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Summary in 400 words or less:
A particularly interesting argument for God’s existence stems from the human consciousness. When a person describes the human consciousness, one is describing not only the awareness of a particular person, but the mind and will also. Placed together, consciousness could refer to the human soul. The existence of the human consciousness dictates the existence of God. The argument from consciousness is teleological in nature as it demonstrates that consciousness must stem from an eternal consciousness, known as God. This article will examine one particular argument from consciousness and will seek to demonstrate that such an argument is valid.
Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli offer the following argument as an example for the argument from consciousness:
“1. We experience the universe as intelligible. This intelligibility means that the universe is graspable by intelligence.
- Either this intelligible universe and the finite minds so well suited to grasp it are the products of intelligence, or both intelligibility and intelligence are the products of blind chance.
- Not blind chance.
- Therefore this intelligible universe and the finite minds so well suited to grasp it are the products of intelligence” (Kreeft and Tacelli 1994, 66).
One of the critical questions pertaining to the argument from consciousness is found in the third premise. Could consciousness have stemmed from non-conscious material? Evidence seems to reject the notion that blind chance could have produced conscious beings. Thomas Nagel, an agnostic philosopher admits as much in his book Mind and Cosmos as he writes pertaining to his skepticism of naturalism that “My skepticism is not based on religious belief, or on a belief in any definite alternative. It is just a belief that the available scientific evidence, in spite of the consensus of scientific opinion, does not in this matter rationally require us to subordinate the incredulity of common sense” (Nagel 2012, 7). J. P. Moreland adds that a strong objection can be made against physicalism—that is, the belief that the material world is all that exists—in that “it is just obvious that mental and physical properties are different from each other, and the physicalists have not met the burden of proof required to overturn these deeply held ingrained intuitions” (Moreland 2014, 100). Perhaps the greatest benefit from the argument from consciousness is the clear understanding that consciousness stems from consciousness. If such is the case then human consciousness must stem from an eternal intelligible consciousness known as God.
Scripture for YouVersion:
Three questions (1 fill-in-the-blank, 1 multiple choice, and one discussion question):
References for further reading:
Kreeft, Peter, and Robert K. Tacelli. Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1994.
Moreland, J. P. The Soul: How We Know It’s Real and Why It Matters. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014.
Nagel, Thomas. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Collaborators: Brian Chilton
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