Journal of Analytic Theology <h1 class="entry-title" style="font-family: Roboto, sans-serif;">&nbsp;</h1> <p>The Journal of Analytic Theology is an open access, international journal that publishes articles, book reviews, and book symposia that explore theological and meta-theological topics in a manner that prizes terminological clarity and argumentative rigor. This includes historical studies that seek to elucidate conceptual challenges or explore strategies for addressing them.</p> en-US (Editors of the Journal of Analytic Theology) (Joshua Seachris) Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:10:51 +0000 OJS 60 Crucified with Christ: The <i>Ego</i> and the <i>Omega</i> In the second chapter to his Galatians letter, Paul makes some striking statements. He says that he has been “crucified with Christ,” and indeed that he no longer lives but that Christ lives “in” him. Such claims raise fascinating exegetical and metaphysical issues that are important for theology. Just who is this “I”, and what is the relation of this “I” to Christ? How are we to understand union with Christ – indeed, is the relation spoken of here something stronger than mere union? Is it identity? In this essay, I offer an analytic engagement with traditional and more recent “apocalyptic” interpretations of this passage, and I argue that a traditional account is preferable. Thomas McCall Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Apophatic Language, the Aesthetic, and the <i>Sensus Divinitatis</i> Across a variety of religious and philosophical traditions, it is common to think that it is possible that God defies all description. This presents a problem, however, as the claim that God defies all description itself appears to describe God. Drawing on multiple religious and philosophical traditions, this paper proposes an addition to the pragmatic stock of approaches to this problem. The proposal is that apophatic utterances are best interpreted—at least in the first instance—as invitations to engage the world aesthetically and creatively, as an act of faith. Their goal is principally to motivate us to act in ways that will allow us to appreciate the extraordinary or divine, rather than to, say, believe that some proposition regarding the extraordinary or divine is true (even if we might come to accept, and perhaps even believe, propositions as a result of our appreciative actions). Julianne N. Chung Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Salvific Luck in Islamic Theology One of the major arguments for theological voluntarism offered by the Ash’arites (e.g. al-Ghazali) involves the claim that that some of the factors upon which our salvation or condemnation depend are beyond our control. We will call this “the problem of salvific luck.” According to the Ash’arites, the fact that God does save and condemn human beings on the basis of factors beyond their control casts doubt on any non-voluntarist conception of divine justice. A common way to respond to this Ash’arite argument for voluntarism is to eliminate the role of luck in God’s judgments. But this is not the Mu’tazilite way of resisting the argument. The Mu’tazilite, who oppose theological voluntarism, choose a more daunting solution to the problem of salvific luck. They reject the claim that God’s Judgment concerning the eternal destiny of some persons would be unjust (relative to the objective common sensical standard of justice that could not have been different) if it depended upon factors beyond their control. The paper discusses this solution to the problem of salvific luck. Amir Saemi, Scott A. Davison Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Sider’s Puzzle and the Mormon Afterlife There is a puzzle about divine justice stemming from the fact that God seems required to judge on the basis of criteria that are vague. Justice is proportional, however, it seems God violates proportionality by sending those on the borderline of heaven to an eternity in hell. This is Ted Sider’s problem of Hell and Vagueness. On the face of things, this poses a challenge only to a narrow class of classical Christians, those that hold a retributive theory of divine punishment. We show that this puzzle can be extended to the picture of divine judgement and the afterlife found in Mormon theology. This is significant because at first glance, the Mormon picture of the afterlife looks like it fails to co-operate with Sider’s puzzle. In Mormon theology, there are not two afterlife states, but three: a low, a middle, and a high kingdom. There is no afterlife state quite like Hell, and the states that function similarly to Hell aren’t places of eternal suffering. We argue that appearances are misleading. While it may be true that no place in the Mormon afterlife is bad in the sense that its inhabitants suffer eternal bodily harm, it is true that many of the places in the Mormon afterlife are bad in the sense that their inhabitants lack access to significant goods. This allows Sider’s puzzle to re-engage as a puzzle about distributive Justice. After setting out this alternative version of the puzzle, we argue that Mormon theology has sufficient resources to reject proportionality as a constraint on divine judgment by adopting a nuanced version of universalism called escapism. Taylor-Grey Miller, Derek Haderlie Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 “I Am the Gracious Goddess”: Wiccan Analytic Theology To date, the theology and practices of modern pagan religions have not been critically studied using the methods of analytic theology. I discuss some of the challenges presented by these religions for the analytic theologian, and present a possible methodology to address these challenges, based on interview. I then use this methodology to examine the Wiccan practice of “Drawing Down the Moon”, comparing it in particular to the Christian doctrine of incarnation, and considering its philosophical implications. Jonathan Hill Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 A Unified Account of Glory Concepts: Glory, Glorious, Glorified, Glorying-in, and Derivative Concepts <p class="Body"><span>The term ‘glory’ is notoriously difficult to characterize. In general, when theologians and philosophers have sought to characterize the term they do so in an imprecise and vague manner that leaves a variety of questions unanswered. In what follows we show how recent work in philosophy together with various historical and theological reflections about glory can be used to<em> </em>elucidate the wide range of concepts that tend to be expressed with the term ‘glory’ in theological thought.</span></p> Paul Silva, Brandon Szerlip Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Causal Time Loops and the Immaculate Conception <p>The doctrine of the immaculate conception, which is a dogma binding on all Roman Catholics and also held by members of some other Christian denominations, holds that Mary the mother of Jesus Christ was conceived without the stain of original sin as a result of the redeeming effects of Christ’s later life, passion, death, and resurrection. In this paper I argue first that, even on an orthodox reading of this doctrine, the immaculate conception seems to result in a kind of causal time loop. I then consider several common philosophical objections to causal time loops, showing how each is either not a serious problem for causal time loops in general or is not a serious problem for the immaculate conception time loop in particular because of some particular features of that particular loop. The upshot of this discussion is that it shows that anyone who is committed to the dogma of the immaculate conception is also committed to the possibility, and, indeed, the actuality, of at least one causal time loop, but also that this is no reason to reject the dogma, since all of the major worries for causal time loops can be resolved in one way or another.</p> Jeremy Skrzypek Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Christian Lay Theodicy and The Cancer Experience <p align="center">In philosophy of religion, there are few more frequently visited topics than the problem of evil, which has attracted considerable interest since the time of Epicurus (341-270 BCE). It is well known that the problem of evil involves responding to the apparent tension between 1) belief in the existence of a good, all powerful, all knowing God and 2) the existence of evil—such as personal suffering embodied in the experience of cancer.</p><p> </p><p>While a great deal has been written concerning abstract philosophical theories that academics use to explain the existence of evil, much less has been written about how religious lay people make sense of evil and suffering. What explanations, meanings, and perceptions do they hold concerning the religious significance of evil? What can theologians and philosophers learn from these lay experiences? Our interdisciplinary team designed an experiment to identify the religious significance that personal suffering held for a group of religious cancer sufferers.</p><p> </p><p>We interviewed twenty-nine self-identified evangelical Christians who had received a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives for our experiment. Since all interviewees identified as Christians, it was expected that they would assent to belief in a theistic God. It was also expected that each interviewee would assent the existence of evil and see their cancer experience as a dramatic and personal instance of an evil event.</p><p> </p><p>The explicit existential threat of cancer guarantees that the individual has much at stake in the experience. Furthermore, the pain and suffering that typically accompanies either the cancer itself or cancer treatments make it a compelling example of evil experienced in a very personal way. Finally, even when successfully treated, the ongoing threat of potentially fatal recurrence looms over the sufferer for years to come.</p><p> </p><p>We asked 17 questions related to the religious significance of their cancer experience in each interview and coded these interviews looking for five distinct types of explanations for/meaning of evil: trusting God in mystery, free will, moral development, spiritual growth, and growth in human relationships/community. These categories were meant to correspond loosely to five philosophical responses to the existence of evil.</p><p>Our interviews included several important results. First, 79% of interviewees had at least one answer that fit into the ‘trust God in mystery’ category of responses with 48% using this category of responses as their most frequently cited theme. This result could be interpreted as a kind of generic theodical response: God has a good, but unknown reason for allowing evil/suffering. Alternatively, another possible interpretation is that at least some of these interviewees intuited something similar to skeptical theism, since it claims that if one understands the type of God proposed by theism and possesses an accurate view of human cognitive capacities, it is apparent that there is no real tension to be resolved between theism and the existence of evil. Some of our interviewees seemed to believe not only that the answer to why evil exists is mysterious, but that they simply could not have the necessary perspective to judge what kinds of purposes God might have for allowing this painful episode in their lives.</p><p>While it was unsurprising that religious sufferers would find it important to trust God in ambiguous difficult circumstances, more surprisingly, we found that 52% of our respondents did not judge that their cancer experience was at all in tension with their religious beliefs. Whereas a broad range of philosophers and theologians acknowledge that there is at least an apparent conflict between the existence of a good, all-powerful God and the existence of evil, most of our interviewees did not even perceive an apparent tension between theistic beliefs and their painful cancer experiences that would be in need of additional reconciliation.</p><p>There are at least two ways this result might be interpreted. First, our interviewees might hold additional beliefs that make the existence of evil easier for them to accept. After all, these interviewees were not ‘bare theists’ who held only to the existence of God, but presumably held a broad range of religious beliefs which may already serve to reconcile the existence of evil: that growing closer to God is more important than earthly life itself, that in evil in this life allows us a greater appreciation of a blessed eternity, or simply that ‘God works for our good in mysterious ways.’ Thus, a fully developed Christian worldview may already accommodate the existence of evil in a way not fully appreciated by philosophers.</p><p>Another possible interpretation is that at least some of our interviewees were not adequately reflective to perceive the tension between their religious beliefs and their experience of suffering. There is at least some reason to doubt this explanation as an overarching interpretation of this result since our interviewees were generally well educated with the median participant holding at least a Bachelor’s degree, and most were ongoing participants in a cancer support group ensuring long-term ongoing engagement with their cancer experience.</p><p>A final significant finding is that a high portion of our interviewees, 83% reported specific examples of beneficial personal growth—moral, spiritual, or relational— that resulted from their cancer experience. When asked about their cancer experience’s broad effect upon their lives in these areas they volunteered at least one example of a benefit they received in these areas. Depending on one’s accompanying value theory and whether such benefits might have been otherwise achieved, they might provide a morally sufficient reason for the existence of suffering. Our interviewees frequently described experiencing the kind of benefits at the heart of John Hick’s soul making theodicy and Eleonore Stump’s ‘spiritual growth’ theodicy, providing at least some corroborating evidence for such views. Experiences common to our interviewees were similar to what such theodicies would predict.</p> Eric Jason Silverman, Elizabeth Hall, Jamie Aten, Laura Shannonhouse, Jason McMartin Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Living Within Our Limits: A Defense of the Fall In this paper, we use the biology of pain and Augustinian insights into the relationship between physical and spiritual death to give a defense of the Fall. If we think of pain as, biologically, a limiting system but one that interacts with advanced rationality in such a way as to create a new experience of one’s biological limits, then one can use Augustine’s treatment of our experience of physical death as both a consequence and a symbolic check on our moral and spiritual condition to give an account of the Fall that is consistent with evolutionary theory. Adam Green, Joshua Morris Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 On Theology and Objectivity: A Northern Point of View to Analytic Theology <p align="center"> </p><p><strong>Abstract</strong>: This paper has three aims. First, it provides the historical background necessary to understand the nature of academic systematic theology as it is currently being pursued in Nordic countries. Second, it questions whether the current methods of analytic theology are able to fulfill the desiderata of Nordic academic systematic theology. To this end, I suggest a specific methodological solution. Lastly, I assess if analytic theology can remain theological when using this methodology. </p> Olli-Pekka Vainio Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Qua Solution, 0-Qua Has Problems <span>We present an objection to Beall &amp; Henderson’s recent paper defending a solution to the fundamental problem of conciliar Christology using qua or secundum clauses. We argue that certain claims the acceptance/rejection of which distinguish the Conciliar Christian from others fail to so distinguish on Beall &amp; Henderson’s 0-Qua view. This is because on their 0-Qua account, these claims are either acceptable both to Conciliar Christians as well as those who are not Conciliar Christians or because they are acceptable to neither.</span> Andrew Tedder, Grace Paterson, David Ripley Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 The Influence Aim Problem of Petitionary Prayer: A Cosmic Conflict Approach <p>This article addresses the problem of whether petitionary prayer, aimed at influencing God, is consistent with the traditional Christian affirmations of divine omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence. In this article, I first briefly articulate the problem of petitionary prayer, then briefly introduce and discuss some common approaches to resolving the problem. Finally, I introduce and discuss some implications of retrieving a cosmic conflict approach with rules of engagement as a possible avenue that warrants further consideration relative to the problem of petitionary prayer.</p> John C. Peckham Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Michael W. Austin. <i>Humility and Human Flourishing: A Study in Analytic Moral Theology</i> Kent Dunnington Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 R. Keith Loftin and Joshua R. Farris, eds. <i>Christian Physicalism? Philosophical Theological Criticisms</i> Keith Hess Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Oliver D. Crisp. <i>Analyzing Doctrine: Toward a Systematic Theology</i> Andrew Dole Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 W. Matthews Grant. <i>Free Will and God’s Universal Causality: The Dual Sources Account</i> P. Roger Turner Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Kent Dunnington. <i>Humility, Pride, and Christian Virtue Theory</i> Paul A. Macdonald Jr. Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Mark Murphy. <i>God’s Own Ethics: Norms of Divine Agency & the Argument from Evil</i> Christian B. Miller Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Yoram Hazony and Dru Johnson, eds. <i>The Question of God’s Perfection: Jewish and Christian Essays on the God of the Bible and Talmud</i> Randal Rauser Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Michael C. Rea. <i>The Hiddenness of God</i> Adam Green Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 William J. Abraham. <i>Divine Agency and Divine Action, Volume III: Systematic Theology</i> Joanna Leidenhag Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Analytic Theology Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000