Monday, April 11, 2011

God's Possible Existence and Necessity

I still scratch my head when I hear this objection: "If God possibly exists, then He also possibly does not exist."

The first step in refuting this (sadly) oft-repeated criticism of God's necessity is to explain that the opposite of "possible" is not "possibly not," but "not possible" (impossible).

What the objector is confusing for possibility is contingency. A few modal definitions should suffice to clear the air:

necessity: existence in all possible worlds
contingency: existence in at least one, but not all possible worlds
impossibility: existence in no possible worlds

Obviously, "necessity" entails possibility, whereas the latter does not entail contingency.


  1. My biggest question, regarding existence is; who created the creator? Are u agnostic/athiest, or ??? My question is, do we really exist? There cannot be existence w/out a creator. I rule out big bang theories, because to me existence seems impossible without a creator or a superior being.

  2. Hi, the causal premise of the cosmological argument is usually something like this: whatever begins to exists has a cause. Or, every contingent entity has a cause.

    The claim is almost never that everything has a cause. To answer your question, though, I'm a Christian theist.