Moral Truth and the Problem of Evil

A 5-part Video Lecture Series

Curated from a Lecture Series by Douglas Blount

Course Introduction

About the Course

This course is a 5-part video lecture series provided freely by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as an excerpt of a larger course on Apologetics. In this course, Douglas Blount introduces concepts such as absolute moral truth, morality, and the problem of evil. Each lecture is an average of 22 minutes long.

About Douglas Blount

Douglas Blount is a professor of Christian philosophy and ethics and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to joining the faculty of Southern Seminary, Blount served as professor of theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He previously taught philosophy of religion at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and philosophy at Criswell College. He has also served in several pastoral roles, most recently as the associate teaching pastor at First Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and previously served on the executive committee of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Blount has written many journal articles and contributed chapters to a number of books, including “What Does It Mean to Say that the Bible Is True?”, in In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture, and “On the Incarnation of a Timeless God”, in God and Time: Essays on the Divine Nature. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Apologetics and the Death of Modernity.

Course curated by Phil Thompson

The Euthyphro Dilemma and the Reality of Moral Truth

Reflection Questions
  • What is moral relativism? What do most ethicists think about moral relativism?
  • How should we think about the differences of morals between cultures?
  • How should we respond to the argument for tolerance?
  • How should we respond to the “who’s to say” argument?
  • What grounds moral truth? What is the Euthyphro question and the historic Christian response to that question?

Reading Assignment

The Intolerance of Tolerance, pages 1–96.

How Should Christians Decide What’s Right and Wrong?

Reflection Questions
  • How do the three kind of moral judgments address agents, actions, and consequences?
    • What moral judgments do consequentialists emphasize?
    • What moral judgments do deontologists emphasize?
    • What moral judgments do virtue theorists emphasize?
    • How might Christians embrace either deontologist or virtue theory perspective on moral judgments?
  • Is moral truth a restraint on Christians? Why or why not?

Reading Assignment

The Intolerance of Tolerance, pages 97–176.

The Problem of the Epicurean Dilemma

Reflection Questions
  • What is the most pervasive objection to the Christian faith?
  • What is the logical problem of evil? What is proposition one? What is proposition two?
  • May a Christian reject either proposition one or proposition two? How have Christian Scientists and Process Theologians try to resolve these propositions?
  • How did Alvin Plantinga define an explicit inconsistency? A formal inconsistency? An implicit inconsistency? Which of these three applies to the problem of evil as typically stated?
  • What is the difference between a contingent truth and a necessary truth?
  • What does Blount suggest as a contradiction to the third proposition? How does Blount respond to the “noseeum” argument?

Reading Assignment

How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil, pages 15–82.

A Logical Defense Against the Problem of Evil

Reflection Questions
  • What is a theodicy? How can that be distinguished from a defense? Why is a possible reason for God to allow suffering sufficient for falsifying proposition three?
  • What are the two types of evil? How do they differ? Why does Plantinga suggest that there is only one type of evil? How does Blount’s position differ from Plantinga but also supports a single type of evil?
  • What is the soul-making defense? Who has argued in this manner?
  • What is the free-will defense? How does Blount deal with the idea that there are things that God “cannot” do?
  • How do atheistic philosophers view Plantinga’s resolution to the logical problem of evil? What is the evidential problem of evil?
  • What are the flaws Blount points out with the evidential problem of evil?

Reading Assignment

How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil, pages 83–134.

A Pastoral Response to the Problem of Evil

Reflection Questions
  • How does the pastoral problem of evil differ from the logical and evidential problems of evil?
  • What is the pastoral problem of evil?
  • Who brings up Job in the book’s narrative? Does God know what will happen to Job?
  • Does Job suffer despite or because of his righteousness?
  • What was Job’s response to losing his wealth and children?
  • How might we understand the response of Job’s wife?
  • What was wise about the way Job’s friends responded to Job’s suffering?
  • What feelings does Job express throughout Job 30?
  • Is God’s response to Job harsh? What is God’s point with the questions he is asking?
  • What is the primary point of the book of Job?

Reading Assignment

How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil, pages 135–226.