Re: Defense of Theism pt 1

From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Tue Jun 21 2005 - 17:01:58 EDT

Rich writes, in response to Glenn:

You picked the right framework here. Of the theistic arguments the Cosmological Argument (which is what you are doing) is easier to establish than the Teleological Argument that ID has tried. Given your goals, however, it places some restrictions on how you argue the cosmological argument. What you label as Nature is better labelled self-existence. A self-existent entity requires no cause just like inertia requires no force. If the Universe is eternal as Hawkings posits then it could be self-existent. You counter even so it is not self-existent. Unfortunately, for a concordist you cannot go there. While I see a concordist showing that the Bible allows for evolution I don't see how the same can be done for an eternal Universe. If the Universe is not eternal then the Cosmological Argument is a slam dunk. The Universe cannot be either self-created nor self-existent and only one real possibility is left, God. But, and this is a big but, if the Universe is eternal then even though a god is possible the god here is not the God of the Bible.

Thus, the Cosmological Argument simplifies greatly given concordism. Either the Universe is eternal (if there is a god he/she/it is unknowable) or God is.

Bob comments:

While, he argues for ex nihilo creation in his treatise On the Eternity of the World, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that even if the world were eternal, it would not rule out God. He argued that, as E. Gilson summarized it, "If God freely willed the world, it is absolutely impossible for us to determine that he necessarily willed it in time rather than in eternity. The sole basis for our opinion is that God made his will known to us by revelation upon which faith is founded. Since reason cannot conclude, and since God has informed us, we must believe that the world began, but we cannot demonstrate it, and, strictly speaking, we do not know it. (History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, p. 374).

John Haugh quotes Anglican theologian Keith Ward on the danger of linking creation to temporal beginnings:

"It is irrelevant to a doctrine of creation ex nihilo whether the universe began or not; that the universe began was usually accepted because of a particular reading of Genesis 1. The doctrine of creation ex nihilo simply maintains that there is nothing other than God from which the universe is made; and that the universe is other than God and wholly dependent upon God for its existence (Ward, "God as a Principle of Cosmological Explanation," in Quantum Cosmology and the Laws of Nature, ed. R. J. Russell, et al., p. 247ff, quoted in Haught, Science and Religion, p. 111; Ward's whole paper is a good read.).
Received on Tue Jun 21 17:06:08 2005

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