The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy

The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy
The problem of evil is arguably the most intractable problem facing the theist. The first challenge for the theist is the logical problem of evil which says that the set of propositions comprising the following – (1) An omnipotent God creates this world, (2) God is perfectly good, (3) This world is not perfectly good, i.e. evil exists – is an inconsistent set. Holding to any two of these propositions requires dropping the third to avoid the problem of contradiction. For example, that evil exists demands either God is good but not omnipotent (since he fails to prevent evil) or that God is omnipotent but not truly good (since he allows evil despite having the power to prevent it). Continue reading “The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy”

Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God, Contingency and Principle of Sufficient Reason. Preliminary Thoughts.

I. Kalam Cosmological Argument

Without doubt the most well known argument for the existence for God today is the Kalam cosmological argument which features prominently in many debates between William Craig and atheistic thinkers.  The Kalam cosmological argument in its simplest form goes as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe begins to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This is a strong argument precisely because it is logically tight (an unassailable modus ponens). Continue reading “Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God, Contingency and Principle of Sufficient Reason. Preliminary Thoughts.”

Speech Act Revelation: Bible and Quran

Speech Act Revelation: Bible and Quran

Thesis – By definition, an agreement involves at least two parties. It would be a very odd covenant in which one party knows what the other party desires, but does not know who the other party really is. Just imagine entering a covenant with someone via faxed messages or the Internet…Put in religious language, divine revelation is deficient if it is only given as a textual message. Continue reading “Speech Act Revelation: Bible and Quran”

Analogy in Theological Language (Part 3): A Model of the Trinity

In Greco-Roman mythology there is said to stand guarding the gates of Hades a three-headed dog named Cerberus. We may suppose that Cerberus has three brains and therefore three distinct states of consciousness of whatever it is like to be a dog. Therefore, Cerberus, while a sentient being, does not have a unified consciousness. He has three consciousness.

For Part 1 – Analogy in Theological Language

For Part 2 – Analogical Language in God-Talk –Special Reference to Unity and Diversity in the Trinity

Given below is an analogy or model of the Trinity taken from the book, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig. You may note that the model is a description of how the Trinity could be coherently conceived. It does not constitue a logical proof. The alert reader would also recognize that Moreland and Craig are merely defending one of several possible models of the Trinity. Continue reading “Analogy in Theological Language (Part 3): A Model of the Trinity”

Analogy in Theological Language (Part 2)

Let us then investigate how analogical language plays a prominent role in Christian theology.

First, some words about the language of God talk: Talk about God can be univocal, equivocal or analogical.

Univocal language – When a term is used univocally it is being given exactly the same meaning in two different contexts, e.g., we would say of both a dog and a cat that each is a mammal.

Equivocal language – This is to give a word two completely different and unrelated meanings. It is purely accidental that the word sounds the same in each case. Thus the word ‘bat’ can be used of an object in the game of cricket and of a flying animal.

Any attempt at God-talk faces the following dilemma. We must use language derived from everyday experience. If we refer to God without qualifications, we make God part of the finite world. If we dichotomize human language from a God who is totally other, we empty our God-talk of meaning. As Frederick Ferré expresses it, ‘If univocal, then language falls into anthropomorphism and cannot be about God: if equivocal, then language bereft of its meaning leads to agnosticism and cannot for us be about God’ (p.105).

Analogical Language in God-Talk –Special Reference to Unity and Diversity in the Trinity

For Part 1 – Analogy in Theological Language

For Part 3 – Analogy in Theological Language: A Model of the Trinity

Analogical Language in God-talk
Let us then investigate how analogical language plays a prominent role in Christian theology.

First, some words about the language of God talk: Talk about God can be univocal, equivocal or analogical.

Univocal language – When a term is used univocally it is being given exactly the same meaning in two different contexts, e.g., we would say of both a dog and a cat that each is a mammal.

Equivocal language – This is to give a word two completely different and unrelated meanings. It is purely accidental that the word sounds the same in each case. Thus the word ‘bat’ can be used of an object in the game of cricket and of a flying animal.

Any attempt at God-talk faces the following dilemma. Continue reading “Analogy in Theological Language (Part 2)”

Analogy in Theological Language (Part 1)

Islam is well known for its resolute rejection of any attempt to represent God with images. It is therefore a surprise when one comes across passages in the Quran describing God in human terms. Thus, Allah has a face, hands and eyes:

Analogical Language in Islamic Theology

Islam is well known for its resolute rejection of any attempt to represent God with images. It is therefore a surprise when one comes across passages in the Quran describing God in human terms. Thus, Allah has a face, hands and eyes:

But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,- full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour (Quran, 55:27).

(Allah) said: “O Iblis! What prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one whom I have created with my hands? (Quran, 38:75)

Now await in patience the command [O Muhammad] of thy Lord: for verily thou art in Our eyes (Quran, 52:48).

Muslims accept the Quranic verses that speak of God sitting and coming, and of God’s hands, face and eyes without asking `how’ (bela kayf). In the words of the Muslim scholar al-Ash’ari:

We confess that Allah is firmly seated on His throne … We confess that Allah has two hands, without asking how … We confess that Allah has two eyes without asking how … We confess that Allah has a face … We confirm that Allah has a knowledge … hearing and sight … and power [Arberry A. J., Revelation and Reason In Islam, George Allen & Unwin, p. 22].

But, the use of these images describing God seems to confirm the criticism raised by Spinoza long ago – a triangle would think of God as a super-triangle, and not surprisingly, humans imagine their gods using exaggerated language. In other words, one may be forgiven for extrapolating from these verses the conclusion that the Quranic God has a super face, super hands and super feet, whatever these means. Continue reading “Analogy in Theological Language (Part 1)”

The Logical Coherence of the Incarnation of Christ

We begin with the Chalcedonian Creed – “We should confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is the one and the same Son, the same perfect in Godhead and the same perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man, the same of a rational soul and body, consubstantial [of one substance] with the Father in Godhead, and the same consubstantial with us in manhood, like us in all things except sin;. . . one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, made known in two natures without confusion, without change, without division, without separation, the difference [distinction] of the natures being by no means removed [annulled] because of the union, but the property of each nature being preserved and coalescing in one person [prosopon] and one hypostasis [subsistence] – not parted or divided into two persons [prosopa], but the one and the same Son, only-begotten, divine Word, the Lord Jesus Christ…”(Kelly, ECD 339-340)

A. Charge of Contradiction

1) For any being to be fully God (infinite) and fully man (finite) in its being at the same time is a contradiction

2) The Chalcedonian Creed asserts that the incarnate Christ is both fully God (infinite) and fully man (finite) in his being at the same time

3) Therefore, the Chalcedonian claim that the incarnate Christ is both fully God (infinite) and fully man (finite) in his being at the same time is a contradiction. Continue reading “The Logical Coherence of the Incarnation of Christ”

The Coherence of the Trinity

This post marks the beginning of a series exploring the meaning and coherence of the concept of Incarnation of Christ and the Divine Trinity, drawing insights from T. V. Morris, The Logic of God Incarnate (Cornell UP 1986) and Richard Swinburne, The Christian God (OUP 1994).

THE Coherence of the Trinity
It would be pretentious of me to suggest that such a complex philosophical problem as the coherence of the Trinity could be dealt with adequately in an appendix. My aim is rather modest. I shall only try to demonstrate that critics of the Trinity have failed to show how the doctrine of the Trinity is actually incoherent.

The Athanasian Creed gives us a useful starting point for our discussion: “We worship one God in Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son is another, and the Spirit is another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty equally eternally. . . Thus, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; yet there are not three gods but one God. . . And in this Trinity there is no before or after, no greater or lesser, but all three persons are equally eternal with each other and fully equal.”

We may break down the above statement into the following propositions.
(1) The Father is God.
(2) The Son is God.
(3) The Holy Spirit is God.
(4) The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Father.
(5) There is one and only one God.

Critics have attacked the Trinity on two counts. Continue reading “The Coherence of the Trinity”