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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Can you Prove God Exist? By Nicholas Blanchette

Nicholas Blanchette
Introduction to philosophy
Can you Prove God Exist?

There are two types of arguments used by philosophers to prove the existence of God; the a posteriori arguments, which are known as the cosmological argument, and the teleological argument; and the a priori argument which is known as the ontological argument. The a posteriori arguments are based on our experience of the world and reasoning back to prove there is a God. The a priori argument is not based on our experience of the world but on our understanding of a hypothesis to see that it is true.

The Five Ways written by Thomas Aquinas, also called the Cosmological Proof is one of the oldest and most popular arguments for the existence of God. The Cosmological Proof argues that God exist by saying that there is a universe and something must have caused. The Watch and the Watchmaker written by William Palley, a leading evangelical apologist, argues the existence of God using an ontological argument. This argument states that if one finds a watch in the woods they would not conclude that it has just happened but was made by a watchmaker. Similarly, the universe has the appearance of order and design, therefore there had to be a maker, which is God. Both of these philosophers profess a belief in the God of the Bible and that they have proven that he exist through their arguments.

These philosophers have fallen short of their goal to prove that God exists and have contradicted themselves. Belief in the God of the Bible, as Paul says to Festus in Acts 26:25 is "true and reasonable", but can not be proven visually because that would contradict the Bible. I intend to show all who believe in the Bible that there is no way one can ever prove there is a God with Relations of Ideas but only as a Matter of Fact. Relations of Ideas are discoverable through reason without dependence on anything in the universe. Matters of Fact have no concrete evidence to be displayed in order to prove it to be true, therefore there is still room for a skeptic to doubt.

The skeptical philosopher believes that one can not know any matter of fact. To a skeptic, for one to say he knows "X" is true there are three conditions; "X" has to be true, he must believe it to be true, and he has to show some evidence. If I drop a ball one million times and say I believe if I drop this ball again it will have the same result, fall to the ground, a skeptic would still not believe it. I think the ball will fall to the ground and believe it to be true, and have the evidence of it happening the million times I tested it without fail. Yet the skeptic still does not believe it to be true because he says there is insufficient evidence. He will believe it only when I drop the ball and it hits the ground that million and first time deeming that sufficient evidence.

Trying to prove God as a relation to an idea is a contradiction to what the scriptures teach. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) says that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Faith as defined in the dictionary is "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence." Jesus says to Thomas in John 20:29 (NIV) "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Faith in God is a fundamental aspect to a relationship with him. If one were to logically prove that God exist, with material evidence that would go against what is needed to have a relationship with him therefore could not happen. A priori arguments for this reason could never prove the existence of God.

A posteriori arguments have been criticized by Hume, Kant, Mill, Edwards and many others to show that this argument is not a proof of the existence of God. I intend to use the Bible to show that this argument can not prove the existence of God. A posteriori arguments are based on our experience in the world. Hebrews 1:2 (NIV) says "in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe." God made the universe through his son therefore God is outside the universe. How can one prove that God exists using our experience in this world if He is outside the universe? God is not limited by the laws of nature but created them. No one can prove that God exist as a relation to an idea to a skeptic because it is unbiblical. A skeptic who does not believe that the sun will rise tomorrow because there is not enough evidence, is not going to believe that God exist from the testimony of Jesus.

The way the Bible teaches to believe in God is through faith in Jesus and the testimony of the eye witness accounts of his life and the evidence one sees in his life changing as a result. Jesus made some extraordinary claims that he was the one and only son of God. He was not the only one to have made such claims so what made him stand out from the crowed? The evidence he showed was fulfilling the prophecies that were spoken years before and rising from the dead. The proofs of these things are the words of the eye witness accounts of these events. The proof today is the effect that comes from believing in Jesus' words and putting them into practice. This is not enough proof to a skeptic but God himself has said that not everyone would believe in him. We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 1 John 5:10 "Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son."

These Philosophers have not proven that God exists, as a relation to an idea because if they did that would contradict the God they are trying to prove exists. All the proofs of God are matters of fact and can be doubted by a skeptic. There is no way one can prove God exists, as a relation to an idea because belief in God requires faith. There are many common things we believe in today with as much or less evidence. According to a skeptic there is no evidence the sun will rise tomorrow or that gravity will keep us on the earth. Call me naive, but I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow. I believe that if I throw a ball it will fall back to the ground. I believe that France is still on the earth, even though I have never seen it. I believe in the words that Jesus spoke, that there is a God and he exists.


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