I am reading Adrian Bardon’s recent text, A History of the Philosophy of Time, and in it he makes the following passing comment :
The theist doesn’t accept brute facts about the natural world; she insists on the pertinence of the question of why things are the way they are - the answer to which, furthermore, requires a divine creator.
Bardon provides no direct elaboration, presumably because the comment appears to be “off-topic” (viz-a-viz time).
While my personal understanding of theism lacks depth, I assume the point being made is that a theist considers all facts of the natural world to be ultimately reducible to the will of God.
However, if one accepts that God gave man free will, then surely a fact arising from an act of a man’s free will cannot be reduced to God’s will (other than indirectly), for otherwise it cannot be an act of man’s free will. Perhaps I am simply misunderstanding the subtleties of the notion of free will. God may know how I will act, but that does not seem to undermine my freedom to act or reduce my free actions directly to the will of God.
Can a theist accept any brute facts about the natural world?
To be clear about what is meant by "brute fact", according to Bardon :
A fact about the world may be explicable by its subsumption under some natural regularity, which is explicable by reference to some more fundamental fact, which is in turn explained by some more fundamental natural law, and so on. But at some point, things are just the way they are. Bertrand Russell called these "brute facts". The only alternative is a chain of explanations without end, which is hardly more satisfying.