Open theists deny that God knows future contingents. Most open theists justify this denial by adopting the position that there are no future contingent truths to be known. In this paper we examine some of the arguments put forward for this position in two recent articles in this journal, one by Dale Tuggy and one by Alan Rhoda, Gregory Boyd, and Thomas Belt. The arguments concern time, modality, and the semantics of ‘will’ statements. We explain why we find none of (...) these arguments persuasive. This wide road leads only to destruction. (shrink)
Graham Oppy has emerged as one of the kalam cosmological argument’s most formidable opponents. He rejects all four of the arguments drawn from metaphysics and physics for the second premiss that the universe began to exist. He also thinks that we have no good reason to accept the first premiss that everything that begins to exist has a cause. In this response, I hope to show that the kalam cosmological argument is, in fact, considerably stronger than Oppy claims, surviving even (...) his trenchant critique. (shrink)
While declaring philosophy to be dead, Hawking and Mlodinow are deeply engaged in philosophical speculation. Their treatment of the origin and fine tuning of the universe, though unsympathetic to theism, turns out upon examination to be quite supportive of natural theology.
Graham Oppy’s interesting analysis of the “causal shape” of reality conflates causal ordering with temporal ordering of causes and assigns the wrong causal shape to reality as conceived by many classical theists. His argument for the possibility of uncaused beginnings is also hobbled by his tendency to ignore the crucial issue of the objective reality of tense and temporal becoming. Oppy’s claims that only certain types of things can come into being uncaused at a first moment of time and that (...) things cannot now come into being uncaused are examined and found implausible and explanatorily vacuous. (shrink)
Wes Morriston argues that even if we take an endless series of events to be merely potentially, rather than actually, infinite, still no distinction between a beginningless and an endless series of events has been established which is relevant to arguments against the metaphysical possibility of an actually infinite number of things: if a beginningless series is impossible, so is an endless series. The success of Morriston’s argument, however, comes to depend on rejecting the characterization of an endless series of (...) events as a potential infinite. It turns out that according to his own analysis it is vitally relevant whether the series of events is potentially, as opposed to actually, infinite. If it is reasonable to maintain that an endless series of events is potentially infinite while a beginningless series is actually infinite, then a relevant distinction has been established for any person who thinks that an actual infinite cannot exist. (shrink)
John Meier distinguishes ‘the real Jesus’ from ‘the historical Jesus’. Meier claims that whatever happened to the real Jesus after his death, his resurrection cannot belong to the historical Jesus because that event is in principle not open to the observation of any observer. But why think that the resurrection is not observable in this way? Meier finds justification in Gerald O'Collins' view that although the resurrection of Jesus is a real event, it is not an event in space and (...) time and hence should not be called historical, since a necessary condition of historical occurrences is that they are known to have happened in our space-time continuum. Is this a good argument for the resurrection's being in principle excludable from the historical Jesus? A close examination of the argument reveals that it is not and that Meier's adoption of such a procedure contradicts Meier's own historical methodology. (shrink)
Alexander Vilenkin’s recent book is a wonderful popular introduction to contemporary cosmology. It contains provocative discussions of both the beginning of the universe and the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life. Vilenkin is a prominent exponent of the multiverse hypothesis, which features in the book’s title. His defense of this hypothesis depends in a crucial and interesting way on conflating time and space. His claim that his theory of the quantum creation of the universe explains the origin of the (...) universe from nothing trades on a misunderstanding of "nothing.". (shrink)
An examination of time as featured in the General Theory of Relativity, which supercedes Einstein’s Special Theory, serves to rekindle the issue of the existenceof absolute time. In application to cosmology, Einstein’s General Theory yields models of the universe featuring a worldwide time which is the same for all observers in the universe regardless of their relative motion. Such a cosmic time is a rough physical measure of Newton’s absolute time, which is based ontologically in the duration of God’s being (...) and is more or less accurately recorded by physical clocks. (shrink)
Michael Rea and Jeffery Brower have offered a provocative new model of the Trinity on the analogy of the Aristotelian solution to the problem of material constitution. Just as a fist and a hand can be distinct entities composed of a common matter and yet numerically the same object, so the persons of the Trinity can be distinct entities (persons) composed of a common "matter" (the divine essence) and yet numerically the same object (God). I express doubts about the degree (...) to which this analogy sheds light on the doctrine of the Trinity due to the disanalogy that neither God nor the Trinitarian persons are to be thought of as composed of any sort of stuff and to the model’s lack of explanatory power as to how a common matter can be simultaneously imbued with seemingly incompatible forms to constitute one object. (shrink)
Raymond Van Arragon considers my my suggestion that most of those who never have the opportunity to accept Christ during their earthly lives suffer from transworld damnation, and he offers four different interpretations of that notion. He argues that at least three of these interpretations are such that on them the suggestion becomes implausible. I maintain that once my suggestion is properly understood, then, despite Van Arragon’s misgivings, it ought not to be thought implausible even on the first two, boldest (...) interpretations he offers. (shrink)
The question of whether or not God exists is endlessly fascinating and profoundly important. Now two articulate spokesmen--one a Christian, the other an atheist--duel over God's existence in a lively and illuminating battle of ideas. In God?, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. With none of the opaque discourse of academic logicians and divinity-school theologians, the authors make (...) claims and comebacks that cut with precision. Their arguments are sharp and humorous, as each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. From arguments about the nature of infinity and the Big Bang, to religious experience and divine action, to the resurrection of Jesus and the problem of evil, the authors treat us to a remarkable display of intelligence and insight--a truly thought-provoking exploration of a classic issue that remains relevant to contemporary life. (shrink)
Studies in astrophysical cosmology have served to reveal the incomprehensible fine-tuning of the fundamental constants and cosmological quantities which must obtain if a universe like ours is to be life-permitting. Traditionally, such fine-tuning of the universe for life would have been taken as evidence of divine design. William Dembski’s ’generic chance elimination argument’ provides a framework for evaluating the hypothesis of design with respect to the fine-tuning of the universe. On Dembski’s model the key to a design inference is the (...) elimination of the competing alternatives of physical necessity and chance. In debates over fine-tuning, the former is represented by a ’theory of everything’, which would eliminate or significantly reduce the improbabilities of fine-tuning. The latter takes the shape of the ’many worlds hypothesis’, according to which a ’world ensemble’ of universes exist, thus providing purchase for the ’anthropic principle’. This paper assesses the relative merit. (shrink)
David Myers's critique of my proposed Molinist solution to the so-called soteriological problem of evil miscontrues that solution in several key respects. Once those misinterpretations are rectified, it emerges that his proffered critique of my Molinist solution is really quite unrelated to that solution, but constitutes instead an independent argument against the tenability of a religious epistemology of evidentialism in the context of Christian orthodoxy.
The authors of this lively and thorough introduction to philosophy from a Christian perspective introduce you to the principal subdisciplines of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of science, ethics and philosophy ...
This book is a combined anthology and guide intended for use as a textbook in courses on philosophy of religion. It aims to bring to the student the very best of cutting-edge work on important topics in the field. (publisher, edited).
Evan’s Fales’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the origin of the empty tomb narrative in the gospels of the New Testament is shown to be flawed in taking pagan mythology rather than Palestinian Judaism as the proper interpretive context for the life of Jesus.
A difficulty for a view of divine eternity as timelessness is that if time is tensed, then God, in virtue of His omniscience, must know tensed facts. But tensed facts, such as It is now t, can only be known by a temporally located being.Defenders of divine atemporality may attempt to escape the force of this argument by contending either that a timeless being can know tensed facts or else that ignorance of tensed facts is compatible with divine omniscience. Kvanvig, (...) Wierenga, and Leftow adopt both of these strategies in their various defenses of divine timelessness. Their respective solutions are analyzed in detail and shown to be untenable.Thus, if the theist holds to a tensed view of time, he should construe divine eternity in terms of omnitemporality. (shrink)
In this book and the companion volume The Tenseless Theory of Time: A Critical Examination, Craig undertakes the first thorough appraisal of the arguments for and against the tensed and tenseless theories of time.
Craig and Moreland present a rigorous analysis and critique of the major varieties of contemporary philosophical naturalism and advocate that it should be abandoned in light of the serious difficulties raised against it. The contributors draw on a wide range of topics including: epistemology, philosophy of science, value theory to basic analytic ontology, philosophy of mind and agency, and natural theology.
John Taylor complains that the "Kalam" cosmological argument gives the appearance of being a swift and simple demonstration of the existence of a Creator of the universe, whereas in fact a convincing argument involving the premiss that the universe began to exist is very difficult to achieve. But Taylor's proffered defeaters of the premisses of the philosophical arguments for the beginning of the universe are themselves typically undercut due to Taylor's inadvertence to alternatives open to the defender of the "Kalam" (...) arguments. With respect to empirical confirmation of the universe's beginning Taylor is forced into an anti-realist position on the Big Bang theory, but without sufficient warrant for singling out the theory as non-realistic. Therefore, despite the virtue of simplicity of form, the "Kalam" cosmological argument has not been defeated by Taylor's all too swift refutation. (shrink)