I know that the GAFCON leaders would want us to express the various questions that naturally come to mind as we contemplate what they have said to us. Just as they wouldn’t want anyone to swallow uncritically the latest pronouncement from Canterbury or New York, so clearly they wouldn’t want us merely to glance at their document, see that it’s ‘all about the gospel’, and then conclude that we must sign up without thinking through what’s being said and why. It (...) is in that spirit that I raise certain questions…. (shrink)
Our question presupposes a contrast between theoretical beliefs and non-theoretical beliefs. If there is no such contrast, then there is no sensible question to be asked concerning whether beliefs about God are theoretical beliefs. With what, then, are theoretical beliefs to be contrasted? We might contrast theoretical beliefs with observational beliefs, where observational beliefs have a content that reports the result of direct observation. Given this way of drawing the theoretical/non-theoretical distinction, many people obviously have beliefs about God that are (...) theoretical, and many people obviously have beliefs about God that are non-theoretical, mystics and ordinary pew-folk alike. If we focus on function rather than content , we might contrast theoretical beliefs, those used in an explanatory way, with those that are not so used. On this way of drawing the contrast, many people obviously have theoretical beliefs about God. After all, many theists use some of their beliefs about God to answer sundry "why" questions; and a belief that is deployed to answer a "why" question is deployed in an explanatory way. Nevertheless, on this way of drawing the contrast, many theists obviously have non-theoretical beliefs about God, as both a brief conversation with one actively engaged in a living theistic religion and a look at various creeds would reveal. (shrink)
1. Peter van Inwagen, What is the Problem of the Hiddenness of God? 2. J.L. Schellenberg, What the Hiddenness of God Reveals: A Collaborative Discussion 3. Michael J. Murray, Deus Absconditus 4. Laura L. Garcia, St. John of the Cross and the Necessity of Divine Hiddenness 5. William J. Wainwright, Jonathan Edwards and the Hiddenness of God 6. Paul K. Moser, Divine Hiding and Cognitive Idolatry 7. Jonathan L. Kvanvig, Divine Hiddenness: What is the Problem? 8. M. Jamie Ferreira, (...) A Kierkegaardian View of Divine Hiddenness 9. Jacob Joshua Ross, The Hiddenness of God: A Puzzle or a Real Problem? 10. Paul Draper, Seeking But Not Believing: Confessions of a Practicing Agnostic 11. Nicholas Wolterstorff, The Silence of the God Who Speaks.. (shrink)
Many arguments from evil at least tacitly rely on something like the following line of thought: The Inference. Since, on sustained reflection, we don’t see how any reason would justify God in permitting all the evil and suffering in the world, there is no such reason.1 Typically, the conclusion is more nuanced: “it is very likely that there is no such reason” or “more likely than not” or “more likely than it otherwise would be”. Some critics reject the premise: we (...) can see how God would be justified, they say. Others accept the premise but argue that better evidence rebuts the conclusion. Still others represent skepticism: the premise is true but, even if there are no rebutters, other considerations undercut the Inference.2 In this essay I aim to assess an increasingly popular objection to skepticism. (shrink)
By my lights, there is much to be happy about in GAFCON’s Final Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration. There are several sources of concern, however. These documents (i) misrepresent the traditional, biblical teaching on marriage, (ii) appear to add to the apostolic gospel and may well in fact do so, (iii) focus on a teaching that pales in comparison with much weightier heterodoxy that runs rampant amongst the leadership of the present North American Anglican provinces, (iv) reject the authority of (...) the Archbishop of Canterbury, with all that entails with respect to the Instruments of Unity and Anglican identity, and (v) affirm Articles 1, 5, 8, 21, and 37 of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, all of which contain dubious elements. With a pedigree like this it seems neither wise nor right for orthodox, biblically faithful Anglicans to assent to the Statement or Declaration, nor for the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Anglican Church in North America to require such assent for membership. In light of these concerns, I make several friendly suggestions to the leaders of these new Anglican bodies. (shrink)
Evil, it is often said, poses a problem for theism, the view that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, "God," for short. This problem is usually called "the problem of evil." But this is a bad name for what philosophers study under that rubric. They study what is better thought of as an argument, or a host of arguments, rather than a problem. Of course, an argument from evil against theism can be both an argument and a (...) problem. Some people realize this for the first time when they assert an argument from evil in print and someone publishes a .reply in which numerous defects and oversights are laid bare for the public eye. And if it turns out that there is a God and He doesn't take kindly to such arguments, then an argument from evil might be a big problem, a very big problem, for one who sincerely propounds it. Typically, however, an argument from evil is not thought to be a problem for the atheist. But if not for the atheist, for whom is an argument from evil a "problem"? (shrink)
Revisionary ontologists are making a comeback. Quasi-nihilists, like Peter van Inwagen and Trenton Merricks, insist that the only composite objects that exist are living things. Unrestriced universalists, like W.V.O. Quine, David Lewis, Mark Heller, and Hud Hudson, insist that any collection of objects composes something, no matter how scattered over time and space they may be. And there are more besides.1 The result, says Eli Hirsch, is that many commonsense judgments about the existence or identity of highly visible physical objects (...) are a priori necessarily false. In a “last ditch effort” to bring revisionary ontologists back to their senses, Hirsch marshalls what he calls the Argument from Charity.2 We can be sure that there are tables and chairs and that there are no fusions of Plato’s nose and the Eiffel Tower, says Hirsch, because these commonsense platitudes are a logical consequence of the well-known principle of interpretive charity applied to natural languages, like English. In what follows, I assess the Argument from Charity. My conclusion is that if this is the best we can do to save revisionary ontologists, they are surely lost forever. (shrink)
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), whose leaders govern well over half of the 80 million Anglicans worldwide, have put forward ‘a contemporary rule,’ called The Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the Anglican realignment movement. The FCA and its affiliates, e.g. the newly-formed Anglican Church in North America, require assent to the Declaration. To date, there has been little serious appraisal of the Declaration and the status accorded to it. I aim to correct that omission. Unlike ap-praisals in the social media, (...) however, mine grants the FCA’s conservative stand on same-sex unions and homosexual practice. Nevertheless, I argue, the Declaration mischaracterizes the traditional Christian teaching on marriage, binds Anglicans to falsehoods and dubieties in the Thirty-Nine Articles, and adds to the gospel. Two things follow. First, no one—especially no Anglican who identifies herself as con-servative, traditional, orthodox, evangelical, Anglo-catholic or simply concerned with the truth—should assent to the Jerusalem Declaration. Second, since the FCA and its affiliates know that these defects ex-ist in the Declaration, they should fess up to these shortcomings and retract the Declaration’s status as ‘a contemporary rule’ and they should stop requiring assent to it. Anything less constitutes intellectual dis-honesty of a most egregious sort. (shrink)
Reprinted in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, Wadsworth 2013, 6th edition, with an additional section entitled, "Reasons for the Common View," eds Michael Rea and Louis Pojman. What is propositional faith? At a first approximation, we might answer that it is the psychological attitude picked out by standard uses of the English locution “S has faith that p,” where p takes declarative sentences as instances, as in “He has faith that they’ll win”. Although correct, this answer is not nearly as (...) informative as we might like. Many people say that there is a more informative answer. They say that, at the very least, propositional faith requires propositional belief. More precisely, they say that faith that p requires belief that p or that it must be partly constituted by belief that p. This view is common enough; call it the Common View. I have two main aims in this paper: (i) to exhibit the falsity of the Common View and the paucity of reasons for it, and (ii) to sketch a more accurate and comprehensive account of what propositional faith is. (shrink)
J.L. Mackie’s version of the logical problem of evil is a failure, as even he came to recognize. Contrary to current mythology, however, its failure was not established by Alvin Plantinga’s Free Will Defense. That’s because a defense is successful only if it is not reasonable to refrain from believing any of the claims that constitute it, but it is reasonable to refrain from believing the central claim of Plantinga’s Free Will Defense, namely the claim that, possibly, every essence suffers (...) from transworld depravity. (shrink)
Dennis Whitcomb argues that there is no God on the grounds that (i) God is omniscient, yet (ii) nothing could be omniscient due to the nature of grounding. We give a formally identical argument that concludes that one of the present co-authors does not exist. Since he does exist, Whitcomb’s argument is unsound. But why is it unsound? That is a difficult question. We venture two answers. First, one of the grounding principles that the argument relies on is false. Second, (...) the argument equivocates between two kinds of grounding: instance-grounding and quasi-mereological grounding. Happily, the equivocation can be avoided; unhappily, avoidance comes at the price of a false premise. (shrink)
This paper assesses J. L. Schellenberg’s account of propositional faith and, in light of that assessment, sketches an alternative that avoids certain objections and coheres better with Schellenberg’s aims.
This is a basic logic text for first-time logic students. Custom-made texts from the chapters is an option as well. And there is a website to go with text too: http://www.poweroflogic.com/cgi/menu.cgi .
Foundationalists distinguish basic from nonbasic beliefs. At a first approximation, to say that a belief of a person is basic is to say that it is epistemically justified and it owes its justification to something other than her other beliefs, where “belief” refers to the mental state that goes by that name. To say that a belief of a person is nonbasic is to say that it is epistemically justified and not basic. Two theses constitute Foundationalism: (a) Minimality: There are (...) some basic beliefs, and (b) Exclusivity: If there are any nonbasic beliefs, that is solely because they (ultimately) owe their justification to some basic belief. Proponents of Minimality but not Exclusivity endorse Minimal Foundationalism. Proponents of Exclusivity but not Minimality endorse either Epistemic Nihilism, the view that there are no justified beliefs, or some non-foundationalist epistemology such as Coherentism or Infinitism. In this essay I aim to characterize the notion of a basic belief more precisely and to assess some arguments for and against Foundationalism. In the process, I hope to exhibit the resilience and attractiveness of Foundationalism. (shrink)
The fact that our asking God to do something can make a difference to what he does underwrites the point of petitionary prayer. Here, however, a puzzle arises: Either doing what we ask is the best God can do or it is not. If it is, then our asking won’t make any difference to whether he does it. If it is not, then our asking won’t make any difference to whether he does it. So, our asking won’t make any difference (...) to whether God does it. Our asking is therefore pointless. In this paper, we try to solve this puzzle without denying either that God must do the best he can or that petitioning God can make a difference to what he does. (shrink)
Reprinted in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, Wadsworth, 2013, 6th edition, eds. Michael Rea and Louis Pojman. In this essay, I argue that the moral skepticism objection to what is badly named "skeptical theism" fails.
This paper summarizes a version of the argument from evil for atheism and then assesses several theodicies, including those that appeal to punishment, evil as a necessary counterpart for good, free will, natural evil as natural consequence, natural law, higher-order goods, and the conjunctive "Big Reason" including all the above and more beside.
Foundationalism is false; after all, foundational beliefs are arbitrary, they do not solve the epistemic regress problem, and they cannot exist withoutother (justified) beliefs. Or so some people say. In this essay, we assess some arguments based on such claims, arguments suggested in recent work by Peter Klein and Ernest Sosa.
Nonskeptical foundationalists say that there are basic beliefs. But, one might object, either there is a reason why basic beliefs are likely to be true or there is not. If there is, then they are not basic; if there is not, then they are arbitrary. I argue that this dilemma is not nearly as decisive as its author, Peter Klein, would have us believe.
Contemporary foundationalists prefer Moderate Foundationalism over Strong Foundationalism. In this paper, we assess two arguments against the former which have been recently defended by Timothy McGrew. Three theses are central to the discussion: that only beliefs can be probabilifying evidence, that justification is internal, in McGrew’s sense of the term, and that only beliefs can be nonarbitrary justifying reasons.
In this essay, I assess Keith Lehrer's case against Foundationalism, which consists of variations on three objections: The Independent Information or Belief Objection, The Risk of Error Objection, and the Hidden Argument Objection. I conclude that each objection fails for reasons that can be endorsed – indeed, I would say for reasons that should be endorsed – by antifoundationalists and foundationalists alike.
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 (...) to the relevant pieces of evidence for Jesus’ divinity, the probability calculus tell us to suspend judgement on the matter. The second, and more telling objection in my opinion, the merely mistaken objection, contends that it is no less plausible to suppose that Jesus was neither mad nor bad but merely mistaken than that he was divine. (shrink)
lnfallibilism is the view that a belief cannot be at once warranted and false. In this essay we assess three nonpartisan arguments for infallibilism, arguments that do not depend on a prior commitment to some substantive theory of warrant. Three premises, one from each argument, are most significant: (1) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then the Geltier Problem cannot be solved; (2) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then its warrant can (...) be transferred to an accidentally true belief; (3) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then it can be warranted and accidentally true. We argue that each of these is either false or no more plausible than its denial. Along the way, we offer a solution to the Gettier Problem that is compatible with fallibilism. (shrink)
Michael J. Murray defends the traditional doctrine of hell by arguing directly against its chief competitor, universalism. Universalism, says Murray, comes in “naïve” and “sophisticated” forms. Murray poses two arguments against naïve universalism before focusing on sophisticated universalism, which is his real target. He proceeds in this fashion because he thinks that his arguments against sophisticated universalism are more easily motivated against naïve universalism, and once their force is clearly seen in the naïve case they will be more clearly seen (...) in the sophisticated. In this essay, I argue that Murray’s arguments against naïve universalism have no force whatsoever. (shrink)
According to the Christian religion, Jesus was “crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again”. I take it that this rising again—the Resurrection of Jesus, as it’s sometimes called—is, according to the Christian religion, an historical event, just like his crucifixion, death, and burial. And I would have thought that to investigate whether the Resurrection occurred, we would need to do some historical research: we would need to assess the reliability of (...) the New Testament documents and related manuscripts; we would need to look into the credibility of the witnesses to his post-mortem appearances, the empty tomb, and the like. The task looks rather daunting. But, according to David Hume, we don’t have to do anything of the kind. For no matter how strong the testimony in favor of a miracle is—indeed, even if we “suppose…that the testimony considered apart and in itself, amounts to an entire proof”—we have at our disposal a “full proof…against the existence of any miracle”. So we can avoid all that tedious historical work. We can simply use Hume’s shortcut, a proof against the existence of any miracle, and hence a proof against the Resurrection. So Hume says he has a “a decisive argument,” “an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion,” superstitious delusions like the Resurrection. There is good news and bad news in Hume’s proclamation. The good news is that he really has two arguments, not just one—or, at any rate, many scholars discern in his writings two arguments. The bad news is that neither succeeds; at any rate, try as I might, I can’t see how they do. (shrink)
Reprinted in Philosophical and Theological Essays on the Trinity, Oxford, 2009, eds Michael Rea and Thomas McCall. In this essay, I assess a certain version of ’social Trinitarianism’ put forward by J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, ’trinity monotheism’. I first show how their response to a familiar anti-Trinitarian argument arguably implies polytheism. I then show how they invoke three tenets central to their trinity monotheism in order to avoid that implication. After displaying these tenets more fully, I argue (...) that Trinitarians would do well to hold Moreland’s and Craig’s trinity monotheism at arms length. (shrink)
Preprinted in God and the Problem of Evil(Blackwell 2001), ed. William Rowe. Many people deny that evil makes belief in atheism more reasonable for us than belief in theism. After all, they say, the grounds for belief in God are much better than the evidence for atheism, including the evidence provided by evil. We will not join their ranks on this occasion. Rather, we wish to consider the proposition that, setting aside grounds for belief in God and relying only on (...) the background knowledge shared in common by nontheists and theists, evil makes belief in atheism more reasonable for us than belief in theism. Our aim is to argue against this proposition. We recognize that in doing so, we face a formidable challenge. It’s one thing to say that evil presents a reason for atheism that is, ultimately, overridden by arguments for theism. It’s another to say that it doesn’t so much as provide us with a reason for atheism in the first place. In order to make this latter claim seem initially more plausible, consider the apparent design of the mammalian eye or the apparent fine-tuning of the universe to support life. These are often proposed as reasons to believe in theism. Critics commonly argue not merely that these supposed reasons for theism are overridden by arguments for atheism but rather that they aren’t good reasons for theism in the first place. Our parallel proposal with respect to evil and atheism is, initially at least, no less plausible than this proposal with respect to apparent design and theism. (shrink)
Preprinted in God and the Problem of Evil (Blackwell 2001), ed. William Rowe. In this article, we reply to Bill Rowe's "Evil is Evidence Against Theistic Belief" in Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion (Blackwell 2003).
Donald Davidson’s epistemology is predicated on, among other things, the rejection of Experiential Foundationalism, which he calls ‘unintelligible’. In this essay, I assess Davidson’s arguments for this conclusion. I conclude that each of them fails on the basis of reasons that foundationalists and antifoundationalists alike can, and should, accept.
For many people the existence of God is by no means a sufficiently clear feature of reality. This problem, the fact of divine hiddenness, has been a source of existential concern and has sometimes been taken as a rationale for support of atheism or agnosticism. In this new collection of essays, a distinguished group of philosophers of religion explore the question of divine hiddenness in considerable detail. The issue is approached from several perspectives including Jewish, Christian, atheist and agnostic. There (...) is coverage of the historical treatment of divine hiddenness as found in the work of Maimonides, St. John of the Cross, Jonathan Edwards, Kierkegaard, and various Biblical writers. A substantial introduction clarifies the main problems of and leading solutions to divine hiddenness. Primarily directed at philosophers of religion, theologians, and scholars of religious studies, this collection could also serve as a textbook for upper-level courses in philosophy of religion. (shrink)
We argue that Michael Peterson's and William Hasker's attempts to show that God and gratuitous evil are compatible constitute miserable failures. We then sketch Peter van Inwagen's attempt to do the same and conclude that, to date, no one has shown his attempt a failure.
Laurence BonJour observes that critics of foundationalism tend to argue against it by objecting to "relatively idiosyncratic" versions of it, a strategy which has "proven in the main to be superficial and ultimately ineffective" since answers immune to the objections emerge quickly (1985: 17). He aims to rectify this deficiency. Specifically, he argues that the very soul of foundationalism, "the concept of a basic empirical belief," is incoherent (1985: 30). This is a bold strategy from which we can learn even (...) if, in the end, as I shall argue, it fails. (shrink)
It used to be widely held by philosophers that God and evil are incompatible.1 Not any longer. Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense is largely responsible for this shift. Indeed, Robert Adams avers that "it is fair to say that Plantinga has solved this problem. That is, he has argued convincingly for the consistency of [God and evil]."2 And William Alston writes that "Plantinga...has established the possibility that God could not actualize a world containing free creatures that always do the right (...) thing."3 You might expect praise like this from Christian philosophers. You might not expect it from William Rowe, one of the foremost atheistic philosophers of our day, but this is precisely what we find. Rowe writes. (shrink)
The need to address our question arises from two sources, one in Kant and the other in a certain type of response to so-called Reformed epistemology. The first source consists in a tendency to distinguish theoretical beliefs from practical beliefs (commitments to the world's being a certain way versus commitments to certain pictures to live by), and to treat theistic belief as mere practical belief. We trace this tendency in Kant's corpus, and compare and contrast it with Aquinas's view and (...) a more conservative Kantian view. We reject the theistic-belief-as-mere-practical-belief view: it is bad descriptive anthropology, it embraces a misguided ideal of a fragmented self unattainable by human beings, and it will deter people from the most desirable sort of faith. The second source consists in the idea that since theistic beliefs function as answers to why-questions, their epistemic status hangs on whether they meet certain distinctively explanatory standards, whatever support they might receive from other sources. We argue that this is a non-sequitur and suggest questions for further research. (shrink)
Many people are perplexed that God (if such there be) does not make His existence more evident. For many of them, the hiddenness of God puts their faith in God to the test. Others, however, claim that God’s hiddeness is the basis of an argument against God’s existence. While this claim is no newcomer to religious reflection, it has been the focus of renewed debate since the 1990’s. In this essay, I examine J.L. Schellenberg's version of the argument from divine (...) hiddenness for atheism. (shrink)
Is evil evidence against the existence of God? Even if God and evil are compatible, it remains hotly contested whether evil renders belief in God unreasonable. The Evidential Argument from Evil presents five classic statements on this issue by eminent philosophers and theologians and places them in dialogue with eleven original essays reflecting new thinking by these and other scholars. The volume focuses on two versions of the argument. The first affirms that there is no reason for God to permit (...) either certain specific horrors or the variety and profusion of undeserved suffering. The second asserts that pleasure and pain, given their biological role, are better explained by hypotheses other than theism. -/- Contributors include William P. Alston, Paul Draper, Richard M. Gale, Daniel Howard-Snyder, Alvin Plantinga, William L. Rowe, Bruce Russell, Eleonore Stump, Richard G. Swinburne, Peter van Inwagen, and Stephen John Wykstra. (shrink)
This collection of essays is dedicated to William Rowe, with great affection, respect, and admiration. The philosophy of religion, once considered a deviation from an otherwise analytically rigorous discipline, has flourished over the past two decades. This collection of new essays by twelve distinguished philosophers of religion explores three broad themes: religious attitudes of faith, belief, acceptance, and love; human and divine freedom; and the rationality of religious belief. Contributors include: William Alston, Robert Audi, Jan Cover, Martin Curd, Peter van (...) Inwagen, Norman Kretzmann, George Nakhnikian, John Hawthorne, Philip Quinn, James Ross, Eleonore Stump, and William Wainwright. (shrink)
Following Hume’s lead, Paul Draper argues that, given the biological role played by both pain and pleasure in goal-directed organic systems, the observed facts about pain and pleasure in the world are antecedently much more likely on the Hypothesis of Indifference than on theism. I examine one by one Draper’s arguments for this claim and show how they miss the mark.
Recent work on the evidential argument from evil offers us sundry considerations which are intended to weigh against this form of atheological arguments. By far the most provocative is that on a priori grounds alone, evil can be shown to be evidentially impotent. This astonishing thesis has been given a vigorous defense by Keith Yandell. In this paper, we shall measure the prospects for an a priori dismissal of evidential arguments from evil.
Imagine that there exists a good, essentially omniscient and omnipotent being named Jove, and that there exists nothing else. No possible being is more powerful or knowledgable. Out of his goodness, Jove decides to create. Since he is all-powerful, there is nothing but the bounds of possibility to prevent him from getting what he wants. Unfortunately, as he holds before his mind the host of worlds, Jove sees that for each there is a better one. Although he can create any (...) of them, he can't create the best of them because there is no best. Faced with this predicament, Jove first sorts the worlds according to certain criteria. For example, he puts on his left worlds in which some inhabitants live lives that aren't worth living and on his right worlds in which every inhabitant's life is worth living; he puts on his left worlds in which some horrors fail to serve an outweighing good and on his right worlds in which no horror fails to serve an outweighing good. (We encourage the reader to use her own criteria.) Then he orders the right hand worlds according to their goodness and assigns to each a positive natural number, the worst of the lot receiving '1', the second worst '2', and so on. Next, he creates a very intricate device that, at the push of a button, will randomly select a number and produce the corresponding world. Jove pushes the button; the device hums and whirs and, finally, its digital display reads '777': world no. 777 comes into being. (shrink)
It is common these days for theists to argue that we aren’t justified in believing atheism on the basis of evil. They claim that neither facts about particular horrors nor more holistic considerations pertaining to the magnitude, kinds and distribution of evil can ground atheism since we can't tell whether any evil is gratuitous.1 In this paper we explore a novel strategy for shedding light on these issues: we compare the atheist who claims that there is no morally sufficient reason (...) for certain evils with the physicist who claims that there is no causally sufficient reason for some events. (shrink)
Many Christian theodicists believe that God's creating us with the capacity to love Him and each other justifies, in large part, God's permitting evil. For example, after reminding us that, according to Christian doctrine, the supreme good for human beings is to enter into a reciprocal love relationship with God, Vincent Brummer recently wrote: In creating human persons in order to love them, God necessarily assumes vulnerability in relation to them. In fact, in this relation, he becomes even more vulnerable (...) than we do, since he cannot count on the steadfastness of our love the way we can count on his steadfastness.... If God did not grant us the ability to sin and cause affliction to him and to one another, we would not have the kind of free and autonomous existence necessary to enter into a relation of love with God and with one another.... Far from contradicting the value which the free will defence places upon the freedom and responsibility of human persons, the idea of a loving God necessarily entails it. In this way we can see that the free will defence is based on the love of God rather than on the supposed intrinsic value of human freedom and responsibility.1 And Peter van Inwagen recently put the same point this way. (shrink)
This volume collects nine essays published by Peter van Inwagen between 1977 and 1995. Part I features, among other things, modal skepticism with respect to ontological arguments and arguments from evil. Part II addresses certain tensions Christians may feel between modern biology, critical studies of the New Testament, and the comparative study of religions, on the one hand, and Christian orthodoxy, on the other. Part III deploys a formal logic of relative identity to model the internal consistency of the orthodox (...) doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. In what follows, we summarize and reflect on five essays. (shrink)
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