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21. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Shawn Bawulski Annihilationism, Traditionalism,and the Problem of Hell
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Logically consistent responses to the problem of hell are readily available. The Christian theologian should seek to go beyond these minimal criteria, providing a response that is also plausible and is harmonious with both Scripture and the tradition. In this paper I will examine annihilationism and two forms of traditionalism, assessing each view’s success not only in defending against the logical problem of hell, but also success with these additional criteria. I will suggest that a refined version of the traditional view best succeeds.
22. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Stephen C. Dilley Philosophical Naturalism and Methodological Naturalism: Strange Bedfellows?
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This essay argues that philosophical naturalists who draw epistemic support from science for their worldview ought to set aside methodological naturalism in certain historical sciences. When linked to methodological naturalism, philosophical naturalism opens itself to several problems. Specifically, when joined with methodological naturalism, philosophical naturalism can never be scientifically disconfirmed but will nearly always be confirmed, no matter what the empirical evidence. Theistic-friendly “God hypotheses,” on the other hand, can never be scientifically confirmed—again, no matter what the evidence—but are routinely said to be disconfirmed. Methodological naturalism not only leads to this self-serving dynamic, but does not appear to serve a meaningful epistemic purpose in the contest between philosophical naturalism and theism and so, for these reasons, ought to be set aside.
23. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Edward Feser Teleology: A Shopper’s Guide
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Teleology features prominently in recent discussions in the philosophy of mind, action theory, philosophy of biology, and in the dispute between Intelligent Design theorists and Darwinian naturalists. Unfortunately, discussants often talk past each other and oversimplify the issues, failing to recognize the differences between the several theories of teleology philosophers have historically put forward, and the different natural phenomena that might be claimed to be teleological. This paper identifies five possible theories of teleology, and five distinct levels of nature at which teleology might be said to exist. Special attention is paid to the differences between Aristotelian-Thomistic and ID theoretic approaches to teleology.
24. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Troy Nunley Fishnets, Firing Squads, and Fine-Tuning (Again): How Likelihood Arguments Undermine Elliot Sober’s Weak Anthropic Principles
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Elliot Sober has recently attempted to reformulate and defend a standard objection to fine-tuning arguments, the objection from the “weak anthropic principle.” The key to his reformulated defense is his likelihoodist epistemology conjoined to a well-known “fishnet analogy.” Although recent rebuttals from Weisberg and Monton fall short of exposing the flaws in Sober’s objection, I show that Sober’s likelihoodist epistemology and analogy serve instead to undermine weak anthropic principles and objections based upon them.
25. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
William Lane Craig Timothy O’Connor on Contingency: A Review Essay on Theism and Ultimate Explanation
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In the first part of Theism and Ultimate Explanation Timothy O’Connor provides a compact survey of the metaphysics and epistemology of modality, defending modal realism and a priorism. In the book’s second half he defends a Leibnizian-style cosmological argument for an absolutely necessary being. He seeks to answer four questions: (1) Is the idea of a necessary being coherent? (2) In what way is the postulation of such a being explanatory? (3) Does the assumption of necessary being commit us to denying the very contingency of mundane things which it is meant to explain? (4) What are the implications of necessary being for theology? In this review I highlight a few of the obscurities and apparent weaknesses of this otherwise commendable book.
26. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Mark Nowacki Assessing the Kalam Cosmological Argument: A Reply to Guminski
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Guminski’s critical assessment of my version of the KCA (the “N-KCA”) is unfounded because he (1) fails to identify what is distinctive in the argument, (2) overlooks the importance of modality within KCA thought experiments, (3) does not recognize that the central arguments of the N-KCA are independent of specific mathematical accounts, and (4) overlooks key metaphysical distinctions, including that between infinite multitude and infinite magnitude. I also argue against Guminski’s “Alternative Version” of interpreting KCA thought experiments. Finally, I clarify what is meant by “temporal marks” and offer some thoughts on future research directions for the KCA.
27. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Gary R. Habermas Farewell to an Old Friend: Remembering Antony Flew
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This essay is a personal tribute to the life of philosopher Antony Flew (1923–2010). After some brief comments about Flew’s life, the article is divided into academic and personal memories that were shared between Gary Habermas and him. Included are details of various academic publications, debates, critiques, as well as several private discussions.
28. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
29. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Paul Gould The Problem of God and Abstract Objects: A Prolegomenon
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How does God relate to abstract objects, if there be any? Any adequate solution to this question quickly leads to deep waters philosophical and theological. In this essay, I attempt to bring clarity to the debate related to the problem of God and abstract objects by first explicating as precisely as possible the problem and then by imposing some order into the debate by classifying various contemporary answers to the problem.
30. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Richard Davis God and the Platonic Horde: A Defense of Limited Conceptualism
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In this paper I shall argue two things. First, it is plausible to think that Conceptualism holds with respect to propositions; in any event, it does a much better job than its closest competitors (Platonism and Nominalism) in accounting for the truthbearing nature of propositions. Secondly, it is wholly implausible (so I say) to take the added step and equate properties and relations with divine concepts. Here I offer additional reasons, beyond “divine bootstrapping,” for theists to resist this tempting reduction. Thus, a limited Conceptualism emerges as the most natural and defensible way for a theist to think about God’s relation to abstract objects.
31. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Keith Yandell God and Propositions
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If there are abstract objects, they necessarily exist. The majority view among contemporary philosophers of religion who are theists is that God also necessarily exists. Nonetheless, that God has necessary existence has not been shown to be true, or even (informally) consistent. It seems consistent—at least is does not seem (informally) inconsistent—but neither does its denial. Arguments that necessary existence is a perfection, and God has all perfections, assume that Necessitarian Theism is true, and hence consistent. Thus they do not provide reason to believe that Necessitarian Theism is true. Nonnecessitarian (“plain”) theism is on a philosophical par with Necessitarian Theism and can accommodate abstract objects all the while avoiding theological and philosophical refutation.
32. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig A Nominalist Perspective on God and Abstract Objects
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A metaphysically robust, as opposed to lightweight, Platonism with respect to uncreatable abstract objects is theologically unacceptable because it fatally compromises creatio ex nihilo and divine aseity. The principal argument for Platonism is the so-called Indispensability Argument based on the ontological commitments required by singular terms and existential quantifiers in true sentences. Different varieties of Nominalism challenge each of the argument’s premises. Fictionalism accepts the assumed criterion of ontological commitment but rejects the truth of the relevant sentences. Neutralism accepts the truth of the relevant sentences but denies the assumed criterion of ontological commitment. Both of these perspectives, but especially the last, are plausible routes available for the Christian theist.
33. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
James N. Anderson, Greg Welty The Lord of Noncontradiction: An Argument for God from Logic
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In this paper we offer a new argument for the existence of God. We contend that the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being; thus anyone who grants that there are laws of logic should also accept that there is a God. We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they are to play the role in our intellectual activities that we take them to play, then the laws of logic are best construed as necessarily existent thoughts—more specifically, as divine thoughts about divine thoughts. We conclude by highlighting some implications for both theistic arguments and antitheistic arguments.
34. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Hugh G. Gauch, Jr. Natural Theology’s Case for Jesus’s Resurrection: Methodological and Statistical Considerations
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An important 2003 book by Richard Swinburne and 2009 chapter by Timothy and Lydia McGrew develop the case for the bodily resurrection of Jesus as a project in ramified natural theology featuring public evidence. This paper imports a model for full disclosure of arguments from natural science to specify natural theology’s methodological and statistical requirements. Four matters need further clarification in this project’s ongoing development: the strength of the evidence, hypotheses being tested, dependence on generic natural theology, and range of evidence considered relative to apostolic precedents. The related historiographical method of Michael Licona is also discussed.
35. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Kent Dunnington The Sacrament of Punishment: A Response to David Boonin’s Abolitionism
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David Boonin’s 2008 book, The Problem of Punishment, argues that punishment by the state is immoral and should be abolished. This article contends that Boonin’s position is dependent upon questionable presuppositions about the authority of the state. The article uses Boonin’s work to show that any defense of state punishment must move beyond “theories of punishment” to address questions of political philosophy. It argues that the view of state authority envisioned by St. Paul undercuts Boonin’s argument. At the same time, this Pauline view of the state’s role may undercut specific aspects of the contemporary exercise of criminal justice in America.
36. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Matthew Flannagan Tooley, Plantinga, and the Deontological Argument from Evil
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This article criticizes the deontological argument from evil proposed by Michael Tooley in The Knowledge of God. I sketch Tooley’s distinction between deontological and axiological arguments from evil. Tooley rejects the axiological version because it rests on “controversial ethical claims,” claims that are “likely to be rejected by many theists” and formulates a deontological version in its place. I argue that Alvin Plantinga’s criticism of the moral premises of this argument can be reformulated by appealing to a divine command theory of ethics. So reformulated, I argue that Tooley’s argument relies on controversial moral assumptions that many theists reject.
37. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Glenn Peoples The Epistemological Objection to Divine Command Ethics: Morriston on Reasonable Unbelievers and Moral Obligations
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According to the epistemological objection to divine command ethics, if morality is grounded in God’s commands, then those who do not believe in God cannot have moral knowledge. This objection has been raised—and answered before. However, the objection persists, and I argue here that it has not been substantially improved upon and does not deserve a second hearing. Whether or not God’s commands provide the basis of moral facts does not imply that unbelievers cannot have moral knowledge, since the ability to know that something is true does not depend on our ability to know what makes it true.
38. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
James S. Spiegel On Free Will and Soul Making: Complementary Approaches to the Problem of Evil
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I argue that the free-will defense and soul-making theodicy have more in common than traditionally has been thought and that their differences have more to do with their divergent aims than their relative merits as responses to the problem of evil. Moreover, I show how the two approaches are logically interdependent. The free-will defense depends for its success on some soul-making concepts, and the soul-making theodicy relies upon a prior concept of human freedom in order to succeed. These facts seem to recommend that we see these two approaches as complementary rather than as competitors when addressing the problem of evil.
39. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Stephen Parrish Against a Naturalistic Causal Account of Reality: A Response to Graham Oppy
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Timothy O’Connor published an essay in Philosophia Christi recently that defends the notion of a necessary God as the explanation for a contingent universe. Graham Oppy and others wrote replies to the O’Connor’s paper. In this essay, I defend O’Connor’s position from Oppy’s criticism, and also argue that Oppy’s own naturalistic alternative is seriously flawed. Among other things, I argue that a contingent naturalist beginning to the universe is an inferior explanation than a necessarily existing God, and that naturalism cannot be coherently thought of as providing a necessary beginning to the universe.
40. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
John Jefferson Davis How Personal Agents Are Located in Space: Implications for Worship, Eucharist, and Union with Christ
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This article argues that the clarification and modification of some of our common-sense notions of “place” and “object” can shed light on controverted issues in the history of theology: how God is present in corporate worship; how the risen Christ is “really present” during the Lord’s Supper; and how the believer is really, and not merely metaphorically in union with Christ. Key distinctions discussed include the local, circumscriptive, and repletive modes of presence of an object or person; and the distinction between an empirical (or, “molecular”) self and an extended self.