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Month Two as a Henry Fellow

I’m enjoying my time at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School working on the doctrine of creation. My primary focus this past month has been a paper on neo-Aristotelian accounts of divine creative activity. I hope to defend a particular version at some point, but for now, I’m interested in what neo-Aristotelian models of divine creation, if any, are viable (that is, consistent with contemporary science, pre-philosophical intuition, and traditional theology). I’ve been reading on the nature of substance, causal powers, teleology, substantial forms, and the like.

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.

Soul Cravings

UnknownIt is a datum of human experience that we crave. We want, long, yearn, desire. Some things are petty—tickets to the Packer game, a box of Raisinets©, a new fountain pen—other things are more central to our well-being—staying healthy, material possessions—and some are essential to our well-being—intimacy, meaning, purpose.

How Reading Enlarges Us: Or My Favorite Books of 2014

imagesI admit it. I love reading books. Not those enlightened by pixels or advanced with the swipe of a finger, but old fashion paperbacks. I love the feel of flipping a completed page, underlining favorite passages, and writing notes in the margins. This year was a banner year in terms of books read and diversity of topics explored, helped along by new course preparation at the seminary where I teach (courses from ancient philosophy to world religions to the Christian virtues made for a diverse reading list).

God-so far yet so near

imagesThe most fundamental distinction of all reality is that between Creator and creature. He makes, we are made; he is original, we are derivative; he is everlasting, we are temporal; he is infinite, we are finite; he exists a se, we ab alio.

Aquinas, Schaeffer, Nominalism & the Demise of the Western World

images-5I just finished reading Francis Schaeffer’s classic book How Should We Then Live? The book has been recently republished by Crossway in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Schaeffer’s founding of L’Abri. There is much to like about this book. Schaeffer’s knowledge of the history of ideas, music, and art is impressive. His ability to discern key trends and to put his finger on many of the causes of the fragmentation of modern society and modern man is commendable. His prophetic voice, at the end of the book, where he lays out the challenge to the church as he saw it in 1976 was spot on (and still is with slight adjustments).

Does God Care For Me? The Case For God

941835_636319483082209_1959907808_nIn my last post, I consider the case against the claim that God cares for you and me. I offered three reasons, put them under scrutiny, and concluded that they are not good reasons to think God doesn’t care. In this post I want to consider what reasons there might be for thinking that God does in fact care for you and me.

Why Does God Hide?

images-2Philosophers like to talk about the problem of divine hiddenness. Usually the problem is couched as a threat to God’s existence: If God existed he would make himself obvious. God is not obvious. Therefore, God doesn’t exist. I don’t think the argument succeeds. The fact is that God has revealed himself sufficiently for those who are open to an honest appraisal of the evidence. (The problem isn’t a lack of evidence, rather it is a moral problem—we all have what Thomas Nagel calls “a cosmic authority issue.” Perhaps Christian philosophers could be more creative, more imaginative, when developing theistic arguments. Still, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, the evidence is everywhere.)

Graffiti, Fast Food, and the Defacement of Beauty

images-3The world we inhabit is resplendent with beauty. A morning sunrise dances off the awakening dew. The blue and green of a country landscape speak peace into the soul. The awe-inspiring magnitude of half-dome silences our heavy hearts. Angels dance within the mist of a cascading river. Beauty calls out and demands to be contemplated.

Metaphysical Loneliness, Atheism, and the Face of God

images-4The tragedy and irony of the digital age is that we in the western world are often lonely and isolated. Surrounded by our Facebook posts, tweets, Ipods, Ipads, Nooks, Kindle Fires, smart phones, and now, smart watches, we are ever connected, but rarely connecting. We meticulously manage our social media image, and it is easy to seem as if we have it all together. Look at all those pictures of me with my friends. Look at me at the Grand Canyons, and in Yellowstone, and in Europe. Check out this pic of me Bungee jumping in Australia. Look at my life. Isn’t it great? Aren’t I popular? Isn’t my life grand?