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Philosophy Articles

  • John McKinley — 

    Regeneration seems to be one of those topics that theologians argue about while non-experts give little thought to it. Since this is a biblical topic that appears in nearly every book of the New Testament, we should consider this major theme closely and repeatedly. Regeneration is implicated not only in the term “born again,” but also in the many references to Christians as children of God, sons of God, the new self, new creation, having been made alive, and the new Christian familial identity as brothers and sisters to each other. I offer three controversial theses about regeneration to provoke consideration of this important doctrine ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, I have been following your "Join Me In My Study" video series on the doctrine of the atonement. In the second and third videos, you distinguish between two functions of the Levitical sacrifices: propitiation and expiation. I see a potential conceptual problem here and would love to get your thoughts on it. It seems that expiation renders propitiation superfluous. If expiation entails that Israel's sin is expunged, why the need for propitation? God's wrath will not be triggered by the sins of the people, because their sins have been wiped away. A similar problem may arise in the opposite direction, also. If propitiation occurs, why the need for expiation? God is appeased by the propitiatory sacrifices despite the uncleansed sins of the people ...

  • William Craig — 

    Are Souls/spirits dependent on God for existence or not? I am currently an atheist who is looking for reasons to believe that God exists. I was once a Christian but became an atheist by rationalisation when I realised that I believed simply because I was raised to believe. I have since become horrified by the implications of the atheistic explanation of life's origin (particularly mindless spontaneous generation), not to mention what it says about human destiny. I find the concept of God inspiring and want to believe that God exists but continuously encounter obstacles from numerous sources ranging from atheistic materialism to biblical and doctrinal difficulties. If something is true then it should make sense. Herewith one of those difficulties. My understanding of spiritual death and hell is that it is the natural consequence of choosing separation from God who is the source of spiritual life. I base this on the fact that the bible states that "the wages of sin is death" and other places in the bible where Jesus indicates that he (God) is the source of life. However hell as consequence, which for some reason cannot be changed after death, (rather than punishment) only seems just and makes sense to me if the soul is indestructible and able to exist independently of God. Yet my conceptual understanding of God is that He is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being who sustains the existence of everything. If he stopped sustaining it would not exist. If that is true then how can anything continue to exist if it is actually separated from omnipotent God? Where can anything be that an omnipresent God is not? Does this not mean that God is actively sustaining the souls of the damned purely so that they can suffer? For eternity? Or can even omnipotent God not destroy a soul? Neither really make sense to me. This is therefore one of the (unfortunately many)things that makes me doubt that the bible is true as much as I want it to be true ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dr. Craig, First and foremost thank you for the work you've done. I'm young and I've barely scratched the surface of Christian apologetics and the enormous body of literature thereof, but your contributions to the field have made a huge difference in my life. I'm thankful God has blessed the Christian community with you and I hope you stay active for many more years to come. My question is this: Does God Have a Plan? ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, Thank you for your ministry. The content on your website and mobile app is an incredible resource. I absolutely love it and can't seem to get enough! I have a question, Dr. Craig. An atheist with whom I'm in dialog with claims that you reject General Relativity (GR). I hadn't ever heard this so I asked what caused him to believe this, he says that because you interpret special relativity in neo-Lorentzian fashion that this interpretation does not allow a pathway to GR and thus no theory of gravitation. Additionally, he says that it is impossible to have a derivation of GR without using the principles of Einsteinian SR. From reading some of your work, it is clear that you prefer the Lorentzian approach to SR due to your commitment to the A-Theory of time. What I'm not able to figure out is whether the assertion is true that GR needs to be rejected as a result. Would you mind clarifying this? ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I remember sitting in my office with a student who was thinking about moving out of evangelical Protestantism and into a different church tradition. He began thinking this way after he had started reading widely in the writings of Christian authors from earlier eras. After being exposed to various authors who sometimes expressed divergent viewpoints from his own, he became increasingly unsure about whether the Bible on its own was clear in what it taught. He was considering changing to a church tradition that could interpret the Bible for him. Since, in his thinking, we can’t be certain what the Bible actually means when we read it, we need an authoritative guide. Let me assure you, there are people out there who will gladly tell you what the Bible means if that’s what you want! Another conversation with a different student also comes to mind. She wasn’t sure whether she could really give herself to Christ in faith because she didn’t know if the message of the gospel was actually true. But the more we talked together, the more I realized that she wasn’t struggling with which truth claims were correct and which were false; she was struggling with whether anyone could know something was true at all. So whenever I appealed to the Bible I didn’t get any traction in our discussion because she didn’t think we could actually come to know truth through a written text. Both of these students were struggling with whether the Bible was clear.

  • William Craig — 

    Hello Dr. Craig, I was recently reading your "Love and Justice in The Trinity" question response. Specifically you state: "My argument is that it's not enough to think of love as a mere dispositional property, the disposition to love if some other person were to exist. Being loving is not merely the disposition to give oneself away to another if that other existed. Being loving involves actually giving oneself away to another. So this disposition cannot lie merely latent in God and never be actualized." So thinking about mercy, if being loving requires one to have an object which is being loved, then could it be argued that if God is merciful he would require an object to which such mercy is shown? What would be your response to such an objection Dr. Craig? ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig I've recently had my worldview shattered and pretty much torn apart by the natural arguments for the existence of God, the Kalam Cosmological argument, the Teleological argument, the Ontological argument, and a few others which you present in outstanding accuracy and clarity. Being 17 years old, as any other teenager I thought I had everything figured out, I had responses ready for every argument that could've threatened my atheist belief ...

  • William Craig — 

    ... In reading to try and find some answers, it happened that most of the resources on Penal Substitution are written from a reformed perspective, and my question is over your views on the extent of the atonement ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I have just finished reading through (most of) the new 1,200+ page book, The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures, edited by D.A. Carson. This book is a splendid example of deep thinking about important subjects presented in a format readable not just for advanced students and scholars, but also for other deep-thinking Christians. I am not saying that the topics are simple. Quite to the contrary, this book tackles some of the most difficult questions surrounding the authority of Scripture. The doctrine of inerrancy in particular is underscored throughout the book ...

  • William Craig — 

    As I am transcribing your latest Defenders lectures on the problem of evil, I was hoping someone would ask the question, but I don't think it has been asked. So, maybe you can attend to it next week? Instead of arguing that "even though some evils look gratuitous, they really aren't" (i.e. we can't discern what greater-good will come out of any evil - this greater-good could occur centuries later in another country), why not come up with an argument that says, yes, gratuitous evil does exist (since it seems more obvious than not that it does exist), but that that somehow doesn't refute God's existence? Specifically, have you read Kirk MacGregor's response to the problem of evil and what are your thoughts? ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dr Craig First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the significant impact that your ministry has had in the life of my family. My wife and I have been encouraged to share our faith with confidence knowing that we can provide a rational response to many of the objections that Christians face. I have been a Christian for a majority of my life. However, my new found interest in apologetics has highlighted my considerable lack of knowledge with respect to the basics of the faith that I attempt to defend. As a result, I have started to study theology. The question I have for you arises from my recent study on the atonement. Howard Marshall's Aspects of the Atonement (2007), was very helpful, and provided a solid defence of penal substitution. However, I have since developed doubts regarding this atonement metaphor ...

  • William Craig — 

    I would like to ask a clarifying question, and also ask you to consider some implications of your view on the Trinity. For reference sake, here is the view to which I'm referring: "Suppose, then, that God is a soul which is endowed with three complete sets of rational cognitive faculties, each sufficient for personhood. Then God, though one soul, would not be one person but three, for God would have three centers of self-consciousness, intentionality, and volition, as Social Trinitarians maintain. God would clearly not be three discrete souls because the cognitive faculties in question are all faculties belonging to just one soul, one immaterial substance. God would therefore be one being which supports three persons, just as our individual beings each support one person." ...

  • William Craig — 

    Beloved Dr. Craig, Atheists argue that you commit a Fallacy of Equivocation when you talk about Something and Nothing. When you say "if the universe could come into being from nothing, then why is it that only universes can pop into being out of nothing? Why not bicycles and Beethoven and root beer? What makes nothingness so discriminatory? If universes could pop into being out of nothing, then anything and everything should pop into being out of nothing. Since it doesn't, that suggests that things that come into being have causes." Here, when you talk about the origins of the universe you are referring to absolutely nothing (no space, no time, no vacuum, no voids). But when you ask "Why not bicycles and Beethoven and root beer?" you are referring to the space-time in which we live. This is a fallacy of equivocation! ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dr. Craig, I am glad to hear that your next line of research is targeting the atonement. I have also been looking into this subject and am trying to find some answers concerning one aspect of the substitution theory, namely, Christ taking on our punishment or God's wrath. I have to believe this entails more than just physical death since our punishment without the covering of Jesus' righteousness is an eternity in the lake of fire. Does this mean that while Jesus suffered a horrific physical death on the cross that he also suffered this same eternity of God's wrath for each person that has ever lived or ever will live? Otherwise, there have been many martyrs that have suffered horrific deaths, so what would make Christ's death any more harder to handle than theirs, regarding God's wrath, if only the physical aspect was meant? ...

  • William Craig — 

    First of all I would like to say thanks for the great job you are doing and for the big influence you have upon people's lives both spiritually and intellectually. My question isn't really mine, actually I found it in one of the reasonable faith forums, and I think it's a very good question that intrigues me since it was raised in your debate with Kevin Scharp. I would like to look at your take on the divine psychology objection proposed by Scharp more closely. Here's the question as it was presented in the forum: “Dr. Craig recently debated Dr. Kevin Scharp on the Veritas Forum. One very interesting objection that Dr. Scharp raised to the fine tuning argument is that it appeals to divine psychology to support the premise that design is more probable than chance and necessity ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, Thank you for everything you do, in the philosophical and apologetic area for us. I'm writing to you because recently I was debating with a friend of mine about consciousness, and the implications of such concept in our life. I argued that from his line of thinking (which is evolutionism) consciousness isn't a trait that you can acquired through darwinian evolutive methods. (such as Descent with modifications, adaptive radiation etc.) But he went ahead and stood firm that animals do have states of consciousness and that really left me shocked, that he would go so far as to affirm such statement ...

  • William Craig — 

    Hello, Dr. Craig. ... I've been researching Church history, denominational formations and doctrine and their founding leaders, in conjunction with reading the New Testament to see if I can determine what is the most Scripturally sound. Of course, "picking" a denomination is only the first step, I think; then, one has to wisely choose a local church body to commit to. In short, what lies beneath my central question to you, as is probably clear, is wanting to know how you decided -- and how you would recommend others educate themselves to decide -- on a denomination (if that's even a proper way of thinking of the decision) and, more specifically, a church, or local body, to commit yourself to. One would want to be properly yoked in this relationship, just as in a marriage, it seems ...

  • William Craig — 

    In a recent Q&A, you mentioned "a theory of the atonement involving as an essential aspect the satisfaction of God's justice faces stiff philosophical challenges, which I hope eventually to address". I suspect I am not alone in excitedly anticipating the completion of your research! In the meantime, would you be able to summarize these challenges? I am certain this would be of significant interest to all your readers, especially those of us who are engaged in Philosophical Theology.

  • William Craig — 

    Dr. Craig, Your ministry has radically changed my life. As a direct result of your arguments and debates, I went from a nihilist to a staunch Christian. However, I have encountered a problem with the ontological argument. Is there a contradiction between perfect justice and perfect mercy in a maximally great being? The way I have seen this objection posed is that the Christian God is just and merciful. Mercy is defined as the suspension of justice. Thus there is a contradiction. I have also seen the argument being put as perfect justice is giving everyone what they're due, and perfect mercy is giving some people less than what they're due. Is this objection as crushing as its proponents make it out to be? ...

  • William Craig — 

    Question I read your response to the person who responded to Jesus and disliked Paul. I too find myself in this position and was surprised that you found it difficult to figure out why somebody would object to Paul who is drawn to Christ. Jesus is filled with incredible love power mercy and grace and humility. Paul is full of well, Paul. He says he doesn't boast then boasts. I can't imagine Jesus approved of his rules for helping widows (or that any actual widow would make the cut and receive help.) Despite all of the efforts made to defend him he is obviously no fan of women and he worries far too much what other people think. So much so that he is willing to act like a phony to convert them. And whenever you go to church and meet a modern day Pharisees if you ask them a couple questions they always turn out to be really Paul focused. In fact the lack of Christ-like love in the American church and the eagerness to point out other people's sins seems to come from this guy because it's definitely not coming from Christ. I would love for you to finish answering your question and address the issues that most people have with Paul that it seems like you must be aware of. Thanks! ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dr. Craig, I am Brazilian and doing research on the historical Jesus found some articles written by you. I confess that I was surprised with the gift that God gave you to explain and argue about Christ. The reason of writing it is in respect of a doubt that is messing with my faith and Jesus Christ. I am a servant of our Lord Jesus as a child, but for some time, many questions have taken my mind, which meant I started researching the Bible and the gospel writers. With this research, I found that the Bible contains several flaws, but nothing that came to shake my faith ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dr Craig, My question is based on your formulation of the argument from contingency, specifically, your restricted version of the PSR. Restricted PSR: everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, whether in the nature of its own necessity or an external cause. There are good reasons to prefer a restricted PSR over the strong version - it avoids the famous objection by Peter Van Inwagen, which argues that the PSR is false because it has the absurd consequence on making all facts necessary. I am aware that you have of Alexander Pruss's work on defending the strong version and am on the fence at the moment as to whether Inwagen's objection succeeds ...

  • William Craig — 

    Hello, Dr. Craig. You have often said that a deductive argument is good if it meets two conditions: It is valid, and each premise is more probable than it's denial. Furthermore, in a recent newsletter, you said, "in a deductive argument the probability of the premises establishes only a minimum probability of the conclusion: even if the premises are only 51% probable, that doesn't imply that the conclusion is only 51% probable. It implies that the conclusion is at least 51% probable." But why would the probability of a premise establish minimal probability of a conclusion? Shouldn't it establish maximal probability? ...

  • William Craig — 

    "Another example would be the warrant for Christianity's truth that comes from the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. To assume that the experience of the Holy Spirit's witness to the truth of Christianity is mere emotions is question-begging. If God does exist, He is certainly capable of communicating His truth to you in an interior way as well as through external evidences. Again, certain Christian beliefs are, I'm convinced, known to be true in a properly basic way, grounded in the inner witness borne to us by God Himself. Interestingly, beliefs based on testimony--like my belief that your name is Grant--is a properly basic belief which I am rational to hold unless and until a defeater for that belief comes along. Similarly, many Christian beliefs are beliefs warranted to us by testimony--God's own testimony. Don't be too quick to dismiss it, lest you fail to hear the voice of God speaking to you." Okay then. We have two properly basic beliefs: (1) The testimony of others (2) Inner witness ...