An argument for the existence of God: The Argument From Contingency

The argument for the existence of God from contingency was an argument that was originally proposed by the Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz. Some Philosophers of the theist tradition noticed some seemingly errors in the original argument. The argument as it has been reformulated today is as follows:

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause)

2. If the universe has an explanation of it’s existence, then that explanation is God. (This is actually not a controversial premise. More on that later.)

3. The universe exists

4. The universe has an explanation of its existence (1,3)

5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God. (2,4)

Premise 1
Now this principle seems to be self-evident, prima facie.

But also, I think from experience we know that things don’t just exist as brute facts. If you found a ball in a forrest and asked the reason why it is there, and then your friend responds, “No reason, it just exists as a brute fact,” you’d just shake your head. Now suppose we increase the size of the ball to the size of California, we still have the same problem. Next, we increase the size of the ball to the size of earth, same problem. Now we increase the size of the ball to the universe itself, same problem .

Now the atheist usually charges the theist here with reasoning from composition. But that is NOT what the theist is doing. Rather, the atheist is arbitrarily jumping off the principle once that ball is the size of the universe. Arthur Schopenhauer coined this as, “The Taxicab Fallacy.”

But suppose now the atheist somehow maintains that something has to exist because nothing is not an actual possibility. Well this is clearly begging the question in favor of atheism, and I think the atheist needs to be called out if he were to make this silly suggestion.

But what if the universe were eternal? We would still have the same problem of asking, “Well why does the eternal universe exist rather than nothing?”

Premise 2
If atheism is true, then the universe (cosmos) would not have an explanation of it’s existence since it would be all that exists. Or what we would call a brute fact.

This is the equivalent of saying that if the universe does have an explanation, than atheism is false.

Once again, this is not the controversial premise for atheist philosophers. The controversy is Premise 1. I don’t see any good reason to deny the first premise, and I see every reason TO AFFIRM premise 1.

Premise 3
Axiomatic and demonstrably true

Premise 4


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