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To steelman the case for proving God's existence using reason alone, I think one of the best contemporary examples of how this could be done is found in Edward Feser's book Five Proofs of the Existence of God:

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This book provides a detailed, updated exposition and defense of five of the historically most important (but in recent years largely neglected) philosophical proofs of God’s existence: the Aristotelian, the Neo-Platonic, the Augustinian, the Thomistic, and the Rationalist.

It also offers a thorough treatment of each of the key divine attributes—unity, simplicity, eternity, omnipotence, omniscience, perfect goodness, and so forth—showing that they must be possessed by the God whose existence is demonstrated by the proofs. Finally, it answers at length all of the objections that have been leveled against these proofs.

This work provides as ambitious and complete a defense of traditional natural theology as is currently in print. Its aim is to vindicate the view of the greatest philosophers of the past— thinkers like Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Leibniz, and many others— that the existence of God can be established with certainty by way of purely rational arguments. It thereby serves as a refutation both of atheism and of the fideism that gives aid and comfort to atheism.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A watershed book. Feser has completely severed the intellectual legs upon which modern atheism had hoped to stand." — Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

"A powerful and important book. The concluding chapter, where Feser replies to possible objections to his arguments, is a gem; it alone is worth the price of this excellent work." — Stephen T. Davis, Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College

"Edward Feser is widely recognized as a top scholar in the history of philosophy in general, and in Thomistic and Aristotelian philosophy in particular. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in natural theology. I happily and highly recommend it." — J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University

"Refutes with devastating effect the standard objections to theistic proofs, from David Hume to the New Atheists." — Robert C. Koons, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin

"Yet another fine book by Edward Feser. He replies to (literally) all of the objections and shows convincingly how the most popular objections (the kind one hears in Introduction to Philosophy courses) are very often completely beside the point and, even when they're not, are 'staggeringly feeble and overrated'." — Alfred J. Freddoso, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

About the Author

Edward Feser, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. Called by National Review "one of the best contemporary writers on philosophy", he is the author of The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism, Aquinas, Scholastic Meta- physics, By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed, and many other books and articles.

For illustrative purposes, the following is a brief excerpt from chapter 6 of Feser's book:

The Nature of God and of His Relationship to the World

We have now examined five arguments for the existence of God, which can be summarized briefly as follows. The Aristotelian proof begins with the fact that there are potentialities that are actualized and argues that we cannot make sense of this unless we affirm the existence of something which can actualize the potential existence of things without itself being actualized, a purely actual actualizer. The Neo-Platonic proof begins with the fact that the things of our experience are composed of parts and argues that such things could not exist unless they have an absolutely simple or noncomposite cause. The Augustinian proof begins with the fact that there are abstract objects like universals, propositions, numbers, and possible worlds, and argues that these must exist as ideas in a divine intellect. The Thomistic proof begins with the real distinction, in each of the things of our experience, between its essence and its existence, and argues that the ultimate cause of such things must be something which is subsistent existence itself. The rationalist proof begins with the principle of sufficient reason and argues that the ultimate explanation of things can only lie in an absolutely necessary being.

Note that Edward Feser's five proofs never resort to evidence of design or complexity in nature. Those sorts of arguments, which look at nature for evidence of design (and, therefore, of a designer), are commonly referred to as teleological arguments. In order to illustrate this point, and to present steelman versions of this line of reasoning, the following are two important books in this area:

Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, by Stephen C. Meyer.

The New York Times bestselling author of Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen Meyer, presents groundbreaking scientific evidence of the existence of God, based on breakthroughs in physics, cosmology, and biology.

Beginning in the late 19th century, many intellectuals began to insist that scientific knowledge conflicts with traditional theistic belief—that science and belief in God are “at war.” Philosopher of science Stephen Meyer challenges this view by examining three scientific discoveries with decidedly theistic implications. Building on the case for the intelligent design of life that he developed in Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, Meyer demonstrates how discoveries in cosmology and physics coupled with those in biology help to establish the identity of the designing intelligence behind life and the universe.

Meyer argues that theism—with its affirmation of a transcendent, intelligent and active creator—best explains the evidence we have concerning biological and cosmological origins. Previously Meyer refrained from attempting to answer questions about “who” might have designed life. Now he provides an evidence-based answer to perhaps the ultimate mystery of the universe. In so doing, he reveals a stunning conclusion: the data support not just the existence of an intelligent designer of some kind—but the existence of a personal God.

A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics, by Michael J. Behe.

In 1996 Darwin’s Black Box thrust Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe into the national spotlight. The book, and his subsequent two, sparked a firestorm of criticism, and his responses appeared in everything from the New York Times to science blogs and the journal Science. His replies, along with a handful of brand-new essays, are now collected in A Mousetrap for Darwin. In engaging his critics, Behe extends his argument that much recent evidence, from the study of evolving microbes to mutations in dogs and polar bears, shows that blind evolution cannot build the complex machinery essential to life. Rather, evolution works principally by breaking things for short-term benefit. It can’t construct anything fundamentally new. What can? Behe’s money is on intelligent design.


What is the biblical basis for proving God's existence using reason alone?

Moreover, if reason alone is enough for proving God's existence, what's the point of faith?

How are faith and reason reconciled?

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    The short answer is you can prove the existence of God via reason, but you cannot prove the existence of the Christian God (Trinity) from reason alone.
    – eques
    Commented Mar 10 at 21:40
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    Faith is about trusting in the promises of God. Knowing God exists doesn't get you anywhere near faith.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 10 at 21:42
  • Previous comment by @Ken Graham . . . . . Thus there is no Christian denomination that I am aware of that can affirm the existence of the ”Christian God” can be established solely through the use of reason and evidence?.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 10 at 21:44
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    @eques The question does. "if reason alone is enough for proving God's existence, what's the point of faith?" That's a non sequitur if you understand that faith is thoroughly different from believing in the existence of God.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 12 at 15:04

7 Answers 7

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There is an extremely easy way to answer your question.

Introduction

  1. We can notice that God exists using senses and reason alone. For many religions, Creation is tinged with divine qualities (perceived by humans) that defy mechanical description by science. Our minds also demand an answer to questions of origin, which also cannot be provided by science, but by cosmology (such as Genesis 1-2 read as cosmology).

  2. But just as we notice another person's existence by perceiving that person's body, is it knowing? Of course not. Knowing a person requires knowing someone's mind and heart, and YET we cannot know that unless that person reveals himself/herself to us. The Christian God has chosen prophecy (delivered by canonically sanctioned prophets) and incarnation (of God in Jesus) as the means of revelation, similar to how we can reveal ourselves to others using writing, personal interaction, and deeds. That's how we can know someone's character. Understanding the Bible requires reason alone, which allows us to understand God's character.

  3. Now that we know God's character through God's revelation presented to us in the Bible, is it enough? No. Again, let's compare our relationship with God to our human-to-human relationship, where there are 3 levels: noticing (point #1 above), knowledge and experience (point #2 above), and trust (point #3 here). It's obvious that just because we know someone (aided by their revelation to us) it doesn't mean we automatically trust them. FAITH is needed for trust, the ultimate trust in someone is expressed in giving that person the durable power of attorney (it's common that husbands and wives grant durable power of attorney to each other). In Christianity, each believer grants Jesus to have durable power of attorney in heaven to act on our behalf. We can only do this by faith.

Answering your questions

  • What is the biblical basis for proving God's existence using reason alone?

    Many verses you must have come across many times already, such as Psalms (Ps 19:1-4) and Romans 1:20.

  • Moreover, if reason alone is enough for proving God's existence, what's the point of faith?

    1. To trust God's character (which is presented objectively, see point #2 above).
    2. To entrust our lives to God (point #3 above).
  • How are faith and reason reconciled?

    Just like in human-to-human relationship, they work together to build the 3 levels of relationship described above:

    1. I just need my senses (and minimal reason) to notice the cars (and their drivers) around me when I'm driving and to minimally assess their intention and their competency so I can drive safely among them.
    2. I just need my reason (to the fullest capacity) to understand my wife based on years of marriage.
    3. But I need faith to trust that my wife will be with me in times of poor as well as rich, sickness as well as health, especially when I'm in a coma, where I entrust her with a durable power of attorney to make decisions on my behalf that affect my whole person.

    If I need 3 levels to trust someone, it is very natural (for human being, that is) to needing 3 levels to trust God as well:

    1. I notice God in creation (senses and minimal reason).
    2. I understand God in the Bible and in my conscience. Reason alone is sufficient here, to present the items to be believed. There is a deeper level of understanding that requires the "light of faith" (part of "faith seeking understanding"), but it is not required here. The level of "understanding" is having knowledge about God.
    3. I trust God described in creation and in the Bible with both reason and faith because Christian trusting is rational trusting instead of blind trusting. "faith" in this answer means a) the ability to let another person to be in charge of our fate and b) the ability to let another person to be the topmost rank in our hierarchy of values. This sense of "faith" corresponds to the "journey" dimension in my other answer. This is different than the "rational" dimension (the "light of faith") which I also described in that answer, which is the ability to "see" farther. The "understanding" accorded by the "light of faith" at this level is knowing God personally, more experiential, intimate, and intuitive. For a short video explaining the difference between "knowledge about" and "knowing" a person, see Eleonore Stump's video Can Philosophy of Religion Find God?
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What is the biblical basis for proving God's existence using reason alone?

Various places in Scripture suggest that humans are innately aware of God's existence and that Special Revelation (i.e. Scripture) is not necessary for knowing that God exists.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." (Psalm 14:1)

What can be known about God is plain to [the unrighteous], because God has shown it to them. 20For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:19-20)

The case can and has been made elsewhere that knowledge of God (at least, the fact of God's existence) can be obtained through solely rational means. At the time Scripture was written, this was largely taken for granted, and so Scripture itself doesn't spell out the case in detail. Rather, it is blunt and to the point when it deals with those who suppress and deny this truth, calling them willfully ignorant, "fools" and "without excuse". (See also 2 Peter 3 and 2 Thessalonians 2.)

If reason alone is enough for proving God's existence, what's the point of faith?

What, rather, is the purpose of simply proving God's existence?

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (James 2:19)

Believing that God exists is no benefit. The demons certainly know that God exists, much though they might desire otherwise! Indeed, the same problem exists in humans; most would much rather God didn't exist, which certainly plays into the human ability to deny such an inconvenient Truth.

What does Scripture say about faith?

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)

Nowhere in Scripture is it claimed that one needs "faith" to believe that God exists. In fact, the message of Scripture is quite the opposite! Moreover, "faith" as used in Scripture is not used in the derogatory sense often applied to Christians, which is "a conviction about abstractions, ideas, or beliefs, without empirical evidence, experience, or observation". Christians don't have, and don't need, that sort of faith. Rather, it is unbelievers that have "a conviction about abstractions, ideas, or beliefs, without empirical evidence, experience, or observation"; they have convinced themselves that God doesn't exist, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.

Christian faith is rather a trust in God's promises. In dictionary terms, it is "a trust or confidence in the intentions or abilities of a person, object, or ideal from prior empirical evidence". It is confidence in God's character and belief that He will fulfill His promises.

I've previously used the analogy that Christianity is like a bowl of "get out of Hell free" tickets that's just sitting there with a "take one" sign. Unbelievers will tell themselves "there is no Hell" and ignore the bowl. Those without faith will say "there is no way just having this ticket is useful" and ignore the bowl. Those that take a ticket because they believe that the promise of the ticket is legitimate and valuable have faith. Because God has chosen to make Salvation available in this manner, those without faith are damned, whether or not they acknowledge God's existence. Salvation is through belief in God and belief in His Promises.

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What is the biblical basis for proving God's existence using reason alone?

There is none. To understand what this means, there is no basis for claiming to know or prove anything by reason alone.

Reason comes from the Latin word ratio, which means to reckon. Reckon means to recount. Recount means "to tell again", based on the word "count", which means to compute. Compute means to settle an account together, derived from the Latin word putare, cognate with our word "putative", which means thoughtful, from the prefix putat-, meaning thought. Its roots in putative Proto-Indo-European convey the meaning "supposed".

Is supposing or thinking anything, even together with other thinkers, a reliable source of statements of truth? In itself, no.

The quality of opinions or judgments arising from one's thoughts or even a body of thoughts depends heavily on the quality of those thoughts, and what they are grounded in, or whether they are grounded at all.

Faith, on the other hand, conveys expectation and belief in things not yet seen, which are true.

So we have that faith actually makes a statement about what is true. Reason does not. Reason only gives opinions based on what people think or the stories they can tell. It does not define any reliable basis for their thinking.

To demonstrate this, write up any proposition or proof in any formal language of logic. Write down the axioms. Write down the premises.

We can use reason to demonstrate that if all of one's axioms and premises are true, that certain other propositions would be consequent from that combination of axioms and premises.

Now, can you write a logical proof that all of your axioms are premises are true, without depending on any of your axioms or premises? You cannot.

Sola ratio is circular reasoning.

Can you ever arrive at a self-validating logical premise? You cannot do it.

Every pure rational conclusion is a provisional or conditional one at best. A conclusion in a logical argument depends on its premises, and there is no such thing as a rationally self-validating premise.

Said another way, reason is merely plumbing. If you already know all of your premises to be true, you can employ reason to discover additional ramifications of the truths you already know. But if any of your premises are suspect or incorrect, reason won't give you anything certain you did not already know, no matter how hard you press the "do science" button.

Moreover, if reason alone is enough for proving God's existence, what's the point of faith?

As outlined above, reason can be very useful IF it is first grounded in knowledge of the truth, but reason cannot actually demonstrate anything of itself without prior knowledge and faith. Reason and science speak different languages. Reason depends on faith and knowledge -- not the other way around.

When we see people employing "reason" to try to prove something and insist they are not exercising faith or relying on religious knowledge, they deceive themselves. If someone makes a useful discovery through reason it is because he exercised some faith, and the premises were valid even if he did not know why they were valid--but someone had to have supplied those premises in the first place. Many great discoverers were Christians and acknowledged that their knowledge came from God. All humankind owe their righteous intellectual heritage to God and the teachings of His servants in times past.

How are faith and reason reconciled?

Faith and reason are trivially reconciled by the observation that they are complementary tools, and do not contradict each other in the slightest point. Reason has nothing at all to say against faith. A person claiming to have a reason that opposes faith is not telling the truth of the matter.

All "pure rational" arguments for anything are disingenuous if they discount the role of faith and prior knowledge. As we say in data science, garbage in, garbage out.

As the late M. Russell Ballard said,

"No truth has ever come into the heart of man except by the Holy Ghost".

I testify that this is true. No one actually knows anything except by the power of the Holy Ghost, which communicates through the Light of Christ.

So while the author may make exceedingly many valid observations by the use of reason, the claim that they are "solely rational" is misguided, just as the atheist's claim to have anything at all to say against faith and religious knowledge is disingenuous. The Savior said to His disciples, "I am the vine, ye are the branches; without me ye can do nothing." And so it is. Modern "science" would be nothing without the knowledge God has so generously infused into our hearts and minds through the teaching of His word. In fact modern technological improvement and innovation can be traced uncannily to the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the enlightenment that attends all sincere seeking to live the Savior's teachings, be the experimenters and discoverers of whatever national, cultural or religious background they may.

Revelation and scientific discovery are one and the same.

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    This is likely relevant to your point: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_trilemma
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 10 at 22:58
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    @Mark Excellent, and yes, highly relevant. The only solution is to get truth from Someone who (A) knows it and (B) cannot lie. That leaves only the Godhead.. Everything else is circular, infinitely regressive, or simply ungrounded.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Mar 10 at 23:25
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    If you already know all of your premises to be true, you can employ reason to discover additional ramifications of the truths you already know. - very well said, and it underscores how different the debate about God (or theology or fill-in-the-blank) is if we can start with even just a handful of known, revealed truths. Commented Mar 11 at 4:33
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – eques
    Commented Mar 13 at 21:06
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The question is a contradiction in terms. Further, Edward Feser's book is not the Bible.

To answer the question as it stands, it would have to be established using nothing but the writings in the Bible, that it claims that purely rational arguments will prove the existence of God. The Bible does no such thing.

The Bible is perfectly clear that faith in the reality of God is foundational, and that faith is a gift from God. Also, that the God of the Bible makes himself known to various people in various ways, at various times; as stated in this New Testament writing:

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." Hebrews 1:1-2 A.V.

Belief in God is shown to be rational, logical, and warranted (when the Bible is examined). Those two verses alone show how God has made himself known to people centuries before Jesus Christ came, and thereafter. But what if a person reading that has no belief in God speaking to people (and no idea how an individual could be sure it was God speaking to them)? What if faith in God was looked for, by God, before he would so communicate with them? The faithless skeptic would remain unconvinced. What if God takes the initiative in reaching out to people, and leaves faithless skeptics to their philosophical musings?

I'm not saying he does - I'm just posing questions based on the question, as it stands, which expects reason alone to be what the Bible promotes.

As one comment to the OP astutely pointed out, "Knowing God exists doesn't get you anywhere near faith." That is based on the biblical statement, that when it comes to believing there is only the one God, "Even the demons believe, and shudder". (James 2:19) Demons have no faith in God, but they know without question that this one God exists!

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  • I don't see how this answers the question. The question is what is the biblical basis for the use of reason for proving God's existence not whether there is a biblical basis (Which would be off-topic anyways) nor is the question at all implying that Dr Feser's book is in the Bible.
    – eques
    Commented Mar 12 at 12:53
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    @eques I answered: "To answer the question as it stands, it would have to be established using nothing but the writings in the Bible, that it claims that purely rational arguments will prove the existence of God. The Bible does no such thing." Which is why I started my answer by saying, "The Q is a contradiction in terms." Dr Feser's book will have its merits but the Q asks for what the Bible says.
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 12 at 13:48
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    My point stands. You cannot answer a "what is the biblical basis" question with "there is no biblical basis". Whether there is a biblical basis is often widely-divergent among Christian groups (all of which are permissible here) and the fact is that some groups do see a Biblical basis for the use of human reason in this way (e.g. Catholicism via material sufficiency of Scripture).
    – eques
    Commented Mar 12 at 14:54
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    St. Paul refutes you. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.
    – Glorius
    Commented Mar 22 at 13:50
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Biblical Basis for Reason? (1) First , we must all admit that God created the mind with the capacity to reason. So reasoning is not evil in itself. And "Proofs of God's existence" are not offensive to God. In fact, He would be quite pleased that men use the Reason He gave them to seek after God.

Some of these proofs are Cosmological, Teleological, Anthropological, Existential, Moral, etc. Notice Paul's use of them in Athens:

God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth...since He Himself gives to all people life and breath...having appointed times and the boundaries...so that men would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:24-27)

The purpose for examining this fine-tuned universe, with the mysteries of life, is to get man's attention and wonder about its Creation---which creation necessitates the existence of a Creator. (ex nihilo nihil fit, L.) And seek after Him.

Paul emphasized this necessity of believing in God first in order to come to salvation, in Romans 10.

How can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? (Romans 10:14)

One cannot seek God's forgiveness, without first believing God exists!

(2) To the question about, What is the point of Faith?, We must first define "faith." As Josh McDowell has helped us in this, we see "Faith is the reasonable response to the proven, revolutionary facts of God's revelation in Christ and His resurrection."

Faith is NOT defined as "hope so", "perhaps, maybe", "could be", so I'll guess it is true. As Hebrews said, "Faith is substance, and evidence." (Hebrews 11:1) It is "assurance". Or as the writer previously wrote:

The salvation, first spoken by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard [eye-witnesses]. God also testifying with them, both by signs and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. (Hebrews 2:3-4)

The Christian Faith is based in proven facts: Miracles, Fulfilled Prophecy, Resurrection of Jesus, Divine intervention into human history, Scientific necessity, Just-so universe, etc...and logical deductions based upon reason.

NATURAL THEOLOGY--->HISTORICAL THEOLOGY--->SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY Rationalism........................................Evidence........................................Faith

REASON-------------------------->REVELATION------------------------>RELATIONSHIP

(3) So How are Faith and Reason reconciled? There is no need for "reconciliation" because there is no conflict in the first place! They are not enemies; but are related to one another, hand in glove. Reason leads to "seeking after God." (Acts 17) And Faith is confidence in God that rests on the solid foundation of revealed and reasoned facts. The universe has God's fingerprints all over it! The Sea of Galilee has Jesus's footprints all over it. And the human mind (heart) has the Holy Spirit's imprints all over it.

Addendum I confess I may have misunderstood the Question, and introduced "Empirical Proofs" which go beyond beyond just "Rational only Proofs". Having admitted this, I think it should be made clear that there are a number of proofs, all of which are based on one's preferred Epistemology. ("Epistemology" being the study of how one arrives at "truth".)

  • Presuppositional (Hypothesis with verified predictions)
  • Rationalism (Philosophical)
  • Empiricism (Scientific)
  • Evidentialism (Historical)
  • Fideism (Revelatory)
  • Combinationalism (Use of all methods intertwined)

But it should immediately be realized that all methods use reason (and rational energy) to some degree or another. Even Fideism has to decide which God or religion to put faith in...which revelation is the true one.

And it should be readily admitted that Rationalism does not exist in isolation; it must acknowledge and deal with, aspects of the universe that exist outside of the philosopher's mind. Purely rational is a hard position to achieve, if ever. And note that a attempted rational proofs will ONLY lead to a type of Deism, because it does not have the needed/added Revelation of God for a personal handshake!

And it should also be admitted that arriving at the doorstep of belief in God can be achieved by the avenue of either of the above methods! God who created the Universe and all within it, can be found in all aspects of this universe: whether on the grand scale (Cosmological, Teleological proofs), or on the small, focused scale (Rationalism, Deontology, Information sciences).

The bottom line is this: The God who made the human mind with all its amazing capabilities, also said, Come, let us reason together. That call would include rational theologians/philosophers who give themselves to deep thinking...huddled in a room...constructed by an innovative someone!

[Notice that Jesus often said, "What think ye...?", when dealing with inquirers into righteousness and truth. He expected people to use reason and make rational decisions, whether professional philosophers or the hoi polloi.]

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One biblical basis for proving God's existence using reason alone can be found in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and in history. These gospels were arguably written within about 30 years of Christ's ministry (AD 26-30). Each of them attests to Christ's prophecy of the destruction of the Jewish Second Temple within a generation. (See Hebrews 3:9-10 for the biblical definition of a "generation" as "40 years".) Here is the relevant prophetic verse from Matthew and the time statement: (Matthew 24:1-2) "Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down" and (Mt 24:34) "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." (See also Mk 13:1-2; 13:30 and Lk 21:6; 21:20-22 for the other gospels' prophecies and time references. See also Lk 19:41-44.) Jesus' prophecy came true within a generation when, during the Roman-Jewish War (AD 66-70), the Second Temple was destroyed to its foundation by Titus, as corroborated by the historian Josephus. This is evidence for the full preterist interpretation of the New Testament. More importantly, this is incontrovertible evidence that Jesus was indeed who he said he was: God man come in the flesh: "So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.' Jesus answered them, 'I told you...The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me" (John 10:24-25) and again, "Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves" (Jn 14:11). Regarding faith though, the writer of Hebrews (4:2) warned: "For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened." Some ancient manuscripts put it this way: "it did not meet with faith in the hearers." In other words, however good the evidentiary record of the Bible and history is, faith is up to those who hear. This is why Christ Jesus also warned his listeners: "Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” (Lk 8:18) That is to say, to those who have faith when they hear, more faith will be added, but to those who have not faith when they hear, even the faith they think they have will be taken away. Be careful then, how you hear.


Appendix

The following note relates to how the above events are evidence of a full preterist view of the New Testament:

Matthew 24 opens with Jesus and His disciples looking at the buildings of the Temple. Jesus utters famously, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Clearly astonished—-since this Temple was the center of the Mosaic Covenant, and literally the place of heaven on earth—-the disciples walk with Jesus over to the Mount of Olives. There, they ask him in essence, three questions about his oracle: “…the disciples came to him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'” This three-part question is very telling, particularly since the later two questions help us understand exactly how ancient, literate Israelites thought about the destruction of the Temple.

When the disciples ask about the Temple's destruction, they don’t say “What will be the sign (symbol) of the Temple’s fall?” but rather they ask about Jesus' "coming". They clearly equated the destruction of the Temple with His “coming” and yet Jesus hadn’t yet said anything about His “coming” in this passage. Why did they equate the two? They would have known by heart scriptures like Isaiah 19:1 and Jeremiah 4:11-13 which described in Hebraic apocalyptic language the Lord coming on clouds to destroy His enemies (usually through the use of foreign armies). For example, Isaiah 19:1 says,

"An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them."

No ancient Hebrew would have argued that God literally came down on a cloud into Egypt. Rather, they would have seen this as an oracle of judgment against Egypt, which was actually destroyed by Assyria not long after Isaiah made this prophecy.

And similarly, it is very likely that in Mt. 24, the verses of Jer. 4:11-13 would have specifically come to the disciples' minds, for that was where the Lord described His soon destruction of Jerusalem and the first Temple by the armies of the Babylonians:

“At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.” Behold, HE COMES UP LIKE CLOUDS; his chariots like the whirlwind;
his horses are swifter than eagles—-woe to us, for we are ruined!”

So, when Jesus describes a destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple, the disciples’ minds go immediately to asking about His coming ("up like clouds"), using a commonly understood Hebraic apocalyptic idiom. Unfortunately, most readers of the Bible take such idioms literally, though there is no evidence the ancient Hebrews did so. It is the Greek influence on biblical hermeneutics that leads many Western interpreters to do so.

So, when Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple (as prophesied by Christ as mentioned above) by AD 70, one can confidently conclude that Christ's coming (on clouds) indeed occurred in fulfillment of what was to occur "in this generation" (see above) and "soon". (Rev. 1:1, 3:11, 22:6-7,12,20).

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  • This is evidence for the full preterist interpretation of the New Testament - Can you justify this claim? This is the only part of your answer that is preventing me from upvoting it.
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 23 at 16:50
  • I cannot justify my claim in 100 words, which is all the space I'm given here. That does not make my assertion wrong. If you want an explanation, please provide another means for me to send it to you. It is about five paragraphs long. :D Commented Mar 26 at 14:25
  • You can edit your answer, for example by adding an appendix addressing that topic only.
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 26 at 14:26
  • Thanks. How do I create an appendix? I'm not familiar with code. :D Commented Mar 26 at 17:33
  • I edited your answer. Now keep on editing it.
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 26 at 17:35
-1

The other answers are good, just let me try to add some ideas to the conversation.

It is already mentioned that you mixed several "stages" of believing. These stages are not linear, some people could believe directly, and some others through investigation.

I would argue that the existence of God can not be proven, but inferred. Let me explain.

Proof, in the scientific method, implies experimentation as one of its steps, and experimentation requires handling matter in space and time. But God is outside the 3, so it can not be tested.

But his existence can be inferred by the already existing evidence of his work. This work is nature. And the main argument is "Where is order there is intelligence".

This thought is not new, in fact, it is the idea that gave birth to the universities in the first place. "We believe that nature can be understood because the designer made it understandable." (I am not sure if this an actual quote of someone)

Let me address a modern rational path. This is modern because it is based on the scientific modern understanding of nature.

1. The "Fine-tuning" argument recognizes the values of the fundamental laws, constants, and forces of the universe have some parameters, that science proposes were "designated" in the beginning. These parameters have some tolerances that could accept a tiny different value and the universe still would work as it does. But some tolerances are really tiny, like several decimal places.

The differences would imply, for example on gravity, that much more would not allow nuclear reactions on a star, and too much would crunch the universe too soon. We consider it Intelligent design.

2. A second argument is the universe works according to mathematical principles. This looks like the universe is designed mathematically first, and then implemented. Again, we consider this Intelligent design.

3. The mathematics themselves, as pure abstractions, that exist outside the physical universe itself. This opens the door to thinking there is also a source for this abstract realm. A mind.

4. Life itself and its complexity. Of course, the spontaneous generation was disproven by Pasteur, that a chicken soup with pieces of chicken will not produce life... However, the aborigines' theory says that a more primordial and primitive soup actually produced life from non-living matter.

Biology and biochemistry are a bit complex, but adding "time" as millions of years does not help a theory that tries to combine organic compounds, that tend to degrade very quickly. You need to have all the organic components at the same time, you can not assemble a couple at a time, and surely not across long periods of time.

Here is a slide (taken from a James Tour video) that shows the activators and enzymes to produce glucose... Just glucose.

enter image description here

5. The code in DNA and life itself. "Where is information there is intelligence."

6. And my favorite evidence is... You.

Let me make a thought experiment.

Imagine "Teleporters" exist. They can copy every molecule of you, every atom, and how it is connected to the others. Even the spin of the electrons is copied exactly.

Then by a malfunction, your copy is generated on the destination a few seconds before... the original you are deleted. The information is exactly the same, the genetics are, but still, you are still in the launch chamber. At the destination, there is a different person. You did not gain conscience of the other "you".

This thought experiment implies that you are more than your atoms, more than your genetics, you are unique.

The improbability of you happening is astronomical. The chances say that you should not be here. Your genetics is a 1/100,000,000 for the specific act that conceived you. Multiply it for the genetics of your parents, and your grandparents. Multiply by 100,000,000 for every generation of your ancestors.

Multiply that by the chances that a specific marsupial survived the asteroid impact, or every mass extinction, or the characteristics of our planet.

The improbability of you being you are exponentially larger than atoms in the universe, and still you are here. You are not the result of an infinite number of improbabilities.

If you are here, not only there is a Creator, but he is also a Personal God.

7. Is there a moral objectivity? This advocates human morals, the two options are that can be an objective morality or it is all subjective.


Inferring an Inteligent design, an Inteligent Desginer alone leads not directly to the God of the bible. That is a "Deist" concept of God, where the Creator, once created it, left it alone.

But my last point, You, implies a Theistic concept of God. One that not only that is present, but is personal.

Then, we could take a look at the different religious texts and find out which has more sense of this concept of a Creator and a personal God.


So in my opinion we do not Know the existence of God through any sacred text, but by reason. Then the acceptance of the bible, implies that we believe that he made himself present, in this case in the history of humanity.

That is the concept of revelation.

Revelation then, is a thing that can not be seen or concluded by our observations alone but must be shared by the other person to us. It assumes the belief in his existence, so then his characteristics can be known.


What the Bible proves is the existence of Jesus, and his concept and understanding of God.

This can be also understood from two perspectives. A chronological one, where you believe that God manifested himself through Israel's history, or a testimonial one, where you are captured by the story of the exceptional historical events of the crucifixion and resurrection.


Where comes faith into this?

I would ask Who do you think he is? Mt. 16:15

6
  • "Proof, in the scientific method" and yet this is a philosophical proof not a modern scientific proof in the discussion.
    – eques
    Commented Mar 14 at 15:29
  • 1
    No. If it is "only" philosophical, then it is not proof, it is an argument. I am clearly explaining inferring based on evidence, vs proof as experimentation.
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 14 at 16:47
  • That's frankly completely incorrect. Dr. Feser's book is entitled "Five Proofs for the Existence of God" based upon the medieval treatise known as the five proofs, which are philosophical proofs. Using the term "proof" in philosophy is well established. Proof is not unique as a term to empirical modern science.
    – eques
    Commented Mar 14 at 18:56
  • 3
    I appreciate the effort put into this answer, but I'm afraid it doesn't answer the question. There is no mention of biblical basis, almost 0% is devoted to talking about faith, and most of it is an enumeration of arguments without citing sources, which do not answer the question (I already agreed in the OP that arguments exist, that's not what was asked).
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 14 at 23:00
  • 1
    Where there is order there is intelligence,plus one vote Commented Mar 25 at 14:00

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