Petitionary Prayer and the Logical Coherence of Theism

Dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1990)
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The purpose of this dissertation was to use the practice of petitionary prayer as an instrument for challenging the logical coherence of various theistic models of God. Similar to the problem of evil, petitionary prayer questions what sense it makes to suppose that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, immutable, providential, personal God. If in fact it does make sense to suppose that there is a God with these attributes, then there is the further question as to how the divine attributes can be defined so as to picture a coherent concept of God which can in turn incorporate the practice of petitionary prayer. ;Chapter 2 presented Thomas Aquinas as an example of a Scholastic approach to classical theism. It was seen that his Aristotelian concepts led to deterministic consequences related to the topic of prayer. Chapter 3 gave Richard Swinburne's modified accounts of the attributes and developed his personalist approach for picturing the divine reality. Chapter 4 explained Vincent Brummer's incorporation of a personalist model of God into a fully developed account of prayer. ;Chapter 5 brought a final judgement as to the overall effectiveness of the different men's efforts to succeed in the task of defending the coherence of theism in light of the challenge brought by petitionary prayer. The impacts of language, science, and logical argumentation greatly affect the heuristic ability of the various models to maintain a sound defense of theistic categories



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