Some things just seem to defy explanation. Like why over 400 whales recently beached themselves in New Zealand. Or why someone would pay almost $100,000 for a Cheeto. And how otherwise tenderhearted women can support the intentional killing of a fully-formed infant in the womb.
Or the universe. Does the universe have an explanation of its existence? Some say, no, but to me that view itself defies explanation.
There’s been a lot of turmoil in our little corner of the universe lately…some deathly serious, some merely superficial angst and perceived offense. As a theist, and a Christian, I know that God promises peace and wholeness to those who acknowledge and submit to his authority. He is the ultimate answer to all the conflict and disquietude, all the political disorder, all the societal sickness in the world. So instead of simply treating the symptoms of our malady by arguing the legitimacy of travel bans or the rights of unborn children, I want to focus my attention for awhile on the malignant tumor that is the wellspring (or rather the “illspring”) of our pain and suffering and impending death…our perceived independence from the God who created us. Some of us believe in God but for the most part disregard him as we go about our lives. Others deny that there even is such a being.
Which brings me back to my question: Does the universe have an explanation of its existence? If it does, that explanation is God. This is the crux of the argument for the existence of God known as the Argument from Contingency. Here’s how it goes:
- Every existing thing has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
- If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
- The universe is an existing thing.
- Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God.
Premise 1 seems pretty self-evident and intuitive. Few would deny it. Unless they don’t want to acknowledge premise 2. But premise 2 seems quite undeniable if you really think about it. The cause of all space, matter, and time must be immaterial, timeless, personal, and unimaginably powerful. God is the only explanation that fits that description.
So, many atheists who desire to remain so find themselves having to counterintuitively deny premise 1 and be content to admit along with famous atheist Bertrand Russell that, “The universe is just there. And that’s all.” Should we suppose that any of them would not summarily discredit a similar assertion about God’s existence?
Click here for a more thorough exposition of the argument from rock star (in the world of Christian philosophy and apologetics anyway) William Lane Craig. And if you have an explanation for the existence of the universe that doesn’t involve God, I would be very interested to hear it.