1-26 intro. to arguments for God cosmological argument
arguments for God
arguments from reason
arguments from faith
argument from religious experience
attributes of God
omnipotent – all-powerful
what does this mean? can He only do things that are logically possible? why would our logic constrain Him?
omniscient – all-knowing
does this limit the possibility of free will? does this limit His power by determining the actions He can take?
omnibenevolent – all-good
why is there Evil (or even just evil)?
God is not like us
if He was, there would be no reason to worship
if He was, there would be no reason to even designate Him as “God”
a posteriori argument
comes in two forms
argument from causation
argument from contingency
says the existence of the world relies on the existence of something outside the system
aquinas’ “second way”
looks something like:
1) there are things that exist that are caused
2) nothing can be self-caused
3) there cannot be an infinite regress of causes
hence, there exists some uncaused First Cause
then the conclusion is used in another argument:
1) there exists some First Cause
2) By the word ‘God’ we mean “First Cause”
hence, God exists
either there is a contradiction between the second premise (nothing is self-caused) and the conclusion (there is an uncaused First Cause), or “self-caused” does not mean “uncaused,” in which case it seems something else could be the thing(s) that is uncaused, that everything, indeed, does not need a cause
why can’t there be an infinite regress?
in what way can we call this First Cause “God”?
how do we know there is only a single F.C.? why can’t there be multiple uncaused causes?
what in this argument would make us think that the F.C. is still present, that it still exists? what part of this argument offers us such assurance?
what kind of sense does it make to apply a concept with temporal attributes (cause) to something that exists outside of time (what was there before the universe is like asking “what is north of the north pole?” [stephen hawking])
does this solve the problem? have we answered our question? is replacing an unknown (what is the first cause?) with an unknowable (God is the First Cause) any real solution?
aquinas’ “third way”
looks something like:
1) everything that exists is either necessary or contingent
2) not every being can be contingent
hence, there is some necessary Being
further, this is God
treats “existence” like a characteristic or attribute; to say that there is a necessary being is to say it would be a self-contradiction to deny its existence. this would mean that existence is contained in the concept of that being, and that would make it an attribute. but if existence is an attribute we which can belong to concepts, then we need only grant that attribute to make the existence of anything necessary, not merely God (or any “necessary being”)
misuses the notion of explanation; it suggests that to explain anything, to make it intelligible, we must provide the totality of all reasons. but this assumes there is some “why” beyond some explanation like “the world just is.”
presumes that explaining the parts does not explain the whole, but it could be that once an explanation of all contingent beings is given, that counts as the whole of the explanation