Publication Date

June 2015


Abstract: The primary objection that most Mainstream Christian theologies, most notably Calvinist theologies, hold against existentialism is that existentialism is incompatible with mainstays of theistic dogma, namely the theistic perception of sin and the concept of Imago Dei. However, upon closer examination, it would appear that existentialism’s rejection of essences is not wholly incompatible with all Mainstream theist doctrine. In this paper I will probe the alleged inconsistencies between Mainstream theist doctrines and the fundamental existentialist tenets of “existence precedes essence” and existential angst. Furthermore, I will argue that these two schools of thought are not just compatible, but also that theistic adoption of existential essencelessness would prominently strengthen several aspects of theistic doctrine. Notably, the concept of faith in Mainstream Christian theology is strengthened by existentialist emphasis on free will without undermining the doctrine of divine grace, and the free will theodicy is given renewed vitality without necessarily undercutting the omnipotence/omniscience of God.