Does God Exist?

11 April 2006

Does God Exist?, records a recent debate between philosophers William Lane Craig and Antony Flew. The debate coincided with the 50th anniversary of the famous Copleston-Russell exchange. No less than 8 respondents comment on the debate, leading to a variety of perspectives on the issues raised by Flew and Craig.

In the debate, Craig is in usual form, defending the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the Teleological Argument, the Moral Argument, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Experience of God. His presentation, both his opening remarks and his subsequent rebuttals, is concise and effective. Flew advances the problem of evil, and he also objects to the intelligibility of an unembodied agent and the doctrine of Hell. His presentation is not as effective, however, because the objection about Hell is not really germane to the subject at hand, and the objection against unembodied minds is similarly unimpressive (as Flew gives little in defense of the supposed unintelligibility). Although the Problem of Evil can be a good argument, Flew ended up trying to defend Aquinas’ doctrine of divine concurrence. Since Craig has defended a Molinist solution to human free will and divine foreknowledge, Flew’s objections turn out to be mostly irrelevant to Craig’s position.

Most of the respondents add useful discussions. This book provides a good opportunity to familiarize oneself with leading philosophers of religion on both sides of the coin, including Douglas Geivett, Paul Draper, and Michael Martin, among others. Perhaps the most useful portion of the book is at the end, where Craig and Flew respond to their critics. Flew does a decent job tidying up some loose ends, but Craig really gives an impressive effort. As usual, he concisely responds to almost every single objection advanced against his position, and establishes once again a solid case for the existence of God.

This book is very rewarding. The debate is fast-paced and exciting, but necessarily with a lack of substance. However, the respondent essays and the final papers by Craig and Flew add meat to the exchange. Thus, although the debate is not quite exceptional, Does God Exist? is well worth a look.

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    Robert Landbeck    Jun 21, 09:54 AM    #
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