Natural-law argument

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[[Category:Arguments for the existence of God]]
[[Category:Arguments for the existence of God]]
[[Category:Morality arguments]]
[[Category:Cosmological arguments]]

Revision as of 16:54, 16 August 2006

"There are laws of nature. But the existence of laws implies a law-giver. Someone must have set up these laws. We'll call the law-giver God."


This argument relies on equivocation between two meanings of the word "law".

Legislative laws, such as "Do not murder" or "No littering" are prescriptive: they are established to demarcate acceptable and unacceptable behavior. If a person breaks such a law, he or she has committed a crime, and may be subject to punishment.

Natural laws, on the other hand, are descriptive: they describe how some aspect of the universe behaves. For instance, Newton's law of motion "F=ma" describes how solid objects behave when acted upon by a force. If a person or object breaks a physical law, then it is the law that is in error, since it obviously does not adequately describe what it seeks to describe.

Furthermore, even if we grant the existence of a lawgiver god, it does not follow that that god is the one the apologist has in mind. It could just as easily be the Flying spaghetti monster as Yahweh.

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