Leibnizian Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument argues for the existence of God based off of the contingency of the universe’s existence. In other words, since the universe exists and everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, then God must exist.

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, or Contingency Argument can be formulated as follows:

1. Anything 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 its existence, that explanation is God.

3. The universe exists.

4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.

5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God. (Reasonable Faith, 106)

Premise 3 is not controversial at all. I mean, if the universe didn’t exist, then we wouldn’t be here discussing it. What is debated is whether the universe has an explanation for its existence whether that explanation is God.

Everything has an explanation if its existence whether it exists necessarily or contingently. Things that exist contingently exist because something caused their existence. You and I exist because our parents met. A watch exists because it was made by a watchmaker. Things that exist necessarily necessarily exist because of their nature (e.g., God).

Some will question why the universe doesn’t exist necessarily just like God. The universe is physical like you and I. Why would it exist necessarily? We can imagine a time when objects we observe did not exist. When the universe was very dense and hot, nothing we observe existed. Craig brings up the example of the fundamental particles or building blocks of matter, such as quarks.

Well, it’s easy to conceive of a world in which all of the fundamental particles composing some macroscopic object were replaced by other quarks. A universe consisting of a totally different collection of quarks, say, seems quite possible. But if that’s the case, then the universe does not exist by a necessity of its own nature. For a universe composed of a wholly different collection of quarks is not the same universe as ours. … If it were composed of a different collection of quarks, then it would be a different universe, not the same universe (Reasonable Faith, 109).

We know from experience and observation that everything has a cause for its existence. We can extrapolate this to the universe, a physical object bound by the same natural laws that everything else is. The size of it does not change anything. Therefore, the universe exists contingently and has a cause.

Others will inquire what caused God. If God created the universe, all of space-time matter, then he must exist outside and differently than that of space-time matter. He is not bound by the same laws of nature.

The universe exists contingently. Therefore, it has an explanation for its existence, and that explanation is God, a necessarily existing being.

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9 thoughts on “Leibnizian Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

  1. I’m not yet convinced that the universe is a contingent thing. The reasoning quoted from Dr. Craig’s book seems like a complete non sequitur. The fact that we can imagine a universe with other properties does not imply that the universe is contingent any more than the fact that we can imagine God has different properties implies that God is contingent.

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    • I can understand that. The main thing I look at is that the universe is physical and bound by the laws of nature. What about its nature makes it necessarily exist? The Kalam Cosmological argument, which I’ll share later in the week, points more to the idea that the universe began to exist therefore it has a cause. It’s illogical and impossible for the universe to have existed infinitely in the past. If that was the case, then we could never reach the present. Combine the Kalam Cosmological argument with the Lebnizian Contingent argument, then they tend to make more sense. Yes, simply imagining something to be so does not necessarily make it so. The universe is physical, bound by the same laws of nature, and had a beginning, then something that transcends all of space-time matter would have to be the cause for it.

      Also, this post is intended to just expose the argument to others. There are articles and books that better explain and expound upon the argument (and others). I would encourage you to seek them out if you want to know more about them. Reasonable Faith happens to be one of my favorite books on the subject, but there are other great ones and ones by non-Christians or non-religious philosophers and scientists.

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            • I read your article on the KCA. I thought it was very well written. I look forward to reading the rest of your stuff. I appreciate your gentle tone in your writing and interactions. It’s refreshing when so many people tend to act like jerks. Again, I look forward to reading the rest of your stuff. It will at least push me to do better if not enlightening.

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              • Thanks! I’m glad you’ve had a positive experience with my work, thus far!

                I try to maintain a charitable and irenic demeanor in my conversation. I will admit that, at times, my writing can take a bit more adversarial tone than I would generally prefer– mostly in some of my responses to Dr. Craig– but I am working to eliminate that as much as possible. I think that too many people on both sides of the discussion tend to view those with opposing views as “the enemy.” I don’t. In my opinion, we’re all in this together. If anything which I believe is in error, I want to find and correct it. I cannot do that with vitriol and spite.

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                • That’s a good attitude. I know it can be hard not get frustrated with some people, especially vitriolic people like you said. I have to remove myself or abstain from commenting on some things lest I become vitriolic myself. Thanks for following my blog and interacting with it.

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  2. Pingback: Conclusion of Arguments for the Existence of God | Thomas Hoch

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