Atheological Arguments

 

An atheological argument deduces an explicit contradiction from an initial set of premises accepted by the theist, making use of only necessarily true additional premises. At least one premise in the initial set reports God’s possession of one of his perfections—omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, sovereignty, freedom, and immutability.

 

The Argument from Omnipotence

1.  God is omnipotent.  Premise

2.  Either God can create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it or he cannot do this.

3.  If God can do it, he is not omnipotent (since there is something he cannot do, namely,    lift the stone).  Premise

4.  If God cannot do it, again he is not omnipotent.  Premise

5.  God is not omnipotent.  From 2, 3, and 4 by constructive dilemma

6.  God is omnipotent and God is not omnipotent.  From 1 and 5 by conjunction

 

The Benevolence-Freedom Argument

1.  God is essentially omnibenevolent.

2.  God is essentially free.

3.  God cannot do what is morally wrong.  From 1

4.  God is not free.  From 3

5.  God is free and God is not free.  From 2 and 4

 

The Creation-Immutability Argument

1.  The world came into existence at some past time, say T0.  Premise

2.  The world exists at some time if and only if God wills that it does.  Premise

3.  God is immutable.  Premise

4.  At T0 God wills that the world exists.  From 1 and 2

5.  There are times earlier than T0, say T-1, at which the world does not exist.  From 1

6.  At T-1 God does not will that the world exists.  From 2 and 5

7.  God has a property at one time that he lacks at another.  From 4 and 6

8.  God is not immutable.  From 7

9.      God is immutable and God is not immutable.  From 3 and 8

 

The Omniscience-Immutability Argument Against a Timelessly Eternal God

1.      God is omniscient, i.e., knows all and believes only true propositions.  premise

2.      There are true temporal tensed propositions to the effect that certain events and/or times are now past, present, or future.  premise

3.      It is conceptually impossible for a timeless being to know a tensed proposition.  premise

4.      God (conceived of as timelessly eternal) does not know every true proposition.  From 2 and 3

5.      God is not omniscient.  From 4

6.      God is omniscient and God is not omniscient.  From 1 and 5

 

The Omniscience-Immutability Argument Against an Omnitemporally Eternal God

1.      God is omniscient, i.e., knows all and believes only true propositions.  premise

2.      There are true temporal tensed propositions to the effect that certain events and/or times    are now past, present, or future.  premise

3.   For someone to know every true tensed proposition requires that she changes from one

4.   God (conceived of as omnitemporally eternal) changes from one time to another.  from  1,  2, and 3.

5.  God is not immutable.  From 4

6’. God is immutable and God is not immutable.  From 3 and 5’

 

The Benevolence-Creation Argument

1.      God is benevolent.  Premise

2.      A benevolent being always chooses in accordance with the principle of perfection, i.e. never chooses the less good of the alternatives open to her.

3.      There is no world that is the best of all possible worlds.  premise

4.      God does not make any choice in regard to actualizing a world.  From 2 and 3

5.      God’s option to actualize a world is a forced one in that if he makes no decision, it is the same as if he actually chooses not to actualize any world.  premise

6.      God knows that 5 is true.  Based on his omniscience

7.      God chooses not to actualize any world.  from 5-7

8.      God does make a choice in regard to actualizing a world.  from 7

9.      God does not make any choice in regard to actualizing a world, and God does make a choice in regard to actualizing a world.  From 4 and 8

 

The Sovereignty-Benevolence Argument

1.      God is essentially benevolent.  premise

2.      God is sovereign over everything. premise

3.      God determines the truth-values of ethical propositions.  from 2

4.      God is benevolent prior to his decision as to what truth-values ethical propositions will have.  from 1 and 3

5.      Nothing is good or bad, right or wrong, prior to God’s decision as to what truth-values ethical propositions will have.  from 3

6.      God is good prior to his decision as to what truth-value ethical propositions will have. from 1

7.      Nothing is good or bad, right or wrong, prior to God’s decision as to what truth-values ethical propositions will have.

8.      Something (namely, God) is good prior to God’s decision as to what truth-values ethical propositions will have and nothing is good or bad, right or wrong, prior to God’s decision as to what truth-values ethical propositions will have.

      from 6 and 7

Note: The “prior” in steps 5, 6, 7, and 8 can be either in the order of time or of explanation, in the sense of being a partial determiner of.