God is the best evidence of why there is something rather than nothing.
- Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence.
- If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
- The universe exists.
- The universe has an explanation of its existence.
- Therefore God exists.
This argument was first made popular and famous by the eminent German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, the man credited with inventing the calculus. In his proposal of principle of sufficient reason, Leibniz tackled the first premise in the argument above. A video through Dr. William Lane Craig’s website Reasonable Faith (reasonablefaith.org) should help elucidate this argument:
*as a side anecdote I encourage you to look at the videos of one of the many ‘internet infidels’ who try to cleverly blast Dr. Craig’s videos, specifically “Paulogia,” a self-proclaimed former Christian who now spends his internet days critiquing Christian claims, somewhat amusingly and cleverly, yet cannot perceive the shortcomings in his own methodology and logic. As you apprehend the material in Dr. Craig’s videos you will quickly be able to see where our friend “Paulogia” misses the mark. Do you think “Paulogia” would ever debate Craig?
Now in premise 1 we postulate that everything that exists either exists necessarily due to its nature, or from some external cause. But what can exist necessarily? Some mathematicians believe numbers and sets exist necessarily, that is they didn’t have a cause, they just exist because of their nature. Some people would say other abstract objects exist necessarily. While not an abstract object, others would say if God exists He is an unembodied mind, for if God exists outside of space and time He has no corporeality. Therefore an unembodied mind could exist necessarily. The Bible backs this up when it says in John 4:24 that ‘God is spirit…’
Things that exist from some external cause, or are contingent, are in front of our eyes every minute of the day, so that is relatively easy to discern and not likely to be objectionable by an atheist or someone demanding evidence for God.
A good illustration of everything that exists has an explanation of its existence is the account by Richard Taylor. (1) Two people are walking in the woods and come upon a sphere about the size of a bowling ball, lying on the ground. They could just walk on by it, but they stop as it clearly seems like there must be some explanation of its existence. Imagine if one or both of them just said ‘well that’s interesting,’ and just kept walking? Now imagine if the sphere was the size of a car, a building, or a planet? Would we just keep walking by it thinking it just exists, and that’s all? Imagine where our sciences would be today if we didn’t seek explanations for anything around us? Of course we want to know explanations of why things exist! That is how we gain knowledge of our world around us.
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
This is fairly objectionable to most atheists but it’s interesting that many atheists will claim the logical equivalent to this when they say, ‘there is no explanation for the existence of the universe, therefore there is no God.’ Well if you are an atheist and make this claim and support it, you have to support the logical equivalent that if the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God! You can’t deny one and affirm the other. It would not be logically coherent.
What is the universe? Many cosmologists agree today that the universe began with a singularity about 14 billion years ago called the Big Bang. From that singularity what we know as time, space, and matter, began to exist. The universe, therefore, is all space, time, matter, and energy. Before that singularity, space, time, and matter did not exist. This is important to understand.
It also stands that the universe was then caused by some external cause, for nothing comes from nothing, and is not existing necessarily due to its own nature. After all, the universe is not an abstract object, it is a physical reality. So if the universe has an explanation of its existence, that cause would have to be outside of space, time, and matter. Therefore we could assume the cause of the universe is an uncaused cause, spaceless, timeless, immaterial, unimaginatively powerful, personal, unembodied mind.
3. The universe exists.
This is not really disputable and objectionable. After all, we can see it and understand it has a certain expansion rate, gravity, temperature, etc. We understand many physical phenomena of it and have even landed on moons and other planets beyond Earth.
4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.
This follows logically from premises 3 and 1.
5. Therefore God exists.
This follows logically from premises 4 and 2. So what is left for anybody who disagrees with this is to supply a defeater which is reasonable enough to overcome this argument. As already shown, the argument is logically valid and airtight, but are the premises more true than their negations? That is for the skeptic to surmount. But let me ask you this, when you look out on the night sky on a starry night, and see the immensity of all of this, and to think you are somehow valuable in all of this, on this pin prick of a planet called Earth, what does this imply? Which worldview really takes more faith?
(1) Richard Taylor Metaphysics 4th Edition, Foundations of Philsophy (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1991), 100-101