Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Scripture References in this Resource
Romans 8:20-21; Romans 11:32-33
Meyer, Joel P. "Christian Justification after Nihilism." Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary,2012.  pp.
This dissertation addresses the problem that nihilism presents to Christian faith and life. North Atlantic Christians live in an age when nihilism is a normal condition. The world does not appear to have one clear and unquestionable meaning. Instead, each of us has convictions about the world that we hold dear. But we realize that other people hold drastically different convictions than our own, and we have no absolute way of determining the validity of one set over another. So they appear to us as values, rather than the way things are, grounded in nothing more than our own will and desire to hold them. In such an age Christians are confronted with the question of justification in its broadest sense: what reasons do we have for living as we do rather than some other way?
This dissertation asks whether Christians have reasons for their faith and life beyond their own will and desire to hold them. Christians are tempted, in this age, to trade on the value of Christianity, justifying it on the basis of its practical or aesthetic appeal. But this only reinforces the notion that Christianity is grounded in nothing more than our own will and desire. Instead, this dissertation argues that Christianity can only move beyond our nihilism by appealing to the authority of God's act through the man Jesus of Nazareth. In order to maintain the authority of God’s act in Jesus, however, Christians will have to give up the Platonic assumption that God is the principled and rational ground of our existence, which is intelligible to any reasonable, good-willed person. This Platonic assumption leads Christians to construe God as a conjecture of human reason. Instead Christians will have to embrace an understanding of God as the personal, willful, and inscrutable creator, who speaks and acts intelligibly only through the man Jesus of Nazareth.
Meyer, Joel, "Christian Justification after Nihilism" (2012). Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation. 118.
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