Though I’m new to defending the Kalam Cosmological Argument, I’ve long supported the argument proposed by Leibnitz. One difficult thing about this is the fact that these arguments are so often confused with one another.
That is, whenever I claim that God is the best explanation for the existence of contingent things, there is a very strong chance that my listener will hear “God caused the big bang”. In many conversations, I don’t tend to bother correcting people (as it is often beside the point being made). Still, I’ve been stuck many times trying to explain how references to modern cosmology don’t have any bearing on the libnitzian argument.
As I’m nearing the end of my discussion of the Kalam, I thought I’d spend some time on this argument.
It could be summarized as follows:
Premise 1: Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its being, or on some outside thing.
Premise 2: If the universe has an explanation for its existence, that explanation is God
Premise 3: The universe exists
Conclusion: Therefore, the explanation for the universe is God
This is logically consistent, meaning that the only real area of controversy is over the premises. The first point to keep in mind is that this argument is consistent both with the universe having a beginning and its being eternal. It is also consistent with a multiverse, or anything else cosmologists claim about the origin of the universe.
Rather, this argument is based on the idea that things, even eternally existing things, don’t simply exist for no reason at all. That is the heart of the first premise. And, in my experience, is the real area of controversy between theists and materialists.
And this strikes me as very strange. The idea that nothing comes from nothing is a vital part of the foundations of science. To claim that things can exist for no reason at all seems to be an abandonment of all inquiry and appeal to what philosophers call a brute fact.
As a lover of inquiry (both scientific and philosophical), I can’t bring myself to accept this idea. It seems far more reasonable that there is indeed a reason why the universe exists. So, the interesting premise, in my view, is the second one.
But I’ll explain why I accept it in a future post.