In Dr. Craig's formulation of the LCA, he states that one possible refutation which might be given is the claim that God requires an explanation of His existence. He counters by describing God as a necessary being, and that this is, indeed, the explanation of God's existence.

 

If one claims that God is necessary, and that it would therefore be impossible for God not to exist, how is that not simply the end of it? Is this, in short, a kind of ontological argument? Once one agrees that God is a necessary being, what is the point in continuing with the rest of the LCA?

 


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Randy Everist

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achernar wrote:  

In Dr. Craig's formulation of the LCA, he states that one possible refutation which might be given is the claim that God requires an explanation of His existence. He counters by describing God as a necessary being, and that this is, indeed, the explanation of God's existence.

If one claims that God is necessary, and that it would therefore be impossible for God not to exist, how is that not simply the end of it? Is this, in short, a kind of ontological argument? Once one agrees that God is a necessary being, what is the point in continuing with the rest of the LCA?

Good question! In this particular objection, the objector is not actually objecting to a premise (logically speaking, anyway). He is actually attempting to disprove the existence of a God as traditionally understood. Note even if the objection is granted its full force, the PSR is not denied directly. What this objection seeks to do is to say if this premise is true, then God requires an explanation from an external cause.

But this objection is not meant to be an undercutter (that is, it's not meant merely to undermine some of our warrant for a premise), but is rather meant as a defeater. In this case, then, the onus is on the objector to show why God's existence cannot be explained by the necessity of His own nature. In order for the LCA to be successful, we do not have to show God's metaphysical necessity (note: this is slightly different than logical necessity [which is what the ontological argument deals with]. Metaphysical necessity is like the statement "the prime minister is a prime number" being false. Just by the terms of a concrete object and abstract object, we can bring out a metaphysical principle [whereas formulating a strict logical argument differs in form]) to be true. We merely have to postulate something which is logically coherent which contradicts the defeater.

Now suppose the objector relents and says, "well, actually I only mean it as an undercutter, so I don't have to prove anything." This is where we may point out the fact that as the Creator of the universe--indeed, all of space and time in reality--God is by definition metaphysically necessary (since nothing else existed whatsoever). At that point, if the objector wants to continue, he must show God is not metaphysically necessary, and do it without begging the question against the conclusion. Hope that helped!

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Thanks, again, RandyE! That is very helpful. I must think on your response a bit to gain a clearer understanding, but I think I get the main points. Much obliged.

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Joe Hinman

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achernar wrote:  

In Dr. Craig's formulation of the LCA, he states that one possible refutation which might be given is the claim that God requires an explanation of His existence. He counters by describing God as a necessary being, and that this is, indeed, the explanation of God's existence.

 

If one claims that God is necessary, and that it would therefore be impossible for God not to exist, how is that not simply the end of it? Is this, in short, a kind of ontological argument? Once one agrees that God is a necessary being, what is the point in continuing with the rest of the LCA?

 

 


With Hartshorne's version of the modal argument you have the possibility of either necessity or impossibility. At least that the case in terms of premises. Now of cousre Hatrshorne felt there was no basis for talking the impossibility option and saying God is impossible. Yet I think that's where it  does leave it before one makes arguments. So just sayin God is necessary doesn't make it a done deal. One must go on to show why God is not impossible.

Then of course we have to understand that if God is not impossible God must be necessary. My point is there's still a need to argue beyond the point of just saying "God is necessary."
Metacrock

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John Burford

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I think you may have misinterpreted it. God doesn't have an explanation because it is necessary, in the same way that an unmarried bachelor and 3=3 are both necessary truths (they could not be otherwise in any possible worlds), and thus need no external cause.

Atheist philosophers acknowledge that if God were to exist, he wouldn't need an external cause. What they dispute is whether he exists at all, which is a different argument.

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troyjs

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It is not postulated that God is a necessary being, only that:

1) If God exists, He would be a necessary being, and
2) A necessary being must exist.

The argument runs as follows:
If God exists, a necessary being exists.
A necessary being exists, therefore God exists.
(The logical fallacy of Asserting the Consequent)

It is akin to the argument:
If it rained, the street is wet.
The street is wet, therefore it rained.

or

If Einstein is correct, light bends as it passes the Sun.
Light bends as it passes the Sun, therefore Einstein is correct.

If A, then B
B, therefore A.

Although it is a logical fallacy, it is one made in all scientific arguments  -- "If my hypothesis is correct, then I will observe this phenomenon. I observed ths phenomenon, therefore my hypothesis is correct." It was understood that hypotheses could not be verified by observations, but it was thought that they could be falsified. As it turns out, one can't really falsify a hypothesis either because one doesn't know the unknown variables which have entered the system, and altered the proceeding outcome of an experiment. A theory can always be saved by discarding something else in science, or adding something to the theory, eg, epi-cycles.  It is a matter of simplicity that theories are replaced by sufficient alternatives, with less arbitrary assumptions. If the LCA is taken to be a strictly deductive argument, it fails without demonstrating the impossibility of another necessary entity. If it is taken to be a scientific-like argument, ie. our observation that a necessary being must exist, is more likely to be observed, given that God exists rather than not, -- it possesses the tentative character of a scientific theory, without the capacity of being verified or falsified, and without the capacity for our belief in it to be increased as the hypothesis of God's existence can not be subjected to repeated experimentation. If there is reason to believe that a necessary being must exist, then this is evidence that God, being a necessary beinf if He exists -- is atleast possible. Here we can move to the Ontological Argument.

kind regards
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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Chuck G

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achernar wrote:  

In Dr. Craig's formulation of the LCA, he states that one possible refutation which might be given is the claim that God requires an explanation of His existence. He counters by describing God as a necessary being, and that this is, indeed, the explanation of God's existence.

 

If one claims that God is necessary, and that it would therefore be impossible for God not to exist, how is that not simply the end of it? Is this, in short, a kind of ontological argument? Once one agrees that God is a necessary being, what is the point in continuing with the rest of the LCA?

 

The cosmological argument works off the assumption--which, prima facie, seems reasonable--that contingent beings exist, and, from that, creates an inferential trail to a necessary being.  Thus, with this argument, one could conceivably conclude that a necessary being exists even if s/he previously had no notion whatsoever of such a being.

The ontological argument works off the assumption that God is a necessary being, if he exists.  This immediately places the possibility of such a being on the table, a premise which, probably, the skeptic called into question in the first place.  

Interestingly, Kant famously maintained that the cosmological argument doesn't work unless the ontological argument is sound.  Aquinas, however, maintained that the ontological argument for us is of no use, because as finite beings we cannot possibly conceive of a being than which nothing greater can be conceived.