2. Qur'an, 16:3.1 quote from The Koran, tr. N.J. Dawood (Penguin Books: London, 1999), p. 187.
3. The Apostles' Creed in its present form dates from around the fourth century ad. The Nicene Creed (which comes to us in two versions) derives from the Council of Nicaea (325 ad). I am citing these texts in their traditional English versions, which are multiply reprinted.
4. Antony Flew, The Presumption of Atheism and Other Essays (Elek/Pemberton: London, 1976), p. 22.
5. For a more detailed defence of this conclusion see G. E. M. Anscombe, 'What Is It to Believe Someone?', in C. F. Delaney (ed.), Rationality and Religious Belief (University of Notre Dame Press: Notre Dame, Ind. and London, 1979). See also Norman Malcolm, 'The Groundlessness of Belief, in Stuart C. Brown (ed.), Reason and Religion (Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY and London, 1977). See also Michael Welbourne, The Community of Knowledge (Aberdeen University Press: Aberdeen, 1986) and Knowledge (McGill-Queen's University Press: Montreal and London, 2001). Finally, see also C. A. J. Coady, Testimony: A Philosophical Study (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1992).
6. By 'we' here I simply mean 'any particular person you know that you care to name'. I do not mean that it is reasonable to claim that there is a Creator God if nobody can give us grounds for supposing that there is such a God, grounds which leave us (or at least some people) with knowledge rather than mere belief. 'Mere belief is not necessarily a bad thing. But we can distinguish it from knowledge, which, in my view, does rest on grounds. It always makes sense to ask 'How do you know?' You might say that we frequently use the word 'know' when thinking of assent based on something like someone's say-so (as in 'Because he told me', given as an answer to 'How do you know that he lives in London?'). And that is obviously the case. So one might argue that knowledge is something that can be passed on simply by word of mouth. I have no special quarrel with that suggestion but would also draw attention to the fact that we can distinguish between taking something on say-so and coming to see for oneself that what one is told is true, and why it is true (this, surely, being more worthy of being called 'knowledge' than a belief based on someone's say-so). Therefore, if the claim is that there is such a thing as knowledge that there is a Creator God, it seems reasonable to look for more than mere say-so when inspecting that claim's intellectual credentials.
7. One line of thinking on which I do not touch in this book, but have previously defended, is often called 'the Argument from Design'. I discuss this in ch. 4 of my An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (3rd edn, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2004). Texts of Aquinas lying behind what I go on to say in the present chapter include: De Ente et Essentia, 4; Summa Contra Gentiles, 1.12, 22; Summa Contra Gentiles, 11.15-21; Summa Theologiae, Ia.2.3.44-45; and In Aristotelis Librum, Peri Hermeneias, 1.14.
8 The occurrence in John of the thought that-p is, of course, not identical with the occurrence in Jane of the thought that-p. But the content of the thought is the same. When John and Jane think that-p, they both think the same thought. One might object to this suggestion on the ground that p here might be something like 'I'm tired', which can hardly express the same thought as uttered by both John and Jane. Here, however, I am not concerned with sentences including indexical terms (like 'I') - sentences which, arguably, do not express genuine propositions. I am taking a thought to be what can be expressed without reference to particular thinkers. Paradigm examples of thoughts in my sense would be 'Green is a colour', 'Cats are mammals', 'Paris is a city containing many buildings', 'Leibniz was a philosopher', and so on.
9. I take it that 'Why is it snowing in New York?' would be a sensible question to raise even if it is always snowing there.
10. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1978), pp. 79f.
11. G. E. M. Anscombe, '"Whatever Has a Beginning of Existence Must Have a Cause": Hume's Argument Exposed', Analysis 34 (1974), p. 150, repr. in G. E. M. Anscombe, Collected Philosophical Papers (Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1981), vol. 1.
12. G. E. M. Anscombe, 'Times, Beginnings and Causes', Proceedings of the British Academy 60 (1974); quotation from reprint G. E. M. Anscombe, Collected Philosophical Papers (Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1981), vol. 2, p. 162.
13. For what I take to be another defence of this conclusion, see Peter van Inwagen, Metaphysics (Westview Press: Boulder, Col., 1993), pp. 108ff.
14. Perhaps I should modify that last sentence. Maybe there are people who do not seek causally to account for contingent events. It is hard to imagine them living a successful human life; it is also impossible to conceive of them being even slightly sympathetic to what we commonly call 'scientific reasoning'; but perhaps they exist. We could not, however, regard them as reasonable. We might hesitate to call them unreasonable, since we might find them to be so alien from us as not to be rationally assessable in our terms; but we could not view them as reasonable.
15. There are philosophers who have taken God to be a part of the universe. It should, I hope, be obvious that I am not doing so. For what I take to be a good defence by a recent philosopher of the position I am adopting in this chapter see H. D. Lewis, Philosophy of Religion (English Universities Press: London, 1965), ch. 14.
16 See Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, tr. C. K. Ogden (Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1922), 4.126ff.
17. Notice, however, that Smokey's parts are not independently existing objects. They are parts of him. What they are depends on what they are as parts of him.
18. Medieval authors sometimes distinguish between entia per se and entia per accidens. For them, an ens per se is a naturally occurring unit (a substance) while an ens per accidens is an artefact the parts of which preexist the whole of which they are parts. The distinction seems to me a fair one to make, but it does not affect what I am currently arguing.
19. Philosopher's who have denied this include those (sometimes called Idealists) who have said that there really is no universe distinct from our (individual?) minds. You will have to pardon me for not here engaging with Idealism, something which seems to me to be discredited by the fact that we cannot make sense of it using the language in which we talk about what there is. It is, for example, part and parcel of the concept of dog that dogs are distinct from people (meaning that dogs are not just parts of people's minds). Or again, the concept of conversation presupposes the existence of distinct speakers. And so on.
20. The invention of the Ontological Argument is usually credited to Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033-1109). See his Proslogion, ch. 2 and 3. An English translation of these texts can be found in Brian Davies and G. R. Evans (ed.), Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works (Oxford University Press: Oxford and New York, 1998).
21. For more on God's existence and the fallacy of composition see Patterson Brown, 'Infinite Causal Regression', Philosophical Review 75 (1966), repr. in Anthony Kenny (ed.), Aquinas: A Collection, of Critical Essays (University of Notre Dame Press: Notre Dame, Ind., 1976).
22. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A599/B627. I quote from the translation by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1997), p. 567. (Macmillan: London, 1964), pp. 502f.
23. C. J. F. Williams, What is Emst.ence? (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1981).
See also C. J. F. Williams, Being, Identity, and Truth (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1992), ch. 1.
24 For an excellent account of Aquinas on esse see Herbert McCabe, God Still Matters (Continuum: London and New York, 2002), ch. 2.
25. Russell's reply comes in a radio debate he engaged in with Frederick Copleston in 1948. The debate is reprinted in John Hick (ed.), The Existence of God (Macmillan: New York, 1964); quotation from p. 175.
26. Bede Rundle, Why there is Something Rather than Nothing (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 2004), p. 112.
27 P. T. Geach, Reason and Argument (Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1976), p. 85.
28. It has been argued that any attempt to reason to God's existence is thoroughly un-Christian and something to be condemned on biblical grounds. I cannot directly engage with this view here; for what seems to me a definitive refutation of it, see James Barr, Biblical Faith and Natural Theology (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 199-3), esp. ch. 1-5.
29. Aquinas, Summa Theotogiae, Ia.45.1; quotation from vol. 8 of the Black-friars edition of the Summa Theologiae (Eyre & Spottiswoode: London and McGraw-Hill: New York, 1967).
30. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Geoffrey Chapman: London, 1994), p. 71.
31. Richard Swinburne, The Coherence of Theism; revd edn (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1993), p. 1.
33. For someone who seems to be of the same mind as me on this, see Peter van Inwagen, God, Knowledge, and Mystery (Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY and London, 1995), p. 20. I might add that what Swinburne describes as what it, would be like to imagine oneself to be an omnipresent spirit might well be taken to be what it is like to be severely affected by alcohol or other drugs.
34. See I Samuel 5:11; Psalm 8:4; Isaiah 52:10; II Kings 19:16; Numbers 11:1; Genesis 3:8; 32:31.
35. See Psalm 2:4; 37:13; Genesis 8:21; Isaiah 7:18.
36 See Deuteronomy 16:22; Isaiah 61:8; Exodus 22:24; Genesis 9:5; Deuteronomy 30:9; 32:35; Isaiah 62:5; Genesis 6:6.
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