This will be a series of weekly posts dealing with some basic theistic arguments. The purpose here is to introduce the reader to the idea behind each argument. Strengths and weaknesses will be presented after each summary. As these are only summaries (entire books can be written for and against each) these are not debate starters (with further books written in the comments), but springboards for further study in the theistic arguments. See Reason for the Hope Within for more.
An Argument from the Contingency of the Universe
The universe didn’t have to be here, and even if it has always been here it didn’t have to be the way it is. This means the universe is a contingent thing. But all contingent things depend upon a cause which is itself contingent, but it is not possible that everything is contingent. Thus there must be a necessary (indeed, self-necessary) being which is the ultimate cause of the universe. God is the self-necessary ultimate cause of the universe.
Greatest Strength: Pure contingency is logically untenable, so it is difficult to believe that the universe is both contingent and uncaused.
Greatest Weakness: The contingency of the universe as a whole is difficult to establish convincingly unless one is already convinced that it has a cause.1
1 William C. Davis, Reason for the Hope Within (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1999), p. 25.