Reasonable Faith with William Lane Craig
Dear Friends of Reasonable Faith,

Those of us in the northern hemisphere are now enjoying the long, warm days of summer, as our azaleas give way to an eruption of colorful gladiolas. Praise the Lord!

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During June I presented a video-taped lecture on “The Epistemic Justification of Christian Faith” to students in the Apologetics M.A. program at Talbot School of Theology and then took questions for an hour. This lecture is the companion to my earlier lecture to M.A. students in Philosophy at Talbot on “The Nature of Saving Faith.” You can watch them both on YouTube.
There is growing interest throughout Latin America in Reasonable Faith. I was invited to present a lecture via video on “Contemporary Expansion Models and Creation ex Nihilo at the International Congress on Logic, Epistemology, and Methodology in Costa Rica on June 23, followed by an hour of questions from the participants. This congress was an important, professional, philosophical conference featuring not only Latin American philosophers, but also some very prominent philosophers and physicists from the U.K. and the U.S. I was encouraged by the number of persons who asked questions sympathetic to a Christian perspective. Our discussion ranged not only over the kalām cosmological argument, but also over the Leibnizian cosmological argument, the argument from the applicability of mathematics, the moral argument, and even the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus! I got the definite impression that the Lord is at work in Costa Rica in stirring up a movement of Christian philosophers. May it flourish!
Contemporary Expansion Models & Creation Ex Nihilo
I also did a podcast interview with students in Peru on June 14 and then an interview with the local directors of our Latin American Reasonable Faith chapters on June 18. I was surprised that the questions posed by our Latin American chapter directors were just as sophisticated as those that were put to me at the philosophical congress in Costa Rica. That bodes well for the impact of their local ministries, and I’m really proud of our local directors!
Jan and I continued to record my Defenders lessons on Doctrine of the Last Things. There are only four lessons left to go before Defenders III comes to an end, just at the time when we’re scheduled to resume meeting again in person for our Defenders class. Kevin Harris and I also recorded this past month more Reasonable Faith podcasts, which we hope you’ll enjoy.

Research and Writing

I am finally nearing completion of the first draft of my section on divine simplicity for my systematic philosophical theology. The literature on this arcane topic just seems endless! My discussion of the topic goes as follows:
Introduction to the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity
Historical Development of the Doctrine
Biblical Data pertinent to the Doctrine
Arguments in Support of the Doctrine
     Arguments from Divine Perfection
     Arguments from Divine Aseity
Objections to the Doctrine
     The Distinction between God’s Essence and Existence
     God and His Properties
     Modal Collapse
     Incompatibility with the Doctrine of the Trinity
The doctrine of simplicity basically states that God has no proper parts. But the doctrine has developed historically from its roots in ancient Neoplatonism to hold that there is absolutely no complexity in God. I argue that there is no biblical support for this stronger version of divine simplicity and, moreover, that there are no good arguments for it either. On the other hand, there are powerful objections to this doctrine:
(1) The idea that God’s essence is His existence implies a religiously pernicious agnosticism about God’s nature and is in any case philosophically unintelligible.

(2) The idea that God is identical to His properties turns God into a property, which is absurd.

(3) The idea that God’s knowledge and will are identical to His essence implies logical fatalism, the view that everything happens necessarily.

(4) The idea that there are no distinctions in God is incompatible with the real distinction between the persons of the Trinity.
Now obviously the above is just an outline, and defending each objection involves closing off all the various escape routes pursued by proponents of divine simplicity, so things get very complicated, indeed.
You may be wondering, why spend so much time on a doctrine that is false? Good question! The reason is because many people are pushing this doctrine today, and it has enormous consequences that are very negative (as Arians, Muslims, and Jews have noticed!). But there is also a positive take-away: I argue that by adopting anti-realism about properties, we can maintain a modest and plausible doctrine of divine simplicity, according to which God is not composed of more fundamental, separable parts. That gives us all that is biblically warranted and all that we need.

Final Thoughts

William Lane Craig Center Booklet
Thank you to all of you who participated in our spring campaign for new sustaining donors! We added a record number of new donors this spring, and it seems that people are captured by the vision of the academic center that we are attempting to establish. We continue to engage in confidential negotiations with educational institutions about this proposed center. Obviously, we can’t say any more at this time, but as things develop we’ll let you know.
For Christ and His Kingdom,
Bill and Jan
This past Easter, I became a full-fledged Christian. As I am getting more involved with the Church, people have repeatedly asked me for my conversion story. I was studying Philosophy for a Ph.D. program I had been accepted to in the UK. I tripped over Avicenna's Proof of the Truthful, and, by what I now attribute to the Holy Ghost, I instantly "fixed" it to accommodate modern Cosmology as far as I understand it. It ended up being pretty close to Al-Ghazali's argument.
Long story short, I couldn't break the arguments, so I looked to see if anyone else had. After several months of attempting this, I found Craig's debate with Cristopher Hitchens. I had watched other debates featuring Hitch, and he pretty routinely won. The thought was that someone out there would have also discovered Avicenna and Al-Ghazali and throw it at Hitch. Enter William Lane Craig. Watching Craig wipe the floor with Hitchens seemingly without effort is what made me realize that I, the all-knowing atheist, may actually hold the untenable position.
This started me down the path of apologetics where I was constantly on the lookout for an atheist who could restore my position. I realized slowly, and by degrees, that the atheists' arguments were not arguments. They were opinions and emotions. People like Craig kept their cool and relied upon logic, not their preferences or emotions.
I figure now the best thing I can be is useful. So, I wanted to let Craig know that he has been amazingly useful to me, and in the first few moments after his YouTube video, while I was questioning everything, I began my walk with Christ.
Your recent brother in Christ,

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