We are pleased to offer EPS online readers some exclusive comments by Dr. Gary R. Habermas on the life of Professor Antony Flew, who died on April 8, 2010. Habermas is the Distinguished Research Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University.
In the next issue of Philosophia Christi (Summer 2010), Dr. Habermas will offer an extended reflection on the life of Flew and his friendship with him. In the meantime, we encourage you to consider these comments by Habermas:
In terms of his total body of work, Antony Garrard Newton Flew was arguably the most able philosophical apologist for atheism–ever. His major works such as God and Philosophy and The Presumption of Atheism are witnesses to his systematic treatment of relevant subjects. We studied his works in our philosophy classes. He was a giant. So it was no surprise that, in recent years, he made the headlines worldwide after announcing that he had come to believe in the existence of God.
In spite of his age—87 years—his life came to a conclusion all too soon. I was much saddened to hear that Tony Flew had died on April 8. It’s not that I hadn’t expected it. I had just spoken at length to his wife only three days beforehand and learned that he was not doing well; his death was expected soon. When the time came, I realized anew that I had lost a close friend. It wasn’t so much his “conversion” from atheism. After all, we had maintained very friendly contact for almost twenty years before that occasion. I would have felt similarly had he remained an atheist. Only time will tell the final impact of his life and publications.
Gary R. Habermas
In 2004, Philosophia Christi was privileged to publish an exclusive and extensive interview between Habermas and Flew, which can be read here. The year before, Ashgate published the Does God Exist: The Craig-Flew Debate book, which commented on and further developed the 1998 debate between Antony Flew and former EPS President William Lane Craig.
And then 2006, Flew and his wife came to Southern California to receive the Philip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth at Biola University (Biola is also where the editorial and subscription management office of Philosophia Christi is housed). The award event caught the eye of Richard Dawkins in his 2006 bestseller, The God Delusion, for which he suggested that Biola was taking advantage of Flew. Flew later reviewed (2008) Dawkins’ book in Philosophia Christi, and closed his review with these words:
… as to the suggestion that I have been used by Biola University. If the way I was welcomed by the students and the members of the faculty whom I met on my short stay in Biola amounted to being used then I can only express my regret that at the age of 85 I cannot reasonably hope for another visit to this institution.
Finally, in 2007, Habermas reviewed There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, which can be read here.
Habermas and Flew debated about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, such as in their 1987 Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? The Resurrection Debate and then in their 2005 Resurrected? An Atheist and Theist Dialogue. For videos of these and other debates between Flew and Habermas, visit www.garyhabermas.com.
Further coverage about Flew’s life and work can be found here: