Category Archives: Theology

What is metaphysics?

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the underlying principles or nature of reality and the origin and structure of the kinds of ultimate categories of those concepts. It is concerned with the study of First Principles (those that cannot be deduced from any other) and of being. Defined as such it is different from philosophical epistemology and so it is not in relation to the study of knowledge. Metaphysics involves thought about abstract concepts not at the empirical level of understanding found within scientific methodology. This includes topics like the mind and body, or what is called the mind-body problem within philosophy. Also there are existential topics like being, non-being and existence usually brought into focus under ontology. Additionally free will and theism are considered metaphysical topics. Classical theism is thought to expresses core characteristics of the Christian concept of God throughout its history as a philosophy and so Christianity is metaphysical. Metaphysics however in the broader more philosophical sense, outside of Christian theism, also interacts with empirical evidences through reason and logic, transcending past just space-time physical reality.

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What is the cosmological argument?

The cosmological argument is really a family of philosophical arguments (logos; See: Logic) that fall within natural theology and seek to demonstrate, through a priori or self-evident and empirical knowledge, a “Sufficient Reason or First Cause” for the cosmos.[1] Theism throughout the history of the cosmological argument has been the necessary metaphysics constituting what is needed by what is inferred from argumentation as the First Cause. A theistic natural theology, and so the philosophy of religion in that context, regard the cosmological argument as central, inexorably leading to the monotheistic view of a personal God. It is a central theme of the cosmological argument that there need not be a beginning to the universe and to physical space-time, but that the First Cause actually endures existence at every moment. In other words the most prominent historical defenders of the cosmological argument, outside of the Islamic inspired kalam version, do not formulate the argument with concern for a beginning of the universe (See: Big bang theory).[2]

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What is theism?

Theism is the religious metaphysical philosophy that asserts God exists and that He created and sustains the cosmos. Classical theism supports a creator God that not only exists but is omniscient, omnipresent, exists necessarily, is nonphysical, eternal and essentially good. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism puts the philosophical position of theism as, “coming to mean a belief in a personal God who takes an active interest in the world and who has given special revelation to humans.”[1] The most competitive alternative philosophy within the modern intellectual climate is metaphysical naturalism. An entrenched philosophy of science acting without the existence of God and the soul, preceding with the assumption of strict materialism.[2]

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What is natural theology?

Natural theology is a philosophy constituting the realm of Christian theology that is found in nature by excluding divine revelation in holy scriptures as authority.[1] Appeal to the authoritative truth from the Bible is called revealed Christian theology and it forms theological doctrines about the nature of God. This is achieved by exegesis of verses found in the Old Testament and New Testament in regard to Jesus Christ for example. Alternatively natural theology bases itself within the realm of strictly observation in the natural world so that authority is given explicitly to nature as a way to know theology. The assumption is that the human mind is rational and able to know or understand nature, but only because a rational mind created nature.[2] Philosophical argumentation and scientific evidences is the means by which natural theology can be articulated and systematized, not to falsify specific theories as such but to probe the nature of nature. To show logically that inference to transcendent mind over matter is the necessary being God.

Natural theology may begin with reason and observation rather than divine texts as authority but both are an epistemology about the nature of God.[2]

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What is exegesis?

Exegesis (from the Greek: ἐξηγεῖσθαι, exēgēisthai; “to lead out”) is a critical exposition, commentary or interpretation of ancient literature especially religious books such as the Bible or Qur’an.[1] The opposite of an exegetical reading of Scripture is eisegesis and instead of reading out what the text plainly presents it reads into the text what the reader is influenced by.

In order to understand a given passage one must reconstruct as much as possible the world of thought in which the NT writer lived. Since the NT frequently quotes the OT (hundreds of times) or alludes to it (thousands of times) and everywhere presupposes its language, concepts, and theology, exegesis should be particularly sensitive to its presence and careful to reconstruct the exegetical-theological context of which a given OT quotation or allusion may have been a part. A comparative approach is essential.[2]

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What is Islam?

Islam (Arabic: الإسلام, al-’islām) is a religion founded by Muhammad (Mohammed) in AD 622 during the Umayyad aristocracy (a golden age for the Islamic Ummah in which it was specifically Arab). Islam practices a theology based in the Qur’an, and an individual who follows Islam is called a Muslim. According to traditional Islamic belief, Isa or Jesus was sent by Allah to pave the road for Islam revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel.[1][2] Gabriel revealed Allah’s last message, the Qur’an to the utmost and final prophet, Muhammad. The word Allah (الله‎) is the name of God predominately used by Muslims and the word Islam means “submission” or total surrender to the will of Allah.

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