Kreeft’s Case for God – Part 10: Analysis of Argument #1

ANALYSIS OF PHASE 1

In Part 9, I began to analyze and clarify the logic of Argument #1 (The Argument from Change) in Peter Kreeft’s case for God from Chapter 3 of Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA).  My analysis focused on the first phase of the argument. Here is my understanding of the logical structure of the first phase of Argument #1:

1. IF there is nothing outside the material universe, THEN there is nothing that can cause the material universe to change.

A. IF there is nothing that can cause the material universe to change, THEN the material universe does not change.

THEREFORE:

B. IF there is nothing outside the material universe, THEN the material universe does not change.

2. But the material universe does change.

THEREFORE:

C. It is NOT the case that there is nothing outside the material universe.

THEREFORE:

3a. There must be something outside the material universe.

 

INITIAL ANALYSIS OF PHASE 2

Now it is time to focus on the second phase of the argument.  Here is my initial analysis of the structure of the second phase of Argument #1:

3a. There must be something outside the material universe.

4.  But the material universe is the sum total of all matter, space and time.

5.  Matter, space and time depend on each other.

THEREFORE:

6.  This being outside the material universe is outside matter, space and time.

THEREFORE:

7.  This being outside the material universe is not a changing thing.

THEREFORE:

8. This being outside the material universe is the unchanging Source of change.

 

THE FIRST INFERENCE OF PHASE 2

Premise (6) does not follow from premises (3a), (4), and (5).  However, premise (4) appears to imply a claim that is relevant to (6):

D. Anything that is outside the material universe is outside matter, space and time.

This unstated premise appears to be working with premise (3a) to support premise (6):

3a. There must be something outside the material universe.

D. Anything that is outside the material universe is outside matter, space and time.

THEREFORE:

6.  This being outside the material universe is outside matter, space and time.

I’m not sure of the role of premise (5).  Perhaps it works with premise (4) to support or imply (D).  In any case, it is the unstated premise (D) that is being used along with (3a) to support (6).

 

THE SECOND INFERENCE OF PHASE 2

The next inference is not logically valid; at least it is not clearly and obviously a valid deductive inference:

6.  This being outside the material universe is outside matter, space and time.

THEREFORE:

7.  This being outside the material universe is not a changing thing.

The expression “this being outside the universe” assumes or implies that there is just ONE such being, so this assumption should be made more clearly and explicitly.  In order to make the inference from (6) to (7) clearly and obviously valid, we need to add a missing premise to the inference:

6a. There is exactly one being outside the material universe and that being is outside matter, space and time.

E. Anything that is outside of time is not a changing thing.

THEREFORE:

7a.  There is exactly one being outside the material universe and that being is not a changing thing.

 

THE THIRD INFERENCE OF PHASE 2

The final inference in Argument #1 is clearly INVALID:

7a.  There is exactly one being outside the material universe and that being is not a changing thing.

THEREFORE:

8a. There is exactly one being outside the material universe and that being is the unchanging Source of change.

The most obvious and immediate problem is that the phrase “Source of change” appears nowhere previously in the argument, and it is unclear what this phrase means.  It might mean “the immediate cause of every change that occurs in the material universe” or it might mean “the ultimate cause of every change that occurs in the material universe” or it might mean “an ultimate cause of some change(s) in the material universe”  or it might mean “the immediate cause of every change TO the material universe” or it might mean “the ultimate cause of every change TO the material universe” or…

Because this phrase appears nowhere previously in the argument, the argument is clearly deductively invalid as it stands.  Further premises and/or inferences need to be added in order to turn this into a valid deductive argument.  I don’t see any easy way to fix this last inference.  I suspect that there is a significant gap of logic that needs filling here, but Kreeft has not left much in the way of clues to figure out what that logic would be.

I guess that since ANY change that occurs “inside” the material universe allegedly points to the existence of “something” that is “outside” the material universe, if there was just ONE being that was “outside” of the universe, then any and every change would ultimately trace back to that ONE being.  So, there is some sort of generalization or iteration of reasoning going on behind the scenes here, I suspect.    Given that ANY one single change “inside” the universe points (allegedly) to exactly ONE being “outside” the universe that is the ultimate cause of that change, it would follow that ALL changes could be traced back to that ONE being.

So, if all of the previous inferences were valid in Argument #1, then I suppose that one could validly infer (8a) as well, although NOT simply and directly from premise (7a).  The required reasoning would be more complicated than that.

 

THE LOGICAL STRUCTURE OF ARGUMENT #1

Here is an argument diagram showing the logical structure of Argument #1 (click on the image below for a clearer view of the diagram):

Diagram Argument 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK.  I have clarified and cleaned up the logical messiness of the first argument of Peter Kreeft’s case for God.  In the next post I will evaluate this argument.

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