More on the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God
Why is there something rather than nothing?
If anything exists, then an uncaused being exists. How do we know this?
Something does exist: the universe; and the universe either had a beginning or it didn’t. If it didn’t, then it has an infinite past, and neither has a cause nor can it have a cause, and that would end the inquiry.
But we happen to know that the universe did have a beginning, and since it did not create itself, it must have had a cause outside itself. Thus there exists, in addition to the universe itself, at least one other being – specifically, whatever it was that caused the universe to exist.
Either the cause of the universe was itself uncaused, or it was preceded by an infinite regress of caused causes. An actual infinite regress of caused causes is impossible. Therefore, the universe was caused by an uncaused cause. QED.
What kind of being is this uncaused cause of the universe?
Big Bang cosmology entails that space and time themselves came into existence with the matter and energy of the Creation event. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be:
Other observations enable us to add to the list of divine attributes. The fine-tuning of the universe shows that the First Cause has crafted the constants of physics to achieve a particular purpose, namely, a universe hospitable to complex life. Purpose is a mental activity: only minds have purposes. Therefore the First Cause is a personal being. The fine-tuning demonstrates also that the First Cause is transcendently intelligent.
Why does the universe exist? Why is there something rather than nothing? Because God caused the universe to exist. Then why does God exist? I do not believe there is an answer to that question. God does not exist for a reason: he just is. He is the uncaused cause. He, and only He, contains in Himself the explanation of His own existence. As He said to Moses: “I am that I am. Tell them that I am sent you.”
So to someone who asks, “If God created the universe, then who created God?” the proper response is to point out that the answer is obvious, but that it is the wrong question. The question is not who created God, but how can it be that God exists, uncaused? What is the reason for God’s existence? And the only answer I know of is that He just exists. He and He alone contains within himself the explanation for his own existence.
And we are in awe once again, and our hearts overflow with gratitude.
Many philosophers maintain that the reason God exists is that He is the necessary being. I’m not clear on what that means. Wouldn’t it be possible that nothing at all exists? Then God would also not exist, right? Then He doesn’t exist by any sort of logical necessity. In what sense, then, is he the necessary being?
I suspect the answer is that if God did not exist, then nothing would exist.
So my answer to the question how we know God exists is that we know it from the fact that something that is not God exists and had a beginning. Everything else follows by logical necessity.
To the Maker of a trillion suns – amen and amen!