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61. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Thomas McCall Professor Ward and Polytheism
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Professor Ward has offered a bold alternative to traditional doctrines of the Trinity. I focus on his proposal for understanding the identity of Jesus Christ. I note some ambiguities and raise some concerns, and I show that his theology is not obviously free of the error that motivates his rejection of more traditional views.
62. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Katherin A. Rogers A Medieval Approach to Keith Ward’s Christ and the Cosmos: A Reformulation of Trinitarian Doctrine
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In Christ and the Cosmos Keith Ward hopes to “reformulate” the conciliar statements of the Trinity and Incarnation since they cannot serve our post-Enlightenment, scientific age. I dispute Ward’s motivation, noting that the differences in perspective to which he points may not be as radical as he supposes. And his “reformulation” has worrisome consequences. I am especially concerned at his point that Jesus, while very special and perfectly good, is only human. This undermines free will theodicy, and, much more troubling, makes global Christian practice for two millennia idolatry.
63. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Francis X. Clooney, SJ Christ and the Cosmos: A Reformulation of Trinitarian Doctrine: A Reflection
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In Christ and the Cosmos Keith Ward again rethinks Christian doctrines, so as to restore their intelligibility and relevance. Throughout, he commendably notes parallels in other traditions that have pondered the unity and complexity of the divine. But such references are invariably general and brief; little insight into theologies arising elsewhere is achieved. Even in a small book, mention without depth may imply that no premodern learning answers questions arising in and for the globalized West. But gently sidelining the concepts of premodern traditions risks also losing their transformative energies, making less likely the revitalizing of doctrines of God beyond and in the world.
64. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
William Hasker A Cosmic Christ?
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Keith Ward advocates modifications in the doctrine of God similar to those affirmed by open theism. However, he rejects social Trinitarianism, in spite of his own recognition that the two views have often gone together. I argue that, beyond this, Ward really rejects the Trinitarian and Christological doctrines of the church, as expressed in the creeds of Nicaea and Chalcedon. The implications of this are explored; one implication is that Ward’s Christ is less “cosmic” than the traditional view he repudiates.
65. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Thomas Jay Oord Can God Be Essentially Loving without Being Essentially Social?: An Affirmation of and Alternative for Keith Ward
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Keith Ward is right in Christ and the Cosmos that “the idea of God as a sort of society is a bad idea” (x). Christian theology would make better sense if Christians did not say God is comprised of three persons, each with distinct centers of consciousness, distinct relations, distinct wills, and so on. This formulation of the Trinity is more tritheistic than monotheistic. I argue that for a host of reasons, Christians should conceive of the Trinity as one God who instantiates in three forms. I also suggest Christians would be wise to say God is essentially loving and essentially related to creation.
66. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Dale Tuggy Some Objections to Ward’s Trinitarian Theology
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Keith Ward’s Christ and the Cosmos is a bold and creative attempt to solve real Trinitarian and Christological difficulties. I object that it is not, as advertised a “reformulation” of any prior Trinity doctrine, and that it contradicts the New Testament in denying the identity of Jesus with the Son, and in denying the identity of the Father with the one God.
67. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Alister E. McGrath The Rationality of Faith: How Does Christianity Make Sense of Things?
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This paper explores the “rationality” of the Christian faith, focusing on the capacity of the Christian “big picture” to colligate and coordinate personal experience and observations of the world. To illustrate this, C. S. Lewis’s famous “argument from desire” is framed within the parameters of two significant philosophies of explanation: C. S. Peirce’s abductive approach, and “inference to the best explanation” (Gilbert Harman; Peter Lipton). It is argued that the Christian faith offers a “metarationality,” which affirms the ultimate rationality of mysteries such as the doctrine of the Trinity while also accounting for the way we make sense of the everyday world.
68. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Keith Ward Responses to Essays on Christ and the Cosmos
69. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
David Hershenov, Adam P. Taylor Can Ordinary Materialists Be Autonomous?
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We argue that the secular cannot offer a materialist response to “The Problem of Too Many Thinkers” that makes autonomy possible. The materialist can accommodate what truths about respecting personal freedom and autonomy only by accepting a counterintuitive sparse ontology. Immaterial accounts of the person look good by comparison. However, those immaterialist theories that don’t posit a divinely created soul suffer from certain metaphysical puzzles avoided by those who do claim divine creation. A soul that requires divine creation strongly suggests that such immaterial beings were made for a purpose. Such purposeful creation makes theistic ethics seem far more plausible.
70. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Jerome Gellman Ward’s Trinity and the Stubborn Jews
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My paper addresses the possibility of Jews and Christians becoming theologically closer than in the past, given Ward’s Trinity. I address the question of whether Ward’s version of the Trinity necessarily clashes with Jewish tradition. I contend that it does not so clash, especially because for Ward Jesus is only a contingent instantiation of the Word. A Jew could accept the purely logical implications of the Wardian Trinity. I then present a new Jewish theology of Jesus, one that is sympathetic to Jesus, but which denies his divinity. The result is a moving closer of Jewish and Christian theology.
71. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Tyler Dalton McNabb, Erik D. Baldwin Reformed Epistemology and the Pandora’s Box Objection
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Furthering our project of applying Plantinga’s epistemology to different world religions, we do a comparative study of Mormonism and Vaiśeṣika Hinduism and analyze whether they can utilize Plantinga’s epistemology in order to claim that their beliefs about God if true are probably warranted. Specifically, we argue that they cannot, as ultimately they are unable to account for the preconditions needed to make for an intelligible cognitive design plan, due to either affirming an infinite regress when it comes to the designers of our cognitive faculties or affirming an infinite number of cosmological cycles in which our faculties are formed.
72. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Stephen E. Parrish Theism, Naturalism, and Worlds: The Puzzle and the Problem
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Theism and naturalism are rival worldviews. Both seek to explain the nature of reality, but often give radically different explanations. One of the most important areas of conflict is the differing accounts for the existence of the world in which we live. Why is the actual world the one that has been instantiated instead of any other of the apparently infinite number of other possible worlds? In this paper I argue that whereas theism has a puzzle as to why God actualized this particular world, naturalism has a major problem as why any ordered world exists.
73. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Gary R. Habermas, Benjamin C. F. Shaw Agnostic Historical Jesus Scholars Decimate the Mythical Jesus Popularists: A Review Essay on Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths?
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This review article examines the late agnostic New Testament scholar Maurice Casey’s criticisms of the so-called mythicist position, which argues that Jesus did not exist. Casey’s volume Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? is viewed along with Bart Ehrman’s critique of similar ideas in his text Did Jesus Exist? We will highlight important objections raised by these agnostic scholars against those in the mythicist movement, including topics such as various idiosyncrasies leading to historically deficient methods, egregiously latedating the canonical Gospels, claiming inspiration from earlier mystery religions, and positing textual interpolations.
74. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Guillaume Bignon The Distasteful Conditional Analysis: On Compatibilism and the Not-so-Wretched Counterfactual Ability to Do Otherwise
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The principle of alternate possibilities states that a person cannot be morally responsible for what he has done, unless he had the “ability” to do otherwise. Incompatibilists typically add that determinism removes such ability, thereby excluding moral responsibility. In response, compatibilists have often affirmed something close, only interpreting the ability in question to be conditional, counterfactual, and hence compatible with determinism. This conditional analysis has been (loudly) criticized for being question-begging, unnecessary, and insufficient. This paper aims to refute these three objections, to uphold the coherence of the conditional analysis, along with (it is hoped) the integrity of its proponents.
75. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig “Absolute Creation” and “Theistic Activism”: A Plea for Terminological Uniformity
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Morris and Menzel’s view that God is the Creator of abstract as well as concrete objects is variously referred to by the labels “absolute creation” and “theistic activism.” To use these labels synonymously, however, exhibits a lack of discrimination. Theistic activism is the project of grounding modality in God, particularly in the divine will. Absolute creationism is a nonmodal project which regards abstract objects as created by God. The synonymous use of these terms results in confusion in debates over divine aseity and sovereignty. Philosophical discussion will benefit if we adopt a uniform terminology discriminating between these different views.
76. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Michael T. McFall Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy
77. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Greg Ganssle The Best Argument against God
78. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Eric B. Oldenburg Four Views on Hell
79. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Loren Pankratz Moral Responsibility and Desert of Praise and Blame
80. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
R. Scott Smith The Knower and the Known: Physicalism, Dualism, and the Nature of Intelligibility