Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – The Ultimate Origin of Things

  • Article (book excerpt)
  • 3800 words
  • Level: high school and above

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is credited with the invention of the mathematics of Calculus. Isaac Newton is also so credited, but it is the notation and language of Leibniz that is used in modern calculus. Here Leibniz argues that reason points to the existence of a being outside the universe who governs it and built it:

In addition to the world or aggregate of finite things, there is some unique Being who governs, not only like the soul in me, or rather like the Ego itself in my body, but in a much higher relation. For one Being dominating the universe not only rules the world but he creates and fashions it, is superior to the world, and, so to speak, extra mundane, and by this very fact is the ultimate reason of things. For the sufficient reason of existence can be found neither in any particular thing nor in the whole aggregate or series.

This work was originally written in Latin under the title De Rerum Originatione (click here for the original Latin). Translations of this work vary somewhat, so three are listed here:

Click here for an excerpt selected by the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (, which is edited by the Advanced School for Interdisciplinary Research, operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, and directed by Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti.

Click here for a translation from The Monadology and Other Philosophical Writings (1898).

Click here for a translation from The Philosophical Works of Leibnitz (1890).