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2. This argument always has insured, and always will insure the conviction of the great mass of men.
II. Physical argument, or argument from the external world. Short method.
1. Every event must have a cause.
2. My senses testify that the universe exists, and is a system of changes or events.
3. These events do not cause themselves. To suppose this were absurd.
4. They have not existed in an eternal series. This supposition were also absurd.
5. There must have been a first cause. »
6. The first cause must have been uncaused, self-existent, independent, and eternal. This must be God.
Rem. This confirms the moral argument.
For answers to the atheistical objections and their arguments see Atheism.
III. Argument from final causes. Short method. 1. Means imply an end.
2. Existences sustaining the relation of means to an end, imply design. The highest evidence of design may be manifested in two ways,
(1.) When the greatest number of beneficial results arise from the simplest means. Or from the application of one principle or power, to the production of vast and complicated events. Gravitation is an instance of this.
(2.) Where a vast and complicated mechanism is constructed for the production of a simple but highly important end. Vide. human physiology. The universe abounds with both these extremes of art, and affords a demonstration of design.
3. Design implies a designer.
4. The universe is a system of existences, sustaining the relation of means to an end.
5. It had therefore, a designer. 6. This designer is God. Rem. This argument sets aside the doctrine of chance or fate. IV. Historical argument. Short method. 1. Men have intellect and reason. 2. Therefore their opinions are based upon facts real or supposed.
3. The truth of any proposition in which all nations and ages have agreed must be highly probable.
4. But all ages and nations have agreed in the proposition, 66 There is a God.”
5. Therefore his existence is, to say the least, highly probable. Objection 1. The fact of this coincidence needs proof.
Answer. That this coincidence has been nearly universal is beyond doubt.
Obj. 2. If this coincidence be admitted, it proves nothing, as all men have believed other things that are false.E. g. that the sun goes round the earth. :
Ans. 1. There was high evidence of this, and the conviction was based upon nothing less than the apparent evidence of their senses.
4. The objectiou only proves that the historical argument may possibly be inconclusive.
3. The historical argument does prove that there is a high degree of evidence everywhere discoverable of the existence of God.
V. Argument direct from consciousness. Short method. i 1. I think, therefore I am... 2. I was not always. Of this, there is abundant evidence.
3. I began to be, and did not create myself. 14, I descended from a race like myself.
5. This race is made up of a series of individuals.
A series of dependent events, sustaining to each other the relation of cause and effect, implies an independent first cause, infinite number of dependent links without an independent first, is absurd.
6. A series implies a first. · 7. There must have been a first man.
8. He must have been self-created, or self-existent, and uncreated, or created by some other being.
9. He could not create himself.
13. His Creator must have been uncaused, and eternally self-er. istent. This cause is God.
Again, I. The same must be true of every series of existences.
2. Every series must have had a distinct selfexistent cause, or all existences must have had one and the same first cause.
3. One first cause is sufficient, and it is unphilosophical to suppose more without evidence.
4. The universe as a whole is a unity and most philosophically attributed to one first cause. This cause is God.
VI. Metaphysical argument.
(1.) That existence or being is necessary whose non-existence is naturally impossible.
(2.) That existence is contingent whose non-existence is naturally possible. seus
2. Ideas of existences are necessary or contingent.
(1.) That idea is necessary, the non-existence of whose object, under the circumstances, cannot be conceived of as possible.,
(2.) That idea is contingent, the non-existence of whose object may, under the circumstances, be conceived of as possibles :
1. 3. That must be a real existence of which we have a necessary idea, for the idea is necessary only because the non-existence of its object under the circumstances cannot be conceived of as naturally, possible.
E. g. space, duration. 4. Necessary ideas: need to be suggested to, or developed in the mind. E. g. the ideas of space and duration and the idea that they are infinite are necessary ideas when once suggested. We cannot conceive that space and duration should not exist, and that they should not be infinite.
5. The idea of causality, or that every event must have a cause, is a necessary idea when once suggested by an event, for the mind in the
presence of the event, cannot conceive that its occurrence without a cause, was naturally possible.
6. The idea of my.own present existence is a necessary idea when suggested by present consciousness of mental action. I think, therefore, I am, and cannot conceive of my present nonI existence as possible. 11:7w The idea of the present existence of the universe is a necessary idea when suggested or developed by present conscious sensations. With this evidence before me, I cannot conceive of the present non-existence of the universe as possible.
8. The idea of a first cause is a necessary idea when once sugo gested by the events of the universe. With these events before me I cannot conceive that they had no cause, or that there was not a first cause.
9. The idea that the first cause is eternal, self-existent, and independent, is a necessary idea when once suggested to the mind.
10. The idea that this cause is intelligent is a necessary idea when once suggested by a knowledge of the evidences of design apparent in the universe.
11. The ideas of God's existence and attributes are therefore necessary ideas when suggested or developed by a knowledge of the events of the universe.
12. But necessary ideas, as above defined, are the representatives of realities, therefore God's existence is a reality.
Again, 1. Consciousness is the mind's cognizance of its present state or exercise.
2. We are certain of that of which we are conscious. 3. Hence our mental states or exercises are realities.
4. My existence is an affirmation or inference of reason direct from consciousness. I think, therefore, I am.
5. The existence of other beings is also an affirmation of reason direct from consciousness. I am conscious of sensations, the cause of which I must refer to objects external to myself. Theresore these objects exist.
6. The existence of God is an inference or affirmation of reason removed one step back from consciousness.
1:7. I think, therefore I am. This is the first inference, I am, the universe is, therefore God is, is the second step or affirmation,
the second has the same certainty as the first because it is based upon it.
8. The existence of God then is as certain as my own existence, and the existence of the universe.
SECOND. What these arguments amount to.
1. If they do not amount to a demonstration, it is because the nature of the fact to be proved tenders the demonstration of it to our dimited faculties impossible.
2. Demonstration is that which shews that the proposition in question cannot but be true.
3. The events of the universe being admitted or proved, it is impossible that God should not exist.
4. The contrary supposition is an absurdity, as it assumes that the universe of events is uncaused, which is absurd. 2.5. The argument for the existence of God amounts to a demons stration. Other objections will be answered under the head 6. Atheism."
First. Define Atheism. 15 Secosb. Some of the different forms or modifications of Atheism.
THIRD. Answer the principal objections of Atheists, to Theism. FOURTH. * Point out some of the difficulties of Atheism.ba
First! Define Atheism.
Atheism is the opposite of Theism." Theism is a belief in the existence of God. * Atheism is the disbelief of his existence.
chotent: Second. Some of the different forms or modifications of Atheismi
1. Seeptical Atheism, or Atheistical Scepticism. ll. 13 This form of Atheism prófesses to hold no opinion as to the existence of God, alleging that the evidence in favor of, and that against the divine existence, are too nearly balanced to afford any rational gr ihd.of conviction either way. :: Hume and some others have taken this ground.
IL Speculative or Dogmatic Atheism...
This modification of Atheism, maintains that the evidence against the existence of God decidedly preponderates.
Atheists of this school either deny the existence of the material universe, or attempt to account for its existence upon principles that are consistent with the denial of the divine existence.
Atheists are however, greatly divided among themselves. 11 Some of them maintain that the universe is all matter, and that what we call mind is only the result of cerebral organization; or, in other words, that matter is, in some forms, intelligent, especially in the form of brain. - Others maintain that the universe is all mind, and that what we call the universe is the fiction, or creation of our own minds.
An extended examination of these systems of " philosophy, falsely so called,” will not of course, be undertaken in these lectures. The doctrines of these self-styled philosophers will be examined no farther than is necessary to establish the truths of The ology,
This is a misnomer. The name denotes a belief in the existence of God, and yet the doctrine or system denies the existence of the true God, and maintains that the universe is itself God.
To confound God with the universe, and hold that He is identical with it, is certainly Atheism, under whatever name it may attempt to conceal itself.
IV, Practical Atheism.
This admits, in words, and profession, the existence of God, but donies him in works. With this kind of Atheism, the present lecture has nothing to do.
These are the principal modifications of Atheism, both ancient and modern.
THIRD. Answer the principal objections of Atheists to. Theism.
Obj. I. Atheists object to Theism, that it is founded in the natural credulity of the human mind.
Ans, 1. It is a notorious fact that men are not naturally credulous, but obstinately incredulous, in respeet to those doctrines that rebuke their lusts,
i 2. The existence of the true God is an idea big with terror to depraved man.
3. Hence the general admission of God's existence, in despite of the strong prejudices of depraved human nature, is a powerful argument for its supporto tipas
Obj. II. They maintain that facts demonstrate, that the God of Theists cannot exist.
E. g. Theists maintain that God is omniscient, and also that he