John Tulloch, a beloved professor at the University of St Andrews, was a moderate
liberal theologian who sought to reconcile the insights of higher criticism of the Bible
with the tenets of Christian orthodoxy. For example, Tulloch had published a critical
essay in response to Ernest Renan, who had read Scripture so reductionistically that
he denied the divinity of Christ and the existence of miracles. Tulloch’s Theism argues for God’s existence using inductive reasoning, following the same logic as
the scientific method. In the 19th century (and today as well), academia had largely
discounted anyone who claimed to have found conclusive proof for God’s existence.
Aware of his hostile audience, Tulloch responds to them specifically in various portions
of the essay. Ultimately, the essay served as a precursor to Tulloch’s major work of
apologetics, Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy.