life we see evil and death. This life is not the whole story. The Bible says God, the judge of all the earth, will do what is right by all.

True. It’s no one’s fault. However human evil can exacerbate the impact of these disasters. For example note how Haiti has been abused by Western powers thus consigning it to a poverty that amplifies the negative impact of natural disasters. This is why we must work to help those who struggle and develop love, caring, equality, etc.

We know this several ways. First, we directly experience the transcendental realities of morality, good, love, beauty, etc. that we can reasonably expect terminate in a source that infinitely exemplifies these qualities and is thus the standard by which we evaluate and frame such experiences. In effect, God is the good, God is love, God is beauty, etc. Mind you this is from a classical theistic perspective which, if I am not mistaken, is the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. Second, the heart of the gospel is that “For God so loved the world…”. The Bible repeatedly affirms God’s love.

This is addressed above.

Add in the folks responsible for the brutal and evil enslavement of Africans, colonialism of the African continent, enslavement in America, the American confederacy, rapists, murders, etc.

Christian Universalism (CU) doesn’t hold that folks just waltz into heaven. CU teaches that, as the Bible says, the wages of sin are death and those wo do not live up to what God has revealed to them, go to hell. They suffer for their sins. However, hell is not eternal and is a purifying fire and not endless mindless torment. Hell, according to CU, burns away the sin until that person is ready to indeed confess that Jesus is Lord and that God will indeed fully restore his creation. I am not saying I agree with this, but this is what CU teaches. Everyone must at some point submit to Christ. CU think it would be pointless, anti-biblical, and out of character for God, who is love, to have the fires of hell torment folks eternally. CU claims that this is the total victory of Christ.

So don’t worry, evil is not let off the hook. Besides, remember, Christ died to take away the sins of the world.

How do we know this from science? Is there a study or physics equation I missed that establishes this conclusion?

Again, I am sorry about the passing of your Aunt and I pray for you and your family and everyone affected.

You are right, it does not.


Assertion. Prove it.

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To be clear, what do you mean by “proof” or “prove it”? I just want to make sure I understand what you are saying. Thanks.

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Fair question. I’m not asking for deductive proof. First of all I’d like to know what kind of evidence there is that God has justifiable reasons for allowing the pandemic. Is there any, or is that really just a faith position at bottom?

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Thank you, that clarifies the question.

I would say it’s a mix of trust, evidence and reason - at least in my opinion. This includes what we know about the character and nature of God, God’s revelation in Christ, the teachings of scripture. As I stated above, and in short, God has made it clear that reality has a purpose and reason, that he loves us, and that the ultimate goal is not happiness now but eternity with him. So, it’s a matter of trust.

However, I should note that the Christian concept of “faith” is not at all as your words seem to imply. For example you asked for evidence and seem to represent it as opposing faith. In the Bible, the word faith is generally translated from a word meaning trust (“pistus” in the New Testament). This isn’t blind belief. For example, I trust that the airplane I fly on will get me to my destination without crashing. The evidence could be that they normally don’t crash, the company has good procedures for ensuring their planes are safe, and I see no evidence of any issues with the plane or crew. Is that a guarantee? Nope. Planes, sadly, do crash. However, it’s not blind faith in the airplane either.

I trust that you are an atheist molecular biology technician. The evidence is your name and information in this post. Given this context, I have no reason to believe you are lying. You could be actually a devout, Christian, painter.

Recall, that with God, we are dealing with agency - not a physical thing or law. Ergo, sometimes it’s a matter of trust based on what we already know about God or have good reasons to believe is true. We do that with people all the time. We trust folks for all sorts of things because we know about their character, intentions, etc.

I am curious, what to you would constitute evidence or proof that God has justifiable reasons for allowing the pandemic?

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Thats not how it works. You asserted God had justifiable reasons for permitting suffering and I asked for evidence to support that claim. Obviously you can’t produce any evidence because there isn’t any. The responsible thing to do is admit this and move on.

If its impossible to know why God allows evil, then how did you determine God had justifiable reasons (which are unknowable)?

I repeat, what greater purpose is served by my aunt suffering excruciating pain before dying in the ICU?

You are getting confused here. I have no where asserted God has no justifiable reasons for permitting suffering. It is you who made the assertion that he has the said reasons. If you make a claim, you have to support. How do you know?

Obatala is the Creator God in the Yoruba Kingdom, do you know and commune with him? Or is this reserved solely for the Christian God?

More importantly, how did you objectively establish the chief purpose of life is to know and commune with God?

Again you are strawmanning me. I have not argued that all suffering is unnecessary. Instead I argued that suffering and death can be unnecessary.

I have several ideas. Maybe there is no one there or he enjoys watching people suffer or is powerless to do anything etcetera.

I don’t know but some of the best Christian scholarship think so.

You addressed nada.

…Yet he doesn’t.

How do you know?

No one is talking about human-caused evil. Nice try with the red herring. The wonders of God’s creations include the Ebola virus and destructive hurricanes. He is good indeed!

Psychotic killers can experience and show morality, good, love, and beauty. This doesn’t save you. How do you know?

Stop with the assertions and give me hard evidence instead. If these are faith statements, say so and I will leave you alone.

Why bring up something you don’t agree with and portray it like you really do?

You said:

God made asteroids knowing they had the potential to eliminate life. Through scientific research we have uncovered good evidence to support an asteroid-caused extinction of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. God finished creating and declared his handwork good, so go figure.


Good point here on being careful about statements. So, a better statement would be I trust that God has sufficient reasons and I base this on what we know about God from natural theology and from the Bible. In dealing with God we are dealing in part with agency and trust is a normal component of any relationship. We trust folks all the time about things. I don’t know what those reasons are, however based on what we know about God from his character and what has been revealed in scripture, I trust that God has reasons. What exactly is the problem supposed to be here?

Addressed above.

I don’t know.

You are right, you have not asserted that God has no reasons. I am saying that I trust God has reasons based on the evidence and reasons presented above. You are right that if I make a claim, I have to support it.

This is a good question. What reasons, evidence or facts do we have to conclude that Obatala is indeed God and real? In addition, what reasons, evidence or facts do we have to conclude that what Christians mean by God is not real? Finally, what reasons, evidence or facts do we have to conclude that both Obatala is real and God as referred to by Christianity are both real?

It’s not as if Christianity - especially in its reflective dimensions - presents God as some type of private myth. By God, classical theism especially, Christians are referring to the ultimate reality that is the source, being and end of all contingent reality. We in part come to this conclusion by observing contingent reality and its ontological paucity. This is not exotic reasoning as we do this all the time. The moon is contingent. Ergo, we look for causes beyond the moon (e.g. solar system formation, planetary body hitting earth, etc.) to explain its existence. Contingent reality is not exempt from this analysis. So we justifiably logically conclude that for contingent realities to exist, there must be at least one non-contingent reality that necessarily exists. Even without touching a religious book we have one attribute of God - necessary, non-contingent existence. This is one example of one reason that Christians conclude God exists and what at least some of God’s attributes might be. At the end of the day, we are trying to understand reality.

If you have reasons for concluding that Obatala exists and is real, please put them forward.

What do you mean by “objective” in this context? That will help me answer the question.

I am not straw-manning at all here. I am presenting a reason and argument by analogy. I never said your argument was that all suffering is unnecessary.

These are definitely ideas.


I disagree.

How do you know he hasn’t?

One of the following: Not yet, not that we can discern at this time.

I presented reasons for why I came to that conclusion. If you have issues with those reasons then please share what those issues are in fact. For example, is it that you don’t think God exists, is it that you don’t think the Bible is inspired by God, or is it that you don’t think Jesus was real or that the resurrection occurred, etc.?

It’s not a red herring. I was simply adding the point to the discussion. I don’t run and hide during discussion and I don’t try to engage in trickery. I enjoy these discussions.

It’s not clear to me how this is related to my point. Can you make the connection clearer? I don’t understand how killers showing love somehow argues against there being a source of love that is in fact perfect love.

What do you mean by “hard evidence” here? Can you give me some examples? Help me out.

I am not portraying anything. I brought it up because you stated something to the effect of that for people who don’t go to heaven their suffering is pointless. I want to make you aware that there is a legitimate, early view in Christianity that no one is tormented in hell forever and that all are eventually saved. Whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant. We are discussing different views here and I do find CU to be very interesting.

So it’s not a statement of physics, chemistry, etc. but rather a philosophical analysis of the facts. Cool.

God also made a universe knowing it had the potential to generate, accommodate and nurture life for almost 5 billion years. Now what?

In all honesty, God did create the universe and is thus ultimately responsible for all in it. Yes. Now you see why many early Christians determined that CU was the only sensible solution. No one asked to be made, so why let them suffer eternally or just have a pointless existence. Rather, early Christians like Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, Athanasius, etc. argued that a loving God would indeed save the whole world as many texts in the Bible literally claim.


Now we are good.

I am not advocating Obatala is real but there are those who think so, just as you believe the Christian God is alive. Christianity is not the only religion on earth that worship a being who is claimed to be Almighty, so when you say we should get to know God, I know you are referring to the God of Christianity. That leaves a big question, why should we know only the Christian Almighty God but ignore the Almighty Gods of other religions?

Obatala is also “the source, being and end of all contingent reality”. He is almighty according to Yoruba tradition. My tribe’s equivalent is Chukwu.

I am not arguing for the existence or nonexistence of Obatala, but all Christian arguments for the existence of God would work for Obatala as well since he is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent too.

Without recourse to your religion, how did you arrive at the conclusion that our chief purpose in life is to know God (presumably just the Christian one)?

It implied so.

Over 5 million people around the world dead from Covid-19.

Reasons are not evidence.

I carefully left out man-made suffering, discussing just suffering due to natural forces, but you brought it into the discussion. That’s a red herring.

God can be a source of love and a psychotic killer as well. That’s my point.

Stop prancing about. You claimed God is love and “the Good”. How do you know?

I am not here to discuss differing viewpoints on who gets salvation or not. I am only emphasizing there is needless suffering in the world today regardless of whether a person gets saved or not.

The universe we live in is a cold, uncaring place. Living things fight to survive in it. That’s why roses have thorns, bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, plants and insects release bitter or poisonous substances to dissuade potential predators from eating them. Its a long list. Our universe permits (not nurtures) life, but life has to struggle to stay alive.