Steven Duby has written a brilliant work that presents “a rational for the pursuit of theologia in the strict sense of the word: knowledge of God in himself without primary reference to the economy” (293). In other words, against those who think we can only know God in the incarnation (as an example), Duby responds that we can know God in ways that include incarnation but also includes natural revelation, the Old Testament, and so on. [Read more…] about Review of God in Himself by Steven Duby
Christians have traditionally affirmed natural law or theology. The Belgic Confession (1561) represents one of the three from of unity for reformed churches and affirms, “We know God by two means”: creation and revelation (Art 2). This confession represents the opinion of a diverse group of Reformers (Richard Hooker, Franciscus Junius, Girolamo Zanchi, Peter Virmigli, Anthony Burgess, Francis Turretin, Petrus van Mastricht, and others).
But some 20th-century theologians have challenged this common notion (pun intended!). Karl Barth wrote his (in)famous response to Emil Brunner in which he said Nein! to natural theology. Elsewhere he wrote: “Christian theology has no use at all for the offer of natural theology, however it may be expressed.” (CD, 1.2 168). In the same century, Cornelius Van Til heavily qualified the prospects of natural theology.
In light of these recent challenges, ought we to affirm natural theology today? And how should we understand natural theology? I believe the answer to the first question is Yes. And the answer to the second question appears in Scripture because Scripture itself affirms the reality of natural theology. [Read more…] about A Biblical Case for Natural Theology
Baker Academic has published the first English translation of a nearly forgotten book. For 100 years (since 1921), Herman Bavinck’s 1,100-page manuscript remained at the Bavinck Archives (Vrije Universiteit) until Dirk van Keulen rediscovered it in 2008.
As John Bolt records, “Readers of this volume are, therefore, among the privileged first group to gain access to Bavinck’s systematic reflection on theological ethics since his own students who heard the lectures in the last two decades of the nineteenth century” (ix).
As the historical level, reading Reformed Ethics represents something of a privilege to read. In terms of editing, John Bolt has done an excellent job formatting and providing explanatory footnotes throughout the work. And lastly, when it comes to the argument, Bavinck’s Reformed Ethics ably sketches out a consistent Reformed view of, as the subtitle suggests, created, fallen, and converted humanity. [Read more…] about Review of Reformed Ethics (Vol 1) by Herman Bavinck
Edward Feser does not waste words. Here is a 330-page book dedicated to arguing line-by-line for the existence of God. At the level of clear logic and argumentation, Feser successfully conveys with persuasiveness five arguments for God; he also answers an ocean of objections. What makes this latter point so powerful is that Feser cites and refers to a wide range of scholarship that argues against him. In short, he is not afraid to engage with the best of those with whom he disagrees.
Feser’s success here also reveals a potential weakness. While Five Proofs can be read by an average reader, it will likely tax almost anyone who reads it. He does not hold the reader’s hands. He does not ease into arguments through stories or long illustrations. He argues. He illustrates. He rebuffs. As noted, he does not waste words.
As a reviewer, I am thus somewhat restrained when it comes “to whom” I would recommend this book. It is excellent. But some may find it difficult to read. I should note: I do not mean difficult because one cannot understand or follow Feser’s arguments. Far from it. I mean difficult in that Feser expects a lot from readers, and he gives a lot too.
When Paul warned the Colossians of philosophy (Col 2:8), did he forbid Christians from practising philosophy? That conclusion would complicate things for Christians since philosophy in Paul’s time included the right practice of running a city, judging legal cases, mathematics, as well as metaphysical questions like the essence of God.
So what does Paul mean here exactly? To answer that question, we must consider four things. [Read more…] about Does Paul Forbid All Philosophy in Colossians 2?