What is it for there to be a God, and what reason is there for supposing him to conform to the claims of Christian doctrine? In this pivotal volume of his tetralogy, Richard Swinburne builds a rigorous metaphysical system for describing the world, and applies this to assessing the worth of the Christian tenets of the Trinity and the Incarnation. Part I is dedicated to analyzing the categories needed to address accounts of the divine nature--substance, cause, time, and necessity. Part (...) II begins by setting out, in terms of these categories, the fundamental doctrine of Western religions--that there is a God. After pointing out some of the different ways in which this doctrine can be developed, Swinburne spells out the simplest possible account of divine nature. He then goes on to clarify the implications of this account for the specifically Christian doctrines of the Trinity (that God is "three persons in one substance") and of the Incarnation (that God became incarnate in Jesus Christ). Swinburne finds that there are good reasons to believe the Christian additions to the core Western idea of God. The Christian God builds upon Swinburne's acclaimed previous work to form a self-contained text which will no doubt become a classic in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The arrival of Muslim rulers who were insistent on the unity of God among Christians who testified to the unity of God in His triune nature introduced a considerable challenge to those Christians who were in the ascendency throughout the Middle East. Now they were on the defensive, needing to stem the movement of members of their own community to Islam which would eventually lead to Muslims becoming the majority. In the period of gradual transfer from majority to minority status (...) Christian theologians attempted both to make their faith in the Trinity intelligible to Muslim intellectuals with whom they debated, and to give reasons to Christians for holding firm to their faith. These theologians are hardly known to the global church of the 21st century and it is the purpose of this paper to make them come alive for Christians who are witnessing to their faith before Muslims in our time in the hope that a contemporary testimony to the Triune God can be encouraged. (shrink)
This is a study of how American theologian Jonathan Edwards battled deist arguments about revelation and God's fairness to non-Christians. Author Gerald McDermott argues that Edwards was preparing before his death a sophisticated theological response to Enlightenment religion that was unparalleled in the eighteenth century and surprisingly generous toward non-Christian traditions.
This is a concise and profound book from one of the world's leading political and legal philosophers about a major theme, equality, and the proposition that humans are all one another's equals. Jeremy Waldron explores the implications of this fundamental tenet for law, politics, society and economy in the company of John Locke, whose work Waldron regards 'as well-worked-out a theory of basic equality as we have in the canon of political philosophy'. Throughout the text, which is based on the (...) Carlyle Lectures given in Oxford in 1999, Jeremy Waldron discusses contemporary approaches to equality and rival interpretations of Locke, and this dual agenda gives the whole an unusual degree of accessibility and intellectual excitement, of interest to philosophers, political theorists, lawyers and theologians around the world. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (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)
In this paper I discuss critically Richard Swinburne’s concept of God, which I find to be incoherent, and his understanding of Christianity, which I find to be based on a precritical use of the New Testament.
In this book, eminent theologian Keith Ward takes a fresh look at the ancient philosophy of Idealism, connects it with findings in modern science, and shows that a combination of good science, good philosophy, and a passion for truth and goodness, can underpin religious faith. Going back to first principles, he argues for the Idealist view that all knowledge begins with experience. Critically examining the idealism of Plato, Kant, and Hegel, Ward shows how this philosophy is strengthened by a knowledge (...) of modern physics, and how it can lead to a new and vivid presentation of Christian faith. A work of philosophical rigour that makes clear the rational nature of belief in God, this book challenges the easy assumptions of materialism and the relativity of truth that undermine both science and religion. Ward writes in an accessible and readable style that gives new life and practical usefulness to idealist philosophy. (shrink)
Many people believe in angels and evil spirits, and popular culture abounds in talk about encounters with such entities. Yet the question of the existence of such spirits is ignored in the academy. Even the Christian Church, which one might expect to show keen interest in transcendent realities, does not appear to be paying much attention. In this book Phillip Wiebe defends the plausibility of the traditional Christian claim that spirits are real. Wiebe examines descriptions of encounters with both good (...) and evil transcendent beings in biblical times and in later Christian history, along with recent accounts of similar experiences. He argues that invisible beings can be postulated to explain events just as unobservable objects are postulated in many scientific theories. Beyond supporting claims for the existence of lesser spirits such as demons and angels, this empirical approach yields important results for assessing common arguments surrounding the existence of God - a question that has become artificially separated from the question of spirits as such. Grounding his argument in a wide range of phenomena - from near death experiences to demonic possession - Wiebe offers a sophisticated case for belief in God on philosophical and epistemological grounds. (shrink)
The question of whether or not God exists is profoundly fascinating and important. Now two articulate spokesmen--one a Christian, the other an atheist--duel over God's existence in an illuminating battle of ideas. In God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist, 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. Avoiding overly esoteric arguments, they directly address issues such as (...) religious experience, the Bible, evil, eternity, the origin of the universe, design, and the supposed connection between morality and the existence of God. Employing sharp and humorous arguments, each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God in order 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. By assuming a traditional concept of God in their discussion, the authors ensure that they are truly addressing each other's viewpoints and engaging in a disagreement over a unified issue. The book is composed of six chapters that alternate between Craig and Sinnott-Armstrong, so that each separate point can be discussed as it arises. Ideal for courses in the philosophy of religion and introduction to philosophy, this lively and direct dialogue will stimulate students and anyone interested in the existence of God, regardless of whether or not they believe in God. (shrink)
Despite a variety of “non-ecumenical” features in Christian arguments about suicide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia, there are obvious “ecumenical” aspects to be found in the general Christian prohibition of these practices. A fair reading of the Christian tradition requires that we acknowledge both the differences that distinguish particular perspectives and the fundamental themes that allow an identifiably Christian position to emerge in stark contrast to the secular discussion of these issues. Central to Christian interpretations of dying and death are an (...) acknowledgment of God's sovereignty over human life, an understanding of suffering that stresses identification with Christ as the source of Christian hope, and the recognition that God's creative and redemptive purposes are generally (or always) at odds with the deliberate choice of assisted suicide or euthanasia. (shrink)
In two recent articles, Travis Dumsday has formulated a response to the problem of divine hiddenness on the basis of the Christian doctrine—especially Aquinas’s thought. I agree with Dumsday that Christians qua Christians can significantly contribute to the debate in question. However, in both articles the author overlooks a decisive aspect of Aquinas’s doctrine of faith and the Christian teachings that trace back to it. This article dwells on Dumsday’s interpretation of Aquinas’s thought, and from within my argument proposes a (...) different response to the problem of divine hiddenness. (shrink)
We are pleased to annouce that God’s Companions by Samuel Wells has been shortlisted for the 2007 Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing. www.michaelramseyprize.org.uk Grounded in Samuel Wells’ experience of ordinary lives in poorer neighborhoods, this book presents a striking and imaginative approach to Christian ethics. It argues that Christian ethics is founded on God, on the practices of human community, and on worship, and that ethics is fundamentally a reflection of God's abundance. Wells synthesizes dogmatic, liturgical, ethical, scriptural, and (...) pastoral approaches to theology in order to make a bold claim for the centrality of the local church in theological reflection. He considers the abundance of gifts God gives through the practices of the Church, particularly the Eucharist. His central thesis, which governs his argument throughout, is that God gives his people everything they need to worship him, be his friends, and eat with him. Wells engages with serious scholarly material, yet sets out the issues lucidly for a student audience. (shrink)
This article discusses whether Christian talk about God can be literal. First, it is argued that the meaning of a word cannot be reduced to its use, that metaphorical language is indirect in its use of words, and that the change of meaning of a word by analogical extension differs from the change of meaning by repeated metaphorical use. Next, it is shown that in Christian talk about God, God can be literally referred to by God's proper name, “YHWH,” and (...) by words that in contexts of prayer and praise function as proper names. Then it is argued that terms for non‐basic actions can be literally applied to the Christian God, and that some of God's essential properties can be literally described on the basis of his self‐revealing actions. (shrink)
Grant ackowledges that Christian theology owes much to the philosophy of the classical world, but he believes the remarkable tenacity of Christian inspiration resulted from the revelation of the Trinity. From the philosophical background of Christian doctrine, especially Middle Platonism and the writings of Numenius of Apamea, Grant traces the development of God the Father, Creator, and Preserver of the universe.
This paper seeks to examine the nature of matter from an Orthodox Christian patristic perspective, specifically that of St. Gregory of Nyssa, and compare this with David Bohm's concept of wholeness and the implicate order. By examining the ramifications of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, the basic nature of matter as being rooted in the mind of God reveals itself, and furthermore shows that certain conceptions of quantum physics can provide language with which to give voice to this ancient (...) view. (shrink)
The question of realism - that is, whether God exists independently of human beings - is central to much contemporary theology and church life. It is also an important topic in the philosophy of religion. This book discusses the relationship between realism and Christian faith in a thorough and systematic way and uses the resources of both philosophy and theology to argue for a Christocentric narrative realism. Many previous defences of realism have attempted to model Christian belief on scientific theory (...) but Moore argues that this comparison is misleading and inadequate on both theological and philosophical grounds. In dialogue with speech act theory and critiques of realism by both non-realists and Wittgensteinians, a new account of the meaningfulness of Christian language is proposed. Moore uses this to develop a regulative conception of realism according to which God's independent reality is shown principally in Christ and then through Christian practices and the lives of Christians. (shrink)
This 2004 book reconfigures the basic problem of Christian thinking - 'How can human discourse refer meaningfully to a transcendent God?' - as a twofold demand for integrity: integrity of reason and integrity of transcendence. Centring around a provocative yet penetratingly faithful re-reading of Kant's empirical realism, and drawing on an impelling confluence of contemporary thinkers Paul D. Janz argues that theology's 'referent' must be located within present empirical reality. Rigorously reasoned yet refreshingly accessible throughout, this book provides an important, (...) attentively informed alternative to the growing trends toward obscurantism, radicalization and anti-reason in many recent assessments of theological cognition, while remaining equally alert to the hazards of traditional metaphysics. In the book's culmination, epistemology and Christology converge around problems of noetic authority and orthodoxy with a kind of innovation, depth and straightforwardness that readers of theology at all levels of philosophical acquaintance will find illuminating. (shrink)
Few ideas have excited greater interest among theologians in recent decades than the idea of 'participation'. In thinking about creation, it is the notion that everything comes from, and depends upon, God, inviting the language of sharing, or of an exemplar and its images; in thinking about redemption, it points to the restoration of that image, and is expressed in the language of communion with God and with the redeemed community. In this volume, Andrew Davison considers these themes in unprecedented (...) breadth, investigating the fundamental character of participation as it can be applied to a wide range of theological topics. Exploring what it means to know, to love, to do good, and to live together well, he shows how these ideas animate a particular understanding of human life and how we relate to the world around us. His book offers the most comprehensive survey of participation to date, contributing to detailed discussions of these themes among academic theologians. (shrink)
A distinction which is often rehearsed in some strands of Christian writing on the ‘Eastern’ religions, especially Hinduism, is that while they are full of ‘mythological’ fancies, Biblical faith is based on the solid rock of ‘historical’ truth. I argue that the sharp contours of this antithesis are softened when we consider two issues regarding the relation between ‘myth’ and ‘history’. First, the decades–long attempts to separate the ‘historical’ facts about Jesus Christ from the interpretive elements in the Biblical narrative (...) highlight the presence of ‘mythical’ imagination in Christian thought. Second, a comparative study of the Christian understanding of Jesus Christ as the Incarnate God and the Hindu conception of avatāras reveals a highly significant set of differences and analogies, and shows how the supposed equivalences between ‘historical as real’ and ‘mythological as unreal’ need to be reformulated. (shrink)
Sets of contingent objects, perhaps, are as contingent as their members; but properties, propositions, numbers and states of affairs, it seems, are objects whose non-existence is quite impossible. If so, however, how are they related to God? Suppose God has a nature: a property he has essentially that includes each property essential to him. Does God have a nature? And if he does, is there a conflict between God's sovereignty and his having a nature? How is God related to such (...) abstract objects as properties and propositions? These are the questions I want to explore. - Introduction. (shrink)
A truly Christian bioethics challenges the nature, substance, and application of secular morality, dividing Christians from non-Christians, accenting central moral differences, and providing content-full forthrightly Christian guidance for action. Consequently, Christian bioethics must be framed within the metaphysical and theological commitments of Traditional Christianity so as to provide proper orientation toward God. In contrast, secular bioethicists routinely present themselves as providing a universal bioethics acceptable to all reasonable and rational persons. Yet, such secular bioethicists habitually insert their own biases (...) and prejudices into their moral conclusions, ethical consultations, and political aspirations, without any real justification. As this article explores, the ideologically driven anti-Christian commitments, including commitments to human rights and social justice, embodied within contemporary bioethics routinely illustrate the increasing gap between the traditionally Christian and the devoutly secular, further deepening the culture wars. (shrink)
This article retraces progression of Engelhardt’s work so as to place After God in broader context. In The Foundations of Bioethics, Engelhardt argues that given the moral pluralism that is at the core of postmodernity, only a merely formal morality of permission can bind moral strangers in peaceful coexistence. In The Foundations of Christian Bioethics, Engelhardt presents a bioethics that binds Orthodox Christian moral friends. After God shows itself more pessimistic about the possibility of a merely formal morality of moral (...) friends and calls traditional Christians to wage a culture war. These reflections close with some criticisms of Engelhardt’s philosophical-theological project. (shrink)
What reasons and resources can Christian theology find for developing a panentheist position that is also able to engage with contemporary science? By taking its point of departure in basic human experiences, Christian theology can, even in a Trinitarian fashion, be developed as a way to understand God's presence in the world as a presence where the actual occurrences point towards God's own work. This point is especially related to the experience of love. Furthermore, God's presence can be understood as (...) sacramental in the Augustinian sense. Moreover, the contributions of the Danish philosopher of religion Knud E. Løgstrup on God's presence and transcendence, as well as Niels Henrik Gregersen's elaborations on deep incarnation. Prove to offer important reasons for considering panentheism a viable option for the articulation of Christian theology. (shrink)