Über das Projekt


“Integrating Insights from Science and Philosophy into Theology”

End of the project:
August 31, 2018

Contact us:

Georg Gasser
Program Administrator

+43 (0)512 507 8644

+43 (0)512 507 2736

Institut für Christliche Philosophie
Universität Innsbruck
Karl-Rahner-Platz 1
A-6020 Innsbruck

Logo of the University Innsbruck
Supported by a grant from the
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About the Project

During the first half of the twentieth century much of the philosophical community—as well as wider intellectual community—had strong doubts about human capacities to attain any understanding of God’s nature, attributes, or of God’s relationship to the natural world. In this period, serious doubt reigned about the possibility of any form of fruitful interaction between philosophy and theology. Many philosophers typically thought that traditional theism was no longer tenable. It was not longer possible to think rationally about or believe in God as a personal yet transcendent Being who acts in human history.

Since the 1970s, however, philosophical interest in religious topics continues to grow and a remarkable revival in the philosophy of religion has been taken place, especially among philosophers in the so-called “analytic tradition”. Nowadays, philosophy of religions is probably as vivid as it has not been for centuries.

The Nature of God Project aims at advancing the style of analytic philosophy as a fruitful means of theological inquiry and at fostering creative interdisciplinary research and understanding between philosophers and theologians in Europe about the nature of God/the divine. This overall approach to theological research tentatively is labelled “analytic theology”.

The research focus of the project is considerably broad: An exploration of different concepts of God and the divine is highly relevant to core areas of philosophical research such as metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, action theory, and philosophy of language. It has also a strong impact on the understanding of the many theological doctrines concerning the nature and inner life of God, God’s relation to creation, God’s ultimate purposes for reality and how we understand our own existence in the cosmos.

Here are a some obvious research questions of this project:

  • Should we maintain a commitment to “classical theism” – that is, the conception of God as timeless, changeless, transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent, all-good, wholly immaterial, perfectly simple, etc.? Are revisions to certain aspects required – and if so, which aspects should be revised?
  • Does a scientifically informed philosophical understanding of reality lead to an understanding of the divine nature that ought to be spelled out in terms of a specific ontology, such as process-metaphysics and panentheism? Are these conceptions of God consonant with the conceptions of God as developed in the major monotheistic religions?
  • Is a personal conception of God overly anthropomorphic and anthropocentric, turning God into a kind of “superhuman being”? What are semantic, epistemological, metaphysical and theological resources to avoid such a problematic understanding of God?
  • Non-personal conceptions of the divine might be satisfying from a theoretical perspective. Do they also satisfy central practical demands of religious belief such as salvation and redemption?

Useful links about analytic theology: