“Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;” (2 Corinthians 1:10)
Ben Arbour, and his wife Meg, passed away on Friday November 6, 2020. Their death seems to have been sudden, and it was certainly tragic. They were the victims of a drag race early in the morning that Friday.
I am still dismayed by Ben’s (and Meg’s, but I will focus on Ben) death. The feeling of shock has stayed with me since I first heard the news early Friday morning shortly after waking up.
Ben, as many have stated already, was an extrovert. He was outgoing and loved a good discussion or a bit of banter. He would call you up randomly and delineate an argument he had been turning over in his head that day. Often the argument had something to do with Higher-Ed, politics, theology, or, his favorite topic—metaphysical idealism.
Ben was an important figure in Christian philosophy. Investing himself primarily in the Evangelical Philosophical Society, he broadened his influence internationally through his writings on Anselmian theism and Open Theism. Both conservative and traditional, Ben was rightly discouraged and critical of the left leaning trend in the world of “Christian Philosophy”—something he saw as ironically the beginning of the end for the community. Ben lived out his convictions and was unafraid to challenge the convictions of others—even when it meant speaking against the trends of our times. Ben, for all the reasons here mentioned, was an important fixture in the Christian philosophy community. He challenged ideas and, most importantly, he brought people together for philosophical discussion (at times those with quite disparate perspectives). He organized several philosophical conferences for EPS and others. For this reason alone, he is a significant figure in our community and his absence will be noticed by all.
More importantly, Ben was a friend. Good friends are hard to find. Ben often challenged me in ways that I found frustrating, but after some time I knew it came from a heart that loved me and my virtue—whether it be intellectual or volitional. His life was instructive in this way in that he prodded his friends toward virtue.
His death has been instructive. When I heard others jump to the hope before properly processing his untimely death, I was discouraged. His death was and is devastating. While I am weary of easy believ-ism, my resolve is to trust that He will deliver us from the grave. He has been faithful in the past, and he will be faithful again. I will see Ben again.
William Hasker responds to the latest response from Joshua Farris on issues related to metaphysics of souls. Farris states that Hasker has failed to account for the particularity, the individual existence, of human souls. Now, in a rejoinder, Hasker shows how this feature can be accounted for by emergent dualists, without invoking thisnesses or haecceities.
Originally, in the pages of Philosophia Christi (20:1, 2018), Hasker responded to Farris’ “Souls, Emergent and Created: Why Mere Emergent Dualism is Insufficient,” in his “Emergent Dualism and Emergent Creationism: A Response to Joshua Farris.”
In 2023, John Hunt Publishing will release The Creation of Self by Joshua R. Farris. Farris is currently the Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellow at the University of Bochum in Bochum, Germany, focusing on biologically-engaged religious anthropology. Farris is also a co-project editor and coordinator of the EPS web project on the Philosophy of Theological Anthropology.
From the publisher’s description:
Situated in broader science-and-religion discussions, The Creation of Self is the first book-length defense of a creationist view of persons as souls. This book therefore serves as both a novel argument for God’s creation of selves and as a critique of contemporary materialist and emergent-self alternatives, critically examining naturalistic views that argue for a regular, law-like process behind the emergence of personhood. Author Joshua Farris argues on the assumption that persons are fundamentally unique individuals that look more like singularities of nature, rather than material products grounded in regularity or predictability from past events. By extending the basic intuition that we are unique and mysterious individuals, Farris develops a sophisticated analytic defense of the soul that requires a sufficient explanation not found in nature but made by a Creator who has intentions and the power to bring about novel entities in the world. The Creation of Self gives philosophers, theologians, and the lay intellectual grounding for thinking about persons as religious beings. It aims to help readers understand why recent scientifically motivated objections to the soul are unsuccessful, and why we must consider a religious conception of persons as souls as a common starting point.
Bruce Gordon, Associate Professor of History and Philosophy of Science (Houston Baptist University), says that
Many old-school neuroscientists and philosophers of mind, having retreated to the keep of non-reductive physicalism, seem oblivious to the fact that their materialist position has been overrun both by the evidence, and by panpsychist, dualist, and idealist armies. In this regard, apart from Richard Swinburne, none has been more vigorous in defending the consistency of emergent-creationist dualism with neuroscience, and the necessity of an immaterial mind to a proper understanding of human personhood, than Joshua Farris. With respect to religious issues, Farris is the leader. Those who think that substance dualism is untenable display their doxastic inertia and ignore Farris’ work at their peril.
Baker Academic recently published Introduction to Theological Anthropology by Joshua R. Farris. Farris (PhD, University of Bristol) is Chester and Margaret Paluch Lecturer for 2019-2020 at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. He was assistant professor of theology at Houston Baptist University and served as a Henry Fellow for the Creation Project at the Carl F. H. Henry Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is author of The Soul of Theological Anthropology and the coeditor of Christian Physicalism? and The Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology.
From the publisher’s description of Introduction to Theological Anthropology:
In this thorough introduction to theological anthropology, Joshua Farris offers an evangelical perspective on the topic. Farris walks the reader through some of the most important issues in traditional approaches to anthropology, such as sexuality, posthumanism, and the image of God. He addresses fundamental questions like, Who am I? and Why do I exist? He also considers the creaturely and divine nature of humans, the body-soul relationship, and the beatific vision.
Joshua Farris is co-editor (with Nathan Jacobs) of the prominent Philosophy of Theological Anthropology project, a web project of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.
The ‘Christus Odium’ Variety of Penal Substitution in Contemporary Perspective
November 20, 9:00 AM – 12:10 PM
Third Floor – Mission Beach BC
Moderator: Ryan A. Brandt (Grand Canyon University)
9:35 AM—10:10 AM
Derek Rishmawy(Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
An Experiment in Odium: Retrieving Classical Tools for Contemporary Atonement Doctrine
10:20 AM—10:55 AM
Tom McCall(Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
The Well-Pleased Father and the Much-Loved Son: Christus Odium in Theological Perspective
10:55 AM—11:30 AM
Owen Strachan(Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Ryan L. Rippee(The Cornerstone Bible College and Seminary)
It Was the Will of the Father to Crush Him: On Penal Substitution and Divine Wrath
11:30 AM—12:10 PM
Q&A Panel Discussion
In the pages of Philosophia Christi (20:1, 2018), William Hasker responded to Joshua Farris’ “Souls, Emergent and Created: Why Mere Emergent Dualism is Insufficient,” in his “Emergent Dualism and Emergent Creationism: A Response to Joshua Farris.”
Farris now replies to Hasker, arguing that Hasker spends more time on secondary issues rather than the central objection. Farris shows that Hasker gives no good reasons for denying the primitive particularity view and offers no alternative particularity account.
Theme: “Middle Knowledge”
- A titled, full version of the paper to be presented suitable for blind review.
- A 200-300 word abstract with the paper title as it appears on the blind review submission, the student’s name, pursued degree, and societal and institutional affiliations.
The Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) is pleased to introduce a unique and ongoing Philosophy of Theological Anthropology project! Your contributions, readership, exploration and support are most welcomed. For more on this theme and Christian contributions to philosophy, become a subscriber – for as low as $25 per year! – to Philosophia Christi, the peer-reviewed journal of the EPS [all EPS members receive Philosophia Christi as part of their membership].
Summary of Project
Inaugurated in 2018, The Philosophy of Theological Anthropology is an EPS web project devoted to the foundations and meta-themes of theological anthropology. Contributors seek to highlight a variety of new topics, which are at present underexplored, and fresh philosophical perspectives of older topics. This is an opportunity for philosophers and constructive theologians to explore foundational and innovative themes within theological anthropology from a philosophical perspective.
Topics of interest in this web series include areas of epistemology, metaphysics, Christology, and traditioned anthropology. We are interested in approaches that reconceive in fresh new ways the conditions and foundations for thinking about theological anthropology. This amounts to critical interrogations of commonly held assumptions in the contemporary theological literature on anthropology. We invite contributions that are extensions of previously published works as well as unique speculative pieces.
Areas of Web Project
The present issue will contain topics on anthropology, philosophy of mind, imago Dei [broadly conceived], with the aim toward advancing the philosophical foundations and implications of a theistic anthropology.
- Glenn Butner, “Theology without Persons? Theological Anthropology and Kevin Hector’s Therapeutic Theory of Language Use.”
- Christopher Woznicki, “Atonement and Anthropology: T. F. Torrance’s Doctrine of Atonement as a Test Case.”
- Benjamin H. Arbour and John R. Gilhooly, “Transgenderism, Human Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Properties.”
- Graham Floyd, “The Politics of Theological Anthropology: Political Naturalism, Creation, and the imago Dei.”
Core Project Questions
- How should we approach the anthropos and its telos?
- Furthermore, how might we understand human ‘selfhood’ and ‘identity’?
- What are the benefits and liabilities of an Analytic Theology approach?
- Analytic Theology and Christological anthropology?
- What are the benefits and liabilities of a more Phenomenological approach to the anthropos?
- What is the distinctive contribution of philosophy of mind/personal ontology in contemporary theological anthropology?
- What role does or should the sciences play in our theological constructions?
- What are the benefits of a Christological method to anthropology?
- Christological anthropology as an organizing motif?
- Is a Christological method sufficient for theological anthropology?
- From the Christian tradition, what is the Good News for the anthropos and how might that shape approaches to a study of what it means to be human?
- What role do ecclesial, theological, or philosophical traditions play in our theological construction?
- What substantive place does reason and experience have in understanding humans?
- What are the different religious/denominational perspectives on the nature of human beings?
- How might spiritual features and formation of a human being shape an understanding of the nature and purpose of a human being?
- What are the distinctive ideas within a Christian anthropology and other religious anthropologies?
- How might theologies and philosophies of the human person shape theologies and philosophies of ‘public life’?
Find this Project Interesting? See these other EPS Web Projects
- “Philosophical Discussions on Marriage and Family Topics” with Michael Austin, Michael McFall, Daniel J. Hill and many others!
- “Christ-Shaped Philosophy” Project with Paul Moser and dozens of other contributors!
- “Christian Philosophers in the ‘Secular Academy'” Project with Marylin McCord-Adams, Christopher Tollefsen, and many others!
Want to Contribute to the Philosophy of Theological Anthropology Project?
Options for contributing: reflection essays, critical responses, book reviews, exploratory essays, dialectical pieces, methodological hybrids (biblical studies to philosophy), how to communicate to the public.
Length: Shorter (e.g., 1500-2000 words) and longer papers (e.g., 6,000 words) are permitted. You are welcome to work with the Project Editors on length issues.
Suggested topics: evolution and theological anthropology, imago Dei, the metaphysics of gender and sexuality, method, Christological anthropology, religious epistemology, and human ontology.
Main Project Categories:
- Denominational and Traditioned Theological Anthropology
- Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
- Sociology, Ethnography, and Theological Anthropology
- Science, Design, and Anthropology
- Technology and Posthumanism
- Morality and Theological Anthropology
- Disciplines: Philosophy, Biblical Theology, Philosophical Theology, Systematic/Constructive Theology, Retrieval Theology, Social Science, Humanities (N.B. the aim of the investigation ought to impinge on philosophical-theological matters)
Submit a Proposal: Email a topic, thesis and description of the proposed paper (250 words max) to Project Editors Joshua Farris and Nathan Jacobs [see below]. They will help guide your proposal toward being a contribution of this web project.
Lead Project Editors & Coordinators:
- Dr. Joshua R. Farris [firstname.lastname@example.org], Farris is currently the Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellow at the University of Bochum in Bochum, Germany, focusing on biologically-engaged religious anthropology. His forthcoming book is The Creation of Self: A Case for the Soul (John Hunt Publishing, 2023).
- Dr. Nathan A. Jacobs [email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org], University of Kentucky.
Past Editorial Assistant: Dave Strobolakos.
Web Project Overseer: Joseph E. Gorra, Consulting Editor, Philosophia Christi.
THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE EPS SOUTHWEST REGION
“Natural Theology and Revealed Theology”
Professor Emeritus, University of Oxford
“God is Necessarily a Trinity”
The Havard School
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
4105 Broadway St. Houston, TX 77087
March 2 – March 3, 2018
All full members and student members of EPS are invited to submit paper proposals on this year’s theme. Quality papers on topics not directly related to the theme are also welcome.
Full Members: Paper proposals should include a title and abstract (300 words) prepared for blind review, and a separate document including the presenter’s name and institutional affiliation together with the title of the proposed paper, and the presenter’s membership status. An acceptable paper should be delivered in 25 minutes with 5-10 minutes for discussion.
Student Members: Ph.D students should follow the same instructions as full members. For those studying for a Masters degree, in addition to the above requirements, student papers are to be sponsored by a full member of EPS. Proposals should include the student’s degree program and email confirmation from the sponsor who has agreed to oversee the paper’s preparation.
Non-Members: Submissions are welcome from non-members, and membership is NOT a requirement to attend, nor is membership a requirement to present. Those who hold a Ph.D or are currently enrolled in a doctoral program can submit proposals that include a title and a 300 word abstract together prepared for blind review together with a separate document containing the person’s name, institutional affiliation, and title of the proposed paper. Please indicate on this separate document non-member status.
All paper proposals should be submitted to email@example.com
The submission deadline is Monday January 29, 2017.
Student Paper Competition: Student members whose papers are accepted for inclusion in the program will be eligible to enter a student paper competition. Students who wish to enter the competition must submit the following to Ben Arbour at firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 19, 2017:
- A titled, full version of the paper to be presented suitable for blind review.
Winner(s) will be announced at the final plenary session of the conference. Students must present their papers at the conference to be considered for the competition.