“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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Ever heard of the Fibonacci sequence? It is a sequence of numbers where each one is the sum of the previous two numbers. The sequence runs 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. What’s fascinating about the Fibonacci sequence is that when you make squares the size of the numbers, it creates a beautiful spiral image.
The “Fibonacci spiral” is found everywhere. It is to be seen in plant leaves, pine cones, seashells, pineapples, ferns, daisies, artichokes, sunflowers and even galaxies. It’s in the arrangement of seeds on flowers. It’s in starfish. It’s in the cochlea of your inner ear, which is not simply a spiraled shape, it’s the actual Fibonacci spiral, with the exact number sequence. There is a mysterious intricate embedded order, intelligence and design in nature. What is behind this mind-boggling sophisticated artistry?
We are told that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Similarly, extraordinary design requires an extraordinary designer. You are free to believe that all of this magnificence is simply the result of unplanned fortuitous collisions of molecules—a belief that requires faith of an extraordinary caliber. Or you can accept a more sensible explanation—this artwork is the work of an Artist, the work of a wise and skilled Creator. But please don’t parrot the nonsense that theists are people of blind faith. Blind faith is exercised remarkably well by skeptics.
All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of the seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world.
I tended at this stage to think of my Christian faith as a philosophy of life, not a religion. I had grasped something of its intellectual appeal but had yet to discover its imaginative, ethical and spiritual depths. I had a sense of standing on the threshold of something beautiful and amazing, which my reason had tantalizingly only grasped in part. Like Einstein, I realized that nature “shows us only the lions tail,” while hinting at the majesty and grandeur of the magnificent animal to which it is attached—and to which it ultimately leads.