God explains the existence of consciousness

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Keywords: Teleological argument, God, Complexity, Consciousness[ edit ].


Consciousness remains unexplained. We can observe the nervous system, made up of electrical impulses and chemical exchanges. But what is the relationship between chemical exchanges and inner life? How can entities in space (particles in motion) constitute an inner space dominated by non-spatial phenomena (feelings, concepts, self-awareness, etc.)? Consciousness is enigmatic; it cannot be derived from the juxtaposition of discrete material entities. It was God who endowed human beings with consciousness.


“Certainly, evolutionary processes produce the existence of animal bodies and human beings by virtue of the laws of nature discovered by the physical sciences [...]. But there is more to human beings than their bodies. Human beings (and higher animals) are conscious beings. They have thoughts and impressions; atoms have no thoughts or impressions. Consciousness [...] cannot be the property of a mere body, or of a material object. It must be a property of something else in relation to the body; and to this something else I will give the traditional name of soul. At a certain stage of evolution, the bodies of complex animals were linked to souls. This is [...] something absolutely beyond the explanatory power of science. Theism, on the other hand, can explain it: God has the power to link souls to bodies, and He has reason to do so.”

Richard Swinburne, Is there a God?, p.73, Ithaca, Paris, 2009.


Arguments forJustifications

Arguments againstObjections

  • Argument againstConsciousness is the reflection of an impersonal Absolute
  • Argument againstConsciousness doesn't exist
  • Argument againstConsciousness is an emerging property of the brain
  • Argument againstGod is but the name of our ignorance

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