The Coherence of Theism

The Coherence of Theism

The Coherence of Theism

The Coherence of Theism

Synopsis

This book investigates what it means, and whether it is coherent, to say that there is a God. The author concludes that, despite philosophical objections, the claims which religious believers make about God are generally coherent; and that although some important claims are coherent only if the words by which they are expressed are being used in stretched or analogical senses, this is in fact the way in which theologians have usually claimed they are being used. This revised edition includes various minor corrections and clarifications.

Excerpt

The Coherence of Theism, first published in 1977, was concerned with the meaning and coherence of the claim that there is a God. It proved to be the first volume of a trilogy on theism—The Existence of God (1979) on the worth of arguments for and against the existence of God, and Faith and Reason (1981) on the relevance of arguments to religious faith.

While remaining in full sympathy with the general approach and main conclusions of the book, I have come——in the course of subsequent writing——to change or clarify my views on several relatively minor matters, and these changes and clarifications are incorporated into this revised edition. I have amended my account of omnipotence in Chapters 9 and 14 so as to make it clear that it allows for the impossibility of God committing suicide. I have amended my account of omniscience in Chapter 10 so as to allow for the fact (which I denied in 1977) that there are propositions which can only be known by certain persons at certain times, and so as to allow for the fact that God does not normally 'bind the future'. I have amended certain passages in which I discuss moral issues in order to make clear the difference within the realm of the morally good between the obligatory and the supererogatory, a difference which I now believe to be very important for morality. Finally, and most importantly, I now believe that an argument given in 1977 towards the end of Chapter 12 to the effect that there can only be one personal ground of being, i.e. one God, is fallacious. There can be more than one such if they are related to each other in a certain sort of way, viz., in the way in which Christian theology represents them as related in the Holy Trinity. I do not discuss this

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