Month One as a Henry Fellow

I’m just about to begin a year of research as a Henry Fellow at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I’ll be commuting Monday through Thursday from Texas to Illinois. That will be a lot of fun (not!). What will be a lot of fun (and interesting too) is exploring the philosophical underpinnings of the doctrine of divine activity with a group of scholars. My specific project is to explore neo-Aristotelian accounts of divine creative activity. I’ll be working on the debate over the neo-Humean vs. the neo-Aristotelian conception of the world, the nature of substance, the metaphysics of divine creation, and the metaphysics of participation between God and creatures. I’ll also delve into—again, just for “fun”—the origins (of the universe, life, species, and humans) debate. My long-term goals include three books: a book on the metaphysics of creation (for academic philosophers and theologians), a book for believers tentatively called Rediscovering the Sacramental Image and a book for nonbelievers tentatively titled Eleven Stones. Lord willing, I’ll get a good start on these projects during this next year.

To document my progress, for my own sake, and now for you, I’m going to write a monthly blog update this year detailing the questions or problems I’ll be focusing on for the next month and the books and articles I plan on reading. So, here we go! One of my chief questions for the year is this. When God created, what exactly did he create? The answer, traditionally, is substances. God created a hierarchy of beings—substances—ordered according to kinds and endowed with unique sets of causal powers. To unpack the traditional answer (now widely thought to be an answer from a bygone and pre-scientific era), I need to explore the nature of nature. So, I’ll be exploring for the next few months reasons to prefer the neo-Aristotelian account of nature over the Humean account, viable accounts of neo-Aristotelian divine creative activity, and finally the origin debates to decide, of all the possible accounts, which one is rationally preferable. These three sub-topics will occupy me for most of the year. Here are some of the books I’ll be reading this month:

 

Also this month I’ll be preparing to teach on cultural apologetics in October for Summit Ministries. I look forward to developing some new lectures on what I call in my Cultural Apologetics book “Returning to Reality.” In that book, I argue that we can join with God to re-enchant the world and we do that (partly) by (1) learning to see and delight in the world as Jesus does and (2) inviting others to see and delight in the world as Jesus does (hence, two of my three book projects). I look forward to developing lecture material on that topic as well.

If you are interested in keeping up on cutting edge philosophy, apologetics, and cultural issues, I encourage you to subscribe to The Worldview Bulletin. There is a free option and a paid option ($5/month). The Bulletin is a joint project between me, Paul Copan, and Chris Reese. You can learn more here:

Finally, if you haven’t seen this inspiring book trailer for The Story of the Cosmos (a book I co-edited), check it out:

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to Month One as a Henry Fellow

  1. William Francis Brown says:

    “…now widely thought to be an answer from a bygone and pre-scientific era…”
    I hear even intelligent Christians use this phrase frequently, especially when speaking about the Old Testament and how they did not know then what we now know. I’ve spent a lifetime in science as a researcher and physician. New findings in science do not really ‘explain things’ as much as they open up many more new questions and further reveal the grandeur and mystery of creation and the Creator.

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