• Book Reviews,  Epistemology,  Philosophy of Religion

    C. Stephen Evans: Natural Signs and Knowledge of God

    According to C. Stephen Evans, natural knowledge of God is “knowledge that does not presuppose any special religious authority or revelation.” A natural sign is “something that directs our attention to some reality or fact and makes knowledge of that fact possible.” Therefore, theistic natural signs are natural signs of God that are the means by which a person becomes aware of God. Theistic Natural Signs (TNS) produce possible de re awareness of God and contain a built in resistible propensity to form a relevant judgment (36). Evans asks: Why do some people accept and some people reject the arguments that proffer signs of the reality of God? His answer contains two…

  • Book Reviews,  Epistemology,  Paul Moser,  Philosophy of Religion,  Religious Experience

    Review: The Evidence for God by Paul Moser

    Unsatisfied with natural theology and fideism, Paul Moser attempts to introduce a new kind of evidence for God, an evidence, “appropriate for the reality of a God worthy of worship” (20). Such evidence is personified in human agents as they are transformed by God. His argument is as follows: (1) Necessarily, if a human person is offered and receives the transformative gift, then this is the result of the authoritative power of the divine X of thoroughgoing forgiveness, fellowship in perfect love, worthiness of worship, and triumphant hope (namely, God).(2) I have been offered, and have willingly received, the transformative gift.(3) Therefore, God exits. (200) Revelation of the divine, according…

  • Epistemology,  Ethics,  Love

    O’Donovan’s Love Dilemma (pt.2)

    Oliver O’Donovan suggests that another way to think about the priority or the inclusiveness of love is to think about the object of love (for the first way, see here). Who or what is it that one should love, given the immigration situation, for example? Should we supremely love those who cannot defend themselves and, having no power, find themselves at the mercy of an impersonal immigration system? Or should our loves be focused on either ideals of law or those for whom our decisions will most affect? What we love or, more precisely, what we are supposed to love entails a presupposed order of loves. Self, nation, future generation, ideals, oppressed…

  • Bible,  Epistemology,  Hermeneutics,  Jason Lisle,  Presuppositionalism

    A Hermeneutical Chicken and Egg

    While the truth of the scripture is guaranteed by its author, not all truths are found in scripture. I might know that Jesus is God because the Bible tells me, but I am pretty sure the Bible tells me nothing about algebra or the chemical composition of water. This is an important fact because a hermeneutic is developed partly prior to reading the Bible. A hermeneutic is a method of interpretation. We all develop a hermeneutic based on our intellectual faculties, background information, and skills. And we do so  whether we are conscious of it or not. A good hermeneutic will enable us to get the right interpretation of the…

  • Epistemology,  Paradox

    Preventative Medicine for Gamblers: The Powerball Paradox

    The lottery paradox is as follows: Say I buy one Powerball ticket and there are 10 million tickets sold.  Furthermore, let’s imagine that we know that one of the tickets is the winning ticket (of course, this is not be true of the Powerball since it is possible that none of the tickets is the winning ticket – that’s what gets us the rollover). The chance of my ticket being the winning ticket is one in ten million – poor odds by anyone’s estimation. It appears rational to think that one should believe a statement to be true if and only if one is sufficiently confident in the statement being…

  • Epistemology,  Ethics,  Love

    O’Donovan’s Love Dilemma

    In The Resurrection and Moral Order Oliver O’Donovan asks us to consider what we mean by love as a rule for life. Do we mean, on the one hand, that love is a summary and includes the rest of moral law? Or, on the other hand, do we mean that love is a priority over all other laws? The latter involves responding to a moral dilemma by doing what is considered the most loving act even while an alternative action might be more justified on other grounds. The former may involve suggesting that a particular course of action is justified by a moral law and, though we might not like the…

  • Epistemology,  Ethics,  Language,  Marriage

    It Depends on What You Mean By “Marriage”

    When marriage is debated the disagreement comes down to definition. I don’t mean what the definition of marriage is (that is what we disagree about). I mean how we get a definition in the first place. Is there some independent standard by which our definitions are proved good? Can we point at some authoritative definition and say, “see, there, that’s what marriage is.”? Can we look at a couple and say, “marriage is that”? Or is marriage something we purely stipulate? Does the Supreme Court have the power to construct a definition from scratch or should they merely recognize a preexisting entity and enshrine it in law? And is there any…

  • Epistemology,  Language

    Meaning and Material

    Does matter have meaning? Aquinas thought that it is impossible to understand some instance of a material entity solely by the entity impinging on the senses. One needs to abstract sense data through the use of concepts. At the formation of concepts there is understanding. The object of understanding is an ‘intelligible species’ and resides within us. One understands a material entity, X, by understanding what it means to be X, but the object of knowledge is transformed from the material entity, X, to the mental entity, X: “a thing is knowable in so far as it is separated from matter” (De Veritate 2. 2.) Aquinas thought that only mental entities…