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Proving God’s Existence

In talks with friends, they've admitted you cannot prove God exists (just as you cannot prove God doesn't exist). Sure, they'll cite things like "the natural beauty" and whatnot, but they cannot prove it.

They'll almost uniformly say that it's a feeling they have. One friend a long time ago described it as a warm feeling where he felt God's protection and love.

But what if you've never had that feeling? Or what if you have but you didn't have the tools to recognize it for what it was? And why would God create such a person capable of having the "feeling" and/or capable of missing it?

3 Responses to "Proving God’s Existence"

  1. A couple of things:

    1. Check out Thomas Aquinas' summa theologica and in particular his 5 ways. In particular, the First cause. I.e. yes there was a big bang, but there had to be someone to set it off, who was it?
    2. Consider love. Is it a chemical reaction? When you are in love, in particular with your wife or your kids, you can feel an infinite amount of love for that and other people. What is the source of the energy for that love? If it were a chemical reaction, you would have to consume more food to make up for all the extra energy you use for that feeling. God is the source of true love.
    3. As a scientist/engineer I had trouble with the existence of God. But try looking at it from the view point of probability. Calculate the probability that everything came together in exactly the fit way to create a sentient being on the 3rd planet in this solar system. Now I'm not a creationist, but I think that there had to be a guiding hand at some point.
    4. Check out William Barclay's commentary on the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John was written for both Jews and Gentiles and interesting time in the life of the church. Barclay does a great job of helping you understand the context of the time and the nuances of the language used. It helps you look past the unfamiliar images from the language of the day.
    5. Almost all of the Apostles were either crucified or a executed for their beliefs in Jesus Christ. Think about it, 12 ordinary folks who believed so much in a Jewish carpenter from nowhere Palestine that they were willing to endure the worst ultimate punishments of the time. What did they see? what did they experience? Peter was crucified upside down, much worse than a regular crucifixion. Do any of us today have enough belief in anything to endure something like that?

    Anyways, good luck. I'm by no means an expert, but if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line

  2. Tim, I apologize for the brevity of this response, but I'm feeling rushed today.

    1. I don't know that we as humans are capable of understanding "infinity." They say most people can't even truly wrap our minds around "one million." But I appreciate the pointer. I've read some of his stuff in the past.
    2. Why can't love be a chemical reaction that triggers pleasure and comfort and happiness centers? We do consume food. Even a starving guy still has the necessary chemicals to refactor them into neurotransmitters and triggers and hormones.
    3. If we're calculating the probability that things came together for us to exist, we're what, one in a trillion? Over an infinite amount of time? The probabilities start to look pretty good to me. Even in our own solar system - a speck - we're one out of nine (or eight), again spaced over a really long time.
    4. How do you reconcile the fact that the Bible was written by people?
    5. And people blow themselves up at the hands of Muhammed. Spies believe so much in their countries that they're tortured for days, months, even years on end without giving up their secrets. People fight and die in wars. This last point is the least persuasive, and Christians don't have the market cornered on "dying for what you believe in."

    Thanks for the comment. This is something I think about relatively often. But if possible, could you answer my question: why would God, if he existed, "build" someone who doesn't come to believe the "truth" that he/she/it exists? Why damn such a person to an eternity in hell (or whatever) for something which you could argue is not that person's fault at all? They say free will, but what choice does someone raised in a Muslim nation have if they're never even exposed to Christianity? And who's to say the Christians are right? If so, which branch, specifically? Does that even matter, or is Roman Catholicism "close enough" to Judaism that both will get in to heaven?

    I hope my questions and responses (devil's advocate, pardon the pun) don't come off as anything but inquisitive and interested.

  3. I know I couldn't have given a better answer than the "warm feeling" before a fire was lit under me a few years ago to spend the time to really sit down and study the evidence we have. What I can tell you now is that there are good answers to these questions. Aquinas is a good starting point, but there is much, much more. If it were quick and easy, I'd just paste it in here, but I think starting with your questions is probably the best approach in this instance.

    The probability of our universe ending up the way it is has been calculated with more precision than what's been laid out thus far. Roger Penrose of Oxford has calculated the odds of our universe's initial low entropy state having come about by chance as 1 in 10^10^123. Speaking of being unable to comprehend the infinite, these odds are effectively beyond comprehension. Having an accuracy of even 1 in 10^60 is like firing a bullet toward the other side of the observable universe and nailing a one inch target ~20 billion light years away. Even over the ~13.75 billion year history of our universe, those odds are fantastically remote. There are many other various examples of long shot odds that are scientifically well established.

    As for reconciling that the Bible was written by people, if God does indeed exist and desires to communicate to us, why would it not be possible for Him to get the message across via the hands of people, His own creation?

    Regarding people dying for their faith, there is a key difference between the Christian apostles and people who blow themselves up for the sake of Mohammed or the others you note. The Christian apostles were in a position to know whether or not they were dying for a lie. Most of the people you mention likely do not know any better whether what they are dying for is truthful or not. The apostles, however, seem to have experienced something directly that led them to their deaths for the sake of maintaining some truth they witnessed first-hand. In common experience, when faced with execution, people don't maintain falsehoods on behalf of lies that they know are lies, something every apostle would have known with certainty had they fabricated the beliefs they were spreading.

    As for your question about people choosing/not choosing via free will, etc.: If God existed, He would indeed want us to choose Him of our own accord (vs. creating pre-programmed automatons). He would likely want to also maximize the number of those who would choose Him freely. To accomplish this end, is it possible that God could allow some to be damned to maximize the number of those who would choose Him freely? Would it not also be possible for God to arrange things such that those who would be damned would never have freely chosen God anyway? Perhaps God could not have created a world different than this one, containing free agents, maximizing those who will freely choose Him, and minimizing the damnation of those who would not. If so, then the allowed damnation in this world actually results in the greatest possible good, no?

    I'll be happy to respond to the rest of the above is making any headway.