A Rejoinder To Norman L. Geisler -- By: Richard A. Purdy

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 26:3 (Sep 1983)
Article: A Rejoinder To Norman L. Geisler
Author: Richard A. Purdy

A Rejoinder To Norman L. Geisler

Richard A. Purdy*

First, some points of agreement. Norman Geisler is right concerning my overall argument as “fallacious” if the argument is the syllogism he has presented. Actually, I would choose to express the syllogism as follows:

1. Geisler bases Christianity on theism—viz., theistic arguments of his own.

2. Geisler’s theistic arguments are fallacious.

3. Geisler bases Christianity on fallacies.

Now I admit that this conclusion can hardly be called “Geisler’s own admission”—as I said—and herein lies my error. I doubt that Geisler admits point 3, and in fact he has denied what I have presented as examples of fallacious reasoning.

I also agree with Geisler that “if the arguments by a given theist fail, it certainly does not follow that theism… has failed.” But the question is not whether theism fails but whether the arguments for theism fail and, immediately, whether Geisler’s arguments fail.

As for the additional readings, I must admit unfamiliarity with all but the two articles on John Dahms, which I read only recently. I would gladly have familiarized myself with these writings if they had been accessible to me. Nevertheless, what little I did read did not seem to advance Geisler’s arguments beyond the content of his major writings, which I believe I have studied thoroughly.

Besides, I have tended toward the opinion that when an individual contradicts himself it really does not matter how much he has written. All the printed matter in the world will not erase contradictory propositions that have come from the same mind.

Of course this is begging the question in the matters before us, but I know that even Geisler would agree with me formally.

Now, Professor Geisler, I would like to address you directly. Do you really expect me to go to your additional writings and refute my own arguments? How will I know whether I have done a good job? By what objective criteria will I decide whether I have treated your writings fairly? After all, I did not just “raise questions”; I believe I raised a few contradictions. Personally, I do not believe I can express these alleged contradictions any more clearly than I did in my previous article. So, if I list them here, would you answer them one by one?

1. “Anything that changes must be composed of actuality and potentiality for change. Change is a passing from potentiality to actuality; from what can be to

*Richard Purdy teaches at St. Paul’s Bible Institute in Darien, Connecticut.

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