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81. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Erik Baldwin Putting Uninstantiated Human Person Essences to Work: A Comment on Davis and Craig on the Grounding Objection
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In “Ducking Friendly Fire: Davison on the Grounding Objection,” William Lane Craig responds to a statement of The Grounding Objection articulated by Scott Davison in “Craig on the Grounding Objection to Middle Knowledge.” According to Davison, unless we have an explanation of true counterfactuals that makes reference to actual human persons in specific situations we lack an adequate explanation of how counterfactuals of creaturely free­dom could possibly be true. Drawing from and elaborating on Edward Wierenga’s response to the Grounding Objection in “Providence, Middle Knowledge, and the Grounding Objection,” I formulate and motivate a view that satisfies the plausible requirement that the grounds for God’s knowledge of true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom are actually existent things while eschewing Davison’s implausibly strong requirement that the things in question must be specific human persons in specific situations. I conclude that, contrary to Davison, facts about uninstantiated human person essences can do at least some of the relevant explanatory work.
82. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Douglas Groothuis The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
83. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Ben Waters Methuselah’s Diary and the Finitude of the Past
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William Lane Craig modified Bertrand Russell’s Tristram Shandy example in order to derive an absurdity that would demonstrate the finitude of the past. Although his initial attempt at such an argument faltered, further developments in the literature suggested that such an absurdity was indeed in the offing provided that a couple extra statements were also shown to be true. This article traces the development of a particular line of argument that arose from Craig’s Tristram Shandy example before advancing an argument of its own that attempts to fill in the relevant gaps so as to yield a new argument for the finitude of the past.
84. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
John C. Peckham Providence and God’s Unfulfilled Desires
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This note addresses the issue of divine providence by engaging the representative po­sitions exhibited in Zondervan’s Four Views of Divine Providence in light of the question, Does God always get what he wants? After briefly surveying and evaluating the implications of the determinist, openness, and Molinist responses as portrayed in Four Views, the essay concludes that an indeterminist perspective that affirms both human freedom to do otherwise than God desires and God’s exhaustive foreknowledge provides the most adequate response to the question such that, whereas God’s desires are sometimes unfulfilled, he will certainly accomplish his all-encompassing and omnibenevolent providential purpose.
85. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
David Burris The Natural Moral Law: The Good after Modernity
86. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
David Baggett From Morality to Metaphysics: The Theistic Implications of Our Ethical Commitments
87. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Stewart Goetz The Golden Cord: A Short Book on the Secular and the Sacred
88. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Christopher D. Hampson Whose God Rules? Is the United States a Secular Nation or a Theolegal Democracy?
89. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Paul Gould God and Necessity
90. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
News and Announcements
91. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Craig Hazen Editor’s Introduction
92. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Greg Jesson The Husserlian Roots of Dallas Willard’s Philosophical and Religious Works: Knowledge of the Temporal and the Eternal
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Dallas Willard’s reliance on Edmund Husserl’s early works, especially The Logical Investigations, grounded his direct realism, which allowed for an epistemology that made knowledge of mind-independent reality possible. Representationalism, idealism, phenomenalism, Kantianism, and skepticism were challenged because each posits an account of experience that makes such knowledge impossible. Willard’s ontology of knowing is centered on the intentionality of consciousness wherein acquaintance with things-in-themselves allows open rational inquiry into life’s ultimate questions. This cleared the way for him to describe how one can know that God exists and how one’s character can be transformed into the character of Jesus of Nazareth.
93. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Brendan Sweetman D. Z. Phillips on Christian Belief, Immortality, and Resurrection
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This paper is a critical reflection and response to the religious fideism of D. Z. Phillips, and especially to recent attempts to defend this fideism. Over the course of his career, Phillips argued for a number of interesting but quite dramatic theses about religious belief, including the claim that what is sometimes called the propositional nature of religious belief is frequently misunderstood by philosophers, and that this misunderstanding involves a distortion of what religious believers are doing when they say they believe in God and engage in various religious practices. This paper explores these and other claims in the light of recent interesting attempts to defend them, especially in the work of Patrick Horn. I elaborate the distinction between the propositional and expressive dimensions of religious belief, and argue that Horn does not succeed in rescuing Phillips’s view from a number of serious philosophical objections, including the objection that theirs is a metaphorical interpretation of religion. I suggest also that Horn’s and Phillips’s fideistic versions of religious belief and religious phenomena may involve an element of self-deception, and would likely lead to people giving up their religious beliefs, or at least to their beliefs playing a decreasing role in their everyday lives.
94. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Joshua R. Farris Discovering God and Soul: A Reappraisal of and Appreciation for Cartesian Natural Theology
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As a contribution to ramified natural theology, I advance some thoughts in favor of a distinctively Cartesian variation of natural theology that lends itself to the Christian understanding of God as a mind and as personal. I propose that defenders of Cartesian natural theology, as commonly construed in much of the contemporary substance dualist literature, construe the soul as a “sign” or “pointer” to God such that we, as human persons, seem to have access to God’s nature and existence via the soul (mind) as a rationale for the world and for persons. On this basis, I respond to a common anti-Cartesian charge(s) from subjectivism. Finally, I suggest that this approach deserves further consideration concerning theological prolegomena.
95. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
R. T. Mullins Four-Dimensionalism, Evil, and Christian Belief
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Four-dimensionalism and eternalism are theories on time, change, and persistence. Christian philosophers and theologians have adopted four-dimensional eternalism for various reasons. In this paper I shall attempt to argue that four-dimensional eternalism conflicts with Christian thought. Section I will lay out two varieties of four-dimensionalism—perdurantism and stage theory—along with the typically associated ontologies of time of eternalism and growing block. I shall contrast this with presentism and endurantism. Section II will look at some of the purported theological benefits of adopting four-dimensionalism and eternalism. Section III will examine arguments against four-dimensional eternalism from the problem of evil. Section IV will argue that four-dimensional eternalism causes problems for Christian eschatology.
96. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Walter Schultz The Actual World from Platonism to Plans: An Emendation of Alvin Plantinga’s Modal Realism
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“The actual world” is a familiar term in possible-worlds discourse. A desirable account of the nature and structure of the actual world that coheres with the doctrine of creation ex nihilo will (1) include a theory of truth-making, (2) account for the dynamics of the universe in relation to the doctrine of creation, (3) say how so-called abstract objects are related to God, and (4) preclude the Russell Paradox. By emending Alvin Plantinga’s theistic modal realism, this paper recovers a view of the actual world as God’s plan and briefly states how the metaphysical theory that results meets these desiderata.
97. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
W. David Beck, Max Andrews God and the Multiverse: A Thomistic Modal Realism
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Recent developments in quantum physics postulate the existence of some form of multiverse, often considered inimical to theism. We argue that a cosmology of many worlds is not novel either to philosophy or to theism. The multiverse is not a monolithic concept and we refer to and use the four levels of categorization proposed by Max Tegmark. We trace the idea of a multiverse back to the Milesians and Epicureans in order to initially demonstrate its use of a plenitude argument. We then examine the argument for possible compatibility based on a theistic principle of plenitude in three specifically Christian theists: Origen, Thomas Aquinas, and G. W. Leibniz. We conclude that this argument is sustainable so that if any level of the multiverse actually exists then it is harmonious with theism, and we argue that its fit is most successful if a multiverse is considered as a single possible world. We call this view Thomistic modal realism.
98. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Mark S. McLeod-Harrison Christianity’s Many Ways of Salvation: Toward an Irrealistic Salvific Inclusivism
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Many Christians take an exclusivist stance on the nature and access of salvation. This essay explores the realist assumptions often found behind such exclusivist views and presents an alternative understanding of Christian salvation that is inclusivistic, irrealistic, and pluralistic.
99. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Kenneth Hochstetter Persistence and the Resurrection: Why a Christian Should Not Be a Four-Dimensionalist
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In the metaphysics or persistence, some hold to “four dimensionalism,” the doctrine that temporally extended things have temporal parts. Two four dimensionalists accounts are perdurantism and stage theory. In this paper I assume that these exhaust the possible ways of being a four dimensionalist. I argue that a Christian should not be a four-dimensionalist because four-dimensionalism implies that persons cannot act. The resurrection of Jesus is an act. Thus, four-dimensionalism implies Jesus did not rise from the dead. But, Christianity stands on the resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, a Christian should not be a four-dimensionalist.
100. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Richard B. Davis, W. Paul Franks On Jesus, Derrida, and Dawkins: Rejoinder to Joshua Harris
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In this paper we respond to three objections raised by Joshua Harris to our article, “Against a Postmodern Pentecostal Epistemology,” in which we express misgivings about the conjunction of Pentecostalism with James K. A. Smith’s postmodern, story-based epistemology. According to Harris, our critique (1) problematically assumes a correspondence theory of truth, (2) invalidly concludes that “Derrida’s Axiom” conflicts with “Peter’s Axiom,” and (3) fails to consider an alternative account of the universality of Christian truth claims. We argue that Harris’s objections either demonstrate a deficient interpretation of the relevant biblical passages or are not directed at us at all.