C. S. Lewis coined a phrase, “Chronological snobbery”. This phrase comes to mind when I encounter atheists who seem to think anyone who lived before the mid 1800’s was an intellectual simpleton. They seem to think that in the past, religion went unchallenged but, finally, we modern sophisticates have discovered the intellectual big guns to shoot it to bits.
The reality is, Christians have been aware of, and engaged with, intellectual challenges to their faith since almost the very beginning.
To illustrate, I turn to Augustine, the inspiration for this post. Augustine was a notable North African Christian who died in the year 430. Augustine touched on the “problem of evil” in a passage that runs, in part, thus:
For God would never have created any, I do not say angel, but even man, whose future wickedness He foreknew, unless He had equally known to what uses in behalf of the good He could turn him, thus embellishing the course of the ages, as it were an exquisite poem set off with antitheses. – Augustine, City of God, Book 11, Chapter 18.