I am happy to announce the release of a two-volume book series entitled Idealism and Christianity, which I edited with the help of my colleagues Steve Cowan, Joshua Farris, and Mark Hamilton. The books are published by Bloomsbury Press and constitute what we hope will be the start of a renaissance of scholarly interest in metaphysical idealism. This is the thesis that mind is most real, and that the entire physical world essentially constitutes the thoughts of that wise and almighty mind—God.
The first volume in the series, entitled Idealism and Christian Theology, explores a variety of issues in theology, including Christology, the resurrection of Jesus, the doctrine of creation, and the knowledge of God. Contributors include Oliver Crisp, William Wainwright, and Keith Yandell. The second volume, Idealism and Christian Philosophy, features essays treating such issues as time, truth, perception, science, miracles, and the mind-body problem. Contributors include Doug Blount, Howard Robinson, Charles Taliaferro, and Keith Ward.
The heroes of the volumes are two 18th century thinkers: George Berkeley and Jonathan Edwards. Both of these great scholars regarded Idealism as amenable to a Christian perspective because it constitutes the most biblical and philosophically plausible way of conceptualizing the world. Idealism effectively addresses skeptical challenges to theism and it provides helpful resources for dealing with all sorts of knotty problems that have plagued philosophers and theologians for centuries.
In addition to the scholarly benefits of Idealism, this perspective also has tremendous personal benefits and is a powerful boon to faith. This was the constant refrain of Bishop Berkeley who concluded his classic defense of Idealism by confessing that his purpose in writing was to “inspire my readers with a pious sense of the presence of God and . . . the better dispose them to reverence and embrace the salutary truths of the Gospel, which to know and to practice is the highest perfection of human nature.” Amen to that, good Bishop!