Is it possible to prove or disprove God's existence? Arguments for the existence of God have taken many different forms over the centuries: in The Non-Existence of God, Nicholas Everitt considers all of the arguments and examines the role that reason and knowledge play in the debate over God's existence. He draws on recent scientific disputes over neo-Darwinism, the implication of 'big bang' cosmology, and the temporal and spatial size of the universe; and discusses some of the most recent work (...) on the subject, leading to a controversial conclusion. (shrink)
Focusing on God's essential attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, being eternal and omnipresent, being a creator and sustainer, and being a person, I examine how far recent discussion has been able to provide for each of these divine attributes a consistent interpretation. I also consider briefly whether the attributes are compatible with each other.
TAKING ONE STANDARD DEFINITION OF ’MIRACLES’ AS ’VIOLATIONS OF LAWS OF NATURE, BY A VOLITION OF GOD’, I ARGUE THAT NO REPORT ASSERTING THE OCCURRENCE OF A MIRACLE CAN BE TRUE. WHATEVER IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH A TRUTH MUST ITSELF BE FALSE, AND NO STATEMENT OF A GENUINE LAW OF NATURE CAN BE OTHER THAN TRUE. OBJECTIONS TO THE ARGUMENT, INCLUDING THOSE BY MACKIE AND SWINBURNE, ARE REBUTTED.
In his recent book The Secret Connection (Clarendon 1989), Galen Strawsonadvances what he calls 'a simple and devastating objection' to the regularitytheory of causation. I will argue that his objection, far from beingdevastating, has no force at all; and further, that if it did have force, itwould tell equally against Strawson's own preferred alternative to theregularity theory.
In a number of places, Richard Swinburne has defended the logical possibility of perception without a body; and has inferred from this logical possibility that substance dualism is true. I challenge his defence of disembodied perception by arguing that a disembodied perceiver would not be able to distinguish between perceptions and hallucinations. I then claim that even if disembodied perception were possible, this could not be used to support substance dualism: such an inference would be either invalid or question-begging.
In this paper, I argue that the kind of idealism defended by Berkeley is a natural and almost unavoidable expression of his theism. Two main arguments are deployed, both starting from a theistic premise and having an idealist conclusion. The first likens the dependence of the physical world on the will of God to the dependence of mental states on a mind. The second likens divine omniscience to the kind of knowledge which it has often been supposed we have of (...) the contents of our own minds. After rebutting objections to these arguments, I conclude that both theists and non-idealists should be surprised and discomforted by my contentions. (shrink)
A number of authors, including contributors to this journal, have argued that the only consistent interpretation of God's eternal existence attributes to God an atemporal existence. Their argument seeks to show that it would be self-contradictory to adopt the opposing interpretation that God exists in time, and has indeed existed for an infinite past time. This paper argues that their objections to infinite past existence all turn on a misunderstanding of what that concept involves. The theist is therefore not compelled (...) to adopt the atemporal interpretation, but can instead adopt the more intuitively intelligible thesis that God is in time. (shrink)
Abstract I argue that the traditional problem of evil mislocates the problem which confronts the theist. The real problem arises not from the evil in the world, but from the non-perfection of the world. Given that a perfect God could create only a perfect world, and given that the world is not in fact perfect, I construct an argument for atheism. I show that the argument is not open to the objections which theists standardly bring against the traditional objection from (...) evil. (shrink)
Mary Midgley's pamphlet Intelligent Design Theory and Other Ideological Problems has been a widely read contribution to discussions of the place of creationism in schools. In this critique of her account, I outline Midgley's view of the relations between science and religion, her claims about what material can legitimately appear in science lessons, and her account of the nature of religion. I argue that she is mistaken in all three areas, and show that her most plausible reply to these criticisms (...) also fails. Finally, I offer some thoughts on the proper relations between science and religion in the classroom. (shrink)
The paper argues that given the defining features of the God of “perfect being” theology, God would not create any contingently existing things. To do so would introduce a kind of gratuitous metaphysical imperfection in an otherwise metaphysically perfect universe. Given that in fact there are contingent things, it follows that the God of perfect being theism does not exist.