Can We Prove the Existence of God?

by James Anderson

Can we prove the existence of GodCan we prove the existence of God? What exactly does it mean to prove something? What would count as a proof of God’s existence? To explore these questions, let’s consider one popular argument for God’s existence and test it against some different criteria for proofs. Here’s the argument:

1. If God does not exist, there are no objective, culture-transcending moral duties.

2. There are objective, culture-transcending moral duties.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Is this a proof of God’s existence? One suggestion is that any sound argument constitutes a proof. An argument is sound if and only if (a) all its premises are true and (b) it is deductively valid, in the sense that its conclusion follows necessarily from its premises (i.e., it’s logically impossible for the premises to be true but the conclusion to be false).

Is our argument sound? It’s certainly deductively valid: it has the valid argument form of modus tollens (if P then Q; not Q; therefore, not P). Moreover, both of its premises are true. There are indeed objective, culture-transcending moral duties, such as the duty to care for one’s children, and it’s very hard to see what would ground such moral obligations if there were no God. At any rate, I believe that both premises are true, and so do many other people. But does everyone believe both premises? Well, no—and therein lies the rub.

Limitations of Sound Arguments

There’s another obvious problem with the idea that any sound argument amounts to a proof. Consider the following argument for the existence of God:

  1. Either the moon is made of green cheese or God exists.
  2. The moon is not made of green cheese.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Or this one:

  1. Everything the Bible says is true.
  2. The Bible says that God exists.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Both of these arguments are deductively valid and have true premises. Yet we can see that there’s something very fishy about the arguments. If someone were to ask you to prove the existence of God, you’d be unlikely to offer either of these arguments with any seriousness. Why? Simply because only someone who already believes in the existence of God would concede the first premise of each argument…

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Can We Prove the Existence of God? – The Gospel Coalition Blog

 

RECOMMENDED FOR FURTHER READING:

Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy

Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

The Poached Egg Apologetics

 

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