Search Results for: Joshua R. Farris

Joshua Farris Remembers Ben Arbour

With the recent and very tragic death of EPS member, Ben Arbour, and his dear wife, Meg, EPS President, Mike Austin, has invited friends and colleagues of Ben to offer their reflections on Ben’s life, his care for philosophy, and his ministry to others. Ben’s friend and colleague, Joshua Farris (Executive Director, Alpine Christian School; Director of Trinity School of Theology), offers this personal reflection:

“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.

The Creation of Self

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.

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.

Introduction to Theological Anthropology

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 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 subscriberfor 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.

Current Papers

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

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:

  1. Denominational and Traditioned Theological Anthropology
  2. Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
  3. Sociology, Ethnography, and Theological Anthropology
  4. Science, Design, and Anthropology
  5. Technology and Posthumanism
  6. Morality and Theological Anthropology
  7. 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:

Past Editorial Assistant: Dave Strobolakos.

Web Project Overseer: Joseph E. Gorra, Consulting Editor, Philosophia Christi.

Please consider becoming a regular annual or monthly financial partner with the Evangelical Philosophical Society in order to expand its reach, support its members, and be a credible presence of Christ-shaped philosophical interests in the academy and into the wider culture!

Christian Physicalism?: Philosophical Theological Criticisms

In 2017, Lexington Books will publish Christian Physicalism?: Philosophical Theological Criticisms, edited by R. Keith Loftin and Joshua R. Farris. R. Keith Loftin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at the College at Southwestern and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX). Joshua R. Farris is Assistant Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University, Smith College of Liberal Arts and the Academy.

Enjoy a 30% discount when ordering copies via the website of Lexington Books, using LEX30AUTH18 for the discount code [expires 11/30/18].

From the publisher’s description of Christian Physicalism, which includes several Philosophia Christi contributors as well [e.g., including Angus Menuge, J.P. Moreland, Scott Smith, Charles Taliaferro, Stephen Evans, Jonathan Loose, Brandon Rickabaugh, John Cooper]:

On the heels of the advance since the twentieth-century of wholly physicalist accounts of human persons, the influence of materialist ontology is increasingly evident in Christian theologizing. To date, the contemporary literature has tended to focus on anthropological issues (e.g., whether the traditional soul / body distinction is viable), with occasional articles treating physicalist accounts of such doctrines as the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus cropping up, as well. Interestingly, the literature to date, both for and against this influence, is dominated by philosophers. The present volume is a collection of philosophers and theologians who advance several novel criticisms of this growing trend toward physicalism in Christian theology. The present collection definitively shows that Christian physicalism has some significant philosophical and theological problems. No doubt all philosophical anthropologies have their challenges, but the present volume shows that Christian physicalism is most likely not an adequate accounting for essential theological topics within Christian theism. Christians, then, should consider alternative anthropologies.

The Research Companion to Theological Anthropology

In recent scholarship there is an emerging interest in the integration of philosophy and theology.

Philosophers and theologians address the relationship between body and soul and its implications for theological anthropology. In so doing, philosopher-theologians interact with cognitive science, biological evolution, psychology, and sociology. Reflecting these exciting new developments,

Edited by EPS members, Joshua Farris and Charles Taliaferro, the Research Companion to Theological Anthropology is a resource for philosophers and theologians, students and scholars, interested in the constructive, critical exploration of a theology of human persons.

Throughout this collection of newly authored contributions, key themes are addressed: human agency and grace, the soul, sin and salvation, Christology, glory, feminism, the theology of human nature, and other major themes in theological anthropology in historic as well as contemporary contexts.

From the dozens of contributions in this single volume resource, we highlight some of the contributions, along with further resources for study.

CFP: Annual Meeting of the EPS Southwest Region


“Natural Theology and Revealed Theology”

Keynote Speaker:
Richard Swinburne
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
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 by Feb. 19, 2017:

  1.  A titled, full version of the paper to be presented suitable for blind review.
  2.  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.

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.

Ben Arbour, Chair, (979) 574-1300
Joshua Farris, Program Chair, (281) 649-3214
Chad Meeks, Secretary, (817) 773-2391 

Registration will be available at the ETS Southwest Region page. A PDF of the Call for Papers can be downloaded here.

A Substantive (Soul) Model of the Imago Dei: A Rich Property View

Learn more about this Routledge Research Companion to Theological Anthropology and this chapter contribution!

The psalmist raises a profound question, “What is humankind that you are mindful of them?” One aspect of this question is, “what is it that composes humankind?” Are humans bodies, brains, soul-body units or something else? Another aspect of the first question is, “why are we images of God?” and “what does it mean to be an image of God?” Surely the second question has something to do with the first.

As images, humans reflect and represent God. In order to answer the second question, we must say something in reply to the first question. In the present chapter, I endorse a substance dualism model of personal ontology as a satisfying way to make sense of the imago Dei (i.e., the image of God) by contrasting it with one sophisticated view advanced by Kathryn Tanner.

For further study:

  • What models of personal ontology coherently account for the Scriptural data on human beings?
  • What are the distinctions between various models of personal ontology as constructive accountings of a substantive image?
  • Does substance dualism have the resources to account for a robust biblical portrayal of embodied human nature?