The paper aims at providing some introductory insights in the project of a theological anthropology of the digital age. The objective is to show that theological anthropology can help us gain an original and valid perspective on the technological transformation we have been experiencing during the last few decades. In order to do so, it is not enough to underline the analogy between some sources of the Judeo-Christian tradition and some aspects of the so-called digital culture. Instead, the objective is to show that theology can offer some theoretical instruments able to offer a deeper insight in our condition. The paper starts from the notion of finitude, interpreted as a blessing and not as a “limit” of our nature. Through the distinction between Promethean and Epimethan approaches to technology, the text focuses on three core aspects of human finitude: corporeality, inner life and otherness.
In his recent book Petitionary Prayer, Scott Davison presents an epistemological challenge to petitionary prayer. He asks: If S prays for God to bring about event E, and E in fact occurs, how could one be justified in believing that E was an answer to S’s prayer? Apart from direct revelation in which God explicitly provides reasons for believing that E was an answer to prayer, Davison argues, S could not know that S’s prayer had been answered by God. Thus, the person praying should remain agnostic about answered prayers. I argue that in failing to attend to two theological resources available in the Christian tradition—the concept of spiritual senses and teachings about the relational nature of prayer—Davison’s conclusion is premature. Drawing upon recent literature on the epistemology of perception and the theology of prayer, I argue that one can be confident that God has answered one’s prayers.
According to James K.A. Smith, contemporary epistemology is overly focused on the noetic. Smith offers a counter-epistemology drawn from pentecostal spirituality that is narrative, affective, and embodied. Richard Davis and Paul Franks criticize this model and argue that it succumbs to story-relativism and arbitrariness. This article defends Smith against their critiques through three steps. First, it exposits Smith’s narrative, affective epistemology in order to identify areas that are relevant to their critiques. Second, it outlines and analyzes their critiques, reveals areas in which they fundamentally misunderstand Smith, and presents their commitment to epistemological objectivism. Finally, utilizing Alvin Plantinga’s externalist warrant model, it argues that Plantinga’s Reformed epistemology can assist Smith’s epistemology in consistent ways. If the following argument is successful, then Smith’s postmodern pentecostal epistemology can be reimagined as an externalist epistemology that overcomes the charges of relativism and arbitrariness.