- Paperback: 220 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (December 15, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199661073
- ISBN-13: 978-0199661077
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.6 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Natural Signs and Knowledge of God: A New Look at Theistic Arguments Reprint Edition
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"This book will benefit readers with some background or interest in natural theology and philosophy or religion."--CHOICE
"Stimulating... Evans has here made a valuable and original contribution to the field of religious epistemology. Natural Signs and Knowledge of God deserves attention from, and is sure to provoke lively debate between, philosophers of religion and theologians. However, it should also be of interest to, and accessible to, anyone concerned with theistic apologetics. Even someone with little grounding in these issues is likely to gain something from it." --Religious Studies
About the Author
C. Stephen Evans is University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Baylor University.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most of the book is devoted to the discussion of the various cosmological, teleological and moral arguments for God's existence, which Reid rightly classifies as three different families of arguments. He does a great job of taking into account the whole literate on these subjects. Sometimes, I wished that he would have spent more time delving into the nature of the basic intuitions behind the arguments but overall I think he did well enough. David Bentley Hart did better in my opinion in his "The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss" but that's a minor quibble. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the various theistic arguments and perhaps those who think about conceptualizing all of them in a different way than as merely "proofs" of God.
Evans assumes with Pascal that natural signs must be widely accessible but are often embraced or resisted apart from any specific philosophical sophistication or background. This is a great book for anyone who thinks that belief in God is based primarily on intuitions of God’s existence grounded in experiences of cosmic wonder, purposive order, moral obligation, and human dignity. These experiences are the ground of all the arguments that proceed from them—the good, the bad, and the best. This book is a blockbuster and explains why theistic reasoning remains alive and well despite the modern bias against it from atheists and from theists who just don’t like the traditional formulations of the arguments. It also explains people like Plantinga, who continue to examine various forms of theistic argument but at the same time don’t take any argument that seriously. As I have noticed in Plantinga, he is more focused on the experiences that led him to believe in God than in any specific arguments that may warrant it. The arguments are okay if they are helpful, but you really don’t need an argument since belief in God is “basic” due to the widely accessible experience of the natural signs. This is really a liberating book and points the way—I think—to a gentler approach to theistic argumentation based on very common religious experiences.
Evans argues that natural theology cannot provide a conclusive proof for the existence of God. The classic arguments, such as the cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments for God are compelling to some but not to others. The core of these arguments, says Evans, are plausibly seen as "natural signs" that are pointers to God but are not definitive; they are easily resistible and readily available to nearly everyone. Evans unpacks the concept of natural signs using Thomas Reid's account of perception.
He then considers the cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments. These arguments have been accepted by some and denied by others. But, Evans says, they have at their core a natural sign that can provide defeasible, non-propositional evidence for God with no conscious inference necessary.
Evans also considers a few other interesting topics while outlining his thesis, including the problem of evil, the argument from divine hiddenness, the compatibility of theism and evolution, and the internalism/externalism debate in epistemology.
This is a pretty interesting book. Anyone interested in arguments for God's existence should pick it up. It is an accessible and novel contribution to the philosophy of religion.