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Summary Theists usually hold that God exists necessarily. You could cease to exist, and you could have never come into existence. It even could have happend that no humans ever existed. By contrast, it is supposed to be impossible that there ever would have been or will be a time at which there exists no God. However, it is debated in which sense God exists necessarily. With the concept of necessity which was favoured by the linguistic turn and logical positivism, the claim that God exists necessarily becomes implausible.
Key works Findlay 1948 argues, based on the positivist notion of necessity, that there is no God. Hick 1961 and 1960 argues that God's necessity should be understood as ‘factual necessity’. Leftow 2010 defends that God's existence is logically necessary, Swinburne 2010 objects. von Wachter 2009 (ch. 13) and 2002 argues that logical necessity is not properly called ‘necessity’ and that God exists necessarily in the proper sense.
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  1. W. E. Abraham (1962). Is the Concept of Necessary Existence Self-Contradictory? Inquiry 5 (1-4):143 – 157.
    In this article I have tried to rebut certain types of arguments which purport to show not merely that God does not exist but that the notion of necessary existence is itself either self-contradictory or senseless. In showing that it is not self-contradictory I have allowed myself the luxury of a negative and a positive approach. Negatively, I have had to show that when the accusation of self-contradiction is made, it is often accompanied, not by an argument but by a (...)
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  2. Robert Merrihew Adams (1988). Presumption and the Necessary Existence of God. Noûs 22:19-32.
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  3. Robert Merrihew Adams (1983). Divine Necessity. Journal of Philosophy 80 (11):741-752.
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  4. Robert Merrihew Adams (1971). Has It Been Proved That All Real Existence Is Contingent? American Philosophical Quarterly 8 (3):284 - 291.
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  5. William Lane Craig (1997). Talbot School of Theology Divine Timelessness and Necessary Existence. International Philosophical Quarterly 37 (2):217-224.
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  6. Stamatios Gerogiorgakis (2012). Does the Kind of Necessity Which is Represented by S5 Capture a Theologically Defensible Notion of a Necessary Being? In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Ontological Proofs today. Ontos.
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  7. John Hick (1960). God as Necessary Being. Journal of Philosophy 57 (22/23):725-734.
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  8. Klaas J. Kraay (2011). Theism and Modal Collapse. American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):361.
    God is traditionally taken to be a necessarily existing being who is unsurpassably powerful, knowledgeable, and good. The familiar problem of actual evil claims that the presence of gratuitous suffering in the actual world constitutes evidence against the existence of such a being. In contrast, the problem of possible evil claims that the possibility of bad worlds constitutes evidence against theism. How? It seems plausible to suppose that there are very bad possible worlds. But if God exists in every world, (...)
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  9. Brian Leftow (2012). God and Necessity. Oxford University Press.
    Modal basics -- Some solutions -- Theist solutions -- The ontology of possibility -- Modal truthmakers -- Modality and the divine nature -- Deity as essential -- Against deity theories -- The role of deity -- The biggest bang -- Divine concepts -- Concepts, syntax, and actualism -- Modality: basic notions -- The genesis of secular modality -- Modal reality -- Essences -- Non-secular modalities -- Theism and modal semantics -- Freedom, preference, and cost -- Explaining modal status -- Explaining (...)
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  10. William E. Mann (1997). Necessity. In Philip L. Quinn & Charles Taliaferro (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Religion. Blackwell. 264-270.
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  11. James F. Ross, Duns Scotus on Natural Theology.
    Scotus’ natural theology has distinctive claims: (i) that we can reason demonstratively to the necessary existence and nature of God from what is actually so; but not from imagined situations, or from conceivability-to-us; rather, only from the possibility logically required for what we know actually to be so; (ii) that there is a univocal transcendental notion of being; (iii) that there are disjunctive transcendental notions that apply exclusively to everything, like ‘contingent/necessary,’ and such that the inferior cannot have a case (...)
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  12. James F. Ross (1961). God and "Logical Necessity". Philosophical Quarterly 11 (42):22-27.
  13. Paul Sheehy (2006). Theism and Modal Realism. Religious Studies 42 (3):315-328.
    This paper examines the relationship between the classical theistic conception of God and modal realism. I suggest that realism about possible worlds has unwelcome consequences for that conception. First, that modal realism entails the necessity of divine existence eludes explanation in a way congenial to a commitment to both modal realism and classical theism. Second, divine knowledge is dependent on worlds independent of the creative role and action of God, thereby suggesting a limitation on the nature of divine knowledge and (...)
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  14. Richard Swinburne (2012). What Kind of Necessary Being Could God Be? In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Ontological Proofs Today. Ontos Verlag. 345.
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  15. Daniel von Wachter (2002). The Necessity of God's Existence. In A. Beckermann & C. Nimtz (eds.), Argument & Analyse. Mentis. 516-525, http://epub.ub.uni-muen.
    It is spelled out in which sense God exists necessarily. Some contemporary accounts are criticised.
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  16. Daniel von Wachter (2001). Die Notwendigkeit der Existenz Gottes. Metaphysica 2:55-81.
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