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God and the Contingent Nature of the World

contingency

I like philosophical arguments for the existence of God. For anybody who is familiar with this platform, that is not surprising. One of the many reasons is because thinking philosophically and deeply is good for the brain. But also, I find these philosophical arguments to be extremely compelling, and give me great confidence that God exists. And that I can know that God exists and know about God‘s nature, which benefits health and well-being. One of my absolute favorite arguments and the best argument, I believe, is the argument from contingency, or an argument based upon the contingent nature of the world. 

Everything within our universe is contingent or dependent upon something else for its being – for its existence and the way it “is”. From dogs and cats to people and cars. All the way down to subatomic particles like protons, electrons and neutrinos. They are all contingent or conditioned such that they could’ve existed in some other way. They are moving and in fluctuation, for example, but they could be moving and fluctuating in a different manner. Or they could have not existed at all. They didn’t have to exist, but yet they do. 

Now, the explanation for anything that exists can be found either within its own nature, or outside of it. If the explanation is found within itself, that thing is “necessary”, meaning it depends on nothing outside of itself for its existence. It must exist. It actually cannot fail to exist. If something is not explained by circumstances beyond itself, or circumstances within its own nature, then it is explained by nothing at all. 

No Explanation?

If you are thinking, “well, maybe some things having no explanation”, that can be ruled out by what is known as the Principle of Sufficient Reason. This philosophical principle is fundamental to human knowledge and discovery, like science. It is simple and intuitive, and basically means that reality is intelligible. It means that there is sufficient reason or adequate objective explanations for the being of a thing or the attributes of a thing. This also means that we can know things and that everything within reality is “knowable”. Everything has a reason for its existence. That doesn’t mean that we know these reasons, or all of the reasons we desire to know, it just means that the reasons exist and that we CAN know reasons. 

So going back to our contingency argument, the reason for ANYTHING’s existence is either found within its own nature or outside of itself. Everything in our universe is explained by something outside it or beyond it. But what about the universe itself? Could that be explained within its own nature. Or what about a multiverse? Could that just be the necessary entity that conditions everything within it?

Well, no, because the nature of a necessary being is such that it is purely actual and has no potential. It is perfect in every conceivable way and is not made up of parts. And it is not moving like things in our universe move (just to name a few). If it fails to check any of these boxes, or many others I have left out, then it would be contingent upon something else for these conditions, constraints or potentials.

The universe or multiverse doesn’t fit this mold. It could have been infinitely different than it is, is constantly moving and in flux, and could have failed to exist. God, on the other hand, fits the mold of a necessary being whose explanation is found within its own nature. God is the ground of all reality and conditions all of reality. And God is not contingent upon anything else for its being. 

Looking for Causes

Everything in the world (including the world itself) comes to being and then passes away. Even if it has not done so now, like the world, it will one day cease to exist, as science shows. It is contingent. That’s why we, especially in the scientific community, look for causes. But why do we look for causes? Why are we so concerned with the question why? Because we know that nothing in this world is the explanation of his own existence. Nothing contains within itself the reason for its being! And we know that we can know things based upon the Principle of Sufficient Reason. We know that the explanation for the existence of something is not found within that something within our world. So we keep looking and keep going deeper and deeper. But we get to a certain point where we can go no further.

And that deepest or furthest point leads to God. It leads to a necessarily existing entity that could not fail to exist, one that much exist and that has all of the characteristics and attributes of a necessarily existing entity. Those attributes pertinent to this platform and health improvement are things like love, goodness, beauty, and purpose. 

So that’s why I love arguments like the Contingency argument. It just reaffirms the existence of an entity that is quite literally the source of existence, the source of love, goodness and beauty. The source that gives ultimate meaning and purpose to life. We can access this source any point in time with our minds, which can then lead to behaviors and emotions rooted in the nature of that source that lead to greater well-being. 

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