A Review of Edward Feser’s The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism (St. Augustine’s Press, 2008).
I recently read Edward Feser’s book, The Last Superstition, because someone who claimed to be a former Van Tilian said it was the book that converted him to Thomism. Cornelius Van Til often criticized Aristotle, and criticized Aquinas for relying on Aristotle, and criticized Classical apologetics in general. As the subtitle indicates, Feser’s book is directed at refuting atheism, not Van Til. It should be no surprise, then, that Feser does not identify Van Til and respond to his criticisms of Aquinas. My conclusion after reading the book is that Feser does not even incidentally provide a refutation of Van Til’s criticism of Aquinas. Nevertheless, because there is a great deal of debate over what exactly Van Til found wrong with Aquinas, Feser’s book provides a convenient way to compare and contrast Thomistic apologetics with Van Til’s presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics. Continue reading
Here is a link to a guest post that I wrote: https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/guest-post-in-opposing-naturalism-in-science-the-bible-is-more-foundational-than-design/
I contrast this graph from Paul Nelson of the Discovery Institute (see here), which marginalizes the issue of what the Bible says about the age of the earth:
. . . with mine, based on these questions:
- Are the Metaphysical Beliefs Consistent with Design in Nature?
- Do the Metaphysical Beliefs Entail Rejection of a Naturalistic Epistemology?
- Do the Metaphysical Beliefs Require Divine Revelation?
- Are the Metaphysical Beliefs Consistent with Absolutely Authoritative Revelation about Creation?
A common view is that the light that God created on day one of the creation week was a light without a natural source. This understanding is a major reason given by Christians who advocate an old earth, Big Bang model to argue that the days of Genesis 1 are not meant to be taken literally. They argue that the absurdity of the existence of day and night on earth before the sun existed as a light source is a signal to the reader that Genesis 1 is a poetic description of creation that is not meant to say anything about literal chronology during creation. One old-earth advocate even complains that God would not create light on day one and then replace it with the sun three days later because that “seems unlike the actions of an all-wise God.” Who is he to tell God that His way creating light is not very smart? At any rate, an explanation of the creation of non-solar light on day one that shows how it is consistent with the other creation acts in Genesis 1 would add to the reasonableness of God creating light in that way and add to the reasonableness of the literal view of Genesis in general. Continue reading
New Atlantis illustration by Lowell Hess
Point 5 (continued): Postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution. Postmillennialism supports the argument for the Christian basis for science since postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution.
The founder of British empiricism and experimentation, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), concluded his famous book on experimental method, Novum Organum, by saying:
For man, by the fall, fell at the same time from his state of innocency and from his dominion over creation. Both of these losses however can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by arts and sciences. For creation was not by the curse made altogether and for ever a rebel, but in virtue of the charter, ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,’ it is now by various labours (not certainly by disputation or magical ceremonies, but by various labours) at length and in some measure subdued to the supplying of man with bread; that is, to the uses of human life.
Pelican in her Piety – Medieval Manuscript Illustration
Point 5: Postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution. Postmillennialism supports the argument for the Christian basis for science since postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution. Continue reading
Point 4: Postmillennialism is the biblical anecdote to failed predictions of Christ’s Second Coming. Postmillennialism, with a preterist view of the Great Tribulation, refutes the numerous failed predictions, which have undermined the credibility of the modern evangelical church, that Jesus is coming soon to rapture Christians out of the world. Continue reading
Point 3: Postmillennialism refutes the skeptics’ claim that Jesus broke His promise to return. Postmillennialism, with a preterist view of the Great Tribulation, refutes the claim of skeptics that Jesus was a false prophet because He did not return to earth within a generation as He predicted and as His apostles expected. Continue reading
Scene on the Arch of Titus, showing the Roman army carrying off the Table of Showbread, Candelabra, and Silver Trumpets after destroying the Temple in A.D. 70.
Point 2: Postmillennialism validates the resurrection and the truth of Jesus’ message. Postmillennialism, with a preterist view of the Great Tribulation, points to empirical evidence still visible in our own day that a major prophecy by Jesus came true, which validates Jesus as a true prophet from God (Deut. 18:21–22), and that validates Jesus’ message, such as His statements about being God and about His resurrection. (“Preterist” means “past” and means here that the Great Tribulation occurred in the past, namely the first century A.D.)
Today, any visitor can go to Jerusalem and see that the Temple that stood in Jesus’ day is no longer there. On its foundations is build the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic mosque. Jews still visit and pray at a remaining portion of the western retaining wall of the Temple. That wall is called the “wailing wall” because of the practice of Jews to stand next to it and mourn the destruction of the Temple. Also still visible to this day is the “Arch of Titus” in the city of Rome, erected in A.D. 82 by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus’ military victories, including the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. The arch is etched with images of the articles of the Temple being carried away, like the Candelabra and Table of Showbread. There is no reasonable historical basis for doubting the event of the destruction that ended in September of A.D. 70. Continue reading
The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks (1825)
I propose five points where postmillennial eschatology shapes and supports Christian apologetics:
- Postmillennialism means that we eventually persuade the world with our arguments.
- Postmillennialism validates the resurrection and the truth of Jesus’ message.
- Postmillennialism refutes the skeptics’ claim that Jesus broke His promise to return.
- Postmillennialism is the biblical anecdote to failed predictions of Christ’s Second Coming.
- Postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution.
Point 1: Postmillennialism means that we eventually persuade the world with our arguments. The Old Testament predictions about the Messianic Age include the prediction that all nations will eventually worship God and obey His Law. Continue reading
Here is the pdf of the article published in the Journal of Creation: “Intelligent Design leaders promote a naturalistic epistemology”
Abstract: In part 1, I show that Intelligent Design (ID) movement leaders promote a naturalistic worldview in two ways. First, they claim that ID is compatible with atheism because the designer of life on earth could be a finite designer, like a space alien in a world without God, which concedes the reasonableness of the naturalistic worldview that the universe is ultimately determined by matter rather than a Mind. Second, they promote a definition of science and an empiricist view of knowledge that exclude the authority of divine revelation, thus conceding that science and knowledge can be explained without God. But, I then briefly explain, the secular empiricist view of knowledge has been a failure. In part 2, I argue that science is dependent on God and His revelation, not a supposedly theologically neutral scientific methodology. Despite his claim that ID is compatible with atheism, I show how ID leader William Dembski’s view of complex specified information is comparable to and only consistent with an intelligent Creator who is the source of human knowledge and the unity and diversity of the world.