Without a Doubt

Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions

Kenneth R Samples

Ch 1 How Can Anyone Know that God Exists?

Ch 2 How Can I Believe in a God I Can't See?

Ch 3 How Has God Revealed Himself?

Ch 4 Aren't the Creeds a Thing of the Past?

Ch 5 How Can God Be Three in One?

Ch 6 Why Should I Gamble on Faith?

Ch 7 Are the Gospels Trustworthy Accounts of Jesus Life?

Ch 8 Is Jesus a Man, Myth, Madman, Menace, Mystic, Martian or the Messiah?

Ch 9 How Can Jesus Christ Be Both God and Man?

Ch 10. Did Jesus Christ Actually Arise from the Dead?

Ch 11 Why Did Jesus Christ Have to Die?

Ch 12 Don't All Religions Lead to God?

Ch 13 How Should Christians Respond to the World's Religions?

Ch 14 Aren't Christianity and Science Enemies?

Ch 15 Doesn't Hypocrisy Invalidate Christianity?

Ch 16 Don't I Have a Right to Do What I Want with My Own Body?

Ch 17 Doesn't Christianity Promote Intolerance?

Ch 18 Isn't Morality Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?

Ch 19 How Can a Good and All-Powerful God Allow Evil?

p239 Quotes of Hume and Augustine

p239 "Perhaps the gratest challenge to the truth of Christianity lies with the perennial problem of evil. The dilemma of evil raises questions about whether the Christian concept of God is even coherent. Many people cite the existence of evil and suffering as their number one reason for rejecting belief in the Christian God."

p243 In responding to Hume: "If evil and suffering can potentially yield a greater good, it seems reasonable to conclude that an omnibenevolent God might not necessarily desire to eliminate all evil and suffering, at least not immediately. Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne thinks that this greater-good theory is the key to answering the problem of evil. He explains: 'The basic solution is that all the evils we find around us are logically necessary conditions of greater goods, that is to say that greater good couldn't come about without the evil or at any rate the natural possibility of evil".. An infinitely wise, just, and loving God may similarly allow evil and suffering to exist because they serve a greater purpose for human beings and the universe, and ultimately lead to the greater glory of God himself. The existence of evil and ultimate divine goodness are not then necessarily incompatible. God may simply have a good reason for allowing evil and suffering for a time."

p243 "Rather, omnipotence means that God can do all things consistent with his rational and moral nature. Creating persons who are at least capable of some degree of independence may logically limit God's options. To quote Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga: 'To create creatures capable of moral good, therefore , he [God] must create creatures capable of moral evil.' A reasonable conclusion is that if God created human beings with free agency, then eliminating depravity would likely have to be done through a process that involves evil and suffering." Plantinga, "God, Freedom and Evil", p30

p244 Plantinga's revision of "the inconsistent triad" of Hume. He is crediting Plantinga with the idea, but these are his statements of what he takes from Plantinga.

  • God is omnibenevolent and omnipotent.
  • God created a world which contains evil and had a good reason for doing so (for purposes of a greater good).
  • Therefore, the world contains evil, but evil is consistent with the Christian view of God.

Another approach considers how God may act over time.

  • An omnibenevolent God would want to eliminate evil.
  • An omnipotent God would be able to eliminate evil.
  • Though evil exists now, God will eliminate it in the future.

p246 "Undoubtedly, many mysteries will remain until the dawning of the eternal age to come, and the purposes behind evil and suffering perhaps top the mystery list."

Ch 20 How Should a Christian Prepare to Give Reasons for Faith?

Windows of Creation
Evidence from nature Is the universe designed?
Reading Reference
  Reasonable Faith Go Back