Tag Archives: God’s existence

Why Believe in God’s Existence, When It Can’t Be Proven Scientifically?

Something that can be demonstrated by the scientific method is a scientific fact. But it doesn’t follow that just because something can’t be demonstrated scientifically it is less “real” or important than “scientific fact.”

For example, the survival of human civilization depends on the distinction that most people make between good and evil. Yet moral values like good and evil can’t be scientifically proven. Does the fact that moral values can’t be proven imply that they are less real—less “factual” in an ultimate sense—than the things that science can prove?

Most people would consider it morally evil for a man/woman to abandon his/her wife/husband and young children to begin a new life with another woman/man. Most people would consider this a serious moral failure, one of the “worst” things a person could do. But is there any compelling “scientific evidence” that could be brought to bear on such behavior to “prove” that it is wrong?

What “scientific evidence” could prove that murder, rape, and robbery are wrong?  What would become of our system of justice if the prosecution had to scientifically prove that it is wrong for one person to kill, rape, or rob another person!

The existence of love, evil, and good are not “falsifiable hypotheses.” Yet most people—including atheists—admit that values like “love,” “goodness,” “friendship,” and “loyalty” are moral/spiritual realities that truly exist. Theists, whether Christian or non-Christian, have long considered the mind-boggling complexity of the material universe as evidence of a Creator. Although the scientific “spirit of the age” of the 20th century once insisted that the material world was nothing more than the product of impersonal, random evolution, today’s scientific consensus is shifting towards the conclusion that the universe was consciously designed (with incredible exactitude) for the development of life.1

Just as it is reasonable to assume that everything in physical reality has a cause, it is reasonable to assume that everything in spiritual reality has a cause. Immaterial spiritual values like love and goodness are even more amazing than the material wonders of the universe.

God’s existence cannot be proven scientifically. But although God’s existence can’t be proven, reasonable people acknowledge that the small number of alternative explanations for the wonders of material and spiritual reality can’t be proven either. Although faith is as much a matter of the heart as the mind, and belief in God is a moral as well as a rational decision, the rational case for the existence of God as the source of all reality is stronger than any other explanation.

  1. Anthony Flew, an eminent British philosopher who has been widely published as one of the world’s most intellectually capable and well-known atheists, has recently become a theist on the basis of scientific evidence for design:
    Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design. (From an interview with Anthony Flew by Gary Habermas, published by the Journal of the Evangelical Philosophic Society.Back To Article
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Why Doesn’t God Make His Existence Undeniable?

God may have designed the universe so that the motive for faith must be as much moral, relational and spiritual as it is logical. Consider what the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews writes:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And 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 11:1-6 NIV, italics added).

In fact, the intrinsic nature of faith, hope, and love are such that they shouldn’t and can’t be reduced to mere logic. If God designed the universe so that His presence could be “proven” in the scientific, mathematical sense, faith wouldn’t have to be a decision of the heart. It would be mere acquiescence of the mind, motivated by necessity and fear but not by love. If faith, hope, and love were reduced to a logical decision, freedom would vanish. Who would dare stand against God if logic always seemed completely on the side of faith? If God’s existence and ultimate control were undeniable, people would obey out of fear and would struggle to conceal their resentment.

Rather than being a loving, heavenly Father who allows prodigals to make mistakes, repent, and come home to experience His love, He would be viewed as such an ominous authority that creatures would never dare become prodigals, who by returning to faith could discover freedom, individuality, calling, and love. Self-awareness would be overwhelmed by the obviousness of God’s presence. Creatures would be so engulfed by His power and glory that they couldn’t even begin to discover themselves. Love as we know it could never exist in such a world.

This may be why faith, hope, and love affirm logic but transcend it; why they must involve moral choice rather than mere logical deduction. This too may be why He employs randomness within the creative process, leaving profound evidence of His involvement and presence but doing nothing to coerce obedience.1

  1. “I believe that we Christians are warranted in seeing every potentially viable life form (or every viable variant of DNA) as something thoughtfully conceived in the mind of the Creator. As did Basil and Augustine, I believe that we may rightfully speak of God calling into being at the beginning, from nothing, all material substance and all creaturely forms (whether inanimate structures or animate life forms). And, still standing with Basil and Augustine, I believe that we may rightfully presume that the array of structures and life forms now present was not yet present at the beginning, but became actualized in the course of time as the created substances, employing the capacities thoughtfully given to them by God at the beginning, functioned in a gapless creational economy to bring about what the Creator called for and intended from the outset.
    “In the context of this traditional Christian vision of God’s creative work . . . , we might now wish to employ the vocabulary of twentieth-century science and speak about the full array of functionally viable forms of DNA (and the creatures thereby represented) as constituting a ‘possibility space’ of potential life forms—this possibility space itself, along with all connective pathways, being an integral component of the world brought into being at the beginning. Furthermore, in the language of this theistic paradigm of evolutionary creation, we would speak of DNA being enabled by the Creator to employ random genetic variation as a means to explore and discover (in contrast to create) viable pathways and novel life forms so that the Creator’s intentions for the formative history of the Creation might be actualized in the course of time.

    “See, then, what this evolutionary creation paradigm accomplishes: Do material processes have to create? No, the possibility space of viable and historically achievable life forms is an integral aspect of the world that God created at the beginning. Material systems need only employ their God-given functional capacities to discover some of the possibilities thoughtfully prepared for them. But, one might ask, how can such ‘mindless’ material processes function to bring about what appears to be the product of ‘intelligent design’? The point is that they are not really mindless at all. Rather, every one of these processes and every connective pathway in the possibility space of viable creatures is itself a mindfully designed provision from a Creator possessing unfathomable intelligence.

    “It seems to me that this theistic paradigm provides precisely what the naturalistic (broad) paradigm—the blind watchmaker hypothesis—could not. It provides the answer to the question, How is it possible that such a remarkable array of life forms is not only viable but historically realizable within the economy of the world at hand? Could anything less than the infinite creativity and faithful providence of God suffice?” (Howard Van Til, First Things, July/August 1993) Back To Article

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