Looking at the environment around us, people occupying it perhaps have one common trait: state of despair and discouragement. Arguably, that is why everyone toils hard to minimize the effects of desperation and discouragement in life. Droughts, wars, sicknesses, injustices and corruption acts perpetrated by politicians in full glare of God characterize the world. Theologically, people perceive God as true and caring.
In fact, He is fully aware of the challenges encountered by His people, who He created in His own hands. All these problems immensely challenge the existence of God’s people. Nevertheless, why does He not step forward to resolve or even prevent such problems from afflicting his people? This is a question of concern for humanity especially bearing in mind how godless men seem to prosper in terms of worldly wealth.
Consider, the biblical men, there are incredibly many people in the scriptures depicted as ungodly, yet so wealthy. During a theology lecture held at DePaul University, Dr. Michael Baxter critically described the postmodern godless man as one opposed to biblical godless man.
According to Baxter, the postmodern godless man attempts to dispute the existence and the reality of God together with His role of being the universal ruler of the world.
The postmodern godless man affirms that God neither exists nor is He required while explaining his encounters in life. This perception kills God whom people such as philosophers have testified over centuries to exist. Among such philosophers is Descartes who declares the existence of God as a subject of no compromise. The modern godless man is atheistic in nature.
More often than not, he ignorantly disregards deploying reason to come up with subtle knowledge pertaining to God’s existence. Rather, he solely lays the burden of the proof of God’s existence and His roles in controlling the world to the believer. According to Baxter, the postmodern godless man additionally, “treats God as a positive menace…not just an explanatory superfluity” (Baxter Lecture on Theology).This man’s attempts to reject God are more poignant and virulent.
Baxter is among the few people who have aired their critical views concerning Murray’s work The Problem of God. Murray pegs the problem of God on two foundations: existential and functionality. Existential concerns of God seek to unveil the omnipresence of God.
The main interrogative here seeks to unravel the mystery of whether God is ever with his people. This question does not only bother Murray and Baxter, but also exposes Israelites to a lot of anxiety while in the wilderness. As a repercussion, such worries ended up seeing Israelites indulge in religious doubt, which fueled idolatry. Indulging in idolatry resulted to a god with whom they could see and move around.
The problem, as brought out by Murray, is to provide amicable answers to the query of whether God is dead or alive. The post modern godless man is also caught in between this worry, perhaps by noting that the scripture tells says that his son will be coming back soon to judge the living and the dead.
Yet, many die without having seen him return! The functionality of God presents yet another major problem about his true nature. In this case, people fully accept that God is forever with them in wherever they go: he is omnipresent without any doubt about this fact. However, another question emerges. What is he up to? God is an explicit ruler of the world, yet He does directly express such implicit. Why?
Therefore, borrowing from Murray’s perceptions of the problem of God, Baxter criticizes the impacts of Murray’s perceptions on the American perceptionalism although he does not explicitly employ the term. He points to Marxism, as well as Murray’s “bloodless approaches in presenting the problem of God.
According to Baxter, God’s existence is widely justifiable since God is evidently present in our lives in many ways. He, in fact, gets to people in a myriad of ways ranging from inculcating hope in people during the times of desperation to the inculcation of faith in his people. He is the God of our problems. Therefore, by trusting in Him, He can resolve all the people’s worries.
Knowledge is perhaps one of the undisputable ways of recognizing God’s presence within people at all times. Borrowing from the criticisms of Dr. Baxter on Murray’s problem of God, it is evident that both of them have two different lines of thought.
These lines of thought are not only attributable to God, who the postmodern godless man disputes His existence, but also God as the creator of the situation itself, which is the capacity to argue out about His existence. Recognizing God embraces appreciating his presence and or whether the prevailing circumstances in one’s life characterize excellence or wrath. Additionally, anything that is alive must come from an origin of initially alive, whose existence is undisputable.
This origin is what happens to be God. Baxter also holds the opinion that a middle ground between knowledge for God and ignorance of the same does not exist (Baxter Lecture on Theology). Every person has an opportunity to know God. Those who choose to do so do it at an advantage while those who ignore such an opportunity are prone to the corresponding faults.
Baxter. Michael. Lecture On Theology: The God of Our Problems: From Human Despair, to Biblical Hope, to Faith Seeking Understanding, 2011. 7 Nov. 2011.