Cosmological contingency and theistic explanation

Faith and Philosophy 22 (5):581-600 (2005)

Abstract

In this paper, I respond to Adolf Grünbaum’s charge that the cosmological problem to which the theological doctrine of divine creation would, if true, be a solution is really only a pseudoproblem. My discussion focuses on three questions: Why does the possible world that is in fact actual obtain, rather than any of the other possible worlds? Why does a possible world with the natural laws of the actual world obtain, rather than some possible world with a different nomological structure? And why does a possible world in which some contingent things exist obtain, rather than the possible world in which nothing contingent exists? I argue that each of these questions can be understood in such a way that it avoids Grünbaum’s pseudoproblem charge. I also argue that the second and third questions give rise, if pressed, to problems that science cannot solve. Their ultimate answers are either appeals to inexplicable brute facts, which are not explanatory, or appeals to extrascientific explanations, which could be theological

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