Month Six as a Henry Fellow: Human Uniqueness, Origin, and Destiny

I’m having a fantastic time as a Henry Fellow at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School this academic year. To date, I’ve written four chapters in my popular level book tentatively called Eleven Stones: Discovering the True Story of the World, the majority of a chapter on “Teleological Arguments” for a textbook, a chapter on “Neo-Aristotelian Accounts of Divine Creation” to be included in a forthcoming book on divine causation, and the first part of a book on Theism and the Nature of Nature. In this last book, written for philosophers, I hope to explore how our philosophy of nature informs the origins debate. (Think Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos and then move one step to the right, to theism).

For the next two months, I’m all things human. I’ll be reading books and essays on human origin, human history, human destiny, human uniqueness, and human dignity. First up though, I plan on reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women because I suspect it might prove as a good foil to demonstrate the rich panoply of human loves and longings and thus will serve me well as an introduction to my chapter on humans for Eleven Stones. My rhythm is to read and write on two levels: technical reading and writing first and then fun reading and more popular level writing on the same topics second. This seems to work for me, although this month, I’m going to start with a fun book (Little Women), well, because I want to. My goal for the next two months is to write a philosophically and scientifically defensible chapter in both my technical and popular book on the divine origin of humans as well as our uniqueness in virtue of being created in God’s image.

If all goes well—I’ll let you know—I hope to reserve April for another major interest I plan on engaging this year: the metaphysics of participation. I’m still reading theologians who speak of a sacramental ontology, divine participation of the world in God, and so on. I think we philosophers can help bring some precision to these discussions and I hope to focus entirely on that in April if all goes according to plan. I leave you with a snapshot of some of the books I hope to read in the next two months.  




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