The previous argument (see previous post) "Argument from Cosmological Necessity," has a couple of problems. The major problem that I see is that it is grounded in big bang cosmology. I've always been able to argue my way through that because it is the state of the art and the current consensus. Even when I encountered a student of astronomy and/or physics, I think a graduate student who really knew his stuff I still come of that with an answer. He didn't' really beat the argument he sure made it appear that he did because he had so much against the BB cosmology and he was able to make it look like it was really beaten up. The argument doesn't depend upon any particular cosmology but it appears to be becasue of the way it's structured, it's grounded in Big bang cosmology. My answer was that just because he has anomalies that haven't been solved doesn't mean that the consensus had turned against the big bang. He could not really prove that it has. It does create problems because it leaves the impression that the argument beaten, though logically it's not. It also means reminded me that at some point there will be too many anomalies and the paradigm will shit and BB cosmology will not be the paradigm anymore.
This has gotten me thinking about how we really need arguments that are not grounded in cosmology or in any particular scientific paradigm. One alternative is another argument I have on my list, which I think I like better.
Argument from Reity
Definitions: Reity = the ultimate necessary state of affairs, ultimate reality.
Arbitrary Necessity = (1) The inclusion of a set of contingent circumstances or conditions in place of a true state of Reity; (2) the attribution of necessity to a purely arbitrary state of affairs.
God = eternal necessary being.
Contingency = that which could cease to exist, or by virtue of its dependence upon prior conditions could have failed to exist.
(1) Nothingness as a putative state of affairs is marked by it's own contradiction.
............(a) true absolute nothing cannot be a state of reity since it can't be 'something.'
.............(b) Nothingness would be a timeless void, since time is "something." There is no change in a timeless void, no sequences, thus no cause and effect, so no becoming. There should be no change from a timeless state.
(2) Contingency as putative state of affairs is marked by its own contradiction; since contingency means dependence for existence upon prior conditions such a contingency could hardly be a "putative state of affairs."
(3) Therefore, eternal necessary being must exit; since this is my definition of God my view of God must be the case, QED
(1) Atheists often try to posit energy as eternal.
But energy is contingent upon Gravitational field. Gravitation field might be posited as necessary and eternal, except for the fact that it's really just warped space which is the resutl of space/time, that is the combination of all contingent factors. For example, there is no space that is independent of space/time, there is no time that is independent of it, and energy is created by gravitational field in the expansion of warped space, in other words, in the "big bang."
so it appears that even warped space is just a combination of contingent factors.
Therefor, it seems like the most logical solution would be to poist some non naturalistic extra temporal existent as the answer to origins. they are only doing it to avoid the argument.
(2) Atheists will claim that I'm confusing two types of contingency.
The atheist confusion on this point stems from the fact that there are two types of necessity: .............(a) that which can fail or cease to exist;
.............(b) that which depends for its existence upon some higher set of conditions.
What they usually fail to see is that Hartshorne showed that these two types of necessity stem from the same reality; that existents can fail or cease to exist because the conditions upon which they are predicated could have been different or can be altered. Thus the two are related. Failing to exist is a hypothetical. Its not something an existing thing does in its own time, it is only something that could of have been but was not. In other words, if my parents had not met I would have failed to exist, I would nto be me. I do exist now so I am not going to fail to exist in the future, although I will cease to exist in the future. But the fact that I could have failed comes entirely form the fact that I am dependent upon prior contions that created me. Since eternal things have no prior condition they cant' fail. they could not have failed.
Recently a new twist on this argument where the atheist tried to argue that these two things, ceasing and failing, are not the same so that a given existent is not doing both at the same time. Thus there could be a contingent thing that can't cease to exist, or an eternal contingency that could case but can't fail to exist. This is just a mere convolustion of what's being said in the argumetn. Ceasing and failing or the same, and a contingency could fail but not case, but it cant' be eternal, it has to have a begining. Most contingencies could have failed to exist and will cease to exist. There could be a contingency that is seimeoulatniously eternal with an eteranl necessity, such the music played by an eternal flute palyer. If the flkuoutist stops playing the music will cease but if he plays eternally the music is contingenly eternal.
None of the does anything to eliminate the fact that the eternal existant has to be indpendent of anyting else or it is not etenral. Since we can't have an eteranl contignency that is not related to an eteranl necessity, there must be an eternal necessity and that is God.
why is an eteranl necessity "God?" Well the reason is, and this only works if we define "God" in a certain way, becasue the idea of God is not a big man in the sky, but the ground of being (you didn't see that comnig did you)? Consciousness, which I believe God possesses (and in fact that is the source of conscousness) is not a primary quality. There could be an impresonal God. If that is the case then the major qualities of God are these:
(3) ground of all being.
So in fact there must be some prior defition of God that contains these, since 2 and 3 flow out of one. If a thing is eteranl it is also necessity (since it can't be contingent--because contingency can't be eteranl in the independent since). It is also logical to think that if there is one necessity and all else is contingent then that necessity preidcates the contingencies. Thus ground of being flows out of eternality as well. So it appears that eternatlity is the basic quality of God. But there must be more to God than this?
At this point what we have is a fine reason to believein God, but unfortuantely the God we can believe in may be baredly distinguishable from the universe itself. That's the problem with this argument. The cosmolgocial necessity arguemnt also shares in this dilemma. In fact so does the ground fo being arugment. I was going to suggest jut scarping this line of reasoning completey and going with ground of being. But the ground of also has to be distinguished from the universe itself.
That's where Tillich's notion of "depth" comes in Tillich says if you see that being has depth then you can't be an atheist.
The name of infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of our being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself. For if you know that God means depth, you know much about Him. You cannot then call yourself an atheist or unbeliever. For you cannot think or say: Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only. If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not."(from The Shaking of The Foundations)
There is an essential difference between the ground of being and a naturalistic universe. Tillich ascribes this difference to "depth." He's not too clear on what that means. Being is not just the surface level of appearances. Tillich reads his view into the works of every major theologian. We can tell from what he says about this what he means by this statement. Tillich is not the only modern theologian to think of God in this way.John McQuarry says that God is Being itself, while Tillich says God is "The ground of being." The conservative Catholic Has Urs Van Balthasar also understands the connection beteween God and being (more on this in the section on Being and the personal). These are actually just about the same concept, I wont go into the distinction here. The important thing to remember is that God is not along side other beings in creation, is not a being at all, but is on the order of being itself. God is the overarching principle that defines and predicates the universe and in fact of being as a whole. If you consider what it was like before God created anything. There would be nothing else but God. God, therefore, would be the same as being because all being would be defined as God. The only being that ever came to be flowed out of the will and the energies of God, therefore, God is beyond the chain of cause and effect, God is on a par with being itself.
In his discourse on Luther Tillich loads in all his spcial terms:
"Luther's concept of God is one of the most powerful in the whole history of human and Christian thought. This is not a God who is a being beside others, it is a God who we can have only through contrast" [Tillich speaking of Cuza, coincidence of oppossites--dialectical, appauphatic, Eastern orhtodox mystical influences--what is hidden before God is visible befoer the world and what is hidden before the world is visisble before God...Luther denies everything which can make God finite or a being before other beings [very very Tillichian/MacQurreyesque way of speaking] He makes the great statement that God is nearer to all creatures than they are to themselves [Augustine!]'God is at the same time every grain of sand totally and nevertheless in all above all and out of all creatures.' In these formula the old conflict between the Patheist and theistic tendencies in the doctrine of God is resolved." (Tilich, History of Christian Thought. 24)
Being is more than the surface level of the fact that we exist, its an ontological reality which is a mystical reality beyond our understanding. At this point one might think that this whole argument could just be side stepped and we can just talk about the ground of being rather than all this necessity and contingency stuff. I've been coming to this conclusion, because I can see at this point that belief stems from a deep realization about the meaning of our being. Belief is more than just adding a fact to the universe, it's a discovery about what it means to be. This argument "from reity" may have some value because it puts the force of deductive reasoning behind what atheists just write off as a subjective whim. Of cousre they just write off deductive reasoning by muddling the issues.