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Note: I'm interested in the Christian perspective on the question Can God's existence be established through reason and publicly accessible evidence? that I recently asked on Philosophy Stack Exchange. Feel free to read that question and the answers that people have posted for a broader context.


I am curious to understand the perspectives within the Christian community regarding the use of reason and publicly available evidence to establish the existence of God in general, and the existence of the Christian God specifically. Are there prevailing viewpoints or consensus among Christians on this matter?

What I already know

I'm aware that at least some Christians frequently cite passages like Romans 1:18-25 and Psalm 19:1-3 as Biblical expressions of teleological arguments for God's existence. This category of arguments has evolved in more contemporary discussions, adopting a renewed shape, notably through an emphasis on the intricate fine-tuning of the fundamental constants in the universe (see fine-tuned universe), and an emphasis on the extraordinary complexity and specified information found in living organisms (see intelligent design movement).

I'm also aware of the existence of disciplines such as natural theology and apologetics, which in one way or another attempt to argue for the rationality of the belief in the existence of God and posit that there is sufficient evidence in the natural world to confidently conclude that God must exist.

What I do not know

One aspect that intrigues me, and about which I seek more clarity, pertains to the widespread acceptance or not among Christians of concepts such as natural theology, apologetics, intelligent design, and philosophical/scientific arguments for God's existence that hinge on reason and evidence. Do a majority of Christians align with these disciplines and share the perspective that the existence of God can be established solely through the use of reason and publicly available evidence, in a manner that any reasonable person should be able to study and verify?

If there are available statistics on this matter, I would greatly appreciate them, although it's not strictly required to answer this question. As a point of reference, in the realm of philosophy, there are statistics available such as the following:

God: theism or atheism?

Option 2009 2020 Change Swing
Accept or lean towards: theism 14.61% 12.5% -2.11 -1.76
Accept or lean towards: atheism 72.82% 74.23% 1.41 1.76
Accept a combination of views 2.47% 0.31% -2.16
Accept an alternative view 0.86% 2.78% 1.92
The question is too unclear to answer 1.72% 2.01% 0.29
There is no fact of the matter 0.54% 0.31% -0.23
Insufficiently familiar with the issue 0% 0.15% 0.15
Agnostic/undecided 5.48% 6.94% 1.46
Skipped 0.97% 0.31% -0.66
Other 0.54% 0.46% -0.08

N (2020) = 648
N (2009) = 931
(Source: 2020 PhilPapers Survey)


A case for consideration: Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal serves as an illustration of a Christian who contends that the existence of God cannot be conclusively established through reason alone. While his perspective is just one instance, it raises the possibility that others may share a similar viewpoint.

Pascal maintains that we are incapable of knowing whether God exists or not, yet we must “wager” one way or the other. Reason cannot settle which way we should incline, but a consideration of the relevant outcomes supposedly can. Here is the first key passage:

“God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up… Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose… But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is… If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.

(Source: Pascal's Wager - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)


Another view for consideration: Reformed Epistemology

Reformed Epistemology is another viewpoint that exemplifies the rejection of evidence and intellectual arguments as necessary requirements for justifying belief in God.

Reformed epistemology is a thesis about the rationality of religious belief. A central claim made by the reformed epistemologist is that religious belief can be rational without any appeal to evidence or argument. There are, broadly speaking, two ways that reformed epistemologists support this claim. The first is to argue that there is no way to successfully formulate the charge that religious belief is in some way epistemically defective if it is lacking support by evidence or argument. The second way is to offer a description of what it means for a belief to be rational, and to suggest ways that religious beliefs might in fact be meeting these requirements. This has led reformed epistemologists to explore topics such as when a belief-forming mechanism confers warrant, the rationality of engaging in belief forming practices, and when we have an epistemic duty to revise our beliefs. As such, reformed epistemology offers an alternative to evidentialism (the view that religious belief must be supported by evidence in order to be rational) and fideism (the view that religious belief is not rational, but that we have non-epistemic reasons for believing).

Reformed epistemology was first clearly articulated in a collection of papers called Faith and Rationality edited by Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff in 1983. However, the view owes a debt to many other thinkers.

(Source: Reformed Epistemology - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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    I think the Kalam cosmological argument (and others) are very widely seen as demonstrating that there is a creator god, but that it can't lead to any knowledge of the true Christian God. And personally, I'd see Romans 1 as less about reason, and more about the beauty and magnitude of the creation leading to an inkling of the beauty, goodness, and majesty of God, by engaging the affections rather than our rational intellects.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 21 at 14:06
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    The survey stated by the OP is a survey of University Departments, not of self-identifying Christians. I am not clear as to why it is included in the uestion.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 21 at 18:07
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    "the existence of God can be established solely through the use of reason and publicly available evidence". Use of reason must imply intact reasoning. According to Romans 1 and Psalm 19, etc., God's existence has been established and is known. The preponderance of atheists (according to that one survey), then, speaks to the corruption of human reason and not the dearth of evidence. For example, I once considered myself a well-reasoned agnostic and now I know that I was deliberately ignoring a great many pieces of evidence. Commented Jan 22 at 13:10
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    It wasn't so much flawed reasoning as flawed premises. The correction took place when I was "saved"; "born-again". At that moment my foundational premise became that God is true. He had been true all along but my reasoning, and the will behind it, would not allow that as a premise. My reason, because it was inoculated against God by sin, demanded proof of a premise which was already clearly manifest. Up until God convinced me of sin I was sure my reasoning was fine but excellent reasoning from a faulty premise cannot lead to truth. I was reasoning with a lie as my starting point. Commented Jan 23 at 13:15
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    @Mark I see. So Pascal is one of those Enlightenment era thinkers that limit the ability of the rational mind to know God; know God NOT in the full Christian sense as a loving being, but know God simply in the intuitive sense as "there must be a creator / first mover / reason for experiencing beauty, etc.". The "Misunderstanding" and the "Criticism" sections of the Wikipedia article is helpful. Yes, I can see how not only this wager doesn't help with different versions of God, it doesn't help resolve the existence of God either, where Aquinas's 5 arguments would be a lot more helpful. Commented Jan 23 at 19:27

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TL;DR

Based on what I managed to investigate, epistemological positions on the role of reason and evidence in establishing the existence of God can be broadly categorized into the following:

  • Natural Theology
  • Fideism
  • Classical Apologetics
  • Evidential Apologetics
  • Presuppositional Apologetics
  • Reformed Epistemology
  • Mysticism

While I couldn't find specific statistics, the diversity of viewpoints suggests a lack of clear consensus on these positions.


Natural Theology

Natural theology, once also termed physico-theology, is a type of theology that seeks to provide arguments for theological topics (such as the existence of a deity) based on reason and the discoveries of science, the project of arguing for the existence of God on the basis of observed natural facts, and through natural phenomena viewed as divine, or complexities of nature seen as evidence of a divine plan (see predestination) or Will of God, which includes nature itself.

This distinguishes it from revealed theology, which is based on scripture and/or religious experiences, also from transcendental theology, which is based on a priori reasoning. It is thus a type of philosophy, with the aim of explaining the nature of the celestial motors, or gods, or of one supreme god, that are responsible for heavenly motion. Aristotle's tractate on metaphysics claims to demonstrate the necessary existence of an unmoved prime mover.

(Source: Natural theology - Wikipedia)

Natural theology is a program of inquiry into the existence and attributes of God without referring or appealing to any divine revelation. In natural theology, one asks what the word “God” means, whether and how names can be applied to God, whether God exists, whether God knows the future free choices of creatures, and so forth. The aim is to answer those questions without using any claims drawn from any sacred texts or divine revelation, even though one may hold such claims.

For purposes of studying natural theology, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others will bracket and set aside for the moment their commitment to the sacred writings or traditions they believe to be God’s word. Doing so enables them to proceed together to engage in the perennial questions about God using the sources of evidence that they share by virtue of their common humanity, for example, sensation, reason, science, and history. Agnostics and atheists, too, can engage in natural theology. For them, it is simply that they have no revelation-based views to bracket and set aside in the first place.

This received view of natural theology was a long time in the making. Natural theology was born among the ancient Greeks, and its meeting with ancient Judeo-Christian-Muslim thought constituted a complex cultural event. From that meeting there developed throughout the Middle Ages for Christians a sophisticated distinction between theology in the Christian sense and natural theology in the ancient Greek sense. Although many thinkers in the Middle Ages tried to unite theology and natural theology into a unity of thought, the project frequently met with objections, as we shall see below. The modern era was partly defined by a widespread rejection of natural theology for both philosophical and theological reasons. Such rejection persisted, and persists, although there has been a significant revival of natural theology in recent years.

(Source: Natural Theology - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)


Fideism

“What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” (246) This question of the relation between reason – here represented by Athens – and faith – represented by Jerusalem – was posed by the church father Tertullian (c.160–230 CE), and it remains a central preoccupation among contemporary philosophers of religion.

“Fideism” is the name given to that school of thought – to which Tertullian himself is frequently said to have subscribed – which answers that faith is in some sense independent of, if not outright adversarial toward, reason. In contrast to the more rationalistic tradition of natural theology, with its arguments for the existence of God, fideism holds – or at any rate appears to hold (more on this caveat shortly) – that reason is unnecessary and inappropriate for the exercise and justification of religious belief. The term itself derives from fides, the Latin word for faith, and can be rendered literally as faith-ism. “Fideism” is thus to be understood not as a synonym for “religious belief,” but as denoting a particular philosophical account of faith’s appropriate jurisdiction vis-a-vis that of reason.

(Source: Fideism - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

An example of Fideism: Blaise Pascal

Another form of fideism is assumed by Pascal's Wager, which is a rational argument for a pragmatic view of God's existence. Blaise Pascal invites the atheist considering faith to see faith in God as a cost-free choice that carries a potential reward. He does not attempt to argue that God indeed exists, only that it might be valuable to assume that it is true. Of course, the problem with Pascal's Wager is that it does not restrict itself to a specific god, although Pascal did have in mind the Christian version (referred to both by Jews and Christians as God), as is mentioned in the following quote. In his Pensées, Pascal writes:

Who then will blame Christians for not being able to give reasons for their beliefs, since they profess belief in a religion which they cannot explain? They declare, when they expound it to the world, that it is foolishness, stultitiam; and then you complain because they do not prove it! If they proved it, they would not keep their word; it is through their lack of proofs that they show they are not lacking in sense.

— Pensées, no. 233

Pascal, moreover, contests the various proposed proofs of the existence of God as irrelevant. Even if the proofs were valid, the beings they propose to demonstrate are not congruent with the deity worshiped by historical faiths, and can easily lead to deism instead of revealed religion: "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—not the god of the philosophers!"

(Source: Fideism#Blaise_Pascal_and_fideism - Wikipedia)


Classical apologetics

Classical apologetics is a method of apologetics that begins by first employing various theistic arguments to establish the existence of God. Classical apologists will often utilize various forms of the cosmological, teleological (Design), ontological, and moral arguments to prove God’s existence. Once God’s existence has been established, the classical apologist will then move on to present evidence from fulfilled prophecy, the historical reliability of Scripture, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus to distinguish Christianity from all other competing forms of theism.

Classical apologetics (also known as traditional apologetics) has as its distinctive feature a two-step approach to establishing a Christian worldview. Classical apologists are often hesitant to make an argument directly from miracles to the biblical God. Rather, they prefer to appeal to miracles after having already established a theistic context. Modern proponents of classical apologetics include R.C. Sproul, William Lane Craig, and Norman Geisler.

Christian philosopher Norman Geisler summarized the difference between classical and evidential apologetics in this way: "The difference between the classical apologists and the evidentialists on the use of historical evidences is that the classical see the need to first establish that this is a theistic universe...The basic argument of the classical apologist is that it makes no sense to speak about the resurrection as an act of God unless, as a logical prerequisite, it is first established that there is a God who can act" (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics).

(Source: What is classical apologetics? - GotQuestions)


Evidential apologetics

Evidential apologetics is a method of Christian apologetics that emphasizes positive evidences in favor of the truth of Christianity. The distinctive feature of evidential apologetics is its one-step approach to establishing Christian theism. Evidentialists will utilize evidence and arguments from several areas including archeology, fulfilled messianic prophecy, and especially from miracles.

In distinction from classical apologetics, the evidential apologist believes that the occurrence of miracles acts as an evidence for God’s very existence. In this way, the evidential apologist does not believe that the philosophical and scientific arguments for God’s existence must logically precede arguments from miracles to establish biblical Christianity. However, the evidential apologist is not opposed to the use of natural theology to help to confirm God’s existence. These arguments are an important weapon in the arsenal of the evidentialist as they help to undergird the case for Christianity by giving further confirmation that God exists and has created and designed our universe. Evidentialists simply do not believe such arguments must be presented prior to moving on to evidence from miracles. In this way, the evidential apologist can argue for theism and Christian theism at the same time without having to first establish God’s existence. Such an approach can be beneficial in personal evangelism where time can be at a minimum.

Evidential apologists characteristically place a heavy emphasis on evidence from miracles, especially the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Evidentialists will appeal to numerous lines of evidence to establish the historicity of the post-mortem appearances of the risen Jesus, as well as the discovery of His empty tomb. Additional emphasis is often placed on refuting naturalistic theories that attempt to explain away the evidence for the resurrection of Christ. Once the resurrection has been established, Jesus’ (and His apostles’) own understanding of this event then becomes the proper interpretive framework through which we understand its significance. Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus said that His forthcoming resurrection would validate His claims (Matthew 12:38-40, 16:1-4). The Apostle Paul declared that the resurrection of Christ was God’s vindication of Christ’s deity (Romans 1:3-4). In the book of Acts, the Apostle Peter claimed that Jesus’ bodily resurrection was God’s endorsement of Jesus’ public ministry (Acts 2:23-32). When taken in this context, the bodily resurrection becomes the primary validation of Jesus’ own radical claims about Himself and the vindication of Jesus’ message of salvation.

(Source: What is evidential apologetics? - GotQuestions)


Presuppositional apologetics

Presuppositional apologetics is an approach to apologetics which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith and defend it against objections by exposing the logical flaws of other worldviews and hence demonstrating that biblical theism is the only worldview which can make consistent sense of reality.

Presuppositional apologetics does not discount the use of evidence, but such evidences are not used in the traditional manner—that is, an appeal to the authority of the unbeliever’s autonomous reason. Presuppositional apologetics holds that without a Christian worldview there is no consistent basis upon which to assume the possibility of autonomous reason. When the materialist attempts to refute Christianity by appeal to deductive reason, he is, in fact, borrowing from the Christian worldview, hence being inconsistent with his stated presuppositions.

The presuppositional approach to apologetics calls for the Christian and non-Christian to engage in an internal examination of their respective worldview and thus determine whether or not they are internally consistent. The essence of presuppositional apologetics is an attempt to demonstrate that the non-Christian’s worldview forces him to a state of subjectivity, irrationalism, and moral anarchy.

Since the unbeliever’s worldview is objectively false, by necessity it contains demonstrable contradictions (e.g., he makes moral judgments, but he cannot account for moral absolutes without the Christian/theistic worldview). The believer, within the Christian framework, can account for things like rationality, logic, uniformity of nature, morality, science, etc., because the Christian worldview conforms to a transcendent reality.

In summary, the presuppositional apologist engages in an internal critique of a given worldview in order to demonstrate that it is arbitrary, inconsistent within itself, and lacks the preconditions for epistemology. The presuppositional apologist can thus take a given value which is held by the unbeliever and demonstrate to him that if his own worldview were true, that very belief would be incoherent and/or meaningless. Presuppositional apologetics seeks to prove Christianity with reference to the impossibility of the contrary. In other words, unless the Christian worldview is presupposed—whether at a conscious or subconscious level—there is no possibility for proving anything.

(Source: What is presuppositional apologetics? - GotQuestions)


Reformed Epistemology

In the philosophy of religion, Reformed epistemology is a school of philosophical thought concerning the nature of knowledge (epistemology) as it applies to religious beliefs. The central proposition of Reformed epistemology is that beliefs can be justified by more than evidence alone, contrary to the positions of evidentialism, which argues that while non-evidential belief may be beneficial, it violates some epistemic duty. Central to Reformed epistemology is the proposition that belief in God may be "properly basic" and not need to be inferred from other truths to be rationally warranted. William Lane Craig describes Reformed epistemology as "One of the most significant developments in contemporary religious epistemology ... which directly assaults the evidentialist construal of rationality."

(Source: Reformed epistemology - Wikipedia)

Reformed epistemology is a thesis about the rationality of religious belief. A central claim made by the reformed epistemologist is that religious belief can be rational without any appeal to evidence or argument. There are, broadly speaking, two ways that reformed epistemologists support this claim. The first is to argue that there is no way to successfully formulate the charge that religious belief is in some way epistemically defective if it is lacking support by evidence or argument. The second way is to offer a description of what it means for a belief to be rational, and to suggest ways that religious beliefs might in fact be meeting these requirements. This has led reformed epistemologists to explore topics such as when a belief-forming mechanism confers warrant, the rationality of engaging in belief forming practices, and when we have an epistemic duty to revise our beliefs. As such, reformed epistemology offers an alternative to evidentialism (the view that religious belief must be supported by evidence in order to be rational) and fideism (the view that religious belief is not rational, but that we have non-epistemic reasons for believing).

Reformed epistemology was first clearly articulated in a collection of papers called Faith and Rationality edited by Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff in 1983. However, the view owes a debt to many other thinkers.

(Source: Reformed Epistemology - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)


Mysticism

Under the influence of William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, philosophical interest in mysticism has heavily focused on distinctive, allegedly knowledge-granting “mystical experiences.” Philosophers have dealt with such topics as the classification of mystical experiences, their nature, to what extent mystical experiences are conditioned by a mystic’s language and culture, and whether mystical experiences furnish evidence for the truth of mystical claims. Some philosophers have recently questioned the emphasis on experience in favor of examining broader mystical phenomena. Indeed, “mysticism” is best thought of as a constellation of distinctive practices, discourses, texts, institutions, traditions, and experiences aimed at human transformation, variously defined. But this entry will concentrate on the topics philosophers have discussed concerning mystical experiences.

[...]

Various philosophers have defended the evidential value, to one degree or another, of some religious and mystical experiences, principally with regard to experiences of God (see Baillie 1939, Broad 1953, Davis 1989, Gellman 1997 and 2001a, Gutting 1982, Swinburne 1991 and 1996, Wainwright 1981, Yandell 1993). These philosophers have stressed the “perceptual” nature of experiences of God. This approach can be summarized as follows:

  1. Experiences of God have a subject/object structure with a phenomenological content allegedly representing the object of the experience. Subjects are also moved to make truth claims based on such experiences. Furthermore, there are mystical procedures for getting into position for a mystical experience of God (see Underhill 1911 [1945, 90–94]), and others can take up a suitable mystical path to try to check on the subject’s claims (see Bergson 1977, 210). In all these ways, experiences of God are perceptual in nature.

  2. Such experiences count as at least some evidence in favor of their own validity. That a person seems to experience some object is some reason to think he or she really does have experiential contact with it. Thus, experiences of God count as at least some evidence in favor of their own validity.

  3. Agreement between experiences of people in different places, times, and traditions enhances the evidence in favor of their validity (see Broad 1953). Hence, agreement about experiences of God in diverse circumstances enhances the evidence in their favor. (But see Section 9.6.)

  4. Further enhancement of the validity of a mystical experience can come from appropriate consequences in the life of the person who had the experience, such as increased saintliness (see Wainwright 1981, 83–88). William James proposed a pragmatic “fruit” test for determining true mystical doctrines (James 1958, 368): if a mystical experience produces positive results in how one leads one’s life, then the experience is authentic and the way of life one follows is vindicated, and so the teachings leading to the positive life are correct. In short, the “truth” of one’s beliefs are shown by one’s life as a whole. (But what is considered positive fruit in one mystical tradition may not be considered so in another.)

(1)–(4) yield initial evidence in favor of the validity of (some) experiences of God.

(Source: Mysticism - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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    "Natural theology is a program of inquiry into the existence and attributes of God without referring or appealing to any divine revelation" The existence of 'everything that there is' is a divine revelation: That's the point of Romans 1 and Psalm 19, among others. I suggest that this is where a significant breakdown occurs... on the level of foundational assumptions. Trying to use natural theology to find or prove God while denying that 'the natural' is proof of God is a rational dead end. Very fulsome answer. +1 Commented Jan 25 at 13:27
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What is an overview of perspectives on whether the existence of the Christian God can be established solely through the use of reason and evidence?

The existence of a Christian God can not be established solely on the use of reason and evidence. Even St. Thomas Aquinas puts forth reasons for as a ”god creator”, especially using the first cause argument. This in no way even comes close to proposing proofs of evidence for the existence of a Christian God.

Although the Catholic Church, following the teachings of Paul the Apostle (e.g., Romans 1:20), Thomas Aquinas, and the First Vatican Council, affirms that God's existence "can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason", but this remains at the level of a god creator and not God as Christians understand what a Christian God is. Scientifically personal testimony cannot physically taken as proof of evidence either, whether from the Gospels or person post Gospels testimony.

Science doesn’t have the processes to prove or disprove the existence of God. Science studies and attempts to explain only the natural world while God, in most religions, is supernatural.

Since science doesn’t have the processes to prove or disprove the existence of a Christian God. Science studies and attempts to explain only the natural world while God, in most religions, is supernatural. The Christian God is in the realm of the supernatural and as such is beyond the scope of modern science.

Scientists hold a wide range of positions about religion. Many scientists who believe in God, either as a primordial creator or as an active force in the universe, have written eloquently about their beliefs. For example, in his book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Francis Collins, a scientist who is currently the director of the National Institutes of Health, wrote: “God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science. It must be examined with the heart, the mind, and the soul.” - Are scientists religious?

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?

Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from God of the supernatural order and is outside the domain of scientific proofs on a natural and material level.

For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible. - The Song of Bernadette

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    Science doesn't have processes to "prove", period. And, while science can't disprove God, it can certainly suggest that a god exists (see the ID movement and Romans 1:20). But if the key word here is Christian God, then no, that requires additional data in the form of testimony.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jan 24 at 20:25
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    Scientifically personal testimony cannot be physically proven as evidence either.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 24 at 20:47
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Creator of Reason In answering this question it should first be acknowledged that the Creator of reason is God...and He expects mankind to use it! Logical principles with induction and deduction were not made by man, but were only discovered by man. Just as Newton did not create Laws of Gravity, he only discovered them.

Come let us reason together. (the Lord God, Isaiah 1:18)

Note that in the example of Pascal, given above, that even he wants men to make a decision based on reason! Yet he, contradictorily, seems to be against reason, and in favor of a kind of fideism. As seen below, his "God of the gaps" approach is feckless, since God Himself provides a bridge to belief.

Creator of Evidence Secondly, God does not expect credulity or gullibility when man makes important decisions. There are reasonable criteria in any given situation that must be considered first. God is right at home in letting man make decisions based on evidence...especially when He is the one providing the evidence!

Believe me for my works sake. (Jesus Christ)

Proofs of God's Existence So where does the status of Proofs stand? Are they inadequate in proving the Christian God? The answer lies in the progression of revelation! If one were to stop at Natural Theology, truly a person would be left with only Deism as a conclusion. There is a God, but we wouldn't know much about Him.

Natural Theology But God has not left mankind dangling there at the end of a philosophical rope...or a scientific dilemma. The finite universe does indeed point logically to the need of a Creator, outside time and space (matter). And the fine-tuning, mathematically established universe needs an Intelligent Creator. Science is a handmaiden to theology!

Historical Theology But moving along, the next step available in proving the Christian God is Historical Theology. There is no "God of the Gaps"...but a Bridge provided by God Himself! This is the time-space, physical appearance of God Incarnate...substantiated by signs, wonders, and miracles, empirically proven. (Hebrews 2:3-4, 2 Peter 1:16-19, 1 John 1:1-3, Acts 10:37-43)

Systematic Theology And then the last step in this progress is Systematic Theology. Beliefs and doctrines that flow from the revelation of God.

Presentation Note that in the presentation of Apologetics, and in Evangelism, one must---as they say in public speaking---analyze the audience. Seekers are scattered all along this Spectrum of progressive revelation. On the far left are the Atheists or Agnostics. One would engage in Natural Theology. Those who are convinced there is A higher Power would only need convincing that Jesus (Jehovah) is the only true God by appealing to Historical Theology. And those seekers who recognize the supremacy of Jesus, but unsure about doctrines, would need to be approached with Hermeneutic understanding and exegetical tools that lead to truth.

NATURAL THEOLOGY Act 17:27-->HISTORICAL THEO Heb 2:3,4-->SYSTEMATIC THEO.
Father........................................................Son..................................................................Holy Spirit

GENERAL REVELATION Ps 90:1,2-->SPECIAL REV. John 1:9-18-->PERSONAL REV Lu 9:45
Deism.........................................................Theism..........................................Mysticism

Yes Using Reason and Evidence the existence of the Christian God can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt! God would expect no less from the evidence He has provided on the grand scale, and on the human scale. It is only the hardness of heart and the closed mind that prevents the logical results. That's where the Holy Spirit comes in and does His thing...according to God's grace.

The problem with Christians and their theologians is that they zero in one one proof, and ignore--or deny--all the other proofs (and reasons) in other camps. It is hard for them to realize Proofs are complimentary, more than they are contradictory. One thinker has therefore, advocated Combinationalism as a more correct approach to Apologetics. As already noted, seekers are scattered all along the Spectrum of understanding, and different Apologetics tactics would be in order with different people. (Notice the different types of Evangelism Paul employed at Athens...Ephesus...Berea...Rome.)

Yes, if we brought together "all" the Christian theologians and made them hold hands in unity, Reason and Evidence would win out! God would be so pleased that He is recognized, and that "men seek after Him". (Acts 17:27)

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