Open theists agree that God lacks what is normally called “comprehensive” foreknowledge, but why believe this? Open theists answer in three ways, which I call the narrow road, the wide road, and the shortcut to open theism. Here I argue that (1) the narrow road faces a difficulty concerning the doctrine of divine omniscience which doesn’t arise for the wide road, (2) the wide road is well-motivated and appealing, given certain philosophical commitments, (3) the shortcut is too simple to work, (...) and (4) William Lane Craig’s objections to the wide road fail. I conclude with some observations about the state of the dispute between open theists and their critics. (shrink)
In recent years, many resourceful thinkers have brought a new clarity to the issues surrounding the doctrine of the Trinity. Two incompatible families of Trinitarian doctrine have been clearly distinguished: Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitarianism. I argue here that no theory in either camp has yet evaded the triune pitfalls of inconsistency, unintelligibility, and poor fit with the Bible. These two main approaches appear to be hopeless, and I argue that appeals to ‘mystery’ are no way to avoid the difficulties (...) at hand. Thus, the Trinitarian project is as yet unfinished. (shrink)
Some have argued that unipersonal concepts of God collapse into incoherence, so that such a being is no more possible than a square circle, or at least that such theologies are, as non-trinitarian, significantly less probable than some trinitarian theologies. I discuss the general strategy and examine recent arguments by William Lane Craig, C. Stephen Layman, Thomas V. Morris, and Richard Swinburne based on divine love, flourishing, and glory. I show why none of these arguments is compelling, as each has (...) at least one weak premise. (shrink)
Tertullian is often celebrated as an early trinitarian, or at least a near- trinitarian, proto-trinitarian, or trinitarian with unfortunate ‘subordinationist’ tendencies. In this paper I shall show that Tertullian was a unitarian, and not at all a trinitarian.
Religious believers react in one of four ways to apparent contradictions among their beliefs: Redirection, Resistance, Restraint, or Resolution. This paper evaluates positive mysterian Resistance, the view that believers may rationally believe and know apparently contradictory religious doctrines. After locating this theory by comparing and contrasting it with others, I explore the best developed version of it, that of James Anderson’s Paradox in Christian Theology. I argue that it faces steep epistemic problems, and is at best a temporarily reasonable but (...) ultimately unsustainable stance. (shrink)
In recent work, philosophical theologians Michael Rea and Jeffrey Brower have formulated a precise way of understanding the doctrine of the Trinity along the lines of a contemporary constitution theory of material objects. Here I explain the theological and philosophical thinking behind their proposal, and give seven objections to it. Stepping back to consider methodology, I distinguish several goals a Trinity theory may aim at, and argue that the theory at hand achieves some but not others. Most importantly, it fails (...) as a Rational Reconstruction of creedal trinitarian claims. (shrink)
Roman Catholic theologians long denied that Jesus had faith in God, and Jesus having faith in God seems in conflict with traditional claims that Jesus is fully divine. What the New Testament means by “faith” is explored, and in light of this we consider arguments from orthodox Incarnation theory to the conclusion that Jesus did not have and could not have had faith in God. Relevantly, the New Testament clearly asserts in five ways that Jesus had faith in God. This (...) exposes problems for traditional Incarnation theories, some of which are addressed by recent “Kenosis” accounts. But these too are problematic. (shrink)
William Lane Craig’s “Neo-Apollinarian” christology aims to give us a model of Incarnation which seems not to imply any contradiction, and which fits well with the Bible and with at least the creed from the fourth ecumenical council. It is argued that the theory fails to achieve any of these goals.
In this paper we argue that the moral value of an agent is determined solely by their dispositions to act intentionally and freely. We then put this conclusion to work. It resolves a putative moral paradox first posed by Saul Smilansky, and it undermines a prominent line of argument for a variety of Trinitarian theology. Finally, we derive our conclusion about the moral worth of agents not only from our initial series of thought experiments, but also from Abrahamic theism itself. (...) This means that Smilansky’s paradox can only possibly be rehabilitated by an atheist, and that the aforementioned line of argumentation for the Trinity is radically self-undermining, since it relies upon the denial of a corollary of Abrahamic theism. (shrink)
Hasker’s “social” Trinity theory is subject to considerable philosophical problems. More importantly, the theory clashes with the clear New Testament teaching that the one God just is the Father alone. Further, in light of five undeniable facts about the New Testament texts, we can know that the authors of the New Testament thought that the only God was just the Father himself, not the Trinity. Hasker can neither deny these facts nor defeat the strong evidence they provide that in affirming (...) a triune God in the late 4th century, catholic tradition departed from apostolic teaching about the one God. (shrink)
The simplest Divine Command Theory is one which identifies rightness with being commanded or willed by God. Two clear and appealing arguments for this theory turn on the idea that laws require a lawgiver, and the idea that God is sovereign or omnipotent. Critical examination of these arguments reveals some fundamental principles at odds with the Divine Command Theory, and yields some more penetrating versions of traditional objections to that theory.
Theories of Religious Diversity Religious diversity is the fact that there are significant differences in religious belief and practice. It has always been recognized by people outside the smallest and most isolated communities. But since early modern times, increasing information from travel, publishing, and emigration have forced thoughtful people to reflect more deeply on religious … Continue reading Religious Diversity, Theories of →.
In a series of papers, William Hasker, in conversation with important recent work in philosophical theology, has carefully articulated and argued for a version of “social” trinitarianism. I argue that this theory should be rejected because it is not consistently monotheistic.
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.