Theological Anthropology

Functional Gnosticism

As Christians we believe the fact that we exist as embodied creatures is not inconsequential. The Judeo-Christian tradition has always upheld the sacredness of the physical world. Attentive thinkers from Paul to C.S. Lewis have argued that, contra the notion that our bodies are unfortunate barriers and irrelevant to our identities, matter matters to God. The Gnostic philosophy that offered an alternative reality unencumbered by the physical world where we can we find our true selves, was one that Christians took head on in the early church. Could one be both a Gnostic and a faithful Christian? No. Against Gnosticism, the church draws upon its rich resources from the creation narrative itself in which God makes Adam from the dust of the ground to the early creeds which confess that God “was incarnate and was made man,” as we (try to) answer the question, “What does it mean to be human?” Moreover, it is on the grounds that we think our bodies matter that Christian ethics calls for a strict stance on sexual practice, for example. But of course, the necessary presuppositions in place in… Read More »Functional Gnosticism

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Richard Swinburne and the Society of Christian Philosophers

Something strange happened last week within the Society of Christian Philosophers. If you don’t know, the Society of Christian Philosophers is simply a formally organized group of philosophical scholars who identify as Christians. It is (as far as I know) the broadest and largest academic organized group of Christian philosophers. Like other academic groups, they come together throughout the year to present lectures, discuss ideas, and keep up with the latest news in Christian philosophical discussions. The group was founded in 1978 and some of its past presidents have included esteemed thinkers like Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Eleonore Stump. The current president of the SCP is Michael Rea who also teaches philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Read More »Richard Swinburne and the Society of Christian Philosophers

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The Dark Knight and Human Nature

If you ever look up philosophical/psychological perspectives on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, you would immediately come across arguments about whether the films are “liberal” or “conservative” particularly as they relate to the question of human nature. Questions concerning anthropology such as, “What are humans fundamentally?” “Is human nature essentially good or essentially evil?” “Is there even such a thing as an established human nature or is it malleable and constructed individually or culturally?” are important questions and undoubtedly emerge in Nolan’s three Batman films.  Some argue that the movies present a nihilistic worldview, (the rejection of any objective meaning or principle, life is ultimately void of any real purpose) as presented through the character of the Joker. Others think that the Batman trilogy puts forward a humanist worldview as it displays the greatness of the human spirit to overcome and triumph over struggles as presented through Bruce Wayne or the passengers on the ferries. Others think the story is about the battle between the humanist and the nihilist, one trying to convince the other that human beings are fundamentally evil or fundamentally good. I… Read More »The Dark Knight and Human Nature

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Why I Am A Dualist

Contemporary defenders of dualism include great thinkers like Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, and J.P. Moreland. And yet it seems increasingly popular these days among some Christian scholars to deny the existence of an immaterial soul. “The idea of an immaterial, everlasting soul, is a not a Jewish idea. It is a Platonic idea,” some will say. I was shocked when I first came across this idea in college, and I found myself starting to believe that perhaps there really isn’t such a thing called a soul. However, more recently I’ve come to think that surely that can’t be the case. And I want to offer some reasons for why I think so.   But before I do that, let me be clear that I think the physically body is very important, and I think many Christians do have a tendency to overemphasize and prioritize the soul or the spiritual above the physical as though the two were competing with each other and I don’t think that’s quite right. Christians absolutely should recognize the importance of physical reality. After all, we believe in the physical, bodily resurrection… Read More »Why I Am A Dualist

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