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The Resurrection of God Incarnate
The Resurrection of God Incarnate
Richard Swinburne
Clarendon Press, 2003
232 pp., 50.00

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Douglas Groothuis

Defenders of the Faith

Looking for fissures in establishment atheist philosophy

Not long ago, Christian apologists faced an uphill battle against well-entrenched philosophies of unbelief. Natural theology was deemed long dead, having been slain by the swords of Hume and Kant. Arguments for God's existence were at best philosophical museum pieces revealing the errors of unenlightened intellectuals. Higher critics had reduced the gospels to ragtag collections of scattered facts, idiosyncratic theologizing, and existentially gripping myths. Philosophers and apologists did well to argue for the intelligibility of religious language (considered non-sense by logical positivists), let alone its rationality or truth. Evangelical apologetics—when pursued at all—was typically practiced outside the academy and often lacked intellectual power (although this could not be said of stalwarts such as Gordon Clark, E. J. Carnell, or Carl Henry).

But seismic shocks have realigned the intellectual world of unbelief in the past three decades, opening up fissures and toppling edifices. Atheist philosopher Quentin Smith recently wrote in the skeptical philosophical journal Philo that the philosophy departments of the academy have been "desecularized" since the late 1960s, largely due to the path-breaking work of Alvin Plantinga's writings. Given the renaissance in Christian philosophy during the past few decades, atheistic philosophers can no longer assume that their naturalism is justified. Smith even allows that "The justification of most contemporary naturalist views is defeated by contemporary theist arguments." Philosophia Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, has the largest subscription base of any philosophy of religion journal and a roster of stellar contributors.

Into this heady atmosphere come two very different apologetics books. Although the final section of Humble Apologetics addresses apologetics proper, it—unlike The Resurrection of God Incarnate—is not really an apologetic for Christianity. One finds no theistic arguments, defenses ...

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