We argue that there is a conflict among classical theism's commitments to divine simplicity, divine creative freedom, and omniscience. We start by defining key terms for the debate related to classical theism. Then we articulate a new argument, the Aloneness Argument, aiming to establish a conflict among these attributes. In broad outline, the argument proceeds as follows. Under classical theism, it's possible that God exists without anything apart from Him. Any knowledge God has in such a world would be wholly (...) intrinsic. But there are contingent truths in every world, including the world in which God exists alone. So, it's possible that God contingently has wholly intrinsic knowledge. But whatever is contingent and wholly intrinsic is an accident. So, God possibly has an accident. This is incompatible with classical theism. Finally, we consider and rebut several objections. (shrink)
The End of the Timeless God considers two approaches to the philosophy of time, presentism and eternalism. It is often held that God cannot be timeless if presentism is true, but can be if eternalism is true. R. T. Mullins draws on recent work in the philosophy of time as well as the work of classical Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas to contend that the Christian God cannot be timeless in either case.
In certain theological circles today, panentheism is all the rage. One of the most notorious difficulties with panentheism lies in figuring out what panentheism actually is. There have been several attempts in recent literature to demarcate panentheism from classical theism, neo-classical theism, open theism, and pantheism. I shall argue that these attempts to demarcate panentheism from these other positions fail. Then I shall offer my own demarcation.
An introductory exploration on the nature of emotions, and examination of some of the critical issues surrounding the emotional life of God as they relate to happiness, empathy, love, and moral judgments. Covering the different criteria used in the debate between impassibility and passibility, readers can begin to think about which emotions can be predicated of God and which cannot.
Christian theism claims that God is in some sense responsible for the existence and nature of time. There are at least two options for understanding this claim. First, the creationist option, which says that God creates time. Second, the identification view, which says that time is to be identified with God. Both options will answer the question, “what is time?” differently. I shall consider different versions of the creationist option, and offer several objections that the view faces. I will also (...) consider different versions of the identification view, and argue that the objections it faces can be refuted. (shrink)
Within contemporary evangelical theology, a peculiar controversy has been brewing over the past few decades with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. A good number of prominent evangelical theologians and philosophers are rejecting the doctrine of divine processions within the eternal life of the Trinity. In William Hasker’s recent Metaphysics and the Tri-Personal God, Hasker laments this rejection and seeks to offer a defense of this doctrine. This paper shall seek to accomplish a few things. In section I, I (...) shall first set the stage for a proper understanding of the discussion. Section II will articulate the basic Trinitarian desiderata that must be satisfied by any model of the doctrine of the Trinity. This will help one understand the debate between Hasker and the procession deniers. Section III will offer an articulation of what the doctrine of divine processions teaches. Section IV will examine Hasker’s defense of the doctrine point by point. I shall argue that his defense of the doctrine of the divine processions fails. (shrink)
Proclus (c.412-485) once offered an argument that Christians took to stand against the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo based on the eternity of the world and God’s perfection. John Philoponus (c.490-570) objected to this on various grounds. Part of this discussion can shed light on contemporary issues in philosophical theology on divine perfection and creation. First I will examine Proclus’ dilemma and John Philoponus’ response. I will argue that Philoponus’ fails to rebut Proclus’ dilemma. The problem is that presentism (...) is incompatible with divine simplicity, timelessness, and a strong doctrine of immutability. From there I will look at how this discussion bears on contemporary understandings of divine perfection and creation, and argue that there are at least two possible ways contemporary philosophical theologians can try to get around the dilemma. One option is to adopt four-dimensional eternalism and maintain the traditional account of the divine perfections. I argue that this option suffers from difficulties that are not compatible with Christian belief. The other option is to keep presentism and modify the divine perfections. I argue that this option is possible and preferable since our understanding of the divine perfections must be modified in light of divine revelation and the incarnation. (shrink)
I greatly appreciate Thomas Flint’s reply to my paper, “Flint’s ‘Molinism and the Incarnation’ is too Radical.” In my original paper I argue that the Christology and eschatology of Flint’s paper “Molinism and the Incarnation” is too radical to be considered orthodox. I consider it an honor that a senior scholar, such as Flint, would concern himself with my work in the first place. In this response to Flint’s reply I will explain why I still find Flint’s Christology and eschatology (...) to be too radical. Below I shall attempt to address various issues raised by Flint in his reply. (shrink)
Sam Lebens offers an intriguing set of arguments from theism to idealism. In this paper, I shall focus on the argument from perfect rationality to Hassidic Idealism. I will offer a critical analysis of this argument and draw out a series of conflicts between Hassidic Idealism and divine freedom, the divine ideas, and creation ex nihilo.
Divine temporality is all the rage in certain theological circles today. Some even suggesting that the doctrine of the Trinity entails divine temporality. While I find this claim a bit strong, I do think that divine temporality can be quite useful for developing a robust model of the Trinity. However, not everyone agrees with this. Paul Helm has offered an objection to the so-called Oxford school of divine temporality based on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. He has argued that (...) this form of divine temporality entails Arianism. In other words, divine temporality suffers from an inadequate doctrine of the Trinity. In this paper I shall first articulate the so-called Oxford school of divine temporality. From there I shall develop some of the Oxford school’s theological benefits that help flesh out the doctrine of the Trinity, and assuage the charge of Arianism. Then I shall offer an examination and refutation of the Arian charge to divine temporality in order to show that the divine temporalist can maintain a robust Trinitarian theology. (shrink)
In a recent paper on panentheism, Raphael Lataster and Purushottama Bilimoria offer a critique of several contemporary attempts to define what panentheism is and what panentheism is not. Lataster and Bilimoria find the recent attempts to define panentheism deficient. In particular, they find my approach to panentheism to be riddled with problems. In my reply, I explain that Lataster and Bilimoria have failed to explain what panentheism is and what it is not.
In this paper, I offer some brief reflections on Jordan Wessling’s book, Love Divine: A Systematic Account of God’s Love for Humanity. I explain what I take to be its strengths in articulating an account of divine love that solves a variety of problems that classical theism cannot solve. Then I articulate a potential problem for Wessling’s account of divine love and hell.
Open theism denies that God has definite exhaustive foreknowledge, and affirms that God takes certain risks when creating the universe. Critics of open theism often complain that the risks are too high. Perhaps there is something morally wrong with God taking a risk in creating a universe with an open future. Open theists have tried to respond by clarifying how much risk is involved in God creating an open universe, though we argue that it remains unclear how much risk is (...) actually involved. We claim that open theists need to start developing theories about how God manages risks in order to bring about His purposes for the universe. In this article, we will take a philosophical and biological perspective on risk management that adds plausibility to open theism. We will consider how God can use different risk‐management, surveillance, and redundancy systems in the natural world in order to accomplish His goals. (shrink)
In a previous publication, I offered a novel argument against physicalist approaches to the Incarnation called “the Two Sons Worry.” In brief, I argued that a physicalist who is committed to the ecumenical teachings about the Incarnation cannot easily escape the worry that there are two persons in Jesus Christ. Keith Hess has recently pointed out a flaw in the argument that I present. In this paper, I offer a reply that fixes the argument, thus leaving the problem for the (...) physicalist intact. (shrink)