If we look at “Why something?” a priori, we have no basis on which to select “something” or “not something”. That fascination has continued throughout his education in philosophy, math and science. The quotation precedes the conclusion of the argument. It seems natural to ask why the universe exists at all. It argues that there must be a Creator of the universe. I have recently posted an essay to my personal blog, Theyhavenowine.wordpress.com, which I hope presents the mathematics simply to the average reader. The word “God” is undefined. Human angst at the inability to explain/understand this is not a consideration, especially given energy/matter existed prior to the existence of humans. Some physicists think they can explain why the universe first formed. After all, if we accept that we exist to ask the question, then we’ve proved something exists. For the universe to exist contingently, argues Leibniz, it must have an external explanation. Everything that exists, exists in one of two ways. These explain the actual situation as the outcome of most or all of the possible initial states. 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 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 … Science Will Never Explain Why There's 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. This prior knowledge may be due to revelation or to going through the line of philosophical reasoning previously, perhaps implicitly. Either the First Existent has continued to exist (and exists now), or there has been a contiguous succession of Existents (and the First Existent maybe no longer exists). Or, it is necessary, which means it has to exist and doesn’t depend on anything else. Premise 2: C is a member of B 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." 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. Conversely, the probability of there … The explanation he gave was that God wanted to create a … Thereby it explains its own existence and the existence of each member of the subset of things within the scope of our experience. Sin Is Your Murderer. What does consciousness have to do with our understanding of the universe? Why is there something rather than nothing? Leibniz, is "Why is there something rather than nothing? There just is. Thus the argument proves nothing. To get us started thinking about it, let’s distinguish between reasons and causes. Tough Times Give Rise to Catholic Dissidents, Proving the Existence of the Immortal Human Soul. The title of this book is in itself controversial and so, too, is the book’s theme: “The ultimate why question: why is there anything at all rather than nothing whatsoever?”¹ For some philosophers, that something now exists and therefore that something has always existed is simply a … Let go of expectations and find something to be grateful about, even when things do not turn out the way you hoped, and you will experience serenity rather than resentment. 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. Even a simple, somewhat sloppy pattern in the wet dirt is enough for you to begin seeking an explanation outside of natural causes. 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.”. We don't share your email address with anyone, and you can unsubscribe any time. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. Premise 1: B is a subset of A Your email address will not be published. Is it accurate to say that everything that exists has an explanation for its existence and that the sole explanation for the existence of the universe is God? 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. Nothing, of late, is something of a scandal. It is not merely a name for a certain relation. If this is successful, we will be able to demonstrate “which something”. It’s an odd question that could be thought of as either supremely profound, or supremely silly. 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. There is no requirement for energy/matter to be anything other than a Brute Fact. His answer is: Because there being nothing is as improbable as anything can be: it has probability 0. Premise 1: The existence of everything has an explanation. That’s the big question we’re asking in this week’s show. 2. Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription. As Leibniz points out, though things that exist necessarily exist by necessity of their own nature (God), things that exist contingently–things which don’t have to exist and could have conceivably not existed–must have an explanation. I’ll file this whole paragraph in the … Both Scripture and scientific consensus deny that the universe is eternal, but instead had a beginning. 13 No. The question is whether or not the first three points or more likely to be true than they are false. “The first question that should rightly be asked is, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?'”. As a result, there is no standard format or sections to look for as in the table above. Are Jesus and Michael the Archangel One and the Same? That God is almighty and the creator implies that his nature is his existence. (Op. The question, “Why is there something, rather than nothing?”, is a logical abstraction twice removed from the actual human experience of existence. Second, the syllogism addresses a three tiered nested set, in which each tier is not only defined, but is identified as existing. That generalization, the universe, is not an entity of which we actually experience the existence. Some, like the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), asked “Why may not the material universe be the necessarily existent being?”1. Or better yet, think of a simpler example. Existence is posited of the universe analogically to, not univocally to, existence as existence is posited of an entity of immediate human experience. I hope that doesn’t sound too abstract. Common illustrations of this given are wandering in the woods and discovering a pocket watch. Sign up for our newsletter plus get 50 free theology eBooks in our digital library! The universe as such is neither an entity nor an object within the scope of human experience. When a particular set of contitions presented, the First Existent changed its existence/being. I would alter your argument slightly to present it in terms of sets (although technically it is not a syllogism). 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. Articles will read more like essays, rather than scientific experiments. and therefore its existence is contingent on being caused to exist. But what about points 1 and 2? 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? . 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". 563–580. 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 First Existent can be energy/matter that has always existed. Hymn Story: What A Friend We Have In Jes... Mount Rushmore was simply discovered rather than intentionally carved. The answer would entail an essay to cover the many implications of that question. Learn how your comment data is processed. Is this statistical explanation scientific? We would explain its existence by concluding that it was left there by someone. What exists today is a form of existence of the energy/matter. 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. 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. “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. 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. So a priori gets us nowhere. Practically speaking, we usually already understand the concept of God and affirm His existence prior to a formal and explicit delineation of the philosophical rationale and its conclusion. And if the universe has a cause, it follows that the cause cannot be a part of the universe. Russell, R., 2001. Thank you for your comment. Kill it Before it Kills You. Dear Bob, So the universe exists, and we know of … We would not be intellectually satisfied with saying that the pocket watch is just there. This is evident when the phrase is rendered grammatically explicit, namely, “Why is there something rather than there is nothing?”, Although existence may be grammatically predicated of nothing, it has no philosophical meaning. 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.” Why is there something rather than nothing, asks Amanda Gefter It is a real entity, a substance. If you encounter tire tracks in the mud, you would immediately come to the conclusion that a vehicle had passed through. 1. Here is a brief and simplified explanation of what has come to be known as the Leibniz Contingency Argument, or the … 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. 8 Ontology Studies 9, 2009 Adolf Grünbaum 1. Identifying a dog as “some thing,” rather than generically as a dog, is a second mental abstraction from our experience of existence. Those who reject the Contingency or Cosmological Argument typically do so in disagreeing with this second premise. Thus the initial probability of there being nothing rather than something is one divided by infinity, which is next to nothing, a virtual zero. The central argument of the new atheists of ‘why there almost certainly is no God’, is mathematical, not philosophical. (See Tire Track Apologetics for more on this example). My purpose is to make it simple and clear. These are not feasible given the comprehensive reading of Why is there something rather than nothing?. 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. ReasonableTheology.org exists to help the everyday Christian study theology every day. To that, many apologists would reply that for the universe to be that which exists necessarily it would have to be eternal. It is because it is. The material particular exists as an entity; the generic does not. Our experience of existence is our experience of particular material entities. 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). 8). Why Is There Something Instead of Nothing? But why should we presume that nothing is more likely than something? Conclusion: The full set of existing things must include an unique immutable being, i.e. 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. Also in the essay, the starting point of experience is the existence of the universe. Premise 1. We do not experience dog per se. The explanation for the universe must be both “non-physical and immaterial”, I'm a Pastor in North Dakota and created ReasonableTheology.org to help make theology accessible for the everyday Christian. Your email address will not be published. Thanks! Thereby they cannot explain their own existence. Charles Hodge said, A cause is something. GOD is contingent on nothing. 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). Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. You can find me on Twitter, The Armor of God: What It Is and How to Use It. '” 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. It is two circles of abstraction away from the bullseye of our experience of the existence of things. In theology, the meaning of the topic question is, “Why did God create rather than refrain from creating?” The nature and existence of God are known through revelation before the question is asked. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? Thank you for writing this piece. cit., para. Required fields are marked *. Conclusion: C is a member of A 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. 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. Why there is Something Rather than Nothing, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Thank you! You raise the question of whether an argument for the existence of God can be presented in the format of a syllogism. But wouldn’t this mean God needs an explanation outside of Himself? 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. Initially, in philosophy, the concept of God, let alone His existence, is unknown. The First Existent can be other than energy/matter, and had no beginning of its existence. This being we call God. 2. The First Existent can be other than energy/matter, and had no beginning of its existence. " This question does seem to possess a profound existential force, which has been felt by some of mankind's greatest thinkers. In his essays he hopes to share that fascination with others. However, the human experience of existence is the existence of a particular material entity. I enjoy your posts and have a few thoughts re: contingency argument. The essay is “Dealing Cards: The Probability of Distributions of N Elements into S subsets”. Also, in philosophy, the topic question cannot even be asked. The questions pertaining to "why there is anything at all? I really wanted to be able follow this line of thought. And you can’t have something come from nothing. Why is there something rather than nothing? The question of why the universe exists remains the ultimate mystery. Please check your inbox and confirm your subscription. This occurred on at least one occasion, and eventually led to us now. In the human mind, it is a mental concept. 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… I … Introduction "The first question which should rightly be asked," wrote G.W.F. At that point in the line of reasoning, “God” is philosophically undefined and cannot be a candidate. The is-ness of the universe is one of its interesting features. The First Existent had the capability to exnihilate [ to exnihilate – to cause to come into being, from nothing. ] 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. 2 (2007) issue of Skeptic, I confronted my life-long obsession with Nothing. It suffices that the result is invarian… It is in this sense that I argued that the seemingly profound question of why there is something rather than nothing might be actually no more profound than asking why some flowers are … Read more at his website, Copyright © A.D. 2018 Catholic Stand | Powered by Astra. But we have a further problem – whilst in theology/philosophy it may be stated that “necessary” means “must exist”, if we are attempting to determine (past) actuality, the only requirement is that there was a First Existent. This is especially evident in a line of reasoning of which the conclusion is the existence of God: There must be some being which is the cause of existing of all things because it itself is the act of existing alone. Captain Denny. In our everyday experiences, we expect there to be an explanation for the things we encounter. When predicting something that science will never do, it's wise to recall the French philosopher Auguste Comte… While much of the conversation around the path to openness was constructive … Physicists and philosophers debate the efficacy of quantum physics, and the value of philosophical analysis, to explain why there is Something rather than Nothing. This reply considers only a couple of aspects. In Aristotelean philosophy, dog, as generic, is the principle of form. Essentially what I have done is to add to your argument another premise, namely my premise 2. 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. If GOD is contingent on other things, GOD does not exist. (St. Thomas Aquinas, On Being and Essence, tr. 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. . Raising Upright Kids in an Upside-Down World. Dog as generic, however, has no existence in itself. From W. Eventually you get back to a point where there was nothing. Sorry if that isn’t satisfactory. It discusses modern cosmogony and its implications for the debate about the existence of God. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence. Why is there something, rather than nothing at all? Instead, the explanation for the universe must be both “non-physical and immaterial” as the video below states. is the act of existing alone.” It is an addendum to state: This being we call God. Philosophy starts with our common experience of reality, our common experience of the existence of material entities. In this theory, mind is fundamental to reality. and to annihilate [ to annihilate – to cause to go from being, to nothing. ] 1 Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, part 9. There must be a God. In first grade, we were taught the faith from The Penny Catechism. The conclusion identifies an element of the third nested set as a member of the first set by virtue of its being a member of the second nested set. “Did God Create Our Universe?” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 950: 108–127. However, they also face a different challenge. – Article Image captured from the Reasonable Faith video. “Cosmology and Eschatology,” in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, J. However, the Leibniz Contingency Argument clearly is not formulated to present the God of the Bible as the one true God. The answer is: Because God, as an act of love, chose to create. Apologetics for Kids with J. Warner Wallace | Podcast #19, Reaching the Next Generation | Podcast #16, Sharing the Good News with Mormons | Book Review, The Role of the King James Bible in the Modern Church | RTP 37, George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, How Long It Takes to Read Each Book in the Old Testament (Infographic). Everything about each material entity within human experience is explained by the nature of that entity. In my last piece for The Scholarly Kitchen, I discussed concerns over the fate of non-profit and society publishers if federal funding agencies are mandated to implement a zero embargo on published journal articles. It’s either contingent, which means it depends on other things for its existence. Walls (ed. And I felt a great desire to see him, to know Him and to pay Him homage ….” (The Holy See, “Josephine Bakhita”, para. In the existent dog, it is a principle. “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.. ", 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 … Whether it is muddy tire tracks, a massive sculpture, or the entire universe, we rightly expect that things which exist have an explanation. The question, “Why is there something, rather than nothing?”, within the context of the Judeo-Christian revelation is answered quite simply. The form of existence is “contingent”, the energy/matter is “necessary”. If we look at “Why something?” a posteriori, we regress/traceback from “now”. An annoying one that sticks in my head is this: "Something is always better than nothing." Although there is only one possible ‘nothing’, there are an infinite number of possible ‘somethings’. Conclusion: GOD exists. 4. That article drew quite a response, including from outside the academic publishing community. The question, “Why is there something, rather than nothing?”, within the context of the Judeo-Christian revelation is answered quite simply. Matter is the principle of individuation of the generic and thereby an existential principle.  Leibniz thought that the fact that there is something and not nothing requires an explanation. It’s all about presenting sound doctrine in plain language. Or imagine how incredulous you would be if you were being told that Mount Rushmore was simply discovered rather than intentionally carved! Therefore philosophically, the question is reduced to, “Why is there something?”. They are not satisfied that the only acceptable explanation for the universe is God. A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing is a non-fiction book by the physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, initially published on January 10, 2012 by Free Press. We experience the existence of this dog. St. Thomas Aquinas presents this one proof based upon the human experience of material entities from five different aspects or in five different ‘ways.’. Leibniz’ Contingency Argument. I present to you a syllogism of what I am referring: It has real existence. I have thought about it a lot since reading your comment. We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. –––, 2008. Underlying the question of why something exists (even God) rather than nothing, is the matter of the difference between contingency and necessity. 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. 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 answer is: Because God, as an act of love, chose to create. The universe does exist, but to affirm such is a generalization. Armand Maurer, 1949, p. 47). Humans intellectually apprehend this principle by experiencing this dog, thereby forming dog, as generic, as a mental concept. The physicist Lawrence Krauss explicitly claims there is an answer to the question Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing. So, then, why is there something rather than nothing? It is, perhaps, the mystery of last resort. In a word: God. As with all such logical arguments, if the premises are true (points 1-3), than the conclusion must be true (point 4). This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The one thing that is not explained by the nature of each material entity, within human experience is its existence. “The first question that should rightly be asked is, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing? As such, it requires an explanation. Within the Arts and Humanities, scholarly articles are set up differently than in the Sciences. “God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought, even the categories of being and non-being.” ~ Joseph Campbell It makes sense to ask why this blog exists, rather than some other blog; but there is no external vantage point from which we can compare the relatively likelihood of different modes of existence for the universe. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. It is eccentric. However, Elliott Sober (1983) argues that scientists also accept equilibrium explanations. Premise 2. 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.”. ), New York: Oxford University Press, pp. Apprehend this principle by experiencing this dog, it is an addendum to state this... Is, “ Why is there something rather than intentionally carved and website in this week ’ s existence contingent. To my personal blog, Theyhavenowine.wordpress.com, which means it has to exist and doesn ’ t have something from. On at least we are safe with point number 3 revelation or to through... Because a non entity can not share posts by email Archangel one and the creator implies that nature... 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