New York Minute

We’re using the “Handbook of Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli to go over the arguments for the existence of God.  Today, we will be covering the above referenced subject in relation to the existence of God. Dr. Kreeft teaches logic in two major universities, so his arguments tend to be clear, concise and very helpful.

There are three ways of explaining how this may have happened. The first and simplest is that the “thorns and thistles” were there before the Fall but they only hurt afterward. The second is that fallen angels had already corrupted the earth, but God protected Adam and Eve in a special garden; they abandoned this protection when they abandoned God the protector. (This theory was held by some of the church fathers; we wonder whether there is any good theological or scientific disproof of it, or if it is just unfashionable to take seriously the work of demons.) The third is that Adam was the priest of the world, and the Fall was like saying a Black Mass, perverting everything. The bottom line is, of course, that we do not know and can only speculate about how it happened.

What is not at all speculative is that Christianity takes evil more seriously than most other religions. Even physical evil. Christianity takes the whole physical world more seriously than do the typically Oriental, Platonic or New Age philosophies. It regards as radically inadequate that high-minded, idealistic solution to the problem of evil that Socrates made famous: the identification of the self merely with the soul, not the body. From that idealism there logically follows the principle that “no evil can possibly happen to a good man” (i.e., a good soul). For the evil that happens to us passively is only physical evil, or suffering.

Christianity, on the other hand, believes in God’s creation of matter and even incarnation in a human body. Bodies are not illusions, not evil, not trivial, not secular, and not outside our essence, our identity. The evil we do is not just spiritual but physical, bodily evil, for our bodies are parts of us. So the evils we do—sins—are also evils others suffer. Each evil is like a stone thrown into a pond, sending consequences rippling outward to the farthest limits of physical interconnectedness.

To the question of why bad things happen to good people Socrates replies that they never do! Christianity disagrees. Its answer is that there are among us no “good people,” that is, innocent people. We are involved in a physical world with our evil, which is like that stone tossed into the pond. The two great mysteries of solidarity, original sin (solidarity in sin) and vicarious atonement (solidarity in salvation) mean that even the “innocents” among us, our small children, are involved in this double drama.

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