William Lane Craig – Christian Analytic Philosopher

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William Lane Craig is an American analytic philosopher and Christian theologian. He is a respected scholar ranked in the top 50 most influential philosophers living today (1). As of 2018, he is a Research Professor of Philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology and the Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University.

He is a notable theologian and apologist for several reasons. He is most well-known for his defense of the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God, and his rigorous research efforts have paved way for a renewed contemporary interest in the argument. Philosophy professor Quentin Smith of the Western Michigan University stated that “a count of the articles in the philosophy journals shows that more articles have been published about Craig’s defense of the Kalam argument than have been published about any other philosopher’s contemporary formulation of an argument for God’s existence” (2). Craig has also passionately defended the resurrection of Jesus as a fact of history.

Craig first begun writing on the cosmological argument during his 1975 doctoral studies in philosophy at the University of Birmingham in England. In 1984, he earned his second doctorate under Woflhart Pannenberg’s supervision. Craig published his doctoral thesis The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus During the Deist Controversy in 1985. He subsequently joined the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he taught philosophy of religion before moving to Belgium in 1987 to engage in research at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Craig is a talented debater, a skill he cultivated during his school and college years. As a professional debater he prepares extensively beforehand and has research assistants who give him a hand in his writings and assist in predicting objections he might face during a debate (3). Craig has been involved in a large number debates with atheists, agnostics, Muslims, and liberal Christians (4). He has debated notable atheist intellectuals such as A.C. Grayling, Lawrence Krauss, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. Richard Dawkins reaped criticism for refusing to debate Craig publicly.

Craig has penned a large number of works. Many of these are on apologetics such as Hard Questions, Real Answers (2003), On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision (2010), A Reasonable Response: Answers to Tough Questions on God, Christianity, and the Bible (2014). He has written widely on Christian philosophy and theology (Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, 2003, God Over All: Divine Aseity and the Challenge of Platonism, 2016), and the philosophy of time (Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time, 2001, Time and The Metaphysics of Relativity, 2001, God, Time and Eternity, 2001),

Craig runs his own website where he includes some of his scholarly philosophical and theological work. He also has an expansive Q&A section on his website and numerous non-academic articles for those looking to examine the arguments in some more detail.

“If there is no God, then man and the universe are doomed. Like prisoners condemned to death, we await our unavoidable execution. There is no God, and there is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself is absurd. It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose.” (Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 1994, p. 58)

References

1. The Best Schools. The 50 Most Influential Living Philosophers. Available.

2. Smith, Q. 2007. Kalam Cosmological Arguments for Atheism, In Martin, M. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. p. 183.

3. Schneider, N. 2013. The New Theist: How William Lane Craig became Christian philosophy’s boldest apostle. Available.

4. William Lane Craig: a complete list of debates. Available.

13 comments

  1. […] William Craig. Craig is an American philosopher, theologian, and author of over thirty books. He is renowned philosopher having been listed as one of the fifty most influential living philosophers alive, and in particular for his contributions within the philosophy of religion where he has articulated arguments, such as the Kalam cosmological argument, in favour of the existence of a monotheistic concept of God (Craig 2019a). Craig identifies as an evangelical Christian and apologist who has to date participated in 103 formal debates with prominent philosophers, scientists, and biblical scholars on the topics of atheism and Christianity, the Bible, Christ’s divinity and resurrection, evidence for the existence of God, intelligent design, Islam and Christianity, the problem of evil and suffering, and science and theology (Craig 2019b). In his debate with Hansie Wolmarans and Sakkie Spangenberg, Craig argues in favour of the resurrection. He proposes and defends several points: (1) the New Testament gospels and the Pauline letters teach history, (2) the gospels are ancient biographies and therefore not the same as Greco-Roman mythology, (3) the gospel biographies are early, use recent traditions, and consistently affirm the burial, the empty tomb, the post-mortem resurrection appearances of Christ, and the origin of the disciples belief in the resurrection, (4) Christ must be understood within a first century Palestinian Judaic context constituting the background of the gospels, (5) the gospels promote a physical view of the resurrection because Jews believed in a bodily resurrection from the grave, (6) Christ was interred in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea who was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, (7) the burial narrative is attested to within several early and independent sources, (8) Christ’s tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers on the Sunday morning after the crucifixion, (9) that the discovery of the empty tomb was made by women within a cultural setting in which their testimony was regarded as basically worthless suggests the empty tomb tradition’s historicity, (10) the empty tomb narrative is attested to within several early and independent sources, (11) the empty tomb story is simple and lacks signs of legendary or theological embellishment as one finds in apocryphal texts, (12) various individuals and groups of people on multiple occasions and under different circumstances saw appearances of Christ alive after his death, and (13) the original disciples’ belief in the resurrection was not due to their faith in him, but was instead a result of having come to believe that he had been resurrected from the dead. […]

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