• 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…

  • Apologetics,  Logic

    Apologetics and Arguments

    The core of apologetic studies is the consideration of arguments. I don’t mean fights, the kind that break out over lunch between siblings. I mean sets of statements one of which is the conclusion or main point. The other statements somehow support or lead to the conclusion. We use arguments all the time. We even use them when we don’t mean to. They are the warp and woof of human discourse. The crucial thing to notice about arguments is that they can be good or bad. Here is a good argument: (1) If you listened carefully to Ben, then you understand apologetics(2) You don’t understand apologetics (3) Therefore, you did…

  • Apologetics,  Beauty,  Love,  Materialism,  Politics,  Truth

    If Materialism is True, Then Everything Stinks

    There is a difference between being materialistic and being a materialist. If you are materialistic, you value material things above non-material things. By materialism I don’t mean the valuing of material things. What I mean is the view that there is nothing that exists that is immaterial. A material thing is some entity which is possible to experience. Some material things are so small you can’t see them, but it would be possible to experience them if one’s senses were adequate or if the thing in question was bigger. Of course, if you are a materialist, then you will very likely be materialistic. That’s all there is, after all. What…

  • Apologetics,  Calvinism,  Presuppositionalism

    Defense of Calvinism: A Response to Spencer Toy

    Spencer Toy has written a critique about the presuppositional method of apologetics. His main critique seems to be that, given the Calvinistic underpinnings of the method there would be no way to sure that God has not revealed some error to the Calvinist to further his own glory. The problem, as Toy sees it, is the relationship between human reasoning and Calvinism. This, Toy argues, produces a problem for presuppositionalists. There are two ‘presuppositions’ Toy thinks produce the problem: TD: Total Depravity, the view that “human reasoning is so totally depraved that any effort to understand or believe the Gospel is futile. Unless and until the Holy Spirit regenerates the…

  • Apologetics,  David Hume,  Teleological Argument

    A Humean Dillema for Analogies and Artifacts

    William Paley “I knew Paley’s argument from design, knew about the watch and the watchmaker, and I knew now that these people—these Jesus freaks—were trundling out the same old argument dressed in new clothes. Intricacy requires design, that was what they said. And design requires a designer. That was as far as they could see, that was it, case closed: God exists. And the earth is ten thousand years old, just like the Bible says” (Dave, a character in a T.C Boyle story).[1] William Paley’s analogical argument from design is simultaneously the best known and most derided argument for the existence of God. Ironically, the derision started before Paley wrote…