The first cause is unknowable

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Keywords: Cosmological argument, First cause, God[ edit ].



“Why God rather than nothing? So the question of being is primary, and always recurs. But no one can answer this question. To assert that being is eternal is not to explain it: the fact that there has always been being dispenses us from seeking its beginning or origin, not from seeking its reason. To think of being as necessary is not to explain it either; it is to note that it can only be explained by itself (philosophers often say that it is "self-caused"), which makes it, for us and for ever, inexplicable. Philosophers are no more immune to mystery than physicists or theologians. Why the big bang rather than nothing? Why God rather than nothing? Why everything rather than nothing? The question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is all the more compelling because it has no possible answer. This is what makes it fascinating, enlightening and invigorating: it sends us back to what I call the mystery of being, inseparable from its self-evidence. It awakens us from our positivist slumber. It shakes us out of our habits, our familiarities, our supposed self-evidence. It tears us away, at least for a while, from the apparent banality of everything, the apparent normality of everything. It brings us back to our first astonishment: there is something, not nothing! And no one will ever be able to say why, since the existence of being can only be explained by being, in other words, on the condition that we first presuppose what we want to explain. The existence of being is therefore fundamentally mysterious - that's what we need to understand - and that this mystery is irreducible. Because it's impenetrable? On the contrary: because we're in it. Because it's too obscure? On the contrary: because it is light itself.”

André Comte-Sponville, The spirit of atheism, Albin Michel, 2006.



Arguments forJustifications

  • Argument forThe pre-Planck universe is impossible to describe

Arguments againstObjections

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