About this topic
Summary Theism is generally taken to be the view that there is a person who is bodiless, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, perfectly good, perfectly free, and who is the creator and sustainer of the universe. There are of course  different ways to spell out these attributes, for example some spell out ‘eternal‘ as ‘being outside of time‘, others as ‘everlasting‘. However, those who present arguments for or against the ‘existence of God‘ use the term ‘God’ similarly enough to be discussing the same question. Philosophers rather say that there is no God than using ‘God’ in a very different sense, for example in the sense of something other than a person. This category contains arguments for the existence of God that do not fit into any of the sibling leaf categories.
Key works The most thorough defense of the existence of God is Swinburne 2004, who gives probabilistic, inductive instead of deductive arguments and who rejects the ontological as well as the moral argument from the existence of values or duties. Plantinga 1992 defends the ontological argument, Adams 1979 the moral argument. Mackie 1982 is still a much quoted defense of atheism. Rowe 2010 presents an atheistic position.
Introductions Most anthologies with the title ‘philosophy of religion’ contain articles that give the various arguments, for example Craig 2002 or Davies 2000, and also Copan & Meister 2007, Taliaferro & Meister 2010, and Copan & Moser 2003. A simplified defense of theism with various arguments is Swinburne 1996, Le Poidevin 1996 is an introductory defense atheism.
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Siblings:History/traditions: Arguments for Theism, Misc
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  1. Michael J. Almeida & Graham Oppy (2003). Sceptical Theism and Evidential Arguments From Evil. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):496 – 516.
    Sceptical theists--e.g., William Alston and Michael Bergmann--have claimed that considerations concerning human cognitive limitations are alone sufficient to undermine evidential arguments from evil. We argue that, if the considerations deployed by sceptical theists are sufficient to undermine evidential arguments from evil, then those considerations are also sufficient to undermine inferences that play a crucial role in ordinary moral reasoning. If cogent, our argument suffices to discredit sceptical theist responses to evidential arguments from evil.
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  2. Douglas R. Anderson (1989). An American Argument for Belief in the Reality of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 26 (2):109 - 118.
    This article borrows from the american tradition of emerson, james, and peirce to argue that religious belief may properly originate in feeling, willing, or reasoning. i also maintain that such belief is not consummated until all three aspects of one's being--feeling, willing, and thinking--have been addressed. this approach both democratizes the possibility of religious belief and requires of full belief that it be applicable to all aspects of one's life.
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  3. James N. Anderson & Greg Welty (2011). The Lord of Noncontradiction: An Argument for God From Logic. Philosophia Christi 13 (2):321 - 338.
    In this paper we offer a new argument for the existence of God. We contend that the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being; thus anyone who grants that there are laws of logic should also accept that there is a God. We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they are to play the role in our intellectual activities that we take (...)
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  4. Maria Rosa Antognazza (2006). Arguments for the Existence of God: The Continental European Debate. In The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy, Volume 2. Cambridge Univ Pr.
    This chapter argues that the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation undermined the Christian consensus that unaided human reason could prove God’s existence. As a consequence the issue of the provability of God in principle gained new prominence and had to be addressed in the first instance before entering the discussion of specific proofs of His existence. On the basis of the answers given to the preliminary question of the provability of God’s existence, the chapter discusses eighteenth-century reformulations of a priori (...)
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  5. Louise Antony, William Lane Craig, John Hare, Donald C. Hubin, Paul Kurtz, C. Stephen Layman, Mark C. Murphy, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Richard Swinburne (2009). Is Goodness Without God Good Enough?: A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  6. Leslie Armour (2007). God and Nature: Is the Divorce Final? Maritain Studies/Etudes Maritainiennes 23:3 - 24.
    The thesis that enquiries into the nature and existence of God and enquiries into nature itself should be kept separate has gained new life from disputes about biology, but the development of physics and its relation to mathematics gives force to the idea that nature is more like a book to be read than it is like a collection of objects with no intrinsic meaning. The more one sees nature as a book to be read the more one sees it (...)
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  7. M. R. Ayers (1987). Divine Ideas and Berkeley's Proofs of God's Existence. In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of George Berkeley. D. Reidel.
  8. Garrett Barden (2006). Natural Science and Existential Intelligibility. Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society 2006:31 - 39.
    This paper deals with the contention, coming from two main sources in scientific theory (theory of evolution and string theory), that the conclusions of these theories demonstrate the nonexistence of God. In response to this, the author seeks to show that neither of these arguments is sound; he is not particularly concerned here with proving the existence of God. In the course of the paper, a certain amount of confusion concerning the requirements which these two scientific theories would make of (...)
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  9. Pierfrancesco Basile (2007). The Reality of Forms: On a Leibnizian Argument for the Existence of God in Whitehead's Metaphysics. In Chromatikon Iii: Annuaire de la Philosophie En ProcãƒÂ¨s (Yearbook of Philosophy in Process). Presses Univ de Louvain. 27-43.
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  10. James Cain (2004). Free Will and the Problem of Evil. Religious Studies 40 (4):437-456.
    According to the free-will defence, the exercise of free will by creatures is of such value that God is willing to allow the existence of evil which comes from the misuse of free will. A well-known objection holds that the exercise of free will is compatible with determinism and thus, if God exists, God could have predetermined exactly how the will would be exercised; God could even have predetermined that free will would be exercised sinlessly. Thus, it is held, the (...)
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  11. Hugh Chandler, Augustine's Argument for the Existence of God.
    Roughly speaking, Augustine claims that ‘Immutable Truth’ is superior to the human mind and, consequently a legitimate candidate for the role of God. Clearly there is such a thing as Immutable Truth. So either that is God, or there is something superior to Immutable Truth, and that superior thing is God. I spell out this argument, and offer some objections to it.
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  12. Hugh Chandler, Paley's 'Proof' of the Existence of God.
    Paley’s ‘proof’ of the existence of God, or some supposed version of it, is well known. In this paper I offer the real thing and two objections to it. One objection is my own, and the other is provided by Darwin.
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  13. Hugh Chandler, Paley's 'Proof' of the Existence of God.
  14. Samuel Clarke (1998). A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God and Other Writings. Cambridge University Press.
    Samuel Clarke was by far the most gifted and influential Newtonian philosopher of his generation, and A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, which constituted the 1704 Boyle Lectures, was one of the most important works of the first half of the eighteenth century, generating a great deal of controversy about the relation between space and God, the nature of divine necessary existence, the adequacy of the Cosmological Argument, agent causation, and the immateriality of the soul. Together with (...)
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  15. William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland (eds.) (2009). The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Blackwell Pub.
    Each of the in-depth essays explores at length a particular theistic argument - from Contingency and Consciousness to Reason and Religious Experience - with the ...
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  16. Fred Dallmayr (2012). A Secular Age? Reflections on Taylor and Panikkar. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 71 (3):189-204.
    During the last few years two major volumes have been published, both greatly revised versions of earlier Gifford Lectures: Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age ( 2007 ) and Raimon Panikkar’s The Rhythm of Being ( 2010 ). The two volumes are similar in some respects and very dissimilar in others. Both thinkers complain about the glaring blemishes of the modern, especially the contemporary age; both deplore above all a certain deficit of religiosity. The two authors differ, however, both in the (...)
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  17. John M. DePoe & Timothy J. McGrew (forthcoming). Natural Theology and the Uses of Argument. Philosophia Christi.
    Arguments in natural theology have recently increased in their number and level of sophistication. However, there has not been much analysis of the ways in which these arguments should be evaluated as good, taken collectively or individually. After providing an overview of some proposed goals and good-making criteria for arguments in natural theology, we provide an analysis that stands as a corrective to some of the ill-formed standards that are currently in circulation. Specifically, our analysis focuses on the relation between (...)
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  18. Frank B. Dilley (1977). Fool-Proof Proofs of God? International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (1):18 - 35.
    Two claims have been explored, the first, that fool-proof proofs of the sort that there could be if there were a God like the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not to be expected, on good religious grounds (a claim I found wanting); and second, that there cannot be philosophical proofs of God which work beyond reasonable doubt.The argument that there cannot be philosophical proofs beyond a reasonable doubt is supported by an examination of some of the fundamental issues (...)
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  19. Steven M. Duncan, Kant's Pre-Critical Proof for God's Existence.
    In his Beweisgrund (1762), Kant presents a sketch of "the only possible basis" for a proof of God's existence. In this essay, I attempt to present that proof as a valid and sound argument for the existence of God.
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  20. Matthew Frise (2013). The Mad, Bad, or God Argument Explained. Religious Studies 49 (4):581-589.
    According to Stephen Davis's Mad, Bad, or God (MBG) argument, Jesus must be divine since all other leading explanations of his alleged claim to be divine can be ruled out. I criticize Davis's argument and then sketch an ‘inference to best explanation’ MBG argument. I argue that proponents and critics of MBG arguments should focus on mine since it avoids common pitfalls at no cost and it best respects (for better or worse) a massive but too easily ignored body of (...)
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  21. Richard M. Gale & Alexander R. Pruss (eds.) (2003). The Existence of God.
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  22. J. C. A. Gaskin (1984). The Miracle of Theism. Philosophical Books 25 (1):43-45.
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  23. Paul Gilbert (2009). Et hoc dicimus Deum. Giornale di Metafisica 31 (3):465 - 480.
    The five ways to God or the so-called proofs of God’s existence according to St. Thomas require the study of numerous conditions of intelligibility. In principle ’Doctor communis’ excludes the possibility of an intuition of God. Thus, the existence of God is not seen as an object of intuition, unlike what exists in our common experience. Hence, the article attempts to specify the meaning of different terms like ’esse, essentia, existentia, esse actus, esse in actu’ and so forth. In conclusion (...)
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  24. Benedikt Paul Göcke (2013). An Analytic Theologian's Stance on the Existence of God. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (2).
    The existence of God is once again the focus of vivid philosophical discussion. From the point of view of analytic theology, however, people often talk past each other when they debate about the putative existence or nonexistence of God. In the worst case, for instance, atheists deny the existence of a God, which no theists ever claimed to exist. In order to avoid confusions like this we need to be clear about the function of the term 'God' in its different (...)
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  25. Stewart Goetz (2010). The God of Consciousness: A Review Essay on Recent Work by J. P. Moreland. Philosophia Christi 12 (1):189 - 200.
    In his two first-rate books, ’Consciousness and the Existence of God: A Theistic Argument’ and ’The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism’, J. P. Moreland argues that our existence as conscious beings presents insurmountable problems for naturalism and evidence for theism. In this review, I summarize Moreland’s treatment of three issues in scientific theory acceptance, which he claims are relevant to determining which worldview, theism or naturalism, is better able to explain the existence of conscious mental (...)
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  26. Tyron Goldschmidt (2012). The Rainbow of Experiences, Critical Trust and God: A Defense of Holistic Empiricism. By Kai-Man Kwan. [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 29 (4):472-478.
  27. Mitchell S. Green (2006). Engaging Philosophy: A Brief Introduction. Hackett Pub.
    This brief book introduces students and general readers to philosophy through core questions and topics -- particularly those involving ethics, the existence of God, free will, the relation of mind and body, and what it is to be a person. It also features a chapter on reasoning, both theoretical and practical, that develops an account of both cogent logical reasoning and rational decision-making. Throughout, the emphasis is on initiating newcomers to philosophy through rigorous yet lively consideration of some of the (...)
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  28. Jeremy Gwiazda (2009). Richard Swinburne, 'The Existence of God'. Sophia 48 (4):393 - 398.
    Swinburne relies on principle P in ’The Existence of God’ to argue that God is simple and thus likely to exist. In this paper, I argue that Swinburne does not support P. In particular, his arguments from mathematical simplicity and scientists’ preferences both fail. Given the central role P plays in Swinburne’s overall argument in ’The Existence of God’, I conclude that Swinburne should further support P if his argument that God likely exists is to be persuasive.
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  29. Hans Halvorson, Cosmology and Theology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  30. Ayatollahy Hamidreza (2008). The Existence of God: Mulla Sadra's Seddiqin Argument Vs. Criticisms of Kant and Hume. Philosophy East and West 58 (2):283 - 285.
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  31. William Hasker (2002). Is Christianity Probable? Swinburne's Apologetic Programme. Religious Studies 38 (3):253-264.
    Richard Swinburne's tetralogy on Christian doctrine, together with his earlier trilogy on the philosophy of theism, is one of the most important apologetic projects of recent times. This paper focuses on some difficulties with this project that stem from Swinburne's use of confirmation theory. Arguably, the problem of dwindling probabilities, pointed out by Plantinga, has not been solved. The paper is principally focused, however, on the ways in which Swinburne's confirmation theory contributes to his comparative neglect of the personal, existential (...)
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  32. Daniel Howard-Snyder (2004). Was Jesus Mad, Bad, or God? . . . Or Merely Mistaken? Faith and Philosophy 21 (4):456-479.
    Reprinted in Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology, Volume 1: Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement, Oxford 2009, ed. Michael Rea. A popular argument for the divinity of Jesus goes like this. Jesus claimed to be divine, but if his claim was false, then either he was insane (mad) or lying (bad), both of which are very unlikely; so, he was divine. I present two objections to this argument. The first, the dwindling probabilities objection, contends that even if we make generous probability assignments (...)
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  33. Christoph Jäger (ed.) (1998). Analytische Religionsphilosophie. UTB.
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  34. Philip Kitcher (2004). The Many-Sided Conflict Between Religion and Science. In William Mann (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Religion. Blackwell Pub..
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  35. William Lauinger (2012). Well-Being and Theism: Linking Ethics to God. Continuum.
    Well-Being and Theism is divided into two distinctive parts. The first part argues that desire-fulfillment welfare theories fail to capture the 'good' part of ‘good for’, and that objective list welfare theories fail to capture the 'for' part of ‘good for’. Then, with the aim of capturing both of these parts of ‘good for’, a hybrid theory–one which places both a value constraint and a desire constraint on well-being–is advanced. Lauinger then defends this proposition, which he calls the desire-perfectionism theory, (...)
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  36. Martin Lin (2007). Spinoza's Arguments for the Existence of God. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):269-297.
    It is often thought that, although <span class='Hi'>Spinoza</span> develops a bold and distinctive conception of God (the unique substance, or Natura Naturans, in which all else inheres and which possesses infinitely many attributes, including extension), the arguments that he offers which purport to prove God’s existence contribute nothing new to natural theology. Rather, he is seen as just another participant in the seventeenthcentury revival of the ontological argument initiated by Descartes and taken up by Malebranche and Leibniz among others. That (...)
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  37. J. L. Mackie (1982). The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and Against the Existence of God. Oxford University Press.
    The late John L. Mackie, formerly of University College, Oxford.
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  38. Jacqueline Mariña (2012). Theism in 19th and 20th Century Intellectual Life. In Charles Taliaferro, Victoria Harrison & Stewart Goetz (eds.), Routledge Companion to Theism. Routledge.
    This chapter traces how theism was developed by leading 19th and 20th century figures (Schleiermacher, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Rahner, and Tillich) responding to Kant’s Copernican revolution in philosophy. Part one deals with the ontological nature of subjectivity itself and what it reveals about the conditions of the possibility of a subject’s relation to the Absolute. Part two explores the role of subjectivity and interiority in the individual’s relation to God, and part three takes a look at the theme of the (...)
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  39. Leslie Marsh (2007). Taking the Super Out of the Supernatural. Zygon 42 (2):356.
    Metaphysical dualities divorce humankind from its natural environment, dualities that can precipitate environmental disaster. Loyal Rue in Religion Is Not About God (2005) seeks to resolve the abstract modalities of religion and naturalism in a unified monistic ecocentric metaphysic characterized as religious naturalism. Rue puts forward proposals for a general naturalistic theory of religion, a theory that lays bare the structural and functional features of religious phenomena as the critical first step on the road to badly needed religion-science realignment. Only (...)
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  40. G. Randolph Mayes (1990). Ross and Scotus on the Existence of God: Two Proofs From Possibility. The Thomist 54 (1):97-114.
    In his Philosophical Theology James Ross claims to have uncovered an assumption essential to the proof of God's existence advanced by Duns Scotus: the equivalence of logical and real possibility. Ross argues that the omission is reparable, and that Scotus's proof is ultimately satisfactory. In this paper I examine his claim and determine that while Scotus may have believed there to be a significant connection between these two concepts, his proof of God does not depend on it. Ross's attempt to (...)
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  41. Chad V. Meister (2009). Introducing Philosophy of Religion. Routledge.
    Introduction -- Religion and the philosophy of religion -- Religion and the world religions -- Philosophy and the philosophy of religion -- Philosophy of religion timeline -- Religious beliefs and practices -- Religious diversity and pluralism -- The diversity of religions -- Religious inclusivism and exclusivism -- Religious pluralism -- Religious relativism -- Evaluating religious systems -- Religious tolerance -- Conceptions of ultimate reality -- Ultimate reality : the absolute and the void -- Ultimate reality : a personal God -- (...)
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  42. Lawrence Moonan (2011). Re-Tracing the Five Famous Ways of 'Summa Theologiae' I.2.3. International Philosophical Quarterly 51 (204):437 - 450.
    Aquinas’s ’five ways’ are not to be understood as demonstrative proofs, successful or not, for the existence of God. Rather, they provide a necessary step towards supplying licensable surrogates for the essential predications that cannot logically be drawn from the incomprehensible nature of God, yet would seem needed for the ’Summa‘s declared genre of argued theology. (Predication ’secundum analogiam’ provides surrogates for nonrelational accidental predications, likewise unavailable.) What Aquinas is proving in arguing ’deum esse’ in ’St’ I.2.3 is not God’s (...)
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  43. J. P. Moreland, K. A. Sweis & Ch V. Meister (eds.) (2013). Debating Christian Theism.
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  44. Mark T. Nelson (1996). Who Are the Best Judges of Theistic Arguments? Sophia 35 (2):1-12.
    The best judge of the soundness of a philosophical argument is the philosopher with the greatest philosophical aptitude, the deepest knowledge of the relevant subject matter, the most scrupulous character, and a disinterested position with respect to the subject matter. This last feature is important because even a highly intelligent and scrupulous judge may find it hard to reach the right conclusion about a subject in which he or she has a vested interest. When the subject of inquiry is the (...)
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  45. Timothy O'Connor (1994). An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24 (4):527-540.
    In his recently published two-volume work in epistemology,1 Alvin Plantinga rounds out the discussion (in characteristic fashion) with a subtle and ingenious argument for a striking claim: in this case, his conclusion is that belief in evolutionary naturalism is irrational. Now this claim is not of itself so very surprising; the tantalizing feature here lies rather in the nature of the argument itself. Plantinga contends that taking seriously the hypothesis of evolutionary naturalism [hereafter, N&E] ought to undermine one's confidence in (...)
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  46. Graham Robert Oppy (2006). Arguing About Gods. Cambridge University Press.
    Graham Oppy examines contemporary arguments for and against the existence of God. He shows that none of these arguments are persuasive enough to change the minds of those participants on the question of the existence of God. His conclusion is supported by detailed analyses of contemporary arguments, as well as by the development of a theory about the purpose of arguments, and the criteria that should be used in judging whether or not an argument is successful. Oppy discusses the work (...)
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  47. Timothy Pawl (2012). The Five Ways. In Brian Davies & Eleonore Stump (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas. Oxford University Press.
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  48. Alvin Plantinga (1991). ``An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism&Quot. Logos 12:27--48.
    Only in rational creatures is there found a likeness of God which counts as an image . . . . As far as a likeness of the divine nature is concerned, rational creatures seem somehow to attain a representation of [that] type in virtue of imitating God not only in this, that he is and lives, but especially in this, that he understands (ST Ia Q.93 a.6).
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  49. Alvin Plantinga (1986). Is Theism Really a Miracle? Faith and Philosophy 3 (2):109-134.
    In this paper I outline and discuss the central claims and arguments of J. L. Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism. Mackie argues, in essence, that none of the traditional theistic arguments is successful taken either one at a time or in tandem, that the theist does nothave a satisfactory response to the problem of evil, and that on balance the theistic hypothesis is much less probable than is its denial. He then concludes that theism is unsatisfactory and rationally unacceptable. I (...)
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  50. Alvin Plantinga (1967). God and Other Minds. Cornell University Press.
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