• Epistemology,  Philosophical Theology,  Philosophy of Education,  Philosophy of Language,  Philosophy of Linguistics

    Classical Education: Loving the Rock of Reality

    “Why Latin? Why Logic? Why only ‘great’ books?”  Such are the questions levied at the classicist. They are good questions, but the best answers are not found in pragmatics, a list of the benefits of a classical education. Instead, the reason anyone ultimately prefers a classical approach to education is that she holds to a classical worldview. I say ‘ultimately’ because pragmatic answers don’t count for nothing. One cannot help using them in class to garner support for Latin verb endings. “Throughout history, the best authors were great Latinists” I said the other day. I had in mind one student whose mother had told me that she would like to…

  • Atonement,  Doctrine of Salvation,  Philosophical Theology,  Theology

    Defending Penal Substitution: A Reply to Abbot Tryphon

    Abbot Tryphon argues that the penal substitutionary theory of the atonement is heresy. Tryphon calls the view “pagan” view in which “we are forced to view our God as some sort of angry deity needing to be appeased by a blood sacrifice.” Tryphon’s main argument is that if we accept the penal substitutionary view, then we are forced to accept two consequences, both of which are false: “The major problem with this teaching can be seen in the fact that had Christ died for our sins against God the Father, thus causing a division of God, with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity laid waste, with God pitted against God.…

  • God,  Philosophical Theology

    Kenosis: Why God Can’t Choose to Lose His Powers

    According to some versions of the doctrine of kenosis, God, the Son, suspended the use of some of his divine powers while he walked the earth. The doctrine is generally taken to mean that Jesus voluntarily suspended the use of some of his powers while he walked the earth. His powers were not lessened in any way and, like a powerful army during peacetime, he could use them at any moment. However, according to other versions of kenosis, the doctrine implies that one divine power is the power to give up some powers for some time. On this view, Jesus not only restricts his use of some powers while on…

  • Analytic Theology,  Book Notes,  God,  Metaphysics,  Philosophical Theology

    Notes: Does God Have a Nature?

    When we say that God is good or that he is all-powerful we are predicating something of a subject as we are when we say “Socrates is wise.” On a realist view, the predicate is a property that is instantiated by the particular. “Wise” is a property of Socrates and, as such, and given realism, the property of is what is referred to by the term “wise.” To say that God is wise, or good is to say that God has the property of wisdom or goodness. If there are such things, as realists suggest, then they must exist in order to be referred to. In common parlance, such things…

  • Epistemology,  Existence of God,  God,  Natural Theology,  Philosophical Theology

    No Concept, No Belief

    You couldn’t believe in something unless you knew something about it. If I said to you that a meroganon lives at the end of my street you might say I am nuts, but you would first want to know something about a meroganon. You couldn’t know if I am nuts unless you knew something about a meroganon. I could describe one to you by listing some of its basic features. After some time you would have in your mind the concept of a meroganon and you could then be justified in thinking that I have lost my mind. Consider the person (there may be more than one) who has not…

  • Analytic Theology,  God,  Philosophical Theology

    Can God Marvel?

    God is marvelous. He causes in his worshipers a sense of wonder, awe and amazement. But does God feel the same? Can he marvel at himself? At the very least marveling implies finding something to be beyond conceptual reach. It appears to be connected with mystery. Sometimes our marveling can be because we do not have the concepts to understand what we see. A magic trick can be like this. We cannot understand how it is done even though we might be sure that, if someone explained the trick, we would understand it. A trick looses its mystery when we know how it is done. In other cases we marvel…

  • Epistemology,  Philosophical Theology

    How Does God Know?

    God is never surprised by anything, never acquires knowledge and finds playing hide and seek quite dull. God has all the symptoms of omniscience. But how does God know what he knows? What counts as knowledge for God? Does he have justification for his beliefs? The following is a sketch of some options. What exactly do we mean by omniscience? First, God’s omniscience, in a propositional sense (and let’s confine ourselves to propositions for simplicity’s sake), means that for every proposition p, if p is true, then God knows p. Entailed in this view is the further feature of omniscience such that for every proposition p, if p is false,…

  • Apologetics,  Philosophical Theology,  Philosophy of Religion

    Delineating Disciplines

    What is the difference between Philosophy of Religion, Philosophical Theology and Apologetics? Academicians,  as a part time hobby, attempt to mark out territory. Students, on the other hand, usually don’t care about the boundaries and lump disciplines into one coherent stream. I’m afraid I am of the latter persuasion. Hence, my undergraduate degree was in Philosophical Theology and Apologetics and my graduate studies are in Philosophy of Religion. Through it all, I maintained an apologetic, and ministry, focus. My dual goals were to better root and establish believers in the Christian faith and better communicate the gospel in our culture.  Okay, so my aims do not sound grandly philosophical and required the twisting of certain topics…