Early life, education and career
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.
Craig's tertiary education commenced at Wheaton College, Illinois where he graduated in 1971 with a B.A. degree in communications. 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.
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. During his doctoral studies, he was a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung.
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. In the course of the public and political controversy over intelligent design Craig has written on the philosophical and cosmological aspects of the fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life. His work in philosophy has influenced other Christian philosophers, notably Francis Beckwith and J. P. Moreland. He has expressed his skepticism of macroevolution.
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.
Craig has edited, authored, or co-authored over thirty books and over a hundred articles in professional journals. He is a frequent public speaker and debater on university campuses 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; these include:
* Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Debate with John Dominic Crossan (ISBN 0-8010-2175-8)
* Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? Debate with Gerd Lüdemann (ISBN 0-8308-1569-4)
* Does God exist? Debate with Antony Flew (ISBN 0-7546-3190-7)
* God? Debate with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ISBN 0-19-516599-3)
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 arguing in opposition to the affirmative. In one rebuttal, Craig used Bayes' Theorem to counter Ehrman's argument against miracles. A transcript of the debate is posted at www.reasonablefaith.org.
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."
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.