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  • Friday, March 2, 2018
  • 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
  • Science Building 110

Beyond the Free Will Defense: natural evil, theodicy, and sacrificial love

Speaker:  Loren Haarsma, Physics & Astronomy Department, Calvin College

Atheists sometimes point to features of the natural world as arguments against Theism (e.g. age and immensity of the universe, hiddenness of divine action, randomness, suffering caused by natural events and moral evil, evolution, the neuroscience of belief). In response, numerous Christians have developed "free will" or "soul-making" accounts. A recent book by Christian Barrigar ("Freedom All the Way Up", Friesen Press) affirms these accounts but advocates a shift of emphasis, arguing for free will as only a necessary pre-condition for God's ultimate purpose of creating beings capable of understanding and living in relationships of self-sacrificial love towards each other and God. Self-sacrificial love is especially central to God's Trinitarian nature and revealed in Christ's redeeming work. This "agape" account for these features of the world can be appealing to many Christians and powerfully inviting for non-Christians. It also has some implications regarding the subtlety of divine action in the natural world, and the (perhaps) inevitability of human sin, which some Christians might find theologically troubling, and are worth further discussion.

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