The Doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important pieces of orthodox Christian theology, having been with the Church since its earliest days. The first known use of the Greek word "trias" was by Theophilus of Antioch in the late second century, and the first use of the Latin word "trinitas" was by Tertullian in the early third century, each translating to the English "trinity." The word is used to describe the concept of the essential nature of God as One God in Three Persons-- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although one could easily write hundreds of pages on the Trinity and never come close to exhausting all there is to say about it, I will here focus on how far back the idea can be traced, rather than what it entails.

File:AlvinPlantinga.JPGAlvin Plantinga, now 80, is professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and has taught at Calvin College and Wayne State University, when it was a hotbed for analytic philosophy.  He studied at Calvin College, Harvard, the University of Michigan, and received his PhD from Yale.  He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Chicago, Michigan, Boston, Indiana, UCLA, Syracuse, and Arizona.  He has also given lectures in several prestigious lecture series, including being a Gifford Lecturer twice.  Further, he has honorary degrees from numerous universities.  His family's accomplishments are correspondingly sickening, with various professorships, degrees, etc. etc.

It would not be a stretch to say that Alvin Plantinga was the most prominent Christian philosopher of the 20th century.  His influence continues into the 21st, where he remains a leader not only in the philosophy of religion but also epistemology, and has contributed to the field of metaphysics as well.  His most notable contributions in the philosophy of religion include his famous Free Will Defense in response to the logical problem of evil which has received wide acceptance (which is a rarity in philosophy), the school of thought known as reformed epistemology, his modal ontological argument for the existence of God, and his Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN).

As alluded to several times in past posts, a major interest of the writers of this blog is the origin of the universe, the earth, and mankind. Specifically, the relationship between the historical sciences and the book of Genesis is a subject by which we are both fascinated. In this post, I plan to give my view on a topic that is often brought up in discussions of origins: the assumption of uniformitarianism. Before jumping in, however, I implore readers to maintain a charitable attitude when both reading and commenting on this. The exchanges that accompany this subject matter can often be passionate to the point of detriment; they seek truth at the expense of tearing others down, when Christians are instead called to encourage each other and build one another up.

From time to time, I hope to discuss some of the philosophical conundrums that currently plague philosophers.  And defining knowledge is one of the chiefest.  It is perhaps the main point of contention in the world of epistemology.  Epistemology is the study of knowledge, rationality, and justification.  While metaphysics - the study of the nature of being or reality as well as categorization of things that exist - includes the nature of truth, epistemology often ventures into the nature of truth as well, as knowledge is closely tied to it.

On the face of it, answering the question "What is knowledge?" shouldn't be too difficult.  Simply put, it is the ascertainment of a fact about the world.  Dig a bit deeper, however, and things become increasingly complex and ambiguous.  In fact, despite the best efforts of epistemologists from the time of Plato to today, there is no agreed upon definition of knowledge among philosophers (though, as we shall see, there was a definition that was agreed upon by some for centuries until a few potent counterexamples punched some major holes in it).

Reasonable Faith, the organization of Dr. William Lane Craig, has recently made an animated video on the Kalam Cosmological Argument. The KCA argues for the existence of a first cause of the universe, which it posits as God. We plan on doing some extensive writing on the KCA in the future, based on the section of the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology with the same name. In the meantime, this video is an excellent presentation of the argument in a very concise format. Enjoy!

Next Post Newer Posts Previous Post Older Posts Home