Cosmology (Part 5) – Leibniz’s Contingency Argument: Is It True That “Something Must Exist But No One Thing Exists Necessarily”? (for those interested in philosophy/theology)

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION

G.W. Leibniz said the most important question any of us could ever ask in this life is:
“Why is there something rather than nothing?”

GUIDING PRINCIPLE

Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason: “Nothing happens without a sufficient reason.”

LEIBNIZ’S CONTINGENCY ARGUMENT

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence.
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
3. The universe exists.
4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.
Conclusion: Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God.

PREVIOUS BLOGS ESTABLISHED THE TRUTH OF PREMISES 1 AND 2

Everything has an explanation of its existence, either by the necessity of its own nature or by an external cause. According to Arthur Schopenhauer, the universe cannot be an exception. Regarding atheism’s majority view, the universe is NOT an inexplicable brute fact. Regarding atheism’s minority view, the universe is NOT a necessary entity; it is contingent. The universe we see around us could easily not exist. So premises 1 and 2 of Leibniz’s argument appear to be true. However, there is just one more challenge to these two premises that is not used very often, but it should be addressed.

IS IT TRUE THAT “SOMETHING MUST EXIST BUT NOTHING EXISTS NECESSARILY”?

So now we want to examine one more objection that is occasionally raised by a very small number of atheists. They say that:
“Nothingness is logically impossible. So it’s necessary that something MUST exist, but there is no specific thing that exists necessarily. This particular universe happens to exist, but it doesn’t exist necessarily. It’s possible that this specific unIverse would not exist at all, but something must. ”

CHRISTIANS’ RESPONSE TO THIS IDEA

This atheistic perspective suggests that nothingness is logically impossible, so something must exist. This view also says there is no necessary being in this existence (i.e., someone for whom it would be impossible not to exist), only contingent beings that have an external cause (e.g., a contingent universe).

First, why is it logically necessary that something exist? If that is true, it would have to exist in every possible, conceivable world. No rationale is ever given for this idea that “something must exist.” It’s simply an assumption. Simply assuming, without providing any justification, results in circular reasoning.

Secondly, if our universe is only comprised of contingent beings and entities, how would those contingent beings come to exist in the first place? Contingent beings are externally caused. A necessary being would be needed to cause them. However, by this atheistic perspective there are no necessary beings, so there is nothing that could caused contingent beings to come into existence.

The probability that contingent beings would just happen to exist by chance in every possible world is effectively zero. So that is the probability of this argument!

CHRISTIANITY’S EXPLANATION

Theism, on the other hand, has a very sound explanation for the existence of contingent beings. Theism says that there is such a thing as a necessary being who created all contingent beings in the universe. God is an uncaused, unembodied mind, who transcends the physical universe and time, and exists necessarily. Therefore, he is the best explanation for why we have a contingent universe and everything in it.

ATHEISM’S FOUR MAIN OBJECTIONS TO PREMISES 1 AND 2

Leibnitz made these claims in his first two premises:
Premise 1: Everything has an explanation for its existence (either by the necessity of its own nature or by an external cause).
Premise 2: If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

We have now addressed all of the known atheists’ objections to premises 1 and 2 of Leibniz’s argument for the existence of God:
1. We learned in a previous blog that you cannot arbitrarily carve out an exception to premise 1 for the universe.
2. The idea that the universe is simply an inexplicable brute fact has been refuted in these blogs.
3. The hypothesis that this particular universe exists by the necessity of its own nature has also been refuted.
4. The suggestion that “something must exist but nothing exists necessarily” has been disproven in this specific blog.

The most heavily debated aspects of Leibniz’s contingency argument are premises 1 and 2 . We’ve presented to you the most well-known objections that atheism has to offer, and we’ve refuted each one.

THE CONCLUSION OF LEIBNIZ’S ARGUMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

We are not aware of any atheists who will object to premise 3: “The universe exists.”

In premise 2, we established that if the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. In premise 4, it then states that “The universe has an explanation of its existence.” At this point, it should be pretty obvious that premise 4 is true.

So all four premises of Leibniz’s contingency argument are true. The conclusion of Leibnitz’s contingency argument is, “Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God.” This conclusion logically follows from the four premises.

In light of this, it is more plausible than not that God exists!

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