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.
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 ...
Contemporary science presents us with the remarkable theory that the universe began to exist about fifteen billion years ago with a cataclysmic explosion called "the Big Bang." The question of whether Big Bang cosmology supports theism or atheism has long been a matter of discussion among the general public and in popular science books, but has received scant attention from philosophers. This book sets out to fill this gap by means of a sustained debate between two philosophers, William Lane Craig (...) and Quentin Smith, who defend opposing positions. Craig argues that the Big Bang that began the universe was created by God, while Smith argues that the Big Bang has no cause. Alternating chapters by the two philosophers criticize and attempt to refute preceding arguments. Their arguments are based on Einstein's theory of relativity and include a discussion of the new quantum cosmology recently developed by Stephen Hawking and popularized in A Brief History of Time. (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)
Is Goodness Without God Good Enough contains a lively debate between William Lane Craig and Paul Kurtz on the relationship between God and ethics, followed by seven new essays that both comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of this important issue. Written in an accessible style by eminent scholars, this book will appeal to students and academics alike.
Graham Oppy’s attempt to show that the critiques of the kalam cosmological argument offered by Griinbaum, Davies, and Hawking are successful is predicated upon a misunderstanding of the nature of defeaters in rational belief. Neither Grunbaum nor Oppy succeed in showing an incoherence in the Christian doctrine of creation. Oppy’s attempts to rehabilitate Davies’s critique founders on spurious counter-examples and unsubstantiated claims. Oppy’s defense of Hawking’s critique fails to allay suspicions about the reality of imaginary time and finally results in (...) the denial of tense and temporal becoming. (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)
One of the most serious obstacles to accepting a tenseless view of time is the challenge posed by our experience of tense. A particularly striking example of such experience, pointed out by Schlesinger but largely overlooked in the literature, is the wish felt by probably all of us at some time or other that it were now some other time. Such a wish seems evidently rational to hold, and yet on a tenseless theory of time such a wish must be (...) regarded as irrational, since it is logically impossible for the now to be located at some other time, there being no such thing as an objective now or present. In order to accommodate rationally such a belief, most protagonists of tenseless time twist the evident meaning of the wish. Oaklander, for example, misconstrues the wish in terms of my wanting to have different perceptions. Others, like Coburn, admit frankly that such a wish is rational only on a tensed theory of time but mistakenly reject that theory on grounds that at best constitute a defeater of an argument for a tensed view of time, rather than a defeater of the tensed view itself. The argument for a tensed view of time from the experience of tense remains undefeated. (shrink)
Barrow and Tipler’s contention that the Anthropic Principle is obviously true and removes the need for an explanation of fine-tuning fails because the Principle is trivially true, and only within the context of a World Ensemble, whose existence is not obvious, does a selection effect become significant. Their objections to divine design as an explanation of fine-tuning are seen to be misconceived.
The conviction ofthe New Testament writers was that there is no salvation apart from Jesus. This orthodox doctrine is widely rejected today because God’s condemnation of persons in other world religions seems incompatible with various attributes of God.Analysis reveals the real problem to involve certain counterfactuals of freedom, e.g., why did not God create a world in which all people would freely believe in Christ and be saved? Such questions presuppose that God possesses middle knowledge. But it can be shown (...) that no inconsistency exists between God's having middle knowledge and certain persons' being damned; on the contrary it can be positively shown that these two notions are compatible. (shrink)
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)
Peter van Inwagen has long claimed that he doesn’t understand substitutional quantification and that the notion is, in fact, meaningless. Van Inwagen identifies the source of his bewilderment as an inability to understand the proposition expressed by a simple sentence like “,” where “$\Sigma$” is the existential quantifier understood substitutionally. I should think that the proposition expressed by this sentence is the same as that expressed by “.” So what’s the problem? The problem, I suggest, is that van Inwagen takes (...) traditional existential quantification to be ontologically committing and substitutional quantification to be ontologically noncommitting, which requires that the two quantifiers have different meanings—but no different meaning for the substitutional quantifier is forthcoming. What van Inwagen fails to appreciate is that substitutional quantification is directed at a criterion of ontological commitment, namely, W. V. O. Quine’s, which is quite different from van Inwagen’s criterion. Substitutional quantification successfully avoids the commitments Quine’s criterion would engender but has the same commitments as existential quantification given van Inwagen’s criterion. The question, then, is whether the existential quantifier is ontologically committing, as van Inwagen believes. The answer to that question will depend on whether the ordinary language “there is/are,” which is codified by the existential quantifier, is ontologically committing. There are good reasons to doubt that it is. (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)
God is the ‘high and lofty One who inhabits eternity’, declared the prophet Isaiah, but exactly how we are to understand the notion of eternity is not clear. Traditionally, the Christian church has taken it to mean ‘timeless’. But in his classic work on this subject, Oscar Cullmann has contended that the New Testament ‘does not make a philosophical, qualitative distinction between time and eternity. It knows linear time only…’ He maintains, ‘Primitive Christianity knows nothing of a timeless God. The (...) “eternal” God is he who was in the beginning, is now, and will be in all the future, “who is, who was, and who will be” .’ As a result, God's eternity, says Cullmann, must be expressed in terms of endless time. (shrink)
God is conceived in the Western theistic tradition to be both the Creator and Conservor of the universe. These two roles were typically classed as different aspects of creation, originating creation and continuing creation. On pain of incoherence, however, conservation needs to be distinguished from creation. Contrary to current analyses (such as Philip Quinn's), creation should be explicated in terms of God's bringing something into being, while conservation should be understood in terms of God's preservation of something over an interval (...) of time. The crucial difference is that while conservation presupposes an object of the divine action, creation does not. Such a construal has significant implications for a tensed theory of time. (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)
Work on how to axiomatize the subtheories of a first-order theory in which only a proper subset of their extra-logical vocabulary is being used led to a theorem on recursive axiomatizability and to an interpolation theorem for first-order logic. There were some fortuitous events and several logicians played a helpful role.
A common aim of elimination problems for languages of logic is to express the entire content of a set of formulas of the language, or a certain part of it, in a way that is more elementary or more informative. We want to bring out that as the languages for logic grew in expressive power and, at the same time, our knowledge of their expressive limitations also grew, elimination problems in logic underwent some change. For languages other than that for (...) monadic second-order logic, there remain important open problems. (shrink)
Like David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , J. L. Mackie's most potent blast against the rationality of belief in God, his The Miracle of Theism , appeared after his death. The book is a broadside against not only the traditional arguments for God's existence, such as the onto-, cosmo-, and teleological arguments, but also against proofs from consciousness, miracles, the idea of God, and so forth, and against the validity of religious experience and faith without reason, and it presents (...) as well negative arguments against divine existence. The book will no doubt supply much grist for the mill of future discussions, but in this piece I should like to focus on Mackie's analysis of one particular argument, the kalām cosmological argument. For his discussion at this point seems to me to be superficial, and I think it can be shown that he has failed to provide any compelling or even intuitively appealing objection against the argument. (shrink)
Some platonists truly agonize over the ontological commitments which their platonism demands of them. Peter van Inwagen, for example, confesses candidly, I am happy to admit that I am uneasy about believing in the existence of ???causally irrelevant??? objects. The fact that abstract objects, if they exist, can be neither causes or [ sic ] effects is one of the many features of abstract objects that make nominalism so attractive. I should very much like to be a nominalist, but I (...) don't see how to be one????? (shrink)
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)
In conclusion, then, the notion of temporal necessity is certainly queer and perhaps a misnomer. It really has little to do with temporality per se and everything to do with counterfactual openness or closedness. We have seen that the future is as unalterable as the past, but that this purely logical truth is not antithetical to freedom or contingency. Moreover, we have found certain past facts are counterfactually open in that were future events or actualities to be other than they (...) will be, these past facts would have been different as a consequence. God's beliefs about the future are such past facts. Moreover, the effects of actions which God would have taken had He believed differently are also such past facts. Oddly enough, then, virtually any past fact is potentially counterfactually open, and the only necessity that remains is purely de facto. We, of course, do not in general know which events of the past depend counterfactually on present actions, and those cases we do know about seem rather trivial. Our intuitions of the necessity, unalterability, and unpreventability of the past as opposed to the future stem from the impossibility of backward causation, which is precluded by the dynamic nature of time and becoming. But the counterfactual dependence of God's beliefs on future events or actualities is not a case of backward causation: rather future-tense propositions are true in virtue of what will happen, given a view of truth as correspondence, and God simply has the essential property of knowing all and only true propositions. With regard to the future, virtually all facts are counterfactually open, and therefore future-tense propositions are not temporally necessary. Propositions thus move from being temporally contingent to being temporally necessary when all the opportunities to affect things counterfactually have slipped by. Hence, the mere fact that an event is past is no indication that it is counterfactually closed. This is especially evident in the case of God's foreknowledge. If we say that God foreknows that I shall do x and therefore I cannot refrain from doing x, lest I change God's past foreknowledge, we are being deceived by a modality which has nothing to do with my power or freedom. All that is impossible is the conjunction of God's foreknowledge that p and of ~ p; but this modality in sensu composito has no bearing on my ability to act such that ~ p would be true and God would have foreknown differently. Temporal necessity, then, turns out to be only obliquely temporal and modally weak, certainly no threat to freedom or divine foreknowledge. (shrink)