Favorite Books of 2020

2020 has been a year of change for my family. We moved in the middle of a pandemic from Texas to Florida. I started a new job as a professor of philosophy and the director of a new program in philosophy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. We left behind two of our children in Texas–both college students at Baylor. Our younger two sons have had to endure an on-again/off-again year at a new school. But there have been many constants, even in the midst of change. Family. Jesus. And the reading of books! And this blog post.

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.

My Favorite Books of 2019

Each year around this time I list my top books read over the past year in philosophy, theology, apologetics, fiction, and non-fiction. As much as it pains me, I’ll restrict myself to the top three in each of these categories. As is custom, I will list them with my one sentence description of the book, as written in my book log. As a bonus, this year I also include the favorite reads of Ethel and the kids! Here we go:

Month Three as a Henry Fellow: Life, Participation, and the Wingfeather Saga

This month, I have two main study and writing goals. First, I plan to read as much of the literature as I can on the origin of life to get a sense of the current state of play in science. The goal is to write one chapter for my popular level book, Eleven Stones, on the origin of life and then one section of a technical article examining how one’s philosophy of nature influences how the scientific evidence for origins is assessed. I’ve written the first section to the technical paper, setting out the two dominant ways of looking at the universe—the neo-Humean view and the neo-Aristotelian view. Now the real work begins…

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.