Metaphysics is the most abstract of anything you could study. By metaphysics we are not speaking of the weird section of the used book store. We use the term in the classic sense, which is an area of philosophy that studies how things exist. What does it teach us? No less than the limits of all the other sciences, and gives order to the other fields of study.
Metaphysics studies “being” (as in running, jumping, sleeping, being). It studies how something goes through the act of being. We can explain a thing’s characteristics…….it may be yellow, heavy, squishy, loud, etc. But all these things are properties of the thing, not the thing itself. How and why is it that the thing exists in the first place? And why does it not cease to exist at any moment?
Further, what is it that moves a thing from potentially being to the state of actually being? (Or potentially existing to actually existing?) Nothing can move from a state of potentially existing to a state of actually existing unless something that already exists causes it to go through that process. A cake cannot cause itself to exist…….something external to the cake must cause it to come into existence. This is true regardless of what Stephen Hawking thinks.
Everything we see has come to be at some point………there was a time when it was not, then it came to be. But if every thing came to be, what caused these things to come into being? There must be something that is always actual, always existing, that never went through the process of coming into being. And this is the thing that causes other things to come into existence, causes them to come to be. And this we call God.
This is the study of metaphysics, the most abstract of all studies. It sets the foundation for all we know, and sets the limits of all the other sciences. Here’s a quote from Joseph Owens book on elementary metaphysics:
“The general view of all reality and of all the sciences that is provided by metaphysical knowledge has likewise its important role in intellectual life. It shows how the various orders of things fit together into one complete universe, and how the individual sciences are to be integrated in the limits of physical science, showing why no knowledge of the super-sensible can be obtained by nuclear physics and why no trace of the human soul can be discovered by organic chemistry. It shows why an authority on astrophysics remains entirely a layman when making pronouncements on human destiny or on the existence of God. . . . It provides, accordingly, a balanced view of the various types of human science.” (p.26)