The Existence of God

The Existence of God

The Existence of God

The Existence of God

Synopsis

This book is based on the author's Wilde Lectures delivered in the University of Oxford in 1976-7. It forms part of a trilogy which began with The Coherence of Theism (Clarendon Press, 1977, reissued in paperback, 1986) and was completed by Faith and Reason (Clarendon Press, 1981, reissued inpaperback, 1983), but it does not in any way presuppose knowledge of the earlier work. For the revised fifth impression of the paperback edition, Professor Swinburne has added a new preface, and two new appendices: one a reply to Mackie and one a discussion of the argument from 'fine tuning'.

Excerpt

The Existence of God was first published in 1979. Eleven years later, I remain convinced of the cogency of its main lines of argument. This new edition contains two additional appendices. Appendix A is a shortened version of a paper originally published in Religious Studies in 1983, responding to the criticism of my arguments made in J. L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism. I am grateful to all the many writers who have given critical attention to my arguments. It would not have been possible to reply to them all, but since Mackie's book has been read more widely than any other book or article which has criticized my arguments in any detail, I chose to reply to him, and hope that this reply will serve to allay some of the concerns of other critics too.

Appendix B is a shortened version of a paper first published in 1989 (in J. Leslie (ed.), Physical Cosmology and Philosophy), which seeks to assess the evidential force of recent scientific discoveries of the extent to which the universe is 'fine-tuned' to the production of animals and men, so that any very slight difference in the constants of its laws or its boundary conditions would have led to a universe in which there were no animals and men. These scientific discoveries had not been published or at any rate well publicized by the late seventies, and so I took no account of them when writing the book. They do, however, I claim, provide an additional argument of some strength, of the same general pattern as the other arguments which I discuss, for my conclusion that there is a God.

My thanks to the editors and publishers (Cambridge University Press and MacMillan, New York) concerned for permission to reprint this additional material.

Richard Swinburne

Oriel College, Oxford

June 1990 . . .

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