God is Dead

From The Empirical Stance (The Terry Lectures Series) by van Fraassen:

“Let us begin with a statement that I am sure you must have heard before:

God is dead.

You are right if you take it that I am serious about this. But what do I mean? When Pascal died, a scrap of paper was found in the lining of his coat. On it was written ” The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not the God of the philosophers.” Pascal was a contemporary of Descartes in the seventeenth century, and the God who appears in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy was the paradigmatic philosophers’ God. He is of course omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent, and he is designed precisely so as to guarantee that everything that Descartes says is true. So Pascal had a very good example near at hand. Here is what I mean when I say that God is dead:

The God of the philosophers is dead.

This God is dead because he is a creature of metaphysics – that type of metaphysics – and metaphysics is dead.”


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