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The Pat Flynn Show

May 20, 2018

In his should-be famous book, Mortimer J Adler talks about how to think about God from a pagan perspective. That is, how to deduce that God exists, and how to figure out what he is like, purely from thinking like a philosopher. In other words, without reliance on revelation.

What Adler attempts to point out is that you can use reason alone to come to know about God. You might not be able to use reason alone to know everything about God, but you can at least get to the conclusion that God's existence is more probable than not.

The argument that Adler presents in his book is a contemporary version of the Argument from Contingency, famously developed by Aquinas and brought into its more common form by Liebniz. (This was Aquinas's "3rd Way", or argument from necessity to possibility, and then became Leibniz's famous cosmological argument, which I've previously outlined here.)

Here's the way Adler presents his "Truly Cosmological Argument", and I quote:

  1. The existence of an effect requiring the concurrent existence and action of an efficient cause implies the existence and action OF that cause. The causal principle, thus stated, is self-evidently true, as has been said before.
  2. The cosmos as a whole exists. Here we have the existential assertion that is indispensable as a premise in any existential inference. While it does not have the same certitude possessed by my assertion of my own existence, it can certainly be affirmed beyond a reasonable doubt.
  3. The existence of the cosmos as a whole is radically contingent, which is to say, while not needing an efficient cause of its coming to be (if we assume it is everlasting) it nevertheless does need an efficient cause of its CONTINUING existence, to preserve it in being and prevent it from being replaced by nothingness.
  4. IF the cosmos needs an efficient cause of its continuing existence to prevent its annihilation, THEN that cause must be a supernatural being, supernatural in its action, and one the existence of which is uncaused; in other words, the supreme being, or God.

In this episode of Sunday School, we'll get into the nuances of this Truly Cosmological Argument to help you better understand why there is, in fact, very good reason for believing God exists. 

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