First principles: The Principle of Sufficient Reason

I opened in my previous post with a question: why is there something rather than nothing? It is a fair question that emerges from the commonsensical notion that everything has a cause: nothing can come out of nothing. Philosophers refer to this as the principle of sufficient reason. We understand this intuitively because everything around us has a cause. Rain does not magically fall from the sky, but is the result of an atmospheric process that is dependent on many different factors from atmospheric pressure to temperature. These factors, in turn, depend upon other factors for their causation. However, we cannot follow the chain of causation ad infinitum. Something has to be the first cause; otherwise nothing would have come into existence because nothing can come from nothing.

Three of the great religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, identified this first cause as God. As I discussed in my previous post, St. Thomas Aquinas, defines this first cause, as an uncaused cause. A cause that is completely independent of anything for his existence, an unconditioned reality. Any alternate explanation cannot violate the principle of sufficient reason.

In the upcoming post, I will discuss scientific evidence that indicates that our observable universe or any universe had a beginning; a point in time where everything began to exist. Some people may disagree about its cause or may hold judgment until new evidence arises, but the fact that our universe had a beginning begs the question what cause it into existence, one worth pondering about.

God Bless!

If you are interested in reading a far better explanation for first cause arguments, please read the following essay by Prof. Peter Kreeft: The First Cause Argument. 

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