Chapter

God and Laws

John Foster

in The Divine Lawmaker

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199250592
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600913 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199250596.003.0009
 God and Laws

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The only way to make sense of the notion of a law of nature is to adopt what I call the causal account, which claims that the obtaining of a law consists in the fact that there is something that causally imposes a certain regularity on the universe as a regularity. Given this, I can now offer an argument for the existence of God. Thus, on the one hand, we have already seen that if nomological explanations are excluded, the theistic account offers the only explanation of the basic regularities that has any prospect of acceptability. On the other hand, if we explain the regularities by postulating laws, we have to suppose that, for each law, there is something that causally imposes the corresponding regularity on the universe as a regularity; and the considerations that showed the theistic account to be the only plausible form of nonnomological explanation will now show that the theistic account provides the only plausible account of the source of causal agency. So, either way, we get a strong case for accepting the truth of the theistic account and the existence of the God it postulates. It can also be shown that, once we accept this account, we are obliged to think of God as imposing regularities on the world in the relevant law‐creating way.

Keywords: causal account; causal agency; explanation; God; imposes; law‐creating; law of nature; regularity; theistic account; universe

Chapter.  8446 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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