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Why Does Anything Exist At All?

Think Christianly: Why Does Anything Exist At All?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why Does Anything Exist At All?

"It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us."--Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

I like big questions and they don’t come much bigger than, “why is there something and not nothing?” Think about it. It is awful easy for us to take “existence” for granted (we are busy people after all!). People generally agree that things don’t just exist without a good explanation. It really isn’t an explanation to say “that’s just the way things are, pass the popcorn.” Let me illustrate. My wife and I like to go to movies. Suppose we show up at the theatre to watch the latest movie, but stop and ponder why there is a movie theatre here. “It just is” (like a brute fact or something) isn’t very satisfying. On the other hand, suppose we learn that this is the fastest growing area in the city and AMC wanted to build a movie theater here to accommodate all the people moving to town. That is a plausible explanation—certainly more plausible than “its just here.”

Well think of existence like a gigantic movie theatre (this includes stuff like the physical universe and the fact that you are able to read these words). There is nothing about the physical universe and the people within it that is strictly speaking necessary (i.e., it had to be this way). So why does anything exist at all? I think the best explanation for the existence of everything is God. Now you might say that there are other possible explanations and I agree. But are any of them any good? After careful inquiry, I think you will find that they are pretty flimsy, and that they are not nearly as plausible as God.

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