The Problem of Personhood
- What are the philosophical meanings of the terms personal and non-personal? How does the fact that humans are personal beings function as evidence for God? Do you find that evidence persuasive? Why or why not?
Pearcey reminds us that Paul said God could be known through the things that were made, and that includes us. The fact that we are persons is evidence that we are the created by a personal being. William Lane Craig defines “person” as a self-conscious individual with free will. (See Defenders Podcast, Doctrine of Christ, Part 4) This idea is related to the argument from the origin of the universe. In question 1 I mentioned that the cause of the universe had to be an agent with a will that could have willed not to create. Agent is synonymous with person.
The reason this is evidence for the existence of God is because persons do not come from non-persons.
At this point, some might object, “If persons cannot come from non-persons, then how is it the physical can come from the non-physical.” (I have never heard this objection, but it occurred to me as I thought through this.) I think the distinction is that there is adequate evidence that all matter came into existence at a point in the finite past, and requires a non-physical cause to account for it. On the other hand, it is possible for a non-physical being to exist in a timeless state.
The alternative is to say that human beings are not persons in that they have no free will.
Because I know where this book is going, I will hold off on a more detailed response to this later when we get to evaluating competing worldviews and applying Pearcey’s principles.