Knowledge and Christian Belief // Alvin Plantinga.


Illuminary Alvin Plantinga, twice Gifford Lecturer and “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God” (TIME), curtails his 530 paged magnum opus, Warranted Christian Belief, into an accessible 126 paged Knowledge and Christian Belief. Alvin’s highly nuanced language insists attentive reading despite his simplistic thesis: Christian belief, if true, warrants belief. There are four major characteristics of warranted belief: (1) cognitive faculties functioning properly; (2) appropriate cognitive environment for those faculties; (3) according to design; and (4) successfully aimed at truth (see italicized at the bottom of p. 28). Alvin follows the “A/C (Aquinas and Calvin) model” of sensus divinitatis as “basic” or presuppositional. Just as seeing the sun rise is basic–without the arduous need of cognitive activity–warranted belief arises through the work of the Holy Spirit and sensus divinitatis (seed of divinity), if true, as basic. What does this mean? Christian belief on its own ground is firmly rooted; the question of “is it true?” cannot be answered by the philosophers: it is God’s domain.


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