Premise 1: B is a subset of A An annoying one that sticks in my head is this: "Something is always better than nothing." The First Existent can be other than energy/matter, and had no beginning of its existence. a being which is solely the act of existing. The nature of this dog is a composite consisting of the principle of form and particular matter. Its nature, which is the source of explanation, is existentially distinct from its existence. If GOD is contingent on other things, GOD does not exist. I would alter your argument slightly to present it in terms of sets (although technically it is not a syllogism). As such, it requires an explanation. If we look at “Why something?” a priori, we have no basis on which to select “something” or “not something”. 8). Your email address will not be published. This is evident in God’s identifying himself as “I AM” to Moses and in Jesus’ contrasting his eternal existence to Abraham’s coming into existence: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14), Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58). It’s hard to know what an answer might even look like. Some, like the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), asked “Why may not the material universe be the necessarily existent being?”1. When predicting something that science will never do, it's wise to recall the French philosopher Auguste Comte… As a result, there is no standard format or sections to look for as in the table above. It is not merely a name for a certain relation. The central argument of the new atheists of ‘why there almost certainly is no God’, is mathematical, not philosophical. Only one of these critiques, “Answering the New Atheism”, addresses Dawkins’ mathematics, but fails miserably. After all, if we accept that we exist to ask the question, then we’ve proved something exists. Here I shall examine his argument for this answer and I shall argue that it does not work because no good reasons have been given for two of the argument's premises and that the conclusion of the argument does not constitute an answer to the question van Inwagen wanted to answer. Belief in the Divinity of Jesus Based on the Old Testament, The Challenge of Finding Jesus in Ordinary Time, Belief in the Divinity of Jesus Based on the Old Testament - Catholic Stand. The question of why the universe exists remains the ultimate mystery. But there might not be an absolute answer to why it exists. Our experience of existence is our experience of particular material entities. I really wanted to be able follow this line of thought. So if everything that exists requires an explanation, or cause, for its existence (point 1) and if the universe exists (point 3), what is the most likely explanation? The word “God” is undefined. Thank you for writing this piece. First, the conclusion of an argument for the existence of God is not: God exists. The question is whether or not the first three points or more likely to be true than they are false. . Mathematical Physicist I. S. Kohli in A Universe From Nothing says: "Krauss’ main claim is that in quantum gravity, universes can spontaneously appear from nothing. Subscribe to receive our weekly emails PLUS access to the free digital theological library! This being we call God. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? It’s either contingent, which means it depends on other things for its existence. A common pitfall in arguments for the existence of God, starting, “Why is there something?”, is to assume a definition for the word God prior to the conclusion of the argument. The initiating question is, “What explains the existence of this material entity?” Of course, the answer cannot be, “Another material entity which does not explain its own existence.”. 2. A recent essay, “Why Is There Something Instead of Nothing?” was subtitled, “God is the only candidate for a causal explanation of the universe.” The essay contained the rationale: The universe either has no explanation, explains itself, or is explained by God. Required fields are marked *. is the act of existing alone.” It is an addendum to state: This being we call God. However, the phrase, “… rather than nothing,” although grammatically valid, adds no further meaning and is philosophically meaningless. The answer is: Because God, as an act of love, chose to create. But what about points 1 and 2? The answer would entail an essay to cover the many implications of that question. Sorry if that isn’t satisfactory. It suffices that the result is invarian… Thereby they cannot explain their own existence. Premise 1. Also in the essay, the starting point of experience is the existence of the universe. Published April 15, 2020 Updated April 27, 2020 Scientists on Wednesday announced that they were perhaps one step closer to understanding why the universe contains something rather than nothing… 13 No. Thus the argument proves nothing. “Why should children — or adults — be asked to do something computers and related equipment can do much better than they can?” the authors ask in the following excerpt from the book. It seems natural to ask why the universe exists at all. So a priori gets us nowhere. In the human mind, it is a mental concept. Existence is posited of the universe analogically to, not univocally to, existence as existence is posited of an entity of immediate human experience. It is two circles of abstraction away from the bullseye of our experience of the existence of things. and to annihilate [ to annihilate – to cause to go from being, to nothing. ] However, the Leibniz Contingency Argument clearly is not formulated to present the God of the Bible as the one true God. Everything that exists, exists in one of two ways. It must be outside of the universe, beyond space and time. While much of the conversation around the path to openness was constructive … Also, in philosophy, the topic question cannot even be asked. Richard Dawkins, in “The God Delusion”, dubbed this argument, ‘the problem of improbability’. (Op. Learn how your comment data is processed. This reply considers only a couple of aspects. Certain scientists believe that quantum mechanics suggests that nothing is inherently “unstable,” that it’s possible for little bubbles of space-time (something) to form spontaneously (out of nothing), and that if a thing is not forbidden by the laws of quantum physics, it is guaranteed to happen.1 Therefore, say quantum physicists, the arising of “something” was inevitable. Thus the initial probability of there being nothing rather than something is one divided by infinity, which is next to nothing, a virtual zero. In a word: God. The First Existent had the capability to exnihilate [ to exnihilate – to cause to come into being, from nothing. ] The first line of the common declaration of the Catholic Faith is: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and of earth.” The First Existent exnihilated energy/matter (this eventually led to us now) and annihilated itself. The question, “Why is there something, rather than nothing?”, within the context of the Judeo-Christian revelation is answered quite simply. It is special revelation, the Old and New Testaments as illuminated by the Holy Spirit, which ultimately points people to God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. The first question was, “Who made you?”, the answer to which was, “God made me.” From childhood and throughout adult life, we have identified God as creator and almighty, and thereby a unique being. Why there is Something Rather than Nothing, Oxford: Clarendon Press. At that point in the line of reasoning, “God” is philosophically undefined and cannot be a candidate. These explain the actual situation as the outcome of most or all of the possible initial states. offers a guided tour of Western philosophy by one of the world's greatest living experts. I have thought about it a lot since reading your comment. Thanks! This prior knowledge may be due to revelation or to going through the line of philosophical reasoning previously, perhaps implicitly. Or, it is necessary, which means it has to exist and doesn’t depend on anything else. 2 (2007) issue of Skeptic, I confronted my life-long obsession with Nothing. It is a real entity, a substance. Science Will Never Explain Why There's Something Rather Than Nothing. Why is there something, rather than nothing at all? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Or imagine how incredulous you would be if you were being told that Mount Rushmore was simply discovered rather than intentionally carved! Notice that, in philosophy, both the existence and the concept of God (the Being whose nature is identical to His existence) initially arise simultaneously in the conclusion of the line of reasoning. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The First Existent can be energy/matter that has always existed. The question “Why is there something?” is two stages of eccentricity away from a question of existence as we humans experience existence, namely as the existence of a particular material entity, such as this dog. Matter is the principle of individuation of the generic and thereby an existential principle. As a logical abstraction, “some thing” cannot be the starting point of a philosophical argument which reaches, in conclusion, the existence of any entity, let alone that Being whose nature is to exist. The quotation precedes the conclusion of the argument. Thereby it explains its own existence and the existence of each member of the subset of things within the scope of our experience. GOD is contingent on nothing. The form of existence is “contingent”, the energy/matter is “necessary”. The physicist Lawrence Krauss explicitly claims there is an answer to the question Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing. Introduction In his 1697 article “On the Ultimate Origination of Things,” Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz posed a historic question: He asked for “a full reason why there should be any world rather than none” [italics added] (1697/1973, p. 136). Are Jesus and Michael the Archangel One and the Same? Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God. 8 Ontology Studies 9, 2009 Adolf Grünbaum 1. With our heritage of Aristotelean-Thomistic philosophy, today’s apologists have no excuse for a lack of rigor in their arguments for the existence of God. 3. Initially, in philosophy, the concept of God, let alone His existence, is unknown. I have recently posted an essay to my personal blog, Theyhavenowine.wordpress.com, which I hope presents the mathematics simply to the average reader. Bob Drury is retired. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence. But the question is not ultimate. As with all such logical arguments, if the premises are true (points 1-3), than the conclusion must be true (point 4). “The first question that should rightly be asked is, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?'”. “The first question that should rightly be asked is, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing? I … In theology, the topic question cannot be asked expecting the answer to affirm the nature and existence of God independently of God’s revealing himself to man. Armand Maurer, 1949, p. 47). What does consciousness have to do with our understanding of the universe? Conclusion: GOD exists. Here is a brief and simplified explanation of what has come to be known as the Leibniz Contingency Argument, or the Leibniz Cosmological Argument (cosmology being the study of the origin of the cosmos, or universe). In our everyday experiences, we expect there to be an explanation for the things we encounter. That God is almighty and the creator implies that his nature is his existence. Common illustrations of this given are wandering in the woods and discovering a pocket watch. Though this logical argument may not be received as air-tight, undeniable evidence for God’s existence by a skeptic, it is nevertheless a strong apologetic that has stood the test of time. Modern physics suggests that the universe can exist all by itself as a self-contained system, without anything external to create or sustain it. The questions pertaining to "why there is anything at all? The is-ness of the universe is one of its interesting features. So the universe exists, and we know of … It has real existence. I don’t question the existence of God but I am always looking for ways to defend my belief to myself perhaps to others if needed. Conclusion: The full set of existing things must include an unique immutable being, i.e. I’ll file this whole paragraph in the … And I felt a great desire to see him, to know Him and to pay Him homage ….” (The Holy See, “Josephine Bakhita”, para. From W. Eventually you get back to a point where there was nothing. “The left almost always opposes fighting evil and almost always works to disarm the good who want to fight.” Dennis Prager is a syndicated conservative radio host and a columnist for the Daily Signal.He is the author of several books, including Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.. I present to you a syllogism of what I am referring: But why should we presume that nothing is more likely than something? . For the universe to exist contingently, argues Leibniz, it must have an external explanation. If they are right, our entire cosmos may have sprung out of nothing at all. A beautiful example of such implicit reasoning is that expressed by St. Josephine Bakhita, who, while lacking any formal education as a young slave, knew that God, the Creator, must exist: Bakhita came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was” ever since she was a child. Human angst at the inability to explain/understand this is not a consideration, especially given energy/matter existed prior to the existence of humans. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The material particular exists as an entity; the generic does not. I enjoy your posts and have a few thoughts re: contingency argument. Here is a brief and simplified explanation of what has come to be known as the Leibniz Contingency Argument, or the … That generalization, the universe, is not an entity of which we actually experience the existence. 4. Conversely, the probability of there … He has been fascinated with the reasonableness of the Faith since his junior year in high school in the mid-20th century for which the religion text was entitled, "Faith and Reason". Dear Bob, The question of why there is something rather than nothing seems useful in terms of looking at that grandeur of it, but really in the end it seems a little unhelpful for other topics that really matter. Derek Parfit, a contemporary philosopher, declares that "No question is more sublime than why there is a Universe: why there is anything rather than nothing." To get us started thinking about it, let’s distinguish between reasons and causes. Your email address will not be published. And you can’t have something come from nothing. Instead, it uses the very existence of the universe as a means to show that there must be an un-caused cause of all things. The logic of the argument goes like this: 1.  Philosophy starts with our common experience of reality, our common experience of the existence of material entities. The explanation he gave was that God wanted to create a … His answer is: Because there being nothing is as improbable as anything can be: it has probability 0. Captain Denny. You can find me on Twitter, The Armor of God: What It Is and How to Use It. Or better yet, think of a simpler example. Those who reject the Contingency or Cosmological Argument typically do so in disagreeing with this second premise. This is the question Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) posed in regards to the origin of the universe as a part of his argument for the existence of God. Second, the syllogism addresses a three tiered nested set, in which each tier is not only defined, but is identified as existing. Read more at his website, Copyright © A.D. 2018 Catholic Stand | Powered by Astra. The Yogi Berra-ism holds true: “You can’t get there from here!”, where “there” is the existence of a being whose nature is identical to its existence and “here” is the positing of the existence of a doubly abstract, doubly generic “some thing.” To be at a “here” starting at which one can rationally get to “there,” one must reverse the two eccentric abstractions from existence to get back to the actual human experience of existence, which is the experience of the existence of a particular material entity, a this dog. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. Is this statistical explanation scientific? However, the human experience of existence is the existence of a particular material entity. Why is there something rather than nothing? ", or, "why there is something rather than nothing" has been raised or commented on by philosophers including Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Martin Heidegger – who called it "the fundamental question … Since non-intelligent, abstract objects cannot cause anything to exist, the options for how the universe came to be becomes limited to that which is non-physical, immaterial, exists necessarily and outside of space and time. Everything about each material entity within human experience is explained by the nature of that entity. Physicists and philosophers debate the efficacy of quantum physics, and the value of philosophical analysis, to explain why there is Something rather than Nothing. Perhaps Nothing/Something is a metaphor in the same way that God is, with each one coming at the same answer from different sides. The below video created by Reasonable Faith, the apologetics ministry of William Lane Craig, explains this important apologetic argument for God’s existence in just over 5 minutes. It is, perhaps, the mystery of last resort. That fascination has continued throughout his education in philosophy, math and science. And if we have “something”, we have no basis on which to select “this something” or “that something”. 563–580. St. Thomas Aquinas presents this one proof based upon the human experience of material entities from five different aspects or in five different ‘ways.’. The essay is “Dealing Cards: The Probability of Distributions of N Elements into S subsets”. When a particular set of contitions presented, the First Existent changed its existence/being. A theist and anti-theist are arguing about the existence of God. Walls (ed. Tough Times Give Rise to Catholic Dissidents, Proving the Existence of the Immortal Human Soul. Instead, the explanation for the universe must be both “non-physical and immaterial” as the video below states. Thank you! There must exist a being without this fatal flaw, who is the explanation of the existence of each entity within the scope of human experience because its nature is its existence. The theist has discussed the anthropic principle (that the universe is designed to support human life), but isn't getting very far and decides to use his \"ultimate\" question to stump the atheist; \"Why is there something instead of nothing?\" Instead of getting the blank stare he expects, the theist is bombarded with a slew of science that \"proves\" that universes can be created … But wouldn’t this mean God needs an explanation outside of Himself? What exists today is a form of existence of the energy/matter. We do not experience dog per se. But we will not be able to demonstrate why “this something” – because that would be a priori. cit., para. Variations of these can be crafted – the point I am making here is that the conclusion reached by this argument depends entirely upon the assumptions made – the conclusion is essentially a re-statement of the assumptions. Scientists stereotypically offer causal explanations. – Article Image captured from the Reasonable Faith video. Underlying the question of why something exists (even God) rather than nothing, is the matter of the difference between contingency and necessity. This is the reason for his initial question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Unlike God, who has always existed in and of Himself, there is no reason to assume that the universe had to exist. and therefore its existence is contingent on being caused to exist. Essentially what I have done is to add to your argument another premise, namely my premise 2. Introduction "The first question which should rightly be asked," wrote G.W.F. Reflecting on the great issues that animate our lives -- good and evil, truth and beauty, faith and the soul, free will and consciousness -- Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? Identifying a dog as “some thing,” rather than generically as a dog, is a second mental abstraction from our experience of existence. Premise 2. It argues that there must be a Creator of the universe. Leibniz’ Contingency Argument. Some physicists think they can explain why the universe first formed. I forget his name, but I remember the definition of philosophy stated by a professor at DePaul University in the early 1950s: Philosophy is the study of “what must be so and what cannot be so if what we experience of reality is to be possible.”. , including from scholarly articles on why is there something rather than nothing the academic publishing community whether an argument for the time... 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