Dr. Jerry Falwell had a vision for Liberty University to become the Christian Evangelical equivalent to Notre Dame. This vision is quickly becoming a reality, thanks to philosophy professor Dr. David Baggett. Baggett and co-author Dr. Jerry Walls, a senior research fellow at Notre Dame, recently received news that their book, tentatively titled “Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality,” will be published by Oxford University Press.
Being published by Oxford University Press means that the book will be available in every academic library in the world, giving much-needed credibility to the idea that intelligence and Christianity are not mutually exclusive.
Baggett announced the news in class on Friday, mentioning that he couldn’t wait to tell Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. Unbeknownst to him, a student in his class quickly sent a text message to Falwell’s wife, Becki. The Falwells were working out in the gym at the LaHaye Student Union and, upon receiving the message, decided to surprise Baggett in his class and congratulate him.
“That was a neat surprise. … That’s one personable chancellor right there,” Baggett said.
Baggett said the book, his seventh, is scheduled to be available summer 2011.
Although Baggett and Walls started writing the book this past summer, it has had a 20-year history. While studying at Asbury Seminary, Baggett was given an assignment by his then-professor Dr. Walls to write on the topic of God and ethics. The assignment gave rebirth to a previous question Baggett had on the Euthyphro Dilemma, which asks whether something is moral because God wills it, or vice versa. This theme turned out to be a burning passion for him for years to come.
The topic came up again when Baggett was graduating from Wayne State with his dissertation titled, “Theistic Activism and the Euthyphro Dilemma.” It was then that Baggett approached his former professor Walls to consider turning the dissertation into a book.
The book not only addresses the question of God’s existence, but his character.
“We argue that it's a good God who exists, a perfectly, recognizably, and necessarily good God,” Baggett said.
The authors seek to prove that the moral argument for God’s existence is powerful.
“The moral ‘argument’ is a set of interconnected arguments, the cumulative effect of which is that God doesn't just exist, but that a God of perfect love exists, a God who is holy, impeccable, perfect, a God of covenantal fidelity, and a God who can be trusted,” Baggett said. “Nobody needs to sweat about being left out; God loves everyone and doesn't want anyone to perish. He's actively at work redeeming the entirety of the created order, and offers each of us the chance to enter into what he's doing.”
Baggett has taught at Wayne State University, University of Michigan and King’s College before coming to LU in 2006. He has been published in a number of scholarly articles and book reviews.