This book explores a wide range of philosophical issues in their connection with theism, including views of free will, ethical theories, theories of mind, naturalism, and karma-plus-reincarnation.
In this clear and logical guide, C. Stephen Layman takes up eight important philosophical questions about God: Does God exist? Why does God permit evil? Why think God is good? Why is God hidden? What is God’s relationship to ethics? Is divine foreknowledge compatible with human free will? Do humans have souls? Does reincarnation provide the best explanation of suffering? Based on more than thirty years of experience in teaching undergraduates and in leading philosophical discussions related to God, Layman has arranged the text to deal with each of these eight questions in one or two chapters apiece.
Many philosophical works take up questions about God, but the chapters of this book plunge the reader very quickly into the arguments relevant to each question. Layman presents the arguments cogently and simply, yet without oversimplifying the issues. The book emphasizes strengths and weaknesses of both theism and its metaphysical rivals. Readers will gain a clearer understanding of theism and naturalism, and of their sometimes surprising implications. The book can be used as a text in philosophy of religion and introductory philosophy courses. Professional philosophers will find significant, novel arguments in many of the chapters.
1. Does God Exist? Part I
2. Does God Exist? Part II
3. Why Does God Permit Evil?
4. Why Think God is Good?
5. Why is God Hidden? Part I
6. Why is God Hidden? Part II
7. How is God related to Ethics?
8. Is Divine Foreknowledge Compatible with Human Free Will? Part I
9. Is Divine Foreknowledge Compatible with Human Free Will? Part II
10. Do Humans Have Souls? Part I
11. Do Humans Have Souls? Part II
12. Does Reincarnation Provide the Best Explanation of Suffering?
C. Stephen Layman is professor emeritus of philosophy at Seattle Pacific University. He is the author of five books, including The Shape of the Good (University of Notre Dame Press, 1994) and, most recently, Philosophical Approaches to Atonement, Incarnation, and the Trinity.
“Only someone such as C. Stephen Layman, who has worked in philosophy of religion for many years, could write such an informative and accessible book.” —James P. Sterba, University of Notre Dame
“Both the breadth and the depth of exposition will educate readers in matters of more general metaphysical and epistemological interest than can be found in many student texts in philosophy of religion.” —R. Douglas Geivett, co-editor of The Testimony of the Spirit
"C. Stephen Layman’s gift for explaining complicated things is on display in this wonderful introduction to eight well-chosen questions about God. The questions range from traditional to novel, and the answers to them include key extant replies along with some new gems from Layman himself. A great companion for your next philosophy of religion unit or course!" —Jeanine Diller, co-editor of Models of God and Other Alternative Ultimate Realities
"Stephen Layman’s insightful explication of the major claims of traditional theism has a clear unity in spite of its broad range. Layman writes with a clarity that makes the book accessible to the lay reader while also offering an original approach to the war of the world views that should be required reading for scholars in philosophy of religion." —Laura L. Garcia, editor of Truth, Life and Solidarity
"In methodical fashion, philosophy professor Layman offers a no-nonsense defense of theism—'the belief that God exists and is the Creator of the universe.' . . . any reader looking for cogent arguments to support their personal belief in God will find plenty to bolster them here." —Publishers Weekly
"The major virtues of C. Stephen Layman's book are its clarity, its concision, its accessibility, and its scope. . . . . God: Eight Enduring Questions offers a careful and cogent case for theism. . . it also provides a remarkably clear and accessible overview of some of the most important debates in contemporary philosophy of religion." —Theological Studies
"All theo-philosophical analytic thinkers will find Layman's book both compelling and thorough. ...Recommended." —Choice