Suppose an extremely complex event occurs that is meaningful but extremely improbable under current physical laws.

Suppose then, that a theist says, “God explains this better for otherwise it is very improbable.” Suppose the atheist responds, “Well what would explain God? He also seems improbable.” The theist then responds “Well God is eternal and is thus necessary. There is so such thing as Him having low probability. Probability is nonsensical here.”

Suppose now that the atheist responds, “Well that event could be asserted to be necessary metaphysically just like god.”

The theist then responds “But that event had a beginning. There was a time when that event did not occur. Also, the universe may be indeterministic due to quantum mechanics. Thus, it can’t be necessary and remains a very improbable event. God can be necessary since He is eternal.”

Is the theist’s reasoning valid? What if instead of necessary, we change it to “existing without further explanation.”?

For example, if one asserts that an eternal God exists without further explanation, can one also just state that an event happened through natural laws with no further explanation or cause?

  • If we could have a privileged t = 0 in some system, that if we impredicatively (so to speak) defined some X as essentially occurring at t = 0, and there is no t = -1, would it be necessarily true that X begins at t = 0? Or if there is something that necessarily causes other things to exist at specific times, are those things necessarily existent in some further sense, too, despite apparently beginning at some time? Aug 30 at 18:51
  • Your theist and atheist are talking past each other, confusing the old sense of necessity that scholastics used with the modern one. One of the old senses was "necessary" as incorruptible and hence eternal, so corruptible matter and worldly events with it were "contingent". On modern conception, necessity and temporal longevity are orthogonal (possible worlds and the time axis are independent dimensions), so transient events may well be necessary (if they must begin and/or end in all possible worlds) and eternal entities may well be contingent (if they are not present in all possible worlds).
    – Conifold
    Aug 30 at 23:16
  • I believe that there is a mistake in considering a explanation "better" simply because it is on its face less improbable. The goodness of a explanation should also consider the predictive power of the explanation, or the ability for the explanation to lead to other, explanations. So, if assuming a particularly complex event leads to a theory which accurately predicts things which assuming God cannot, then it may be a better explanation. Sep 1 at 21:55


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