Classical theism roundup

Classical theism is the conception of God that has prevailed historically within Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Western philosophical theism generally.  Its religious roots are biblical, and its philosophical roots are to be found in the Neoplatonic and Aristotelian traditions.  Among philosophers it is represented by the likes of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Maimonides, and Avicenna.  I have emphasized many times that you cannot properly understand the arguments for God’s existence put forward by classical theists, or their conception of the relationship between God and the world and between religion and morality, without an understanding of how radically classical theism differs from the “theistic personalism” or “neo-theism” that prevails among some prominent contemporary philosophers of religion.  (Brian Davies classifies Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, and Charles Hartshorne as theistic personalists.  “Open theism” would be another species of the genus, and I have argued that Paley-style “design arguments” have at least a tendency in the theistic personalist direction.)   

Because this topic comes up so often, I thought it would be useful to put together a roundup of posts I’ve written which deal with the subject.  (I also defend some of the main themes of classical theism in my books The Last Superstition and Aquinas, and in my American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly article “Existential Inertia and the Five Ways.”   And for discussion of what I take to be the most significant sort of argument in defense of classical theism, see my roundup of posts on the cosmological argument.)

For a general account of classical theism, its philosophical content, its relation to biblical descriptions of God, and how it differs from theistic personalism, see:

For discussion of the doctrine of divine simplicity, which is at the core of classical theism, see:

For discussion of the implications of classical theism for questions about morality and the problem of evil (including an exchange with Stephen Law), see:

For discussion of various other specific issues that arise in discussions of classical theism, such as questions about the nature of divine causality, the relation of abstract objects to God, the divine attributes, and so forth, see:

Also relevant to such topics is the treatment of the metaphysical issues underling classical theism I presented in a lecture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in December 2011, which you can watch on YouTube:

For discussion of the differences between classical theism on the one hand, and the conception of God often operative in Paley-style “design arguments” and “Intelligent Design” theory on the other, see:

For discussion of the ways in which various atheist arguments implicitly presuppose a non-classical conception of God and are irrelevant to classical theism, see:

For discussion of some of the philosophical precursors of classical theism in Greek philosophy, see:

Finally, for discussion and defense of the distinctively Christian, Trinitarian interpretation of classical theism, see:

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