Trinity Term 2023
All members of the university and their guests are welcome.
Professor John Schellenberg
Mount St Vincent University
In this paper I present what might be called “the Christian hiddenness problem” or “Christianity’s hiddenness problem” or “the Christian version of the hiddenness problem.” For short, one could just say “Christian hiddenness.” The main point is that, if classical Christian doctrine is true, then on the matters addressed by this doctrine, and at any rate for anyone to whom Christians have successfully communicated the doctrine, God wishes to be revealed and not hidden. Filling this out, I shall argue that, if Christian doctrine is true, then all who hear it and understand its content but do not believe it are prevented from believing it by their own resistance of belief. But this condition is not realized. Many who have encountered and understood Christian doctrine have failed to believe it without the cause being their own resistance of such belief. That such is the case becomes more obvious with each cultural advance apparently at odds with Christian doctrine. It follows that Christian doctrine is not true.
8:30 pm, Thursday 11 May (Refreshments from 8:15pm)
Large Senior Common Room
Oriel College, Oxford
Christianity and a God of Limited Power
Dr Philip Goff
One way to avoid the problem of evil is to postulate a good creator with limited power. Perhaps our universe is the best God was able to create. But can this strategy be adopted by Christians? Christianity is standardly thought to involve a commitment to miracles, such as the resurrection or the feeding of the 5,000. But if God can bring people back from dead, or multiply loaves and fishes, the problem of evil threatens to return, as we now have to explain why God allows the evils of death and hunger which She seems to have the power to prevent. Thomas Oord has attempted to reconcile Christian miracles with a God of limited power. I will argue that Oord’s attempt fails before exploring an alternative possibility.
8:30pm, Thursday 15 June (Refreshments from 8:15pm)
Harris Seminar Room
Oriel College, Oxford