John: Yes. Given the Principle of Sufficient Reason, I would agree with that axiom.
Jane: Would you also agree that if the cosmos has an explanation of its existence, then that explanation is in an external cause?
John: No. I side with Peter Atkins on this one. Are you familiar with his Cosmic Bootstrap?
Jane: Cosmic boostrap! No. I am not. Please, enlighten me with his view.
John: Atkins hold that “[s]pace-time generates its own dust in the process of its own self-assembly.”2 The cosmos caused itself.
Jane: How is that possible?
John: Well, just like the way Stephen Hawking stated in Laura Roberts’ 2010 article.
Jane: You mean: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”2
John: Yes! I agree with Hawking. The cosmos caused itself.
Jane: Is that not absurd, John. Think with me. If we say Picasso caused The Old Guitarist painting into existence, are we not assuming the existence of Picasso to explain the Old Guitarist painting?
John: Yes, I believe we are.
Jane: Don’t you see, then, the absurdity in saying something like The Old Guitarist painting caused itself?
John: Mh! I see your point, Jane. You are saying that we will be assuming the existence of The Old Guitarist painting to explain the existence of The Old Guitarist painting, right?
Jane: Yes. If the cosmos caused itself, then the cosmos was already in existence to cause its own existence. That is absurd, John.
John: Well Jane, Hawking’s said, given a law such as gravity, it would cause itself.
Jane: I do not see how that rescues it for this absurdity, John. Do laws have causal power?
John: Clarify your question?
Jane: Okay. Consider, for example, the law of composition. The total acceleration an object undergoes equals vector sum of all the contributions to its acceleration. Do you think the law of composition has any causal power?
John: No. But it is the law of gravity. Not the law of composition.
Jane: Okay! Consider the law of gravity. An object located at a distance r from a system of mass M experiences a contribution to its acceleration aG =GM/r2. Does such a law have any causal power?
Jane: Is it not a statement of fact describing natural phenomenon that occurs when certain conditions are met?
John: I see, I see. It is absurd to hold that the cosmos created itself.
Jane: Good. So, if everything that exists has an explanation of its existence either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause, and we grant that the cosmos has an explanation for its existence, would you agree that the explanation of its existence is in an external cause?
John: Yes. Since I believe that it is most likely than not that the cosmos began to exist some billions years ago, then I do not have a choice than to agree with you, Jane.
Jane: Brilliant. I just finished reading a paper submitted on April 4th of 2014 by Dongshan Hem Dongfend Gao and Qing-yu Cai. They summarized what I think is becoming a consensus view in cosmology as follows: “With the lambda-cold dark matter (ΛCDM) model and all available observations (cosmic microwave background, abundance of light elements), it has been widely accepted that the universe was created in a big bang.”4
John: I had my doubts on this topic. But after I read Mithani’s and Vilenkin’s paper in 2012 arguing that the universe must have had a beginning, I am inclined to hold that it is most likely than not that the universe began to exist.
Jane: Okay then. Would you agree that if all space-time began to exist a finite time ago, then the external cause of the cosmos must have the characteristics of being non-physical, immaterial, and space-time-less (beyond space and time prior to the beginning of the cosmos)?
John: You could say that.
Jane: John, such properties are of a being that theists understand to be of God.
John: I see. But then if everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, what is the explanation of God’s existence?
Jane: Theists would say God’s existence has an explanation of His existence in the necessity of His own nature.
John: Mh! I see. Unless I deny that the cosmos had a beginning, I cannot say the cosmos has an explanation of its existence in the necessity of its own nature.
Jane: No. If the cosmos began to exist, then it is a contingent being. Therefore you cannot explain it by the necessity of its own nature.
Those in doubt about any of Jane’s assumptions (e.g. the principle of sufficient reason & beginning of the universe) may take her main conclusion conditionally. Is Jane’s argument for existence of God as a space-timeless, immaterial and non-physical being persuasive? Would it change an atheist’s mind? No. I use Jane-like argument not to persuade my readers to change their beliefs, but to offer reasons why theists believe what they believe. I use such arguments not to persuade others but to offer justification for my belief in God.
 A VI, iv, 1769, trans. Loemker, 199
 Atkins 1994, 143
 Roberts, L. Stephen Hawking: God was not needed to create the Universe. Telegraph. Posted on telegraph.co.uk September 2, 2010, accessed September 3, 2014.