The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can’t be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I’ll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: “Your fly is open.” If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look?
If God is a mathematician, man will also be a mathematician. But if there is no God, and man is an accident of evolution, there is not the slightest reason why we should be able to make sense of, or even recognize, the mathematical structure of the universe.
― Dr. Edgar Andrews, Who Made God?: Searching for a Theory of Everything
“The first question that should rightly be asked is, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’” This is the question Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) posed in regards to the origin of the universe as a part of his argument for the existence of God.
Here is a brief and simplified explanation of what has come to be known as the Leibniz Contingency Argument, or the Leibniz Cosmological Argument (cosmology being the study of the origin of the cosmos, or universe).
The logic of the argument goes like this:
1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence.
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God.
As with all such logical arguments, if the premises are true (points 1-3), then the conclusion must be true (point 4). The question is whether or not the first three points or more likely to be true than they are false.
Certainly, everyone would agree that the universe exists, so at least we are safe with point number 3.
But what about points 1 and 2? Is it accurate to say that everything that exists has an explanation for its existence and that the sole explanation for the existence of the universe is God?
Premise 1: Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence
In our everyday experiences, we expect there to be an explanation for the things we encounter. Common illustrations of this given are wandering in the woods and discovering a pocket watch.
We would not be intellectually satisfied with saying that the pocket watch is just there. We would explain its existence by concluding that it was left there by someone…
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“Do you think things always have an explanation?”
“Yes. I believe that they do. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations. But you see, Meg, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”
Christianity agrees with Hamlet when he said to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.” Reductionistic worldviews insist that there are fewer things in heaven and earth. Living according to these worldviews is like living in a concrete bunker with no windows. Communicating a Christian worldview should be like inviting people to open the door and come out. Our message ought to express the joy of leading captives out of a small, cramped world into one that is expansive and liberating.