How do we know there is a God?


#1

How do we know there is a God? I know that ancient civilizations believed in some form of God, Gods, Goddesses, or Gods and Goddesses but how can we prove there is a God. I am a practicing catholic and believe in God even if there is no answer for this question. I would just like to know how you could prove that there is a god. Thanks.

K.O.T.I.
Hatheract


How do you know about God's existence and providence?
#2

[quote=Hatheract]How do we know there is a God? I know that ancient civilizations believed in some form of God, Gods, Goddesses, or Gods and Goddesses but how can we prove there is a God. I am a practicing catholic and believe in God even if there is no answer for this question. I would just like to know how you could prove that there is a god. Thanks.

K.O.T.I.
Hatheract
[/quote]

Define “God”.


#3

[quote=Ahimsa]Define “God”.
[/quote]

From chapter 3 of Exodus

“But,” said Moses to God, "when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?"
14
6 God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.”

“God” is the name we give to reality. Do you believe that reality is real. Do you believe that existence exists?

The questions seem rather absurd.

A more relevant question is this:

Can we have a personal relationship with reality?

The Christian answer is YES!

Jesus teaches us to come to know reality the way an only and most beloved son knows his own father. It takes practice, focus, and determination. But that is our goal - to know Reality the way Jesus did.

peace

-Jim


#4

Wow, there are a number of ways, different things work with different people:

  1. Tradition - their parents tell their kids about God and Christianity. The kids believe their parents. This tradition continues
  2. Observe! Look at the world around you. Think about this - we can’t produce a photograph, a PICTURE, as beautiful as what exists in real life. How did nature and our world get here?
  3. Read something like Thomas Aquinas Summa of the Summa - he has the logical explanations of why their must be a God. Good if you are into or want to think philosophically.
  4. Do the homework to figure out why so many people believe the Bible is real and the truth, then read it.
  5. I have also read that some people believe that the belief in God is intrinsic in all people, it’s inside you if you reflect and let it out - it’s like the human spirit contains this truth already.

Probably other ideas, this was the list I could think of…


#5

This is an email conversation I had with a friend:

Me:

I hope you don’t mind this note. I’m not trying to start a jihad or anything. But I was thinking about what you said before lunch about it being irrational or unscientific to believe in the existence of God. All I can tell you (as one rocket scientist to another) is if I thought it was irrational, I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I can’t prove it by showing you God in concrete substance. But I think the circumstantial evidence is all around us. You’re the lawyer here, but having served as a juror, it has been explained to me that circumstantial evidence is sufficient to prove a case in a court of law (contrary to conventional Hollywood myth). One piece of evidence that I personally find to be compelling is the existence of biological systems. But first, consider much less complex engineering systems. You could pick any example, but take a typical traffic light. It has a sensing system in the lanes leading up to it to let it “know” when traffic is approaching from one direction and when it is clear in another direction. It’s control system relies on this sensing system to change the color of the light. This is an example of a very simple system. Now if you concluded upon seeing such a system in operation that it got there all by itself (i.e., no intelligence is responsible for it), you’d be laughed at. And rightfully so, because that would be irrational. It has an intelligent purpose, and its components have an intelligent pupose, therefore there must be an intelligence behind it. Biological systems are much more complex than anything we engineers have had a hand in. Look at the human body with it’s sensory systems, it’s immune system, it’s respiratory system, it’s circulatory system, it’s neurological system, it’s genetic code, etc. All these subsystems serve an intelligent and necessary purpose to the proper functioning of the body. If a simple system like a traffic light is circumstantial evidence of an intelligent designer, how can the body or any other complex biological system be anything less? It’s irrational to assume that inanimate matter can arrange itself into a biological system. It’s also unscientific to assume this could happen because there is no scientific data that I’m aware of that demonstrates it.

[size=2]My friend:[/size]

[size=2]The difficulty I have with this line of reasoning is that once you make the claim that an intelligent creator is required for any intelligent system to exist it leads to an infinite circular logic problem. This is similar to the “chicken or the egg” paradox.[/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]Let me explain: if a system as complex as a human being is to be created from nothing, the creator of this human system must arguably be more complex than the system he is creating. (e.g., a human might create a table from a tree, but a tree certainly could not create a human). A supreme being who is infinitely more complex than a human (since he can create the universe and all that is in it) must have been created from something or someone. [/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]Who then created the creator? To assume that the creator “just is”, is internally inconsistent with the argument that humans, because they are so complex, could not have merely evolved. A being such as the creator who is infinitely more complex than a human would be infinitely more unlikely to have come into being without his own creator. This leads to an infinite number of creators with infinitely increasing complexity. [/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]What is the answer? Who knows. I personally think that it is as good an argument that the universe “just is”, as the creator “just is” (i.e. that neither had their own creator). [/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]As far as circumstantial evidence is concerned: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. For example, if I were to claim that I could fly, walk on water, read peoples minds, cold fusion, etc., I would have to have pretty clear and convincing evidence. Merely showing that I crossed the Pacific Ocean in five minutes does not prove that I can fly (and really fast at that). I could have stepped into a worm hole, or some other unknown method. I would have to demonstrate that I did in fact fly, and probably explain the phenomenon behind human unaided flight, before my hypothesis would be accepted by the scientific community.[/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]This same standard should be applied to the question of “where did humans come from?”. This level of proof of a creator definitively creating humans has not be attained despite 2000 years of trying.[/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2][size=2][/size]
[/size]


#6

continued…

Me:

[size=2]You’re right that it can lead to a never ending creator of creator of creator problem. But it doesn’t have to. In the creator of creator of creator scenario, each creator would have to be superior to its “child” but inferior to its “parent” because the parent creator defines the attributes that the child creator would have. This implies a succession of finite creators (finite in knowledge and power). But if the real creator is infinite (i.e., without limit) in knowledge and power, there can only be one. The simultaneous existence of multiple, infinitely powerful creators is a contradiction because one’s “sphere of operation” would be limited by the “sphere of operation” of another. Limited power is not infinite. And a finite God is no God at all. So your difficulty can be resolved by the notion of one, uncreated, infinitely powerful God who “just is”.
It’s interesting that you use the term “just is”. I hesitate to bring up the bible during this discussion. I understand that you may not accept its credibility. So just take this as an aside. You may be familiar with the well-known Old Testament account of Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush. In that exchange, Moses asked God his name and God replied “I am”.

As for your point about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence: I’m still waiting for the evidence that inanimate matter can assemble itself into a biological system, even a relatively simple, single cell amoeba. The inanimate matter would require advanced knowledge of the notion of food and the need for mobility to get food so that it could design and build a mobile, food processing amoeba. Where is the scientific evidence that this can happen?

[/size]


#7

[quote=Hatheract]How do we know there is a God? I know that ancient civilizations believed in some form of God, Gods, Goddesses, or Gods and Goddesses but how can we prove there is a God. I am a practicing catholic and believe in God even if there is no answer for this question. I would just like to know how you could prove that there is a god. Thanks.

K.O.T.I.
Hatheract
[/quote]

peterkreeft.com/featured-writing.htm


#8

Hi Hather___,

There are many proofs of the existence of God. But a person never “knows” God exists unless he/she accepts the proof. Among great minds, some have accepted God and some have not. So it is much more a question of will than of intellect…

Here’s another way of approaching the question. “How do we know there isn’t a God?” There is a general human consensus over time and space that there is a Supreme Being creator of all things. One might very well hold that the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of those who do not believe.

There was a time when people believed that the sun went around the earth and that the earth was flat. This was unversally accepted. Then some people came along who held different views. Galileo, for example. Now these people were required to bring solid proof for what they advanced and it took many years for people to accept it. What’s more people were justified in being skeptical.

In the same way, if you hear someone challenging the existence of God, you can comfortably say, “Most humans who exist and have existed accept the existence of God. It is up to you to prove the contrary.”

But when you come right down to it, accepting the existence of God is in itself a grace of God. No amound of reasoning is going to convince someone that God exists. It is only after you have accepted God with your will that you can accept him with your intellect.

Robert


#9

Hather,

I would recommend going to Peter Kreeft’s website, peterkreeft.com, and under “selected writings” there’s a number of short essays on the question, “Does God exist?” . He has taken Aquinas’ “five ways” and put them in laymans’ terms, as well as other arguments. Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College, and has written several books, some on aplogetics, that would help you with this question.

God bless.


#10

Not that it is concrete proof or anything but it certainly eases my mind during the spells of doubt many face.

I consider the actions of the Apostles both before and after the Resurrection.

Before: They denied Christ and hid themselves. They cowered in fear over their own earthly lives.

After: After witnessing Jesus arise after the Crucifixion they were new men. They were willing to die spreading the Word of Christ. In fact, 11 of the 12 did just that. They died horrible deaths that most would avoid by saying anything their tormentors wanted. Yet they did not. Why? What changed?

Well, simply, they saw Christ again after He was crucified and died.

Hope that helps.


#11

How do we know there is a God?

I answer by simply saying how can we prove there is no God.

For the believer evidence is not necessary…For the unbeliever, evidence is IMPOSSIBLE.


#12

[quote=joshua1]For the believer evidence is not necessary…
[/quote]

Hatheract is a believer. But would still like to know if there are rational proofs that God exists. There are. And that’s a good thing. Reason supports faith. They are not in opposition.


#13

[quote=miguel]Hatheract is a believer. But would still like to know if there are rational proofs that God exists. There are. And that’s a good thing. Reason supports faith. They are not in opposition.
[/quote]

I agree that reason supports faith, but I think my point was while they are not in opposition, faith is not dependant on reason. What do you guys think about intelligent design for proof that God exists? I like St. Anselm i believe it was that proved the existence of God through cause and effect. For every effect, there is a cause, the ulitimate cause being God. Any thoughts?


#14

[quote=Hatheract]How do we know there is a God?..
[/quote]

We don’t, that’s why it’s called “Faith”


#15

Simple…Because there’s life.Because everything exists,at least that’s enough for me.:bounce:


#16

[quote=Steve Andersen]We don’t, that’s why it’s called “Faith”
[/quote]

God’s existence can be logically deduced by unaided human reason. St Thomas Aquinas developed the proofs and showed how the (pre-Christian) Greek philosophers had been down that road before. So I would say that faith isn’t strictly necessary on this particular point. And that’s a good thing. It opens the door for people who don’t have faith. And it is solid ground for those of us who do.


#17

[quote=joshua1]I agree that reason supports faith, but I think my point was while they are not in opposition, faith is not dependant on reason.
[/quote]

Faith is reasonable.


#18

[quote=miguel]God’s existence can be logically deduced by unaided human reason. St Thomas Aquinas developed the proofs and showed how the (pre-Christian) Greek philosophers had been down that road before. So I would say that faith isn’t strictly necessary on this particular point. And that’s a good thing. It opens the door for people who don’t have faith. And it is solid ground for those of us who do.
[/quote]

well yes but as Pascal pointed out these philosophical proofs can lead one rationaly to a god but not necessarily God thus the Greeks you mentioned were probably quite rationally convinced about the existence of Zeus rather than Yahweh.

Maybe I misinterpretted what the original poster was asking.


#19

[quote=Steve Andersen]…but as Pascal pointed out these philosophical proofs can lead one rationally to a god but not necessarily to God…
[/quote]

True. Reason can’t lead us to an awareness of the Trinity. Only God’s revelation can do that. But it’s good that reason can lead us to God’s existence. That question is probably the best place to start for non-believers who might be open to the truth.


#20

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