August 21, 2015

Can It Be Demonstrated That God Exists?


Can It Be Demonstrated That God Exists? 
Yes

Romans 1:18-20 ~ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Demonstration can be made in ways other than Scripture even though Scripture should be our primary source of anything concerning God. Another way is through a cause, and is called "a priori," and this is to argue from what is prior absolutely. Yet, another is through the effect, and is called a demonstration "a posteriori"; this is to argue from what is prior relatively only to us. When an effect is better known to us than its cause, from the effect we proceed to the knowledge of the cause. Hence the existence of God, in so far as it is not self-evident to some people (even though the Bible says it is possible for it to be self-evident to all in Romans 1), can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us for those to which it is not self-evident.

Nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality (to a lesser extent this is also Parmenides’ ontological being/non-being). In other words: The argument from motion or cause. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and again and again. But this cannot go on to infinity (infinite regress; violation of logic), because then there would be no first mover. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover (Aristotle’s Uncaused Cause), put in motion by no other; and this is understood (by me) to be God.

The next way is taken from possibility and necessity. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these things to have always existed. At some point they did not exist. Humans for instance. It stands to reason that if everything is possible not to have been (ontologically), then there has to have been a time when nothing was in existence. This seems logically untenable. 

Why?

For nothing to have been in existence, there has to have been something because nothing is an ontological negative of something or existence. In other words, that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing and then removing it or taking it away. Said yet another way, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence...this is obviously absurd. That “something” that already existed to truncate the existence from nothingness is clearly God.


Of course these ideas have been borrowed from Thomas Aquinas and updated to today’s language. I’ve matched them against Romans 1:18-20 for a reason though. Romans in these verses says that God has made Himself evident to those that will merely look and see and understand what has been made and shown around them. I merely (and Aquinas) have logically show this to be exactly true and I did it in less than a page of space with Scripture and mere words of men. I did not need to work miracles to make a reasoned point. In this post I wanted to show plainly that the Bible corroborates reason and proper reasoning corroborates the Scripture.

Therefore it exposes people who don't know how to properly observe and interpret their surroundings and reason for the existence of God. I merely wished to expose them for what they are....

People who believe something in faith, without knowledge. 

This primarily points towards atheists and agnostics. This then leads to the logical conclusion stated at the end of verse 20 in Romans. They literally have absolutely no excuse for not believing the existence of God rather than the non-existence of God. 

Why?

Well…if presented with evidence in the world around you and through reasoned thought it has to be concluded that God has to exist. Wouldn’t you arrive at the same conclusion? If you do not it then becomes an issue of ability to see and ability to reason and respond coherently to what you see and what you’ve reasoned. If you cannot do these things…you must consider that either your interpretation of data is incorrect, your vision is flawed or your thinking must be considered to be incomplete. In other words...you didn't think through the problem to its logical end.

4 comments:

D Schram said...

As a Christian I wholeheartedly agree with you but an atheist reading this may find that he has just been insulted.

Andy Pierson said...

Yes, I've often wrestled with how to write these types of things to not wholly insult someone while simultaneously maintaining the impact of the obvious. I have found there will always be a chasm that cannot be bridged because those who "chose" not to believe in God are purposely suppressing knowledge of God (Romans 1:18). The Greek of suppress /κατεχόντων means to literally push something down in an attempt to pin it to the ground. It was used to refer to wrestlers in the original Olympic games. Not only don't they want to know about God. Mentally they are trying to defeat the idea of Him completely. To me this is telling me that they are by their nature combative to the idea of Deity in general. No matter how gently I've approached people with logic and reasoning and led people to proper thinking through leading and loaded questions to get them to see their own flaws in their thinking and reasoning...they get angry. They get angry because they have been exposed as being wrong and it is human nature to feel vulnerable in these situations. Depending on the temperament, they can also become retaliatory and vindictive. In those situations it usually ends up in an ad hominem attack. Most people are smart enough to realize logically and through reasoning they do not have a leg to stand on at that point.

David Wilson said...

Hi Andy, thanks for your post (saw the share on Twitter). While, I agree with the overall ontological argument, I cannot agree that the only conclusion must be God (in the sense of our personal Creator). The only conclusion is that there must have been "something." While Christians and other theists insist that this is God, others may point to a force or something like that.
A common argument against a material object or forc being a first cause can be countered by asking how an immaterial "spiritual" object or being can interact with a material thing.

Anyways, while I may agree with the argument, I just wanted to point out that there is less certainty than we may desire. And that's what an atheist will latch onto if confronted with the argument. Thanks!

Andy Pierson said...

You are correct David. Usually when I get the blunt retorts from atheists about "forces" I usually resort to ask them from whence the force originated and I ask them to define force for me. They often stare vapidly at that point because frankly, they don't really know what force in physics is. They can quantify it and it is represented by variables in equations but to actually define it and determine its origin is often a Gordian Knot for them. As for an immaterial spiritual object. I figure it this way. God has chosen not to reveal Himself in an empirical manner in which to prove Himself to the non-believer but it is my firm opinion based on the precedence of Scripture that He is capable of entering the empirical/naturalistic realm if He wants to. It only seems to be a one way street for the atheist, not the theist who measures all knowledge. I believe this might be because of the atheist's self-limiting epistemology (empirical/naturalism). Does that make sense? They don't want to mix an match a posteriori/post evidence and a priori/pre-evidentual where I as a Christian know both are possible because the Bible has revealed that fact to me.

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