In his "The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics," Martin Heidegger asks the primary question in philosophy, which is: Why do we have something rather than nothing at all? The question may seem abstract at first, but the essential issues Heidegger raises are ones that we all will wrestle with at some point. Why are we here and where has everything that we know come from?
It should first be pointed out that the atheist and the theist both believe in the eternal. As succinctly pointed out by the great theologian Jonathan Edwards, you must go back to something that is eternal because, as Edwards put it,
• Something exists
• You don't get something from nothing
• Therefore, a necessary and eternal 'something' must exist
The atheist claims that the eternal 'something' is the natural universe; whereas the theist says an eternal Creator brought everything we know into existence. The question then becomes, which possibility is supported by the best evidence?
Scientists are unequivocal in their response that the universe we know and live in is not eternal. Every intellectually honest drop of evidence points to the fact that the universe – at some point in the past – exploded out of nothing into what we know today.
Anything that has a beginning (such as our universe) cannot be eternal and therefore must have a cause beyond and/or behind it. The Scottish skeptic David Hume admitted as much when he wrote, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause." This truth can be put into the following series of logical statements:
• Everything that begins to exist must have a cause
• The universe began to exist
• Therefore, the universe had a cause
Because there are only two, eternal 'somethings' that are possible – the universe and a Creator – and one of them has been ruled out by all the evidence we have, a reasonable conclusion is that an eternal Creator is the cause for why we have something rather than nothing at all. This line of argumentation is often called the cosmological argument for the existence of God.
1) Either the universe is eternal (did not have a beginning)
2) Or was created by someone eternal
3) Or nothing is the cause of everything
Only one is a sufficient explanation...and only one can possibly be true.