Does God explain why there is something rather than nothing?
Certainly lots of people think it does. Even folks who’ve conceded that God doesn’t explain why there are humans and bonobos and annelid worms, nor even hurricanes and eclipses, disease, death and insanity. To them, if God is not to be placed in the shrinking gaps of scientific explanation*, there’ll always be a big enough gap for him at its foundation.
There has to be a ground of all being, a reason for there to be something and not nothing, doesn’t there?
God Explains Nothing
But God, no matter how abstractly conceived, is not an answer to those problems. It might seem like an answer. But it is not.
It fails because it begs the question. What is the ground of the being of the ground of all being? Why is there a ground of all being rather than nothing?
If the question is: “why is there something rather than nothing?”, explanations of the form “because there is an X” are transparently invalid.
It is a trick of language.
We think of the universe as being the everything that needs explanation, but then we ask silly questions. What is outside the universe?, what came before the universe?, are there other universes?
If you define universe as the extent of contiguous space-time connected to the here and now, then those questions could make sense.
But a proponent of this argument wouldn’t be satisfied if the ground of all being turned out to be a black hole in a parent universe, or a quantum fluctuation. They’d say “yes, but why is there that universe, or that quantum beahvior, rather than nothing?” Quite!
But somehow proponents seem to think a suitably abstract, wooly, mystical answer is immune to the same response.
Why is there Something Rather Than Nothing?
I suspect the question is meaningless. At the very least, I cannot figure out what form an answer could have that wouldn’t beg the question.
The only answer seems to be “because there is”, and it doesn’t help to use “God” as a synonym for that and pretend you’ve said something meaningful.
How about you? Do you find the idea that there is a ground of all being compelling?
* This is significant. This objection only works to concepts of God that don’t explain other things by the intervention of God. If you have an evangelical view of God, this post is irrelevant, because God is the explanation of other things. Unfortunately, many of those can be checked, and don’t turn out to be true. So while you avoid the philosophical issue that way, you end up skewering yourself on the fact that there are far more reasons for rejecting the existence of a theistic God.