This is the third in a series of posts responding to a list of 20 arguments for the existence of god from this article. To be fair, the article does state that these arguments don’t make a case except when taken all together, using the metaphor of a rope, but I am analyzing them individually so I have responses when I encounter the argument later in other sources.
- We notice around us things that come into being and go out of being. A tree, for example, grows from a tiny shoot, flowers brilliantly, then withers and dies.
- Whatever comes into being or goes out of being does not have to be; nonbeing is a real possibility.
- Suppose that nothing has to be; that is, that nonbeing is a real possibility for everything.
- Then right now nothing would exist. For
- If the universe began to exist, then all being must trace its origin to some past moment before which there existed—literally—nothing at all. But
- From nothing nothing comes. So
- The universe could not have begun.
- But suppose the universe never began. Then, for the infinitely long duration of cosmic history, all being had the built-in possibility not to be. But
- If in an infinite time that possibility was never realized, then it could not have been a real possibility at all. So
- There must exist something which has to exist, which cannot not exist. This sort of being is called necessary.
- Either this necessity belongs to the thing in itself or it is derived from another. If derived from another there must ultimately exist a being whose necessity is not derived, that is, an absolutely necessary being.
- This absolutely necessary being is God.
The main problem I see with this argument is in step 5. According to Big Bang theory, the best explanation we have for the evidence right now, the universe as we know it did indeed have a beginning, but that beginning was not a point wherein there existed nothing. The Big Bang acted on a singularity.
Further, step 6 is just flat wrong. We have discovered particles that appear from nothing.
I have nothing else to say about the rest of the argument; as it fails on those two crucial points, it cannot be convincing, because it is not logically (empirically?) sound.