Argument from Nothingness

The following is an argument for the existence of God based on the concept of absolute nothingness.

  1. Absolute nothingness is logically impossible
  2. Given that absolute nothingness is logically impossible, any universe which implies  absolute nothingness as a logical possibility is also logically impossible.
  3. A universe without a metaphysically necessary being implies that absolute nothingness is logically possible.
  4. Therefore, a universe without a metaphysically necessary being is logically impossible.
  5. Therefore, a metaphysically necessary being must exist ( or it is logically impossible for a metaphysically necessary being to fail to exist).

The premise that is going to require the most amount of defense is premise 1: that absolute nothingness is logically impossible. Why should we think that it is? What does it mean to say that absolutely nothing exists? Nothing is normally contextual. We use nothing relative to specific objects, concepts or spaces eg. there is nothing in the fridge. But what does it mean to say that there is absolutely nothing? When we try to conceptualize this, we struggle. The best we can do is empty space. But space is something and black is a colour ( also something). But then what is absolutely nothing? When we try to imagine a state of affairs in which absolutely nothing exists, we have already imagined a contradiction, because this would require there to be a state of affairs that can be actualized that is nothing. But if that nothingness is a state of affairs then it is no longer absolutely nothing. So it doesn’t make sense to think of absolute nothingness as a state of affairs that can be actualized. If absolute nothingness is actualized, then nothing, in effect, becomes something in at least some sense. But if absolute nothingness cannot logically be a state of affairs that is actualized ( because it results in a contradiction) then absolute nothingness is logically impossible.

A second point that can be made is the fact that we cannot conceive of absolute nothingness is an indication that it is logically impossible. Often enough, inconceivability is an indication of logical impossibility. If we struggle to make something conceivable, then it is likely that it is not logically feasible.

Let’s go to premise 2 and the rest of the argument. A universe in which only contingent things exist is a universe in which absolute nothingness is logically possible. That is to say, naturalistic atheism ( and arguably other types of atheism as well) imply that the universe is all there is. We know that the universe, and everything in it, is contingent ( it could have failed to exist). The atheist is then committed to the proposition that only contingent things exist. But if only contingent things exist, then absolute nothingness must be logically possible. Since it’s been shown that absolute nothingness is logically impossible, it can therefore not be that only contingent things exist. Therefore a metaphysically necessary being must exist. That is to say, something must exist that could not have failed to exist, because only such a being would render the concept of absolute nothingness impossible. To put it differently, only the existence of a metaphysically necessary being would make sense of the fact that absolute nothingness is logically impossible.

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