Theists say something created everything out of nothing. But was this something, this God, itself part of the nothing or part of the everything? If part of nothing, it is nothing. If not part of everything, isn’t it also nothing? On the other hand, if it is part of everything it cannot be the creator of everything since that would require creating itself. If something can create itself then everything can create itself, and there remains no way to distinguish something from everything.
Theists counter by maintaining that the something, God, is unlike everything in one very important respect. It differs from everything in that God is a “necessary being” while everything (else) is “contingent”. Contingent here refers to things which interact in a causal chain with other things. A creates B, B creates C, C creates D in this interaction of cause and effect. Thus A, B, C and D are “contingent”. But if A is contingent then something must have created A.
Ah, but if A is God then nothing created A. The causal chain is broken by saying that A is a “necessary” being — which means, simply, uncaused. God’s existence doesn’t require the existence of anything else.
But is this anything other than a word game? Continue reading