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Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring-Summer 1998

Adolf Grünbaum
Pages 15-34
DOI: 10.5840/philo1998113

Theological Misinterpretations of Current Physical Cosmology

In earlier writings, I argued that neither of the two major physical cosmologies of the twentieth century support divine creation, so that atheism has nothing to fear from the explanations required by these cosmologies. Yet theists ranging from Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, and Leibniz to Richard Swinburne and Philip Quinn have maintained that, at every instant anew, the existence of the world requires divine creation ex nihilo as its cause. Indeed, according to some such theists, for any given moment t, God’s volition that the-world-should-exist-at-t supposedly brings about its actual existence at t. In an effort to establish the current viability of this doctrine of perpetual divine conservation. Philip Quinn I argued that it is entirely compatible with physical energy-conservation in the Big Rang cosmology, as well as with the physics of the steady-state theories. But I now contend that instead, there is a logical incompatibility on both counts. Resides, the stated tenet of divine conservation has an additional defect: It speciously purchases plausibility by trading on the multiply disanalogous volitional explanations of human actions.

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