How certain are we that God exists?

First, before anything else we have to work together to come to concurrence on the meanings of the important words used in the title of the thread.

Here are the words of the title:

How
certain
are
we
that
God
exists.

I propose for the present that the important words are the following:

certain
we
God
exists.

So, I will get started with what I know from stock knowledge on the meaning of the word “certain.”

What do I understand by the word certain?

But right away I realize that I must first define what I mean by the word “we” because it is we who are certain, that it is we who are concerned with certainty; I mean we know that we can be certain of things: for there are humans who maintain that certainty is not at all possible, for example, there might be posters here who are not even certain that they are present here in this forum.

And that brings in the question, what to do with folks? who are not certain that they are present at all.

Exclude them from the discussion here, because they are not normal humans, and we want to proceed from the departure point that we are normal humans: it’s like in respect of the right and duty to vote in an election of say the president of the country, only normal humans are entitled to vote, abnormal ones are excluded; and if they are violently abnormal, then we put them in safe keeping, in an asylum, first for our own safety, and second for their own safety.

Okay, who and what are we? who are going to discuss how certain are we that God exists.

We are living entities who do know that we have a nose in our face, and we will be at a disadvantage in life if someone should take away our nose.

Or we accidentally lose our nose due to some mishap.

And there are all the other things that make up each one of us that make up the whole entity we call ourselves, which components if we should lose any of them we will be at some disadvantage in life if not in total demise from life, i.e. we will be dead, meaning, no longer living, and must be put away and out of sight in the cemetery.

Okay, so among normal humans we know who and what we are, so let us not waste further time in coming to concurrence on the meaning of we in the title of the thread.

Next to come to concurrence on is the word, exists.

The noun of the verb to exist is existence, and for the present let us all concur by pointing to ourselves, living normal human beings, as an example of entities who have existence, as opposed to anything without existence, meaning ultimately that we are something instead of nothing whatsoever.

To exist means to be something instead of the diametrically opposite of something, which is nothing; if anyone does not know what is something that is totally opposite to nothing, so that he also does not know what is nothing, then I would propose to him to leave this thread at his earliest convenience.

Now, let us concur on the concept of God.

And I propose in regard to the Christian faith, God is first and foremost the creator of the universe.

So, dear folks here, if you don’t have at least the information datum that in the Christian faith, God in concept is first and foremost the creator of the universe, you can also depart from this thread at your earliest convenience.

That leaves finally the word certain for us all normal existing humans to work together to come to concurrence on what it is to be certain.

I will start with the proposal that to be certain of something existing is for us to experience its presence, its being in physical contact to us, so that if we cannot experience its presence at all, then we cannot be certain of its existence, that is what I call immediate or direct certainty, and I will add, the adjective, human, like this: direct human certainty.

That is the first kind of certainty that we all must possess, so that if you claim to not have immediate human certainty of say the nose in your face, whereas everyone looking at your face tells you, you have a nose, then you are also addressed the invitation to please depart from this thread, because you are not a normal human and cannot be any possessor of certainty whatsoever of any kind at all, from the first and foremost certainty possible to humans, which is direct human certainty.

Next kind of certainty is what I will call indirect human certainty which is not founded on the immediate human experience of an object present, but from intelligent thinking grounded on logic and facts.

Let us concur to call indirect human certainty, inferential certainly.

So, let us be concise and of course also precise, I propose that we keep to these two terms in regard to certainty, namely:

  1. Direct certainty – founded on direct experience of an object
  2. Inferential certainty – founded on intelligent thinking grounded on logic and facts.

What do you guys here say?

KingCoil

Sorry, I lost interest in the first paragraph. I’m getting too old for such focused linguistic debate that needs too much definition to get past Descartes. Wake me when we get to
the definition of God. That will make the Summa light reading.

Up until my first sacrament of Reconciliation, I would have said I had good inferential certainty.

Now, I have to say I have direct human certainty. This is because I have never felt anything like what was felt when that priest absolved me. It really could have been nothing less than God.

(Sorry I couldn’t get through the whole thing…I skimmed)

Hah, and here i thought paragraphs and long focused linguistic debates was specificly made for old people :rolleyes:

I feel like it is constantly proven to me that God exists. At mass, in the Eucharist, in the answers to prayers, in the very words of the Bible, in my heart and soul - I can know with certainty that God exists.

However, none of this happened until I had faith. Once I decided that I believed in God, that is when He revealed Himself to me in my heart.
It reminds me of one quote from the Bible, I believe it is John:
“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him”.

I feel like that pretty much encompasses the faith of the world in one sentence. No matter what you see with your eyes, the only truly important thing is what you know in your heart. When atheists ask, “Why doesn’t God just show himself and prove it?” the answer is, because He already did, and people still wouldn’t believe in Him.

I think that we can know God exists. But we can’t prove it. They are two very different things. It is a personal spiritual experience that I do believe requires you to have some amount of believe beforehand. I think that God will only reveal Himself and knowledge of Himself if He knows that somebody is willing to pay attention.

You posted a very intellectual question that requires a very simple response:

  1. We can know, personally, within our own hearts that God is real, by no substantial proof but rather by the graces of God himself should He choose to bestow them upon us.
  2. We cannot prove to non-believers that God exists because they have closed themselves off to His graces
  3. There is no proof. Only knowledge.

This post sounds like someone learned how to be verbose and lull people to sleep to prove a broken point. Short answer - I am incredibly certain God exists and my faith is not limited to this fact, but that He has a personal interest in my life and is constantly calling me to a closer communion with Him.

Pax Christi.

Extremely.

God bless.

Are you looking for something physical that you can actually taste and see?

I think you know where I’m going with this.

I say most of us here live by faith.

Thanks for your reply.

I am so glad you get my idea of the two kinds of human certainty.

But before we go into the two kinds of human certainty, it is crucial that we know and I am sure you do know or realize, namely: that we are dealing with human certainty, that it is possible and actual, and that it is necessary for man to achieve it, each person individually that is the ideal; so let us all avoid discussing the certainty possessed (or not possessed) by non-human agents about anything, unless we do have also human certainty of their existence and their capacity for certainty of their own kind, and most important we can and do interact with them with certainty, and both their certainty and our certainty have enough points of concurrence that makes our bilateral interaction possible, i.e. so that we can work together productively in any enterprise we choose to go into together.

Now, you state that:

**[1] Up until my first sacrament of Reconciliation, I would have said I had good inferential certainty.

Now, [2] I have to say I have direct human certainty. This is because I have never felt anything like what was felt when that priest absolved me. It really could have been nothing less than God. **

I am again so glad that you have the skill of doing self-examination on your mental and emotional experiences, and of expressing your findings in words – that is very important for humans to share their experiences, i.e., by words; otherwise we might have to always bring forth the object we are referring to, by actually bringing it to be visually experienced and tactilely groped and probed by the person we want to convey the idea of (say, by way of an example), a dinosaur.

Yes, direct certainty is better than inferential certainty, not only in the degree of emotional conviction, but also in simplicity and speed by which humans do attain direct certainty of the existence of something; but mind you, on condition that the something can be presented to the visual and groping and probing experience of the other party to make him certain of the existence of the something, for example, that you have with you a diamond ring, by presenting the diamond ring for him to experience its presence with looking at it and touching it and even by biting it to see whether it can be broken into pieces by biting with one’s teeth.

But inferential certainty is required with things which are beyond direct human certainty, for example, the existence of God; why? because God belongs to the category of existing things (let us call them existants), which by the peculiarity of their substance and nature are beyond normal direct human experiencing.

How do we explain why God is beyond direct human experiencing?

The explanation is because with God He is in effect for man both bigger than the whole universe and thus He encompasses the whole universe, and more subtle than the most minutest particles, fields, forces, laws of physics, laws of nature, etc., making up on sub sub sub microscopic scale the composition of the universe.

That is why we cannot come to direct experience of God by physiological contact, i.e. with our biological senses of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling Him.

You have stated that you that

…have never felt anything like what was felt when that priest absolved me. It really could have been nothing less than God.

Perhaps you can do all mankind a great favor to get together with people who have also experienced the presence of and interaction with God, to get together to compare notes among yourselves, and to draw up a list of verbalized criteria, by which everyone else can apply to themselves to ascertain, to come to certainty that God exists as per your and now anyone’s (let us say): special experience of the direct presence of and interaction with God.

Summing up:
Wanted: Folks who have directly experienced the presence of and interaction with God, to work together to come to concurrence on the criteria by which other folks can and do come to the same kind of experience; so that all mankind can now have the direct certainty of God’s existence even without the process of inferencing by logic and facts.

KingCoil

In one word for you, it is by belief or faith that one comes to certainty on God’s existence.

And you would imagine that that is only way to come to the existence of God.

The problem with that idea is that there are people who though not having faith, do want to come to the certainty of God’s existence, and they demand rational proof by way of intelligent exposition founded on logic and facts.

KingCoil

I like what you have to say, but I don’t think getting together to explain what a direct experience with God will do anything remarkable for those without faith.

Faith and an acquiescence of the will is required to experience God. Similar to the idea “you cannot feel loved until you have loved”

Also everyone will have a different experience according to Gods plan and the persons needs.

Also, it is important to note that why We can’t easily find God in our direct experience is because God transcends the physical. He is not the greatest being. Not one being among many, not in any genus or species. He is in fact what it means to be. Being itself. A transcendent cause for our existence.

King Coil,

I’d like your take on this clip regarding the nature and knowledge of God.

Fr Barron, What Christians mean by God : youtu.be/W_Yjue8MXAI

I am absolutely certain that a god exists.

I believe that He is a loving God that reveals Himself to me in many different ways.

I loved your question!

I am fairly certain that God exists because of our own existence. if there’s no God, and we’re not made in His image and likeness, then we have no true intelligence or self-awareness, no intrinsic dignity, no rights, and no right or wrong. If there’s no God, then the only alternative would be that we are the refuse of the cosmos that was lucky enough to self-replicate, and nothing else.

Someone may objects that that isn’t true because of all the things humanity has achieved over the millenia. To that I respond with the eponymous line of the Linkin Park song: “in the end, it doesn’t even matter.” We will all die, the human race will one day become extinct, and it all comes to nought. It’s as if we never existed at all.

So, in short, I could never be an atheist unless I was also a heartless nihilist.

:juggle: As long as we believe he exists, I don’t think God really cares. Sorry I conuldn’t find any hoops to run through.

Linus2nd

Well, you folks still have to try your very best with words to give ordinary folks who are truly curious to know what exactly is your direct experience of God.

Catholic mystics have written about his matter, and some of them have gotten canonized on this account, correct me though if I am mistaken.

On the other hand, there is really no need to experience God directly in any manner possible with humans; inferential certainty which is indirect knowledge of God is possible and sufficient and necessary – by necessary I mean man owes it to himself to know God exists, to make his grasp of reality complete.

That is why I always maintain that as long as we know that God is the creator of the universe, and in brief, creator of everything that has a beginning, that is already enough and sufficient to be complete as a human – meaning: as a human is endowed with reason which makes him distinctly different from non-human creatures without reason, then he is not a complete human unless and until he comes to the certainty of God’s existence, even and already enough on inferential certainty of God as the creator of the universe, and that inferential certainty is grounded on reasoning by logic and on facts.

There is really no need to dispense man from even just and at most inferential certainty of God’s existence, by insisting that God completely transcends man’s capability of knowing Him as to do Him complete justice.

For it is possible and sufficient and required of man to do man’s justice to his rational nature, to know God as at most and at least the creator of the universe, by reasoning all the way on logic and from facts which is to achieve inferential certainty.

Any other knowledge of God however excellent and transcendent is inconsequential, if it does not include first and foremost the very simple piece of information that He in relation to man and the universe, the creator of man and the universe.

What do I mean by man doing justice to man’s rational nature, i.e., his reasoning capability?

I mean it is like a woman is not doing justice to her reproductive capability to bring forth fellow humans, if she does not ever produce a fellow human, so also with a man.

What a waste indeed.

Or another example, as the eye is for seeing the world, it is a massive horrific waste of the eyes in man if he does not ever want to see the world with his eyes.

KingCoil

Modesty aside, I would rather do my own thinking, based on logic and facts, and encourage you to do similarly

What I mean by God is that He is in concept the creator of the universe.

.

KingCoil

Well, if you want to be a fan of Linkin Park and do without your own intelligent thinking grounding yourself on logic and facts, you have the guarantee of the UN on human rights.

However, it is not my intention to downgrade the works of charity of Linkin Park.

KingCoil

.

Summing up:

Wanted: Folks who have directly experienced the presence of and interaction with God, to work together to come to concurrence on the criteria by which other folks can and do come to the same kind of experience; so that all mankind can now have the direct certainty of God’s existence even without the process of inferencing by logic and facts.

Do you want his address or phone number so you go to his house and have a chat?

Give an example of what would satisfy your quest.

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