Can we prove God exists?

IF you really want to believe in a spiritual reality, no claimed science will swamp your belief. And if you are determined not to believe in God, no theological reasoning will change that viewpoint.

Some of the greatest philosophers – including Aquinas, Descartes and Spinoza – tried to prove God exists. Not with great success.
Belief in the supernatural is not really incompatible with science and disdain for religion is not universal in the scientific world.
It’s been the conventional wisdom that scientists are more likely to be atheists. But there are likely to proportionately be as many atheistic truck drivers as atheistic scientists.

William D. Phillips, who won the 1997 Nobel Prize in chemistry for using lasers to produce temperatures only a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, once said that so many of his colleagues were Christians he couldn’t walk across his church’s fellowship hall without “tripping over a dozen physicists’’.

But in the end, there are no mathematical formulas or scientific equations for belief. Nor for any of the other important questions, such as why we love, and why some people have the feeling that life makes sense and others do not.

Respected scientist and committed Jew Robert Winston said: “All paths to the divine involve a wrestling match. Wherever God is considered, there are radically conflicting ideas.

“In some ways, the wrestling match is typified by the apparent conflict between God and science. This dispute is largely vacuous. They are both essentially two different ways of looking at the natural world, though each gives an important insight into the other.

“But we must not confuse religion with God, or technology with science. Religion stands in relationship to God as technology does in relation to science. Both the conduct of religion and the pursuit of technology are capable of leading mankind into evil; but both can prompt great good.’’

Theologian Karl Rahner once suggested his own proofs for the existence of God. he said we taste God in certain experiences and these experiences ultimately imprint us with the belief that the universe makes sense, that we have sufficient reason to love and trust, that there’s a world beyond this one, and that there’s a God.

N.T.Wright, the Anglican Archbishop of Durham, England argues in his book Simply Christian that all humanity shares the longing for justice, the quest for spirituality, the hunger for relationships, and the delight in beauty. Each points to a realm beyond the material.
People want miracles. They search for them everywhere – via the supposedly holy waters of the Ganges River to the supposed relics of saints and prayers of faith healers – but how many actually see them happen?
A miracle is traditionally defined as an interference with nature by a supernatural power.
But some miracles are not physically measurable. How can you measure the healing of someone’s soul, the healing of a broken heart or a miraculous sense of forgiveness or of being forgiven.

As someone once said. For those who believe in God no explanation is needed. For those who do not believe in God no explanation is possible.

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30 thoughts on “Can we prove God exists?

  1. I’m a gnostic theist and I used to believe that the existence of God or a god can be proven but I don’t think the same way now. I now believe that the “proof” is a personal matter. It can happen like a revelation for me in one of my most confused moments – whether a figment of my imagination, a construct of my tricky mind, or a real message from the Creator, I chose to believe the last.

    I think that a proof in theology differs from a proof in all the other sciences. Whenever faith is involved, a variable so unquantifiable and immeasurable yet a power so potent and strong, it breaks all scientific equations. I believe that a proof in a God or a Goddess may be as simple as a “gut feeling” – a “blind” belief in a power greater than anyone or anything imaginable by human consciousness.

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    • stump3d,
      Wow, a gnostic theist. that is an interesting combination.

      I can share gnosticism with you, but rather than theism, I add to my mix the following – Humanism, Pantheism and Paganism. Humanism for my vision of my fellow beings. Pantheism for my vision of The God. And Paganism for my experience of the world and nature about me. I’ve had exciting and illuminating many years of my long life in both a Gnostic Church and a Gnostic Fraternity.

      Cheers, Rian. (in Regional Victoria.)

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      • Hi Rian,

        It’s nice to meet people who are not afraid to explore their faith and their spirituality, not to discredit the true believers and members of an organized religion, but it’s a welcome change from those who do not, in any point in their life, begin to question why they believe in the things they believe in.

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      • ah stump3d,
        yes, greetings to you. I take it that you were raised in a Christian household of some sort? My family was devout Methodist, with my dear old Dad being a senior Lay Preacher, Organist, etc etc throughout his Christian life (leading into his identical work and service in the Uniting Church). I guess I can say that I was a theist of some degree up until my 40s (some 30 odd years back), and realized then that Theism was unreal to me. Neo-Gnostic concepts had been for many years, far more real and convincing to me, and I took them on in the joy of discovery.

        cheers, Rian.

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      • Stump being a theist is a harder path to follow path. For me anyway. Why would anyone not question it and try to get out of it if they can ? Sometimes you have to roll your sleeves up and stick with your beliefs despite the peer group pressure around you.

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  2. An interesting excerpt

    NOTE TO ALL BELIEVERS:
    God is not afraid of science or discovery. Neither should you and I be. For me, a balanced approach to biblical healing is:

    Confess all known sin.
    Bind the enemy.
    Do everything medically known that may be helpful.
    Pray for a miracle.
    Put yourself in the loving hands of the Father; He knows best.

    I believe I can support all of this from the Word of God. I would ask God to reveal to His science professionals a cure, just as He revealed preventives of infectious disease to Israel. Which do you think is the greater lasting witness: a miracle for an individual or a cure for everyone? Perhaps we cannot fairly ask that question as both reveal God. Are you praying for both revelations – miracles and cures – for the nations?
    – See more at: http://templateinstitute.com/2011/09/science-cannot-discover-anything-that-god-has-not-created/#sthash.IzpbxOh9.dpuf

    Are you prepared to refuse skepticism about all science and let God speak to you through what He is allowing us to discover? Man is fallen and tends to corrupt anything that can be corrupted. Of course, cloning could lead to trying to duplicate humans. But cloning and DNA research could also lead to a cure for many common diseases. Can we not see this discovery as the hand of God extended to us in mercy? The story of the tower of Babel is often used to discuss the evils of technology. But the sin of Babel is really political imperialism; the tower was just the symbol. What we see in scripture is that when the technology got out of hand, God destroyed it by confusing the people.

    What is the point for us then? Don’t fret about new discoveries and developments. If they threaten God’s plan, He will deal with them. If He is allowing the discovery, our question should be, “God, how do you want to use this to glorify Yourself?” Christians did this with the discovery of movable type and printing and, consequently, are still the largest publishers of printed matter. But, we tend to push aside the technology of the internet as demonic. What has changed? God? No, we Christians have. Alienation from discovery which God is allowing can only result in lessening the purposes of God. Let’s work again to receive the whole council of God’s Word in this wonderful arena of science and His material revelation.

    A NOTE TO THE SCIENCE PROFESSIONAL:
    When I spoke on this topic in Urbana, Illinois a sanitation engineer, whose brother was a missionary, came up to me in tears. All his life the work of his brother had been applauded as a spiritual calling. This brother had been made to feel less important because of his unspiritual profession. He said to me, “No one has ever told me that what I do is important to God, too.” I was in 40 percent10 Christian Togo some time ago and saw that people had taken to spray painting, “Ne pas uriner ici!” “Do not urinate here!” on the walls around their houses and businesses. I thought “Great! Half the gospel of sanitation.” But who will teach them the other half…where should they urinate? Several summers ago a large tribe of pentecostal Gypsies came to Switzerland to hold healing and evangelistic services. They pitched a giant tent very near my home and used the parking lot of our forest running and exercise course for their cars and trailers. The two small toilets of the exercise course and their trailer toilets were obviously not adequate for the needs of such a large group. As the week’s evangelistic services went on, the forest trails became increasingly littered with feces and toilet paper. At first, you may be irate and think this is just stupid, but we need to be more compassionate. You see, these dear people had been taught that Jesus saves and Jesus heals, but they had never been taught what the Bible teaches about sanitation.

    As a professional in the science domain, you have a high calling. You are the discoverers and stewards of God’s material creation. You are called to know Him in a special way as He reveals Himself in the things He has made. You are called to use that knowledge to bless individuals, communities, and nations. No calling in God’s Kingdom is second rate. No domain of revelation is more or less important than another; they are all created by God to reveal Himself. The pastor has one job and you have another. The missionary prays to be shown worthy of his calling and so should you. God makes His “cause and effect” relationship with man most evident in this domain. He uses His natural laws to humble us and reveal His awesome power and wisdom. Are you one of God’s George Washington Carvers? Are you called to hold in your hand something of God’s creation and say, “God, you made this and you said it was good. Why did you make this peanut, atom, DNA cell, planet, bug, tree?” The sky is not the limit. God’s revelation of Himself stretches to the farthest reaches of the cosmos. How far is that? Perhaps He will use you to reveal that to us and strike us with awe again. You are part of God’s strategy for discipling all nations.

    – See more at: http://templateinstitute.com/2011/09/science-cannot-discover-anything-that-god-has-not-created/#sthash.IzpbxOh9.dpuf

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    • “Confess all known sin.
      Bind the enemy.
      Do everything medically known that may be helpful.
      Pray for a miracle.
      Put yourself in the loving hands of the Father; He knows best.”
      ,,,,,and if all else fails, read the instructions?

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    • Nice and neat, Strewth! The problem is that religion DOESN’T tell us ‘why’.
      Or ‘how’ or ‘when’…or much of anything else.
      …..except:- ‘Do as I say or I’ll hurt you!’

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  3. Commentators generally tend to talk about areas in which science has reasonably well established its proofs. No one ventures into what might be more fertile grounds where science has yet to explain certain phenomena.

    Prior to the origin of our universe in an event called the Big Bang, what, if anything, existed? Quantum chaos? Another universe? Something? Nothing?
    What, if anything, caused the Big Bang? A random event? A purposeful intervention?
    What kind of universe do we live in? The elements with which we are familiar from hydrogen through carbon and on to lead and uranium make up only 5% of the known universe. Stuff called Dark Matter and Dark Energy make up the rest. But what are they exactly? Where did they come from?
    How did life on Earth begin? How did inorganic chemicals combine into self-replicating molecules?
    What, if anything, really distinguishes humankind from all other animals? The human genome is, as we have seen, exceptionally close to that of apes. As University of Chicago anthropology professor Russell Tuttle teaches, we feel, fear and think, but so do they. What made us different? Is it the ability to conceive ideas, hold beliefs, share information with symbolic language, know the thoughts of others? If so, how did all of that happen?
    Are there other intelligent life forms in the universe at the present time? There may be untold billions of planets in the known universe, but some are only recently formed and others are associated with dying stars and, in any case, few are in the habitable zone of their host star. We know that intelligent life on Earth took over four billion years to emerge after our planet was formed. How likely is it that there is a planet out there now, old enough, but not too old, and in the right zone to have produced intelligent life?

    Religion and science may have much to share with each other on these and other questions.

    http://www.judaismandscience.com/the-conflict-over-whether-judaism-and-science-conflict/

    I would add scientific investigations into brainwaves and telepathy, etc. Such studies are still in their infancy. The following shows no sign of proof, but it is a field open to scientific investigation. Not a big jump from there to prayer, especially when, as I believe, strong emotions are a catalyst.

    “A study, led by Sydney’s University of Technology, has found that some couples are so in tune that their brains begin to work in synchronisation – with parts of their nervous systems beating in harmony.

    The scientists studied the brains and heartbeats of 30 volunteers during counselling sessions by counsellors and found identical patterns of brain activity in those who had become so close they were “physiologically aligned”.

    That means they reached a state in which their nervous systems were ticking in harmony, helping them to know each other’s thoughts and emotions. The scientists believe the findings also shed light on the behaviour of couples, close friends or family members.

    The brain is an electrochemical organ; researchers have speculated that a fully functioning brain can generate as much as 10 watts of electrical power. Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves. Radio waves and brain waves are both forms of electromagnetic radiation—waves of energy that travel at the speed of light.

    The difference between brain waves, radio waves, and other electromagnetic waves (such as visible light, X-rays and Gamma rays) lies in their frequency—that is, how often the waves peak and trough in a second. Radio waves, which include radio and other wireless transmission signals, as well as other natural signals in the same frequency, peak and trough at between 50 and 1000 megahertz—that’s between 50 million and one billion oscillations per second.

    The human brain also emits waves, like when a person focuses her attention or remembers something. This activity fires thousands of neurons simultaneously at the same frequency generating a wave—but at a rate closer to 10 to 100 cycles per second.

    But the Radio Wave Theory to explain telepathy has some skeptic’s argument against it. If telepathy works like radio waves and people often speak of “vibes” as though there were telepathic and “brain waves” go from one person to another, then we ought to be able to detect it coming from people’s brains. But we cannot. The brain’s electrical activity can be detected at best only a few centimetres away from the skull.

    There would also need to be a wave transmitter in one brain and a wave receiver in the other brain. No sign of either has ever been detected in any human brain. Also, the strength of the “signal” ought to decay with distance.

    My co worker and I were a little more than a metre of distance though, so maybe that was enough for him to perceive my musical waves. Or maybe it was just a song broadcasted by a radio channel that same morning that we both could have listened and provoked our predisposition to sign it later. ”

    http://skepticsvsbelievers.blogspot.ca/2012/09/telepathy-or-coincidence.html

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    • “Before the Big Bang …..what, if anything, existed? Well, for a start, all the matter that exists now ~ in one form or another. ‘Time’ didn’t ~ as it doesn’t now. And, given infinity, even an ‘Eternity’ is no big deal.

      As far as we know to this point, and in line with ‘normal’ physical activities, the Big Bang is taken as being some degree of a Black Hole. Even gravity has it’s limits, beyond which even THE-God-of-All-the-Universes loses control of what happens next.
      Sort of like the suppression of Evil ~ except no limit for that has yet been discovered. 😉
      Read Ardrey for the man/other-animal schism.

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  4. Can we prove God exists?
    What totally irreverent issue !!
    You believers have already judged you are so important you must exist .
    You act like little children demanding more sweets totally unable to grasp the concept of infinity.
    As a test have anyone of you imagined living another 4,000,000,000 years to see the earth consumed by the sun.
    Then live another trillion trillion years to see all the stars stop shining .
    Then live another trillion,trillion,trillion years to see time even stop .
    Even that time scale is not a fraction of infinity.
    If you believe your that important why where you not here at the beginning of this universe .
    All religions have nothing to do with any version of super being or beings.
    It is all about self praise!!!

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  5. Much as I dislike contradicting you, this claim:- “Belief in the supernatural is not really incompatible with science”
    is too silly for words.
    By definition ‘Science’ deals ONLY with observable natural phenomena, and it’s only point of contact with ‘the supernatural’ would be insofar as it defines the boundaries of the natural, beyond which the definitively UNscientific concept of “Supernatural” (ie:- UNnatural) “Belief” holds sway.

    The two terms/concepts are mutually exclusive.

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    • Observable? No theories about unobservable things are really scientific?
      Is gravity scientific? Or quantum mechanics? We don’t even have one theory that reconciles gravity and quantum mechanics while matching cleanly onto our low-energy world, or a comprehensive model of the early universe that explains our initial conditions.

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      • Oh K’mon Kate.
        How do YOU know that observation of “an apple falling is observing the effects or results of gravity”

        ie. YOU say it’s “gravity”; otherwise I might attribute it to flinglefrappers.
        NOTHING is definable except relatively. You can’t ‘see’ love, either, or fast or loud. You can ONLY detect them from their comparative effect vis-a-vis other unseen and unseeable things.
        There are no ‘comparative relativities’ for ‘god’. Therefore he’s ‘undetectable’ and can have no effect on anything which, definitively, means he doesn’t exist.

        Back to the Catechism!

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      • Dabs, Hamlet says: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
        As I read today, any imaginative atheist must sometimes be troubled by this thought, and worry that his ideas are so dependent on the very thing he opposes.

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      • Yep, a wise man was Bill….But talk’s cheap.
        I’m one of those (apparently scarce) people who don’t have a ‘need to know’, despite claims that we’re born with that built in. Life’s too transient a thing to bother about ‘certainties’, which in themselves are transient, too, after all.
        Picture Life and Death and the Whole Damn Thing as being one of those trampolines with a tall safety-net encircling it to prevent reckless little beasties from bouncing too far out-of-bounds and hurting themselves too seriously. Why would anyone want to drag a desk, computer and library into the middle of it to study why a trampoline goes ‘BOING!!’

        My greatest delight in ‘Life’ is its exploration; depending on the (metaphorical) turn of a card, and ~ because nothing is
        all that important in the big scheme ~ being able to walk away from it without a backward glance or without even the least regret (almost every time) about might-have-beens. My experience has been that the might’ve beens are never as delightful or exciting or laden with potential than as the ‘might-be-gonnas’.

        In the end my approach to it all will kill me; but so will yours, you.
        And if the time comes when I have to answer for what I was, it’ll be just another challenge: another option to innovate the best solution I can. But I won’t be on my knees with my hat in my hands, and a heavy heart.
        Even Hell can’t hurt you if you’re not afraid of it.
        I’d be more afraid of the ineffable certainty and comfort of heaven.
        Eternal boredom’s GOTTA be worse than boiling ~ with the possibility of doing a deal with the Boss for a better berth.
        (Remember Sammy Davis Jr. as ‘Little Devil’ ?? 😉

        And if, in the meantime, my pleasure in challenging the existence of The God Of All The Universes leads me to discover I was wrong….well….. that’ll be a whole new adventure, won’t it?
        Ironic that…Y’can opt IN anytime, but can’t opt OUT!

        Thus endeth the sermon for the day! 🙂

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      • ’twas, in fact, ‘Poor Devil’
        Sammy’s in the shit with Satan, and can only work his way into favour again is to win a certain number of souls to Satan’s cause.

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      • Also dunno what this means:- “Writing your own references now Dabs? Good luck with that.”
        Been into the sacramental wine again? 🙂

        and don’t see how this makes sense:- “and worry that his ideas are so dependent on the very thing he opposes.”
        Is not ‘opposition’ where the best ideas ~ and progress ~ come from?

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  6. Actually, God generally reveals Himself in four ways to man:
    – Through His written Word.
    – Through Nature.
    – Through History. It has been said that many who would not listen to the voice of God, will hear His voice in the bloody pages of History.
    – Through Conscience.

    Then as people accept God He reveals Himself personally through:
    – Prayer and answer through prayer
    – Through His written Word
    – Through Nature
    – Through History
    – Through Conscience
    – Through dreams, visions, etc.

    The reason why He chooses these indirect methods of revealing Himself, is that if He revealed Himself physically to us, we would all be dead. Even Moses (who talked face to face with God) could not see what God really looked like without being destroyed. And after Adam fell into sin, he hid his face from God because he was afraid. Josephus Flavius explains that God came to converse with Adam as friend to friend, yet Adam was now afraid of a friend due to sin.

    Of course many people will refuse to listen to the evidence that God provides and ask for evidence that is only provided for someone with a sinless nature. And because none of us have that, the evidence they look for is not provided.

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    • I was suicidal when the Lord spoke to me through this Scripture verse. It saved my life:

      Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord,”

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  7. Science I believe is not about proof, it is an ongoing search. A ‘what if’ moment becomes a thing to examine, perhaps form a hypothesis, and if it seems to stand up then a theory can be formed. Still only a theory.

    But don’t dismiss the original ‘what if’ moment, it is part of the scientific process. Thoughts on hereditary were part of scientific enquiry before DNA or genes could be ‘observed.’

    The ‘soft’ sciences are still science.

    The metaphysical sciences are still science.

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