November 19-21 was this year’s annual Evangelical Philosophical Society’s conference. I coauthored a paper with Dave Beck of Liberty University. This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS.
Abstract: Due to advances in cosmology and theoretical physics the origin of the universe is being relentlessly debated. Nevertheless, whether there is one universe or even an infinite plurality of universes, Thomas Aquinas’ argument for the existence of a first cause from contingency circumvents the debate of temporal beginnings to the universe; such as those that are embedded within the kalam cosmological argument. Tensed, tenseless, dynamic, static, endurantist, and perdurantist theories of time will be irrelevant or be peripheral at best. Physical science as a system will always require further explanation, not mere description, and that explanation will always have to appeal to something outside of itself. This is true for any philosophical and/or theological explanation of science. In this paper we will attempt a consilience of Thomas’ argument from contingency and modern cosmology to show that regardless of whether the universe had a temporal beginning, or what the nature of that beginning might have been, it would still be best explained by a first uncaused cause. We will defend Thomas’ notion of radical contingency and argue against a necessitation understanding of Thomas that is often misattributed to him. This metaphysic will be used as a plausible and defensible abductive cosmological argument, which will appeal to the radical contingency of constituents of the universe, and thus take the form of an argument to the best explanation.
That’s not typically a big deal. I don’t even have a public calendar (but then again, I don’t need to have one). However, what’s so remarkable is the cause for Licona to do this. I hope you’ve had your coffee for the day and you’re in a good mood because the reason it was removed may have you a bit… frustrated. On Licona’s website he posted this explanation along with his private email he sent directly to Geisler.
It has been a long time coming but I wanted to publicly support Dr. Mike Licona amidst recent accusations of him denying inerrancy over Matthew 27.51-54 (the resurrection of the saints at the time of the crucifixion) in his most recent book The Resurrection of Jesus: A Historiographical Approach. Licona takes the position that this passage is apocalyptic imagery and is not literal. To be clear from the beginning, Licona has not denied inerrancy. He has been quite clear about that (even though he lost his job as the Apologetics Coordinator with the North American Mission Board over this… unfortunate). Dr. Al Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has openly condemned Licona for his position…
Norman Geisler has recently released a new addition to his “Licona Letters” condemning Mike Licona. Geisler is very emphatic that there be a differentiation between inerrancy and interpretation. Under this Geislerian understanding of inerrancy, interpretation and inerrancy simply have a formal distinction but are essentially conflated.
[Such] a disjunction of interpretation from inerrancy as Licona makes is contrary to the nature of truth itself…. So, a formal distinction between interpretation and inerrancy does not mean there is an actual separation of the two.
Additionally, Geisler argues contra Licona that the grammatico-historical hermeneutic is neutral. Geisler argues:
[The grammatico-historical] method does not approach the Bible with a historically neutral stance. After all, it is not called the “literal” method for nothing. It assumes there is a sensus literalis (literal sense) to Scripture. In short, it assumes that a text should be taken literally unless there are good grounds in the text and/or in the context to take it otherwise. As a matter of fact, we cannot even know a non-literal (e.g., allegorical or poetic) sense unless we know what is literally true. So, when Jesus said, “I am the vine” this should not be taken literally because we know what a literal vine is, and we know that Jesus is not one. Further, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not reject the use of figures of speech or even symbolic language. It only insists that the symbols have a literal referent. For example, John speaks of literal angels as “stars” (Rev. 1:20) and a literal Satan as a “red dragon” (Rev. 12:3). However, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not allow one to take a literal historical persons (like Adam) or events (like a resurrection) as not literal history.
I have been reviewing, critiquing, and commenting on the controversy between Norman Geisler and Mike Licona for a few months now and I haven’t commented on it for a while hoping that all of this would soon pass. With much dismay I was terribly wrong and it appears to have gotten much worse. There are several happenings I would like to reveal and discuss some new critiques of the situation. For my previous posts please see: