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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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Free and Creator of the Universe

Free and Creator of the Universe

(p.126) 8 Free and Creator of the Universe
The Coherence of Theism

Richard Swinburne

Oxford University Press

Explanation is of two kinds—personal (in terms of persons, their intentions, powers, and beliefs) and scientific (in terms of laws of nature and initial conditions). In explaining events in terms of God’s action, theology uses personal explanation. God is the creator of the universe in the sense that he causes (or permits some other being to cause) the occurrence of all logically contingent events except those entailed by his own existence. It is irrelevant to this doctrine whether or not the universe had a beginning. God is perfectly free in that no non-rational causal factors cause or influence how he acts; considerations of reason alone influence him. Hence he always does what he believes to be the best action, or (if there is no best action) a good action. It is logically possible that there is a perfectly free person who is creator of the universe.

Keywords:   beginning of the universe, creator, God, laws of nature, perfectly free, personal explanation, scientific explanation, the universe

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