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A website for the book by Ian J Thompson:

"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"


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8.3 The Argument from Being

We want to know the basic principles that operate now, which govern all connections between God and the individual finite beings that are us.

We will use one of the standard arguments of philosophical theism: the Argument from Being. This argument uses Postulate 3 above, and proceeds as follows:

  1. God is Being itself (Postulate 3)

  2. We (as individuals) have being (as, we exist).

  3. Therefore, our being either is, or depends on (derives from), God (Being itself).

This argument uses the metaphysical principle that being can only come from being and not from non-being (which is nothing). It uses the empirical fact that individuals in the world do exist. At least I exist, Descartes would claim. That is, there are some objects that are being in existence, so that we say that they ‘have being’. Then, since God has just been defined as ‘being itself’, we say that God must have some role in our existence. Simply put, we say that “We are, because God is."

This argument establishes an ontological dependence of us individuals on God. We appear to be beings; God is Being itself; therefore we appear to depend on God. Some essence of our being (namely Being itself) is identical to God. A corollary of this argument is: we cannot have our existence separately from God or derived originally from anything other than God. If we had some other kind of being, then we would still have being itself, which is God. Postulate 3 establishes that just by existing, we are dependent on God.

Of course, this does not explain the manner in which we depend on God. I state an alternative formulation (‘derives from’) in the conclusion above but do not explain that. It will come later and is indeed a major aim of this book.

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