Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

This is an interesting question to anybody. Why does something exist? Why, and what reason could there be for existence? If we could prove there was a God, why would God exist?

I would maintain that something that we are to find time and time again in nature is the sense of balance. Indeed, some atheistic physicists like Victor J. Stenger have argued that everything we observe in the laws of physics is merely some kind of elementary balance - spontaneous symmetry breaking.

In one idea of the universe, it's proposed that all energy is the equal of negative energy. Negative energy is gravity from stars and other such objects. Matter has an opposite of anti-matter - almost exactly equal in the beginning of the universe. It seems that when scientists do there calculations, the things add up.

I would propose another kind of symmetry to answer the question, why does God exist, or anything? I would propose that everything that exists is the equal of everything that does not exist. There is, I propose a kind of balance in nature - where things that don't exist are balanced by that which does exist. So the sum of 'existence' is merely the polar mirror for that which has no existence.

This is a mildly fanciful viewpoint I suppose. However this 'existence symmetry' is a possible answer to the question of why something exists rather than nothing.

And because everything that does not exist is the equal of everything except God, then God must exist.


Blogger Øystein said...

From Jim Lazarus' blog:

#1. Why is there something rather than nothing?

There is something rather than nothing because ‘nothingness’ is a metaphysical impossibility of sorts. Bede Rundle and Adolf Grunbaum have done a good job treating this issue. Rundle, in his [plainly titled] book, “Why There is Something Rather than Nothing”, gives arguments for why there must always have been something or other existing infinitely into the past. Grunbaum likewise argues that questions such as these are rather nonsensical in his [pretty long] paper, “The Poverty of Theistic Cosmology”. For those who are skeptical that there can be actualized infinites, Graham Oppy’s book on the topic, “Philosophical Perspectives on Infinity”, is an excellent book to purchase and study carefully.

Also, Jim Still wrote an excellent paper on Wittgenstein’s point of view about questions of this sort, entitled, “The Mental Discomfort of ‘Why?’”. In his conclusion, Still writes,

I have argued that it is misguided to attempt to answer literally questions that we pose from the mystical feeling that the world should exist. Wittgenstein realizes that the mental discomfort of "Why?" is not satiated by the appeal to a supernatural being; therefore, it is incorrect to view Wittgenstein as holding a traditional view of God. The person who asks "why is there something rather than nothing?" is expressing an attitude toward the brute fact of existence. The believer is not asking how a thing came to be, but expressing the mystical feeling that a thing is. We need only see how the limiting question "Why?" lingers long after the cosmological proof is employed to see that this is so. No matter what terminus the proof finally settles upon, "Why?" continues to push itself beyond the limits of language. There can be no answer from reason to the problem of life.

Blogger Will G said...


I think that nonexistence probably is incoherent, because human linguistic abilities, in other words, our conceptual abilities, cannot imagine nonexistence. If we cannot conceptually imagine something, then by definition it is incoherent.

But that is different from an existential claim, that God exists, or the universe exists, etc.

So I really don't think any meaningful answer can be given by philosophy, I guess, to this question.


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