Atheist claim: An explanation of the Universe is absurd


Crispin Wright and Bob Hale object to premise 1 in the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument.

  1. Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe exists.
  4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence. (from 1, 3)
  5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God. (from 2, 4)

They assert that the universe does not require an explanation. Why? Because the explanation would need to be found in a prior state of affairs. For example, the explanation for yourself can be found in your parents. Well Wright and Hale assert that the state prior to the universe is nothing, and from nothing, nothing comes. So an explanation for the universe is absurd.


Wright and Hale assume that the prior state of affairs must be physical in nature. That’s a poor assumption since it’s completely plausible that the prior state could be non-physical in nature. In fact a non-physical explanation seems very plausible since that explanation would need to exist outside of time and space (given that time and space were created at the moment the universe was brought into existence). Those characteristics (timeless & spaceless) seem to be consistent with the conventional description of God.