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The Coherence of TheismSecond Edition$
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Richard Swinburne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198779698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779698.001.0001

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A Necessary Being

A Necessary Being

Chapter:
(p.261) 14 A Necessary Being
Source:
The Coherence of Theism
Author(s):

Richard Swinburne

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779698.003.0014

On a weak account of ‘necessary being’, God is a necessary being in the sense that he is uncaused. On a strong account of ‘necessary being’, God is a metaphysically necessary being, which entails that it is not logically possible that God does not exist. I argue that it is logically necessary that there is no metaphysically necessary being. I defend an intermediate account of ‘necessary being’ as an ‘ontologically necessary’ being. God is ontologically necessary in the sense that he has an intrinsic property of being caused to exist by himself in an analogical sense of ‘cause’. The grounds for supposing that this is logically possible is that the simplest ultimate explanation of the universe is that it is caused by a cause like mundane causes in being a caused cause. We cannot conceive (that is, comprehend) what such a being would be like, and that is a view held by both Western and Eastern patristic writers.

Keywords:   aquinas, Basil of Caesarea, causa sui, God, essence, necessary being, ontological necessity, substance

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