Last time, we examined William Lane Craig’s assertions about the absurdity of life without God. They are:
- If life and the universe come to an end, then they are without ultimate meaning.
- Even if life went on forever, it would be meaningless without God.
- If saints and sinners all end up in the same grave, then there is no practical reason for each of us to act morally. We don’t necessarily benefit ourselves by acting morally.
- Without God, objective moral values do not exist.
- If life and the universe come to an end, then they are without ultimate purpose.
- Even if life went on forever, it would still be purposeless without God, for it would be the result of cosmic accidents.
Now, let’s see how he argues that the existence of God can solve these worries.
As for meaning, Craig seems to think that life can only have “objective meaning” if it is meaning imposed on life from the outside. He writes:
…without God, life has no meaning. Yet philosophers continue to live as though life does have meaning. For example, Sartre argued that one may create meaning for his life by freely choosing to follow a certain course of action…
[But] Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. For the universe does not really acquire meaning just because I happen to give it one. This is easy to see: for suppose I give the universe one meaning, and you give it another. Who is right? The answer, of course, is neither one. For the universe without God remains objectively meaningless, no matter how we regard it. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.
So life can only be objectively meaningful if meaning is imposed on it from the outside, and God is needed to impose meaning on it from the outside.
Craig’s passage on value does not explain how the existence of God can provide the world with objective value, but instead compares the atheistic life to Auschwitz and so on. Luckily, Craig has written on this topic at great length elsewhere. The idea is much the same as the above: Life cannot provide its own value, and must have values imposed on it from the outside, and God is needed to impose value on it from the outside.
As you might have predicted, Craig says that life cannot provide its own purposes, but must have purposes imposed on it from the outside, and God is needed to impose those purposes on it from the outside.
Craig sums up:
But if atheism fails [to provide life with meaning, value, and purpose], what about biblical Christianity? According to the Christian worldview, God does exist, and man’s life does not end at the grave. In the resurrection body man may enjoy eternal life and fellowship with God. Biblical Christianity therefore provides the two conditions necessary for a meaningful, valuable, and purposeful life for man: God and immortality. Because of this, we can live consistently and happily.
Does Craig’s case for the absurdity of life without God work? Stay tuned.