Leibniz’ Contingency Argument

Why is there something rather than nothing? This is a question that many deep-thinking people have asked throughout the ages. It is the focus of this blog (and of my life) to try to understand the nature of existence, and of the God who I believe created the universe.

In the video embedded below, God is described in a way that makes excellent sense to me. The following definition of God is one that I would agree with, although it is of course not exhaustive – there are many other things that could be said about God’s nature:

God is the extremely powerful, uncaused, necessarily existing, non-contingent, non-physical, immaterial, eternal being, who created the entire universe, and everything in it.

One thing that I would add is that although I believe God is immaterial essentially, I do believe the universe exists ‘within God’ and so the matter that is contained within the universe is part of God and an expression of Him. The reason why I say God is immaterial essentially is because all matter could cease to exist, and God would still exist perfectly and wholly.

I hope that you enjoy this video, which I think is extremely well-produced and presents Leibniz’ argument in a clear and simple way. If there is anything about the video that you don’t like, disagree with, or would like to elaborate upon, feel free to leave a comment below.

8 comments

  1. I like this, Steven! The video is well-conceived, and extremely well-presented. It makes the case very well in easy to understand terms. Thanks for sharing this as it has led me to further explore the publisher of the video– *reasonablefaith.org* … great resource re: Christianity and philosophy! Excellent post!

    1. I agree, Lynn, it’s a great video! Reasonable Faith is the ministry of William Lane Craig, who is someone you may have come across before (perhaps on YouTube) engaging in debates in defence of the existence of God. He’s an interesting fellow!

  2. Good, short, precise video, Steven. I think, on it’s bare-bones surface, it goes back to the argument that “something can’t exist out of nothing.” Of course Leibniz puts flesh and sinew on the argument and makes it much stronger, but atheists will argue no matter what. (I was one of them.) Thanks for posting this!

    1. Hi David! Yeah, I was an atheist once too and I think you’re right, its rare for people to come to faith through rational argument alone. God has to work in people’s lives and reveal Himself in some way. Thank you and have a blessed day πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Steven

    Although the argument is logical, Leibniz posited it in the seventeenth century when time and space were considered separate from each other. It is now understood that the two concepts are interconnected so I doubt that his conclusions are as logical as they once were.

    Physicists are trying to make sense of the universe but they are leaving the rest of us behind. The link below gives various contributors’ answers to the question of the relationship between time, space and gravity:

    https://www.quora.com/How-is-space-time-fabric-formed

    Jeremiah Johnson is the fourth in the list of contributors and he gives the most detailed answers even going into the ‘why’ things must be as they are. Much of the mass of what we call matter is made of virtual particles called gluons, randomly popping into existence and disappearing again! Is this a sign of God’s constant hold on existence?

    I think belief in God is an intuitive thing special to humans and I don’t think we can explain existence logically and I’m not a physicist. God is probably so complex that we humans will never understand Him without His help.

    Peace and love to all,

    Dinos

  4. Good post, Steven!

    On the Leibniz Contingency Argument, the atheists and skeptics usually bristle at premise #2. I usually hear them wonder derisively how we make the leap to “that explanation is God.” But we’re simply calling this necessary, non-contingent being “God.” Of course, we cannot prove this is indeed the personal God of the Bible, the point is logically sound and it provides an answer for why there’s something instead of absolutely nothing. For the atheist to refute this, they must come up with a better explanation. To just say, “We don’t know but you’re wrong!” is an irrational non-answer. If they don’t know, they cannot say we’re wrong. They can only say they don’t know. But they are still left with the question unanswered.

    1. Hi Mel!

      Many thanks for your comment. My experience of chatting with atheists is that it can be a bit like banging your head against a brick wall. When someone is set in their beliefs, it seems they will always find a way to defend them. I find it a bit tiresome getting into those discussions, although there is a part of me that loves to debate. I think people only generally come to believe after some kind of revelation from God (which could be intellectual or a spiritual experience) so I feel prayer is often more effective than arguing.

      But I have a great compassion for atheists as I used to be one!

      God bless you!

      1. Very true, Steven. It does get tiresome but I find the discussion helps me understand where they’re coming from. It also helps believers know that our faith is not blind, but we have well-thought-out plausible reasons for what we believe. But as you said, until a person’s heart is open, they will not change their view. Either way, it takes faith.

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