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In Defense of Natural Theology 6: Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments


Groothuis is confronting the response to cosmological arguments that they do not lead to anything like the theistic God.

First flaw I see is in his attempt to show that the first cause must be a personal agent. Talking about the universe coming into existence with some sort of prior source, he says “How could this be explained if not by the action of an agent, a being who consciously and willfully brings about actions?” (108)

He argues for this later, but it seems like so often the assumption goes unquestioned that such a willful act can succeed in explaining the beginning.

His argument basically states that there are personal causes, and impersonal ones. Impersonal ones have always been shown to have “antecedent and contingent causal conditions” (109), whereas we have an “understanding of personal agents as unique initiators in some sense.”

Basically, he assumes free will in a contra-causal sense, so far with no attempt to point out this controversial assumption, or argue against its alternative.

A lot more argumentation is put forward to show how a cosmological argument can entail omnipotence, omniscience, eternality, other stuff. At the end, the author makes a few weird comments about how if God must have these abilities, it is certainly possible that he can and did reveal himself in the Bible. Isn’t this an example of privileging the hypothesis?

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