Is There Proof That God Exists?
By Barry Cooper
Is God real? Take a look at some clues that help us answer this question.
For some time, author and pastor Tim Keller met regularly with a brilliant young scientist. This young man was haunted by the sense that God existed, but as he considered one argument for God after another, he ultimately found that every one of them was “rationally avoidable” at some point.1
“I can’t believe unless I find at least one absolutely airtight proof for God,” said the troubled scientist.2 On hearing this, Keller pointed out that he was assuming “strong rationalism,” and the scientist’s disquiet was somewhat settled when they realized that neither of them was able to give an airtight proof for that either.3
What this anecdote helps to illustrate is that we accept many of our most deeply held convictions as rational, even though we all admit that there are no noncircular arguments to justify them. Think, for example, of the widespread belief that there is a physical world very much like the one reported by our senses, or that there are minds other than our own.
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This has led some philosophers to ask, “Do we need airtight proof in order to know that God exists?” As William C. Davis put it:
Critics of belief in God’s existence can insist that even if Christians think they have experienced God’s presence they can’t know that God exists unless they can prove it. But do these critics apply this prohibition to their own beliefs? If they did, then they would have to admit that they don’t know that tables and chairs exist, or that the world is more than five minutes old. These beliefs can’t be proven either, but it seems strange to insist that these are not things that we know.4
A Glimpse at the Clues for God
That said, multiple arguments have been advanced as evidence of God’s existence.5 None of them will represent convincing proof to every skeptic. However, when taken together, they merit careful reflection. As Tim Keller said of his conversations with the scientist, “We began to go back and review the lines of reasoning that he had been calling ‘proofs’ and began to look at them instead as clues. When we went about it with that perspective he began to see that, cumulatively, the clues of God had a lot of force to them.”6
With apologies in advance for necessary brevity, here are just a few of those arguments…