Category: Theological Problems

Debate on the Existence of God – 1948.

Father Frederick C. Copleston (Jesuit Catholic priest) versus Bertrand Russell (agnostic philosopher.) (The portion on “Contingency” is slightly edited.) This debate was a Third Program broadcast of the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1948. It was reprinted in several sources. Summary Copleston put forward his argument which concentrates simply on contingency. There are things in the universe which are contingent – that is there was a time when they did not exist, e.g. you and me. Everything in the world is like this. Nothing in the world contains within itself the reason for its own existence – nothing is self-explanatory. The...

Aquinas: Is the Incarnation necessary?

John 1,14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  The incarnation is probably the aspect of Christianity that is hardest to grasp. In the following articles from the third part of the Summa Theologica,  Thomas Aquinas explains why this was necessary for the salvation of human beings. God could have saved us in many ways, but the incarnate Christ is the most elegant and easiest solution. Here is his reasoning: (The text is quoted from the New Advent website.) Article 1. Whether it was fitting that God should become incarnate? Objection 1. It would seem that it was...

Kalām Cosmological Argument

From: W. L. Craig: “Professor Mackie and the Kalām Cosmological Argument,” in: Religious Studies, No. 20 (1985), p. 367. “The kalām cosmological argument, as opposed to the Thomistic and Leibnizian, is one of the better-respected arguments for the existence of God. Because its validity is not controversial, because it aligns with the most prominent scientific theories of the universe, and because it agrees with general philosophical insight concerning properties of infinities, it is one of the more interesting pieces of religious philosophy. It can be stated as follows: (1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause of existence. (2) The...

Kurt Gödel’s philosophical viewpoint, and his proof of the existence of God.

Explanation of the terms  in the image above. This is Godel’s formalized proof of the existence of God. P(psi) P is “positive” G(x) x have the property God ess. essential E existing • (bullet) Necessary (Kurt Gödel (1995). “Ontological Proof”. Collected Works: Unpublished Essays & Lectures, Volume III. pp. 403–404. Oxford University Press. Gödel left in his papers a  fourteen-point outline of his philosophical beliefs, that are dated around 1960. They show his deep belief in the rational structure of the world. Here are his 14 points: The world is rational. Human reason can, in principle, be developed more highly (through certain...

Thomas Aquinas: Five Arguments for the Existence of God.

Thomas Aquinas claims that the existence of God can be proven in five ways. I will first quote the text from the Summa, and then outline the five arguments. Summa Theologiae, Question 2, Article 3. It seems that God does not exist, for if one of two contrary things were infinite, its opposite would be completely destroyed. By “God,” however, we mean some infinite good. Therefore, if God existed evil would not. Evil does exist in the world, however. Therefore God does not exist. Furthermore, one should not needlessly multiply elements in an explanation. It seems that we can account for...

Ontological arguments for the Existence of God

Ontological arguments for the existence of God are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world — e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists. The first, and best-known, ontological argument was proposed by St. Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th. century A.D. In his Proslogion, St. Anselm claims to derive the existence of God from the concept of a being than which no greater can be...

Aquinas: Summa theologiae, Question 1,2

Thomas’ most significant work is his Summa theologiae or ‘summary of Theology,’ a gigantic work which attempts to present all of Christian theology as systematically as possible. Thomas worked on it from 1266 through 1273. Then, when he was nearly finished, he underwent an experience so intense that, as he himself explained, everything he had written seemed like straw. He completely stopped writing and died three months later. Thomas was canonized in 1323. The Summa theologiae is written in a form common to treatises of that age. All of theology is divided into its major topics. These, in turn, are...

Theological Problems

What are theological problems? Here are some possibilities: Does God exist? Proof of God etc Creation – What does it mean? First and final causes, continuous creation, God or Gaia? . Pantheism, Theism, Polytheism, Atheism: God-terms. The problem of Evil. The meaning of history: History and Theology. Do you have any other suggestions?