Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 16:3 (Summer 1973)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Arguments for the Existence of God. By John Hick. New York: Herder and Herder, 1971. $6.95. 148 pp. Reviewed by Dr. Clark H. Pinnock, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.

This valuable book by a very important theologian belongs to an equally valuable series in the philosophy of religion in which appears Concepts of Deity by H. P. Owen and Contemporary Critiques of Religion by Kai Nielsen. This particular book which evaluates the metaphysical adequacy of theistic belief would make an excellent textbook for a course in Christian apologetics.

The form of the book is quite simple. Hick expounds and critiques the standard philosophical arguments which have been advanced on behalf of God’s existence, that is, the teleological, the cosmological, the moral, and the ontological arguments. And he does this in a concise and lucid manner which distinguish this book from some others in its class.

The most interesting aspect of the book for the student of Hick’s earlier writings is the degree of metaphysical affirmation which Hick is now willing to make, His book Faith and Knowledge was so reserved along these lines that the convictions now expressed, though they fall far short of H. P. Owen’s in the eompamon book, are a welcome surprise. While he would not hold with Tennant that the argument from design can establish the existence of a creative mind behind the universe, he is willing to say that the evidence raises the question of God quite defimtely and makes theistic belief fully rational. Similarly the cosmological argument which holds that the existence of a contingent world requires non-contingent or necessary being to account for it Hick considers to point to theism as the only way to arrive at the final intelligibility of the universe. On the moral argument he is even more forthright. He considers the fact of moral obligation to present a ‘fatal challenge’ to the humanist philosophy. For if the self is posited as the final value, then any act involving a degree of self-sacrifice is irrational. Hick’s point can be used with great effect with nonchristians who are concerned to maintain an ethical stance. Two chapters are devoted to the ontological argument in its various forms from Anselm to Hartshorne, and Hick finds all of them wanting. This argument, unlike the three preceding, cannot even point to the possibility of God, being an a priori proof. It must either succeed completely or fail completely. It fails because of the illicit move it makes from the ideal to the real.

The last chapter of the book deals with theistic beliefs which try to get along without proofs. Despite his concessions to theistic apolo...

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