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William Lane Craig
Full name William Lane Craig
Born August 23, 1949 (1949-08-23) (age 60)
Peoria, Illinois
Era 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic Philosophy
Main interests Philosophy of religion, Natural theology, Philosophy of time
Notable ideas Kalam cosmological argument

William Lane Craig (born August 23, 1949) is an American philosopher and theologian known for his contributions to the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and historical Jesus studies.[1] One of the most visible contemporary proponents of natural theology, Craig has contributed to a number of proposed theistic proofs. In 1979, Craig authored The Kalam Cosmological Argument, which is today the most published-on contemporary argument for theism in philosophy.[2] While Craig holds that theism can be demonstrated, he also embraces the Plantingian view that no argument is necessary for justified belief in God.[3] A leading philosopher of space and time[4] and metaphysics,[5] Craig advocates a tensed or A-Theory of time and a Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of the Theory of Relativity.[1] An enthusiastic proponent of Molinism, Craig’s theological research has focused on divine omniscience, as well as divine eternity and aseity.[1] As a New Testament scholar, Craig’s work has centered on the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection. He has propounded an historical apologetic which argues inferentially from the particulars of early Christianity to what Craig calls “the resurrection hypothesis.”[1] An Evangelical Christian, an ardent defender of the Christian faith, and a seasoned debater, Craig has been called “the finest Christian apologist of the last half century.”[6] He is currently a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.[7]


Early life and education

Craig was born in Peoria, Illinois, grew up in Keokuk, Iowa and was raised in a non-religious family which included a father who was a railroad executive and World War II veteran, his mother, a homemaker, an older sister and younger brother.

Craig became a Christian at the age of sixteen, and his vocation and academic studies have reflected his commitment to Christian beliefs within the evangelical tradition. In theological commitments he holds to a Middle Knowledge/Molinist view of the role of human will in conversion. He has had friendly connections with parachurch ministries such as Campus Crusade for Christ and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

In his undergraduate studies, Craig was influenced by the writings of Francis Schaeffer, Edward John Carnell, and Stuart Hackett, the latter of whom Craig studied under.[citation needed]

Craig's tertiary education commenced at Wheaton College, Illinois where he graduated in 1971 with a B.A. degree in communications.[7] He then proceeded to graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, where he graduated with two M.A. degrees in 1974 and 1975, one in the philosophy of religion and the other in church history.[7]

In 1977 Craig earned a doctorate in philosophy under John Hick at the University of Birmingham, England, and in 1984 a doctorate in theology under Wolfhart Pannenberg at the University of Munich.[7] During his doctoral studies, he was a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung.

Work and publications

From 1980–86 he was an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He also briefly held the position of associate professor of Religious Studies at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California in 1986. Between 1987-1994 Craig pursued further research at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Since 1994 he has been a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California.

As a philosopher, Craig has defended Christian theism, both at the popular level and in academic publications. He is often credited with reviving the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God, which argues for a first cause from the finitude of past events and the origin of the cosmos. His work on the compatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom has made him one of the most important contemporary defenders of Molinism, with its doctrine of middle knowledge. In the philosophy of time, he has vigorously defended the tensed or A-Theory of time and a Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of the Theory of Relativity, involving a privileged frame of reference and relations of absolute simultaneity.

He is also a fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture which is the hub of the intelligent design movement.[8] Craig is also a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design (ISCID).[9] Craig has written on the philosophical and cosmological aspects of the fine tuning of the universe by an intelligent creator.[10]

As a New Testament scholar, Craig has published widely on the historicity of the resurrection accounts of Jesus. Like N.T. Wright and Gary Habermas, Craig has argued that the bodily resurrection of Jesus best explains what can be gleaned from the historical Jesus’ self-understanding, his death and burial, the posthumous apparitions of Jesus, and the origin of the early Christian movement. His work in philosophy has influenced other Christian philosophers, notably Francis Beckwith and J. P. Moreland.[citation needed]

Craig has edited, authored, or co-authored over thirty books and over a hundred articles in professional journals.[1] In the July 2008 issue of Christianity Today, Craig wrote a cover article, titled "God is Not Dead Yet." In the article, Craig celebrates what he believes is the success of natural theology to deliver arguments for the existence of God. "[New atheism] is blissfully ignorant of the revolution that has taken place in Anglo-American philosophy," claims Craig. "It reflects the scientism of a bygone generation rather than the contemporary intellectual scene."

William Lane Craig authored Hard Questions, Real Answers in 2003, Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time in 2001, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics in 1994, and co-authored with J.P. Moreland Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview in 2003. His works depict Christian apologetics in epistemology, ontology, cosmology, theology, morality, logic, and historicity.

Craig has been critical of liberal theology, metaphysical naturalism, logical positivism, moral relativism, and the ideas put forth by the Jesus Seminar. He has defended the middle knowledge view of divine providence and is also notable for his work in the philosophy of time. He is a founding member and has served as president of the Philosophy of Time Society.

Public speaking

He is a frequent public speaker and debater on university campuses[11] and he occasionally appears in the national news media. He has engaged many prominent academic atheists and liberal theologians in public dialogue. Some of these debates have been subsequently published as books, which include Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Debate with John Dominic Crossan, Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? Debate with Gerd Lüdemann Does God exist? Debate with Antony Flew, and God? Debate with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong.

In March 2006, Craig and New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman engaged in a debate entitled "Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?" on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross, with Craig arguing in the affirmative and Ehrman in the negative.[2] Three years later, Craig debated Christopher Hitchens on April 4, 2009 at Biola University on the topic "Does God Exist?"[12]



Single author of books

  • The Kalam Cosmological Argument (London: MacMillan/New York: Barnes and Noble, 1979).
  • The Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz (London: MacMillan/New York: Barnes and Noble, 1980).
  • God, Time and Eternity (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2001).
  • Time and The Metaphysics of Relativity (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2001).
  • The Tensed Theory of Time: A Critical Examination (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2000).
  • The Tenseless Theory of Time - A Critical Examination (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2000).
  • Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1991).
  • Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus (Lewiston, New York/Queenston, Ontario: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989).
  • Reasonable Faith, 3rd edition: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008).
  • The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987).
  • The Son Rises: Historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981).
  • Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001).
  • Apologetics: An Introduction (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984). ISBN 0802404057
  • The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe(San Bernadino: Here's Life, 1979).
  • Hard Questions, Real Answers (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2003).
  • The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus During the Deist Controversy (Lewiston, New York/Queenston, Ontario: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985).
  • Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection (Ann Arbor: Servant, 1988).
  • No Easy Answers: Finding Hope in Doubt, Failure and Unanswered Prayer (Chicago: Moody Press, 1990).

Co-author or contributor

  • "The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus," in Gospel Perspectives: Studies of History and Tradition in the Four Gospels, Vol. 1, R.T.France and David Wenham, eds. (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1980), pp. 47–74.
  • Co-author Paul Copan, "Craftsman or Creator? An Examination of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation and a Defense of Creatio ex nihilo," in The New Mormon Challenge, Francis J. Beckwith, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), pp. 95–152.
  • Co-author Paul Copan,Creation out of Nothing: Its Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration (Leicester: Apollos/Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004).
  • Co-author Gregory Boyd, et al., Divine Foreknowledge: 4 Views, James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001).
  • "The Empty Tomb of Jesus," in Gospel Perspectives: Studies of History and Tradition in the Four Gospels, Vol. 2, R.T. France and David Wenham, eds. (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1981), pp. 173–200.
  • "Classical Apologetics" in Five Views on Apologetics, Steven B. Cowan, ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), pp. 26–55.
  • "Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?" in Jesus Under Fire, Michael J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), pp. 141–176.
  • with Paul Helm, et al.), God Under Fire, Douglas S. Huffman and Eric L. Johnson, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002).
  • and Mark S. McLeod, eds. The Logic of Rational Theism: Exploratory Essays (Lewiston, New York/Queenston, Ontario: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990).
  • "Middle Knowledge, A Calvinist-Arminian Rapprochement?" in The Grace of God, The Will of Man, Clark H. Pinnock, ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989), pp. 141–164.
  • and J. P. Moreland, eds. Naturalism: A Critical Analysis (Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Philosophy)(London/New York: Routledge, 2000).
  • and J. P. Moreland, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003).
  • ed., Philosophy of Religion: A Reader and Guide(Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001/New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002).
  • The Problem of Divine Foreknowledge and Future Contingents from Aristotle to Suarez: The Coherence of Theism: Omniscience (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1988).
  • "The Problem of Miracles: A Historical and Philosophical Perspective," in Gospel Perspectives: The Miracles of Jesus, Vol. 6, David Wenham and Craig L. Blomberg, eds. (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1986), pp. 9–48.
  • and Quentin Smith,Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).
  • and Francis J. Beckwith and J. P. Moreland, eds., To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview: Essays in Honor of Norman Geisler(Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004).
  • and Chad Meister, eds. God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable and Responsible (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009).


  • Theodore Drange, The Existence of God., University of Illinois 1997
  • Antony Flew, Does God Exist: The Craig-Flew Debate, Stan W. Wallace, ed. (Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate, 2003).
  • Walter Sinnott-Armstrong,God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  • Gerd Ludemann, Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann, Paul Copan and Ronald K. Tacelli, eds. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000).
  • William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Debate Between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan, Paul Copan, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Kuhn, Robert Lawrence (2009). "William Lane Craig". Closer to Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God website. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  2. ^ Smith, Quentin (2007). "Kalam Cosmological Arguments for Atheism". The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. ed. by Michael Martin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 183. "The Kalam cosmological argument . . . was revived and has been a topic of widespread discussion since 1979, when Craig published The Kalam Cosmological Argument. . . [A] count of the articles in the philosophy journals shows that more articles have been published about Craig’s defense of the Kalam argument than have been published about any other philosopher’s contemporary formulation of an argument for God’s existence. Surprisingly, this even holds for Plantinga’s argument for the rational acceptability of the ontological argument and Plantinga’s argument that theism is a rationally acceptable basic belief. The fact that theists and atheists alike ‘cannot leave Craig’s Kalam argument alone’ suggests that it may be an argument of unusual philosophical interest or else has an attractive core of plausibility that keeps philosophers turning back to it and examining it once again." 
  3. ^ Craig, William Lane (2008). Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (3rd ed.). Crossway Books. p. 43. "I think that Dodwell and Plantinga are correct . . . a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and to know with confidence that he is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such experience does not function in this case as a premise in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God . . ." 
  4. ^ Smith, Quentin. "Testimonials from Theists and Atheists". pp. 5. Retrieved 2009-04-04. "William Lane Craig is . . . one of the leading philosophers of time . . ." 
  5. ^ Leiter, Brian. "Who's "Hot" in Metaphysics?". Retrieved 2009-09-06. "[Craig is among the] most referenced figures . . . whose work in metaphysics is most-discussed these days." 
  6. ^ Moreland, James Porter. "Testimonials from Theists and Atheists". pp. 7. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  7. ^ a b c d Craig, William Lane (2009). "About William Lane Craig". Reasonable Faith. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  8. ^ "William Lane. Craig, Fellow - CSC". Center for Science and Culture (Discovery Institute). 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  9. ^ "ISCID Fellows". International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. 2009. Retrieved 2007-02-19. 
  10. ^ "Cosmos and Creator". Origins & Design. March 1, 1996. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  11. ^ Craig, William Lane (Apr 5, 2009). "Debates". Reasonable Faith. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  12. ^ "Craig, Hitchens ask 'Does God Exist?'". Whittier Daily News. Apr 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 

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