William Lane Craig speaking on stage behind a lectern

Last December, Talbot Research Professor of Philosophy William Lane Craig was in fine form doing what he does best: making atheists squirm.

On Dec. 13, Craig published an op-ed on FoxNews.com titled “A Christmas gift for atheists — five reasons why God exists.” In the article — eventually shared more than 32,000 times on social media — Craig laid out the five arguments for God’s existence that he frequently gives in debates with atheists:

  1. God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe.
  2. God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe.
  3. God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.
  4. God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
  5. God can be personally known and experienced.

The week before, on Dec. 4, Craig appeared on Fox News in an interview with chief religion correspondent Lauren Green to discuss his new book, A Reasonable Response: Answers to Tough Questions on God, Christianity and the Bible.During his eight-minute interview with Green, Craig talked about the necessity of Christians being able to defend their faith to critics and dialogue with non-believers about the reasons why they believe.

“We don’t want to conflict with people on a personal level,” said Craig, “but in terms of worldviews — views certainly do conflict with each other and we can treat one another charitably and with love and civility even as we charitably disagree on certain fundamental issues like whether God exists.”

At one point, Green asked Craig about the topic of pain and suffering:

Green: “Pain and suffering really do get at the heart of what you feel about God, though, because if you think he’s a God who just wants everyone to be happy, pain and suffering can’t fit into that paradigm.”

Craig: “That’s a very good point. I saw a book on the table in the waiting room as I was coming in that said, ‘God wants you to be happy.’ I thought that is very misleading. I do not think that God necessarily wants us to be happy in this earthly life. This earthly existence is not our home.”

Green: “But there is room for happiness in this life, though, isn’t there?”

Craig: “Oh certainly, and I think a deep-seated happiness is to be found in the knowledge of God. That’s the fulfillment of human existence. But God’s purpose for us on this planet is not to give us an easy life, a bowl of cherries that we enjoy. For many people this life will involve incredible suffering and hardship before they go to be with God in eternity.”