Theists ask, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" How would they answer the question, "Why is there a God rather than nothing?" Is this a valid objection to theism?
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If everything has a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just be the universe as God. You can not give a imaginary definition of attributes of God or a flying pink unicorn, as timeless or out space being or uncaused being, as proof of existence. Some have argued that because the universe is like a clock, there must be a clock maker. This is a slippery argument, because there is nothing that is really perfectly analogous to the universe as a whole, if your question is about the whole, because everything is just a part of universe. The question of the creation of the universe, the whole, itself makes no sense. Time didn't exist before the universe, so there is no time for a cause to make the universe in. The concept of "before" becomes meaningless when considering a situation without time. It’s like asking directions to the edge of the earth; The earth is a sphere; it doesn't have an edge; so looking for it is a futile exercise. Why is there something, the universe or God, rather than nothing? This is an illogical question because impose an impossible explanatory demand, to deduce the existence of something without using any existential premises. Of all the approaches to God’s existence, the deduction is the strategy that we would expect to be successful were there a necessary God. But there are not a valid deduction, then we can conclude that there is no such necessary God.
My view is that the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is answerable. The conclusion I've come to is that "something" and "nothing" are just two different words or ways of looking at the same underlying thing: what we've traditionally thought of as the "absolute lack-of-all", or "non-existence". That is, the universe, or "something", must exist because even if there were "nothing at all", this "nothingness" can be thought of from a different perspective as being an existent state, or "something". A slightly less brief summary of my arguments for this are below and here.
But, given this, I admit that I can never prove my arguments because no one can step outside our existence spatially or temporally to see what caused it. Instead, what I'm trying to do is to use the rationale as a base to try and build a working model of the universe that can eventually make testable predictions via a process that I call "philosophical engineering". Predictably, I'm a long way from this goal! Thank you for listening.
From the abstract of a paper I wrote at my website on the questions "Why do things exist?" and "Why is there something rather than nothing?":
In this paper, I propose solutions to the questions "Why do things exist?" and "Why is there something rather than nothing?" In regard to the first question, "Why do things exist?", it is argued that a thing exists if it is a grouping, or collection. A grouping is some relationship saying, or defining, what is contained within. Such a definition or grouping is equivalent to an edge, boundary, or enclosing surface defining what is contained within and giving "substance" and existence to the thing. An example of a grouping, and thus an existent state, is a set. Without a relationship defining what elements are contained within a set, the set would not exist. This relationship, or grouping is shown by the curly braces, or edge, around the elements of the set, and is what gives existence to the set. In regard to the second question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?", "absolute nothing", or "non-existence", is first defined to mean: no energy, matter, volume, space, time, thoughts, concepts, mathematical truths, etc.; and no minds to think about this absolute lack-of-all. This absolute lack-of-all itself, not our mind's conception of the absolute lack-of-all, is the entirety or whole amount of all that is present. This lack-of-all, in and of itself, defines the entirety of all that is present. It says exactly what's there. An entirety, or whole amount, or everything, is a relationship defining what is contained within (ie., everything) and is therefore a grouping, or edge, and, therefore, an existent state. This edge is not some separate thing; it is just the relationship, inherent in the absolute lack-of-all, defining what is contained within. Therefore, what has traditionally been thought of as "absolute lack-of-all", "nothing", or "non-existence", is, when seen from this different perspective, a grouping, and thus an existent state or "something". Said yet another way, "non-existence" can appear as either "nothing" or "something" depending on how the observer thinks about it. Another argument is then presented that reaches this same conclusion. Finally, this reasoning is used to form a primitive, causal set- or cellular automaton-like model of the universe via what I refer to as "philosophical engineering".
Additional non-abstract note: One mistake that both academic and non-academic philosophers make in this area is to confuse the mind's conception of non-existence with non-existence itself, in which neither the mind nor anything else is present. Because our minds exist, our mind's conception of non-existence is dependent on existence; that is, we must define non-existence as the lack of existence. But, non-existence itself, and not our mind's conception of non-existence, does not have this requirement; it is independent of our mind, and of existence, and of being defined as the lack of existence. Non-existence itself is on its own, and on its own, completely describes the entirety of what is there and is thus an existent state. That is, what we've always called "non-existence" really isn't non-existent at all; when thought of in this different way, one can see that it's actually an existent state and, indeed, is the most fundamental of existent states.
Another argument that reaches the same conclusion to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing is:
1.) In regard to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?”, two choices for addressing this question are
A. "Something” has always been here. B. "Something” has not always been here.
Choice A is possible but does not explain anything (however, it will be discussed more at the end of this section). Therefore, choice B is the only choice with any explanatory power. So, this choice will be explored to see where it leads. With choice B, if “something” has not always been here, then “nothing” must have been here before it. By “nothing”, I mean complete “non-existence” (no energy, matter, volume, space, time, thoughts, concepts, mathematical truths, etc., and no minds to consider this complete "lack-of-all"). The mind of the reader trying to visualize this would be gone as well. But, in this "absolute nothing”, there would be no mechanism present to change this “nothingness” into the “something” that is here now. Because we can see that “something” is here now, the only possible choice then is that “nothing” and “something” are one and the same thing. This is logically required if we go with choice B.
This is basically the rebuttal to the first-cause argument. If the universe had a first-cause (God), then what caused God to exist?
Since the creator of the universe must be more complex than its creation (that's what's usually assumed), this is not the best explanation. In other words, it's easier to explain how the universe came into being (without God), then how a God with such capacity came into being. Another well-established concept in science is that you favor the least complex hypothesis, unless there is a good reason to favor a more complex hypothesis. This is called "Ockham's Razor".
There is something rather than nothing because the state of "nothing" is UNSTABLE. Quantum Physics tells us that the state of “nothing” does not stay “nothing” for long. The key to understanding creation is in knowing that gravity is actually negative energy allowing a creation from nothing where the total energy of the universe remains at zero. Matter is the balancing positive energy. Since the state of “nothing” is unstable, the stuff around us is the result of nature seeking stability. Download “The Origin of the Universe – Case Closed” for more. It’s an easy read with many pictures.
The answer is not in that there is "something" but in that there is "this".
The only thing that really shakes my otherwise firm atheism is the Maxwell Equations. Things we take as normal exhibit extreme complexity under closer scrutiny.
A photon, is simultaneously a particle with a mass, and two entwined fields vibrating in a way that one wakes the other dying out, and the other then wakes the first. Look at the concept of a photon up close. Something so trivially fundamental is essentially a very complex concept.
Or take chemistry. Six quarks into three basic particles (electron, proton, neutron) into over 100 different atoms, each with unique properties arranged into a fancy grid of similarities of the periodic table, based on fancy shapes electron orbitals take under different energies.
Why is the universe so complex, ruled by rules of such elegance, simple fundamental concepts flourishing into rich variety that still retains order, though different than its parts.
Why is the universe complex rather than trivial or entirely chaotic? Why is physics so broad, and not a bunch of simple goo ruled by two-three trivial laws or a forest of inconsistent laws of which we didn't even begin to scratch the surface? Why does the simple set of fundamental rules (Maxwell Equations) explode into chemistry - a set of rules much broader but still well within our grasp, and not into endless chaos of something entirely indescribable with laws?
The belief that something of this elegance, this degree of complexity and order rooted this deeply in its laws is a product of a random accident is difficult. This specific degree of complexity, this point between triviality and chaos, suggests conscious effort to set it just at that level.
Of course it may well be that this golden middle of complexity is the prerequisite of creation of self-aware life, and there are countless other universes both more simple and overly complex but they could never develop life. Our is a set of rules that happens to breed sentient observers.
But there's no indication for or against either of these two options.