Philosophy in the English-speaking world is dominated by analytic approaches to its problems and projects; but theology has been dominated by alternative approaches. Many would say that the current state in theology is not mere historical accident, but is, rather, how things ought to be. On the other hand, many others would say precisely the opposite: that theology as a discipline has been beguiled and taken captive by 'continental' approaches, and that the effects on the discipline have been largely deleterious. (...) The methodological divide between systematic theologians and analytic philosophers of religion is ripe for exploration. The present volume represents an attempt to begin a much-needed interdisciplinary conversation about the value of analytic philosophical approaches to theological topics. Most of the essays herein are sympathetic toward the enterprise the editors are calling analytic theology; but, with an eye toward balance, the volume also includes essays and an introduction that try to offer more critical perspectives on analytic theology. (shrink)
In this paper I offer an argument against one important version of panentheism, that is, mereological panentheism. Although panentheism has proven difficult to define, I provide a working definition of the view, and proceed to argue that given this way of thinking about the doctrine, mereological accounts of panentheism have serious theological drawbacks. I then explore some of these theological drawbacks. In a concluding section I give some reasons for thinking that the classical theistic alternative to panentheism is preferable, all (...) things considered. (shrink)
The atonement is one of the central and defining doctrines of Christian theology. Yet the nature of the atonement – how it is that Christ's life and death on the cross actually atone for human sin – remains a theological conundrum. This article offers a new argument for an old theory of the atonement, namely, penal substitution. First, it sets out the theological context for the argument. This involves giving some account of alternative theories of the atonement in the tradition, (...) and why penal substitution might be thought a particularly appealing way of thinking about the atonement. The article then presents an argument for a version of penal substitution that involves the application of an idea found in some Augustinian accounts of the transmission of sin from Adam to his progeny. At the end of this exposition, it offers some brief comments on the metaphysics undergirding the theology of this argument. The final section discusses several theological and philosophical objections to this reasoning. (shrink)
This volume offers an array of newly commissioned essays, addressing the topic of love in the Christian tradition. Drawn from a range of expert theologians and philosophers in contemporary analytic and non-analytic theology, these essays join current debates within the theology of love, and aim to propose new avenues for future research. Including the last essay written by Marilyn McCord Adams, Love, Divine and Human deals with a rich variety of issues related to divine and human love. The broad scope (...) of the book includes divine transcendence and its methodological bearing on the doctrine of divine love, the nature and scope of divine love, the interrelation between God's love and wrath, the plausibility of an impassable God of love, and the application of various conceptions of divine love to the problem of divine hiddenness, human ethics, and human free will, among other topics. This unified collection of cutting-edge papers will advance discussion for all those focused on the theology of love. (shrink)
Reformed theology is often thought to be antipathetic to virtue theory. However, Jonathan Edwards is a counterexample to this way of thinking. In this article, I offer an account of Edwards’s moral thought as a case study of Reformed theology that is also a species of virtue theory, focusing on what he says about the formation of character. I argue that key doctrinal commitments drive his moral theology, and generate some interesting problems for his ethics. Although his work is not (...) without shortcomings, Edwards is a thinker whose moral theology might be usefully repaired and retrieved by contemporary theologians in the Reformed tradition for whom ‘duties are founded on doctrines’. (shrink)
The concept of divine justice has been the subject of considerable scrutiny in recent philosophical theology, as it bears upon the notion of punishment with respect to the doctrine of eternal damnation. In this essay, I set out a version of the traditional retributive view of divine punishment and defend it against one of the most important and influential contemporary detractors from this position, Thomas Talbott. I will show that, contrary to Talbott’s argument, punishment may satisfy divine justice, and that (...) perfect justice is commensurate with retribution, rather than, as he suggests, reconciliation and restoration. (shrink)
This article considers several problems concerning the origin of the soul in the work of the nineteenth century American theologian, William G. T. Shedd. He opts for the traducian position, which is, that the soul is passed down from parents to child, in a way similar to the passing of physical seed from two human parents that fuse in syngamy to form a genetically distinct entity. The essay considers three problems with this view. The first concerns the composition of human (...) natures; the second, whether souls are fissiparous; and the third, the relationship between traducianism, creationism and Augustinian realism. (shrink)
In several recent articles and a monograph, Andrew Loke has outlined a particular model of the Incarnation, which he calls the Divine Preconscious Model. In this article I provide a critique of this model, drawing on recent work by James Arcadi in order to show that there are serious theological costs involved in adopting the DPM.
In recent systematic theology versions of the Ransom account of the atonement have proliferated. Much of this work uses Gustav Aulén's Christus Victor as a point of departure. In this paper I first distinguish between models and theories of atonement. Then I discuss three recent theological perorations of the Ransom model as a prelude to setting out four interpretive strategies for understanding this view of atonement. I then offer some critical remarks on these strategies, concluding that the Ransom view as (...) set forth here does not provide a complete model of atonement. (shrink)
In this essay I respond to my interlocutors in the symposium on my monograph, Analyzing Doctrine. Addressing each of them in the order in which their essays are printed, I consider and reply to comments by William Lane Craig, Steven Nemes, N. Gray Sutanto, Jordan Wessling and Joanna Leidenhag.
In modern theology the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Christ, including the doctrine of his Virginal Conception, has been the subject of considerable scepticism. One line of criticism has been that the traditional doctrine of the Virgin Birth seems unnecessary to the Incarnation. In this essay I lay out one construal of the traditional argument for the doctrine and show that, although one can offer an account of the Incarnation without the Virgin Birth which, in other respects, is perfectly (...) in accord with catholic Christianity, such a doctrine is still contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture and the Creeds on the question of the mode of the Incarnation. It might still be thought that the Incarnation was an ‘unfitting’ means of Incarnation. In a final section I draw upon Anselm's arguments in defence of the Incarnation to show that this objection can also be overcome. (shrink)
In this article I assess the coherence of Jonathan Edwards's doctrine of divine simplicity as an instance of an actus purus account of perfect-being theology. Edwards's view is an idiosyncratic version of this doctrine. This is due to a number of factors including his idealism and the Trinitarian context from which he developed his notion of simplicity. These complicating factors lead to a number of serious problems for his account, particularly with respect to the opera extra sunt indivisa principle. I (...) conclude that Edwards sets out an interesting and subtle version of the doctrine, but one which appears mired in difficulties from which he is unable to extract himself. (shrink)
In his recent two‐volume Systematic Theology, Robert Jenson offers an account of Christ's pre‐existence that is, in several important respects, an original contribution to the literature. In this article, I offer a critical interaction with Jenson's doctrine. In particular, I show that what Jenson has to say about divine eternity and the relationship between philosophy and theology, have important bearings on his construal of Christ's pre‐existence and, in the final analysis, skew what he has to say on the matter. I (...) conclude that Jenson's account of this doctrine, though suggestive and insightful in several respects, is unsuccessful, indeed, incoherent, as it stands. (shrink)