The argument from contingency is my favorite argument for God’s existence. Hands down. And to kick this series off, which is actually our first 4-parter, I’ve invited an expert, Dr. Josh Rasmussen, to help us explore the ins and outs of this argument. Over the past year that we’ve been corresponding, he’s also grown to be a great friend and mentor. I can’t say enough about him.
If I were still charismatic, I would say that I know in my heart of hearts (ie: my “knower”) that this series will stand as some of the most important content we’ll ever produce. It’s that good! If you’ve ever doubted God’s existence, this series is for you.
Dr. Josh Rasmussen
Joshua Rasmussen, Ph.D., is an associate professor of philosophy at Azusa Pacific University. His area of expertise is analytic metaphysics, with a focus on the foundations of existence and the philosophy of mind. He is author of Defending the Correspondence Theory of Truth, Necessary Existence (with Pruss), The Bridge of Reason, and How Reason Leads to God (forthcoming). Rasmussen values collaboration across disciplines and perspectives.
Check out his website here. He also has a really cool website that asks a series of questions that determine whether you’re already, perhaps unknowingly, committed to the existence of a necessary being. Take the survey and find out for yourself!
In part 1 of our 4-part series, we begin discussing Stage 1 of the Argument from Contingency. In the literature, the argument is split, quite helpfully, into two stages. Stage 1 is all about establishing that a necessary being exists. Stage 2 then analyzes the nature of this necessary being. Is the necessary being God? Some lesser being? Is it the universe?
Episode 14 begins our conversation about Stage 1. In this episode we discuss some of the pathways Dr. Rasmussen has explored in establishing that a necessary being exists. There’s a cliffhanger at the end, but make sure to tune in next week! Episode 15 features the second half of our discussion of Stage 1. Episodes 16 and 17 are dedicated to Stage 2.
Links mentioned during the show:
- Dr. Rasmussen’s Testimony
- Dr. Rasmussen’s “Worldview Design” YouTube channel
- Cameron’s debate with Cosmic Skeptic on Unbelievable
To listen to this episode, just hit the play button below. It’s that simple! You can always subscribe and listen on iTunes. All of our episodes are pushed there for free.
[…] Exploring the Contingency Argument with Dr. Josh Rasmussen by capturingchristianity.com […]
“So, as long as it’s non-existence is an actual possibility, then it doesn’t have necessary existence and counts as contingent.” ~12:00
It is an actual possibility that god doesn’t exist. Therefore god meets the definition of contingent.
Most theists will not accept that God’s non-existence is metaphysically possible.
Ok, they can make the claim, but that doesn’t mean that god doesn’t meet the definition of contingent. There is no logical problem with him not existing. The only way to get out of the problem is to special plead god as being necessary by definition. But you can’t demonstrate that the definition is accurate because you can’t produce any logical problem with him not existing.
Point is they wouldn’t accept that God is contingent. Very few philosophers (on either side) do.
“There is no logical problem with him not existing.”
Be careful here. God’s nonexistence does not entail that the concept of God is contingent. That’s to confuse modality de dicto with de re. For example, abstract objects like sets and propositions are necessary beings, but many philosophers reject their existence.
Moreover, if this podcast series is correct, then there is a logical problem with God not existing since, by Stage 1, a necessary being exists, and, by Stage 2, that necessary being is God.
“Point is they wouldn’t accept that God is contingent. Very few philosophers (on either side) do.” Like I said, it is ok that they are jut wrong, by the definition given for contingent. “God’s nonexistence does not entail that the concept of God is contingent.” “So, as long as it’s non-existence is an actual possibility, then it doesn’t have necessary existence and counts as contingent.” ~12:00 The definition of contingent being used disagrees with you. “Moreover, if this podcast series is correct, then there is a logical problem with God not existing since, by Stage 1, a necessary being exists,… Read more »
“The definition of contingent being used disagrees with you.” That doesn’t follow, Darren. The “it” in the conversation at ~12:00 is referring to a being that exists in the actual world. When spelled out, that definition is saying that if a being that (a) exists (ie: in the actual world) could (b) possibly fail to exist (ie: fail to exist in all possible worlds), then it is contingent. So if God exists now, in our world, but doesn’t exist in others, then, He is contingent. But I’ve never said that God could exist in some worlds and fail to exist… Read more »
“That doesn’t follow, Darren. The “it” in the conversation at ~12:00 is referring to a being that exists in the actual world. When spelled out, that definition is saying that if a being that (a) exists (ie: in the actual world) could (b) possibly fail to exist (ie: fail to exist in all possible worlds), then it is contingent.” Right. If the god doesn’t exist in the actual world, then it is also logically necessary that it is possible that he doesn’t exist. And it is still logically possible that the god doesn’t exist in any possible world because it… Read more »
What? Just explain consciousness without God.
“What? Just explain consciousness without God.” There are a couple of problems a theist is going to run into when asking this question. The first is that if you are claiming that consciousness requires a god in order to exist, then you have to try to figure out which god created your god’s consciousness. After all, I’m assuming your god’s consciousness is going to be a lot more complicated than a human’s consciousness. The second is that we can already explain human consciousness without a god. Just like water and gold are emergent properties of protons and neutrons and how… Read more »
[…] Part 1 […]