Philosophy and Christian Theology

A Reader in Contemporary Philosophical Theology, London: T&T Clark

New essays in philosophical theology pdf

Until the nineteenth and even early twentieth century, it was commonfor scientists to have religious beliefs which guided their work. Inthe seventeenth century, the design argument reached its peakpopularity and natural philosophers were convinced that scienceprovided evidence for God’s providential creation. Naturalphilosopher Isaac Newton held strong, albeit unorthodox religiousbeliefs (Pfizenmaier 1997). By contrast, contemporary scientists havelower religiosity compared to the general population. There are vocalexceptions, such as the geneticist Francis Collins, erstwhile theleader of the Human Genome Project. His book The Language ofGod (2006) and the BioLogos Institute he founded advocatecompatibility between science and Christianity.

New essay in philosophical theology

Moving away from the standard version of the kenotic theory, some philosophers and theologians endorse views according to which it onlyseems as if Christ lacked divine attributes like omniscience, omnipotence, and so on. Views according to which it simply seems to us (ordinary human beings) as if he lacks those attributes are called“krypsis” accounts of the incarnation. They are views according to which the apparent loss of divine attributes is only pretense or illusion. Among other things, this raises the concern that the incarnation is somehow a grand deception, thus casting doubt on Christ's moral perfection. More acceptable, then, are views accordingto which it somehow seems even to Christ himself as if certain divine attributes which he actually possesses have been laid aside. On this view, the loss of omniscience, omnipotence, and so on is only simulated. Christ retains all of the traditional divine attributes. But from his point of view it is, nevertheless, as if those attributes are gone. A view like this might be characterized aspositing a “functional kenosis.” (Cf. Crisp 2007, Ch. 2.)

While integration seems attractive (especially to theologians), it isdifficult to do justice to both the science and religion aspects of agiven domain, especially given their complexities. For example, PierreTeilhard de Chardin (1971), who was both knowledgeable inpaleoanthropology and theology, ended up with an unconventional viewof evolution as teleological (which brought him into trouble with thescientific establishment), and with an unorthodox theology (with anunconventional interpretation of original sin that brought him intotrouble with the Roman Catholic Church). Theological heterodoxy, byitself, is no reason to doubt a model, but it points to difficultiesfor the integration model in becoming successful in the broadercommunity of theologians and philosophers. Moreover, integration seemsskewed towards theism as Barbour described arguments based onscientific results that support (but do not demonstrate) theism, butfailed to discuss arguments based on scientific results that support(but do not demonstrate) the denial of theism.


Divine Impassibility An Essay In Philosophical Theology

The first reason is that atheism was the predominant opinion amongEnglish language philosophers throughout much of that century. Asecond, quite related reason is that philosophers in the twentiethcentury regarded theological language as either meaningless, or, atbest, subject to scrutiny only insofar as that language had a bearingon religious practice. The former belief (i.e., that theologicallanguage was meaningless) was inspired by a tenet of logicalpositivism, according to which any statement that lacks empiricalcontent is meaningless. Since much theological language, for example,language describing the doctrine of the Trinity, lacks empiricalcontent, such language must be meaningless. The latter belief,inspired by Wittgenstein, holds that language itself only has meaningin specific practical contexts, and thus that religious language wasnot aiming to express truths about the world which could be subjectedto objective philosophical scrutiny.

A Neomedieval Essay in Philosophical Theology - …

Another theological development that may have facilitated the rise ofscience was the Condemnation of Paris (1277), which forbade teachingand reading natural philosophical views that were consideredheretical, such as Aristotle’s physical treatises. As a result,the Condemnation opened up intellectual space to think beyond ancientGreek natural philosophy. For example, medieval philosophers such asJohn Buridan (fl. 14th c) held the Aristotelian belief thatthere could be no vacuum in nature, but once the idea of a vacuumbecame plausible, natural philosophers such as Evangelista Torricelli(1608–1647) and Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) could experimentwith air pressure and vacua (see Grant 1996, for discussion).

A Neomedieval Essay in Philosophical Theology.

On this way of seeing the two disciplines, if at least one of the premises of an argument is derived from revelation, the argument falls in the domain of theology; otherwise it falls into philosophy'sdomain. Since this way of thinking about philosophy and theology sharply demarcates the disciplines, it is possible in principle that the conclusions reached by one might be contradicted by the other. According to advocates of this model, however, any such conflict mustbe merely apparent. Since God both created the world which is accessible to philosophy and revealed the texts accessible to theologians, the claims yielded by one cannot conflict with the claims yielded by another unless the philosopher or theologian has made some prior error.