• Apologetics,  Existence of God,  Theism

    Notes: “Divine Necessity” by Robert Adams

    Adams writes “to refute two…objections to the doctrine of divine necessity” (742). In doing so, he provides a refutation for evolutionary naturalism and an argument for the existence of God. Obj #1: The proposition, ‘God exists’, cannot be a necessary truth because only analytic truths can be necessary truths but existential propositions cannot be analytic truths. ‘God exists’ is an existential proposition. Therefore, ‘God exists’ cannot be a necessary truth. Why think analytic propositions cannot be existential propositions? An analytic proposition is a conditional the consequent of which is a correct analysis of the antecedent. For example, the proposition ‘if he is a bachelor, then he is unmarried’ (or ‘all…

  • Apologetics,  Language,  Philosophy of Linguistics

    From Sentences to God

    From a very young age, we can recognize the quality of sentences. We evaluate sentences according to some standard, some criteria of good, bad, better, or worse. If God created the world then it is likely that he would endow human beings with some way to recognize good and bad sentences according to some standard. One might think that this would entail that human beings know what makes sentences good or bad. But recognition of the value of an entity does not entail knowing what makes it valuable. This is true of good and bad actions as much as it is true of good or bad sentences. One might not…

  • Apologetics,  Philosophy of Religion

    Alexander Campbell’s Argument for the Existence of God

    Alexander Campbell was an influential pastor in 19th century. He came up with an interesting argument for the existence of God. I saw it nicely analyzed by Caleb Clanton. Campbell argues that human beings must have obtained the concept of God at some time in the past. But what best explains the cause of our having such a concept? There are five plausible options. First, the idea of God is innate to human minds. We never really obtained the concept; it was always within us. Second, the concept of God was acquired through direct experience of God. Third, the concept of God was arrived at by experience and reflection. Fourth,…

  • Apologetics,  Cosmological Argument,  Existence of God

    Theism: Plain or Necessary?

    Plain Theism is the view that ‘God exists’ is a logically contingent proposition. ‘God exists’ is neither necessarily true nor necessarily false. In contrast, necessitarian theism holds that the proposition, ‘God exists’ is necessarily true. In other words ‘it is false that God exists’ is a contradiction. I often wondered what would motivate my old prof, Keith Yandell to hold to plain theism. What does it mean to say that God does not have necessary existence or that ‘necessarily, God exists’ is necessarily false? Most theists contend that if ‘God exists’ is true, it is true necessarily. The answer, I think, lies in some of Dr. Yandell’s theistic argumentation. In…

  • Apologetics,  Atheism,  Existence of God,  naturalism,  Theism

    God-of-the-Gaps: No Such Thing

    Mathematician, Pierre-Simon LaPlace was once asked by the emperor of France where God was to feature in LaPlace’s mathematical system. LaPlace replied, “I have no need of that hypothesis.” The idea behind the quip is that if you can find a good explanations for something without God, then you don’t need him. And if you don’t need him, then this is good reason to suppose that he’s not there. The kind of God supposed in such thought is the “God-of-the-gaps” kind of God, a God who is necessary only in so far that he explains some feature of the world – existence, the movement of the planets, the habits of…

  • Apologetics,  Atheism,  Natural Theology,  naturalism

    Design?

    At school I was taught to anneal copper. This process entailed heating the copper to an exact temperature before working on it. There were no temperature gauges involved – one could tell what temperature the copper had reached by its color – cherry red. The color of the copper changed as the temperature changed. I remember thinking that God was both an artist and an engineer. He designed copper to include its own temperature gauge and made it beautiful at the same time. To a Christian, or any theist for that matter, the world appears to be designed by someone. It is not usually the whole world that appears designed,…

  • Apologetics,  Bible,  Christian Life

    The Apologetic Task

    The task of apologetics is not mainly the task of trained lawyers, theologians or philosophers. It is the task of ordinary Christians living an ordinary Christian life. The clearest reference in the Bible to apologetics is in the first letter of Peter to Christians who were attempting to live in towns that were—to varying degrees—hostile to the Christian beliefs. Peter tells them to expect suffering along the way and he teaches them how to conduct themselves in a godly way. Peter is especially concerned with ordinary Christian life. He writes: For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? But in fact, if you…