A Scientific Argument for God’s Existence: On God

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by William Deatherage, Executive Director

This week’s session of Theoretical Applied Theology doesn’t actually involve too much theory, so I’m skipping the usual disclaimer. After all, we’re pursuing a proof of God that is not just compatible with faith and natural science, but is necessary for science to even function. A simplified numbered list of this proof is at the very end, so if you’d rather take the condensed version, scroll all the way down! Also, please be sure to enjoy a lighthearted video on this subject at the end of this essay.

Abstract: God is not merely a being whose discovery is contingent on faith, rather God is a real scientific necessity that is required for the laws of physics to function. Even without revelation, by observing the laws of the natural world, we can arrive at astonishing conclusions about the qualities of God through reason alone.

Terms Discussed:

  • God: well that would be a spoiler, now, wouldn’t it? Guess you’ll have to read to find out!
  • Intelligible Faith: knowledge that comes from supernatural faith; must be coherent
  • Pure Reason: knowledge that comes from observation of the natural world; also must be coherent
  • Subject: a thing that experiences the world (e.g. the subject John experiences the object soccerball)
  • Object: a thing that is experienced in the world
  • Objectivity: belief that qualities of the real world exist independent of individual knowledge
  • Relativity: belief that objective truth does not exist; all knowledge is a subjective construct that depends on the person, and there is no “real” knowledge about the world
  • Principle of Non-Contradiction: something cannot both be and not be at the same time, in the same respect (e.g. a dog cannot be a dog and a not dog at the same time and same respect)
  • Potency: the state of motionlessness, though the object has the ability to move
  • Actuality: the state of an object in motion
  • Motion: the reduction of something from a state of potency to a state of act by means of something in act relative to it
  • Reason: an explanation of causality
  • Metaphysics: translates to “beyond physics”; metaphysical things/principles are outside of the observable world and are not subject to the laws of physics but are required for the physical world to make sense
  • Pure Actuality: state in which something never stops moving and never changes; must be non-physical, since all physical objects must have changed at some point (e.g. even the Big Bang changed from non-being to being, and is therefore not pure actuality)
  • Pure Potentiality: state in which something never comes into being, since potency is defined as the ability to move without moving (pure potentiality is literally nothingness, as if it was something, it would imply that it was in a state of act at some point)
  • Nature: the consistency of objects to behave in certain ways (e.g. trees always grow, water always douses fire)
  • Good (metaphysics): something that acts in accord with its nature (a good tree grows like all trees grow)
  • Evil (metaphysics): something that acts contrary to its nature (an evil tree does not grow)
  • Perfection (metaphysics): a state of sheer goodness, in which an object always acts in accord with its nature
  • Theory: not necessarily true, but is possible and intelligible

Who is God? What can we know about Him for certain, and is it possible to talk about Him in a secular scientific manner? One of the unique aspects of Catholicism is its firm belief in faith and reason. There are things of this world that can be known with and without revelation (intelligible faith and pure reason, respectively). The former belongs to supernatural theology, while the latter involves the natural sciences.

There are many ways to talk about God, but I would argue that in today’s secular landscape, it is important to rationalize His existence and qualities in secular terms. It is the language of our generation (for better or worse). On the other hand, regardless of the world’s religiosity, I find it incredibly important to not only look at God from a vantage point of faith, but from one of reason alone, as well. By studying the observable natural world, we experience the effects and many qualities of God’s nature. Scripture and tradition are both valuable resources for the faithful, but for God to be attainable by pure reason, we will be shelving both of those for this analysis.

So, in this reflection, I will attempt to summarize various proofs for God’s existence using the natural sciences alone to demonstrate that the deity Christians call God is not only intelligible but necessary for the world to function as we know it. After each section, I will bullet-list my main points. Nothing I say in this article has not been said before. So, if you want to read straight from the source, I recommend reading Aristotle, Anselm, and Aquinas. That said, I must admit that their language can be quite difficult to digest, so the least I can do is try and synthesize it in a way that hopefully younger people can understand. After all, that’s what Clarifying Catholicism is about.

Image result for just give me a reasonClarifying Catholicism is not sponsored by P!nk, but sure are willing to be ;)

Everything is Relative: An Objective Statement

Let’s start with a couple of things that are self-evident. These truths are undeniable. They are required for knowledge to even exist. Think of it this way: in order to play baseball, you need a baseball and some fundamental rules of the game. Well, in order to observe the world, you need a world to observe, and you need some basic principles of observation to even think about anything. The most important principle of observation (in my opinion) is Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction (PNC). The PNC states that something cannot both be and not be at the same time in the same respect. This means that a dog cannot be a dog and not a dog at the same time in the same respect, and I cannot be running and not running at the same time and the same respect. This may seem fairly obvious, but it is quite important to the art of observation and communication.

“Y’know, Will. I think that everything is relative. Objective truth does not exist.”

Think about that statement. To say that “Objective truth does not exist” ironically suggests an objective truth, namely that objective truth does not exist. This is a contradiction, though. Just as a dog cannot be a dog and a not dog at the same time, it is impossible for objective truth to exist and not exist at the same time. The only way to resolve this is to admit that objective truth does, indeed exist. Thus, at least one objective truth exists. But if one objective truth exists, potentially two, three, four, potentially infinite numbers of objective truths exist! The first floodgate of knowledge has, thus, been opened.

SUMMARY:

  1. In order for knowledge of the world to exist, there must be some self-evident truths that concern both the subject and object of knowledge.
    1. For example, there must be a world (the object) to know and some principles of knowledge that allow us (the subject) to know about the world.
  2. Chief among these self-evident truths concerning the subject is the Principle of Non-Contradiction: something cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.
    1. For example, a dog cannot be a dog and a not dog at the same time and the same respect.
  3. The statement “Objective truth does not exist” is a contradiction, since stating this as an absolute, objective, fact requires that objective truth does exist.
  4. The only way to resolve this contradiction is to admit that objective truth does, actually exist.
  5. Therefore, at least one objective truth exists, implying that there could be many (potentially infinite) objective truths that also exist.

Image result for you can't handle the truthAnd that’s an objective fact!

I Like to Move It

We now have our first basic principle that we can apply to observation. Now, what is the most thing we can observe about the world? Things change. Nothing is static. Even on a molecular level, our atoms move at incredible speeds. Everything is in motion, and motion is measured by this thing we call time. Now, I’m sure that many of you will be surprised to understand time as a measurement of motion, but when you think about it, a universe that stands completely still is rather timeless. Various scientists throughout history have looked at time as relative to motion in space. Without motion, there is no time to measure because there is no change to be measured. Obviously, motion is very real, and physics is the study of motion.

Consider a ball that I kicked. In one respect (ignoring the molecules and atoms buzzing around), the ball was sitting still until I kicked it. We call the state of motionlessness “potency” and the state of a thing in motion “actuality.” The ball had the potential to move until I kicked it and it was actually moving. Motion, can therefore, be properly defined as the reduction of something from a state of potency to a state of act by means of something in act relative to it. In the ball’s case, it was potentially moving, but not actually moving, until I, an outside force that was actually moving, moved it with a kick.

Now, if someone asked how the ball moved, one answer would be me. I was the reason that the ball moved. Reason, therefore, is just an explanation of causation in the physical world. My parents are a reason that explains my existence. Gravity is a reason that explains why things fall. All objects that are in motion have reasons to explain why they moved.

But can something move by itself? Let’s look at the ball again. What would it mean for the ball to move itself? Since we defined motion as a reduction of potentially moving to actually moving, the ball would have to be actually moving itself while it was only potentially moving itself. In other words, it would have to be moving itself while it was not moving. This is a contradiction, and just as a ball, a physical thing, cannot move itself, there is nothing in the physical universe that can move itself. Doing so would contradict the laws of physics. Therefore, it is impossible for anything physical to move itself.

SUMMARY:

  1. Things change in the world; they move from a state of motionlessness (potential motion) to in-motion (actual motion), but they are always moved by something else that is already moving (like a moving foot kicks a still ball, which causes it to move)
    1. Motion can therefore be defined as the reduction of something from a state of potency to a state of act by means of something in act relative to it.
  2. Time is the measurement of motion (without motion there would be no time), and physics is the study of motion.
  3. Reason is defined as an explanation for causation (e.g. the reason a ball moved is because I kicked it).
  4. It is impossible for something to move itself, since this would imply that an object was in motion (moving itself) while it was motionless (not moving at all). This is a contradiction.
    1. For example, a ball cannot move itself because if it did, it would imply that it was moving while it was not moving.
  5. Therefore, it is indeed impossible for an object to move itself.

Image result for chain of events cartoonWhy did everything have to be so complicated? Because motion!

Chains of Causation

So, the reason I kicked the ball was because I wanted to score a goal against Bea (Manager of Production for Clarifying Catholicism at Notre Dame). The reason I wanted to score a goal against Bea is because we were playing soccer. The reason we were playing soccer was because it was a sunny day. The reason it was a sunny day was because of the Earth’s climate. The reason the Earth’s climate was nice that day was because of millions of years of climate change leading up to that moment. The reason for this was because of the way our solar system was formed, which was because of a Big Bang. People often refer to the Big Bang as the first event in the universe’s history. But could the Big Bang have caused itself? The laws of physics say absolutely not. Just as the weather, Earth’s climate, and our solar system did not move themselves, there is no way that the Big Bang, a physical event in a physical universe, could have started itself. Even though we do not know the reason the Big Bang happened, it does not eliminate the fact that such a reason exists.

So, just as our climate required our solar system, a physical mover, the Big Bang, a physical event, also requires a physical mover. We have already demonstrated that every physical mover requires another physical mover to explain its motion, as it is impossible for something in the physical universe to move itself. It is therefore impossible for a first mover to be physical. This first mover must be outside of time and the physical universe, or metaphysical, and, since it did cause everything in the universe, I think it would be appropriate to call it God. So, we arrive at our first truths of God that are based on the scientific laws of physics. God is:

  • The first mover of the physical universe
  • Non-physical, or metaphysical
  • Pure actuality (eternally acting with no potential to change), since motion (which is the change from a state of potential to actuality) is a property of the physical universe that implies potency, and God is a non-physical force that is not moved by anything else
  • By extension of the above statements, timeless
  • Reason itself, since all reason for causation traces itself back to God

SUMMARY:

  1. Whatever we can discern as the first cause earns the title of God, since we kinda owe it to whatever that is for our existence.
  2. All physical objects must have moved by other physical objects. This includes the Big Bang, because for the Big Bang to move itself, it would require the Big Bang to be happening and not happening at the same time and respect (a contradiction).
  3. Therefore, God cannot be physical, since otherwise He would require something else to have moved Himself, which would not make Him God at all.
  4. If God cannot be physical, it means that God is metaphysical.
  5. Since God is metaphysical, He is not subject to the laws of change that all physical objects are. So, God can be eternally moving as pure actuality. This squares away with our concern that our first mover cannot have been caused by another one.
  6. God is reason itself, as we defined reason as an explanation for causation. Since God is the first cause, God is the ultimate explanation for why all things in the universe happened.

Image result for emeril chef“You should try the Metaphysics. It’s out of this world!”

Open the Flood Gates

Now that we have established a few basic physical necessities of God, the floodgates come crashing open. If God is not physical, He is not sensual. In fact, God is not a He at all, for maleness is a property of the physical world. So, for the sake of our argument, I will stop referring to God as a “He.” Do not fret, though. We will get to explaining how God can still be a man (in one respect) later. In the next few paragraphs, you will hopefully come to understand that the God that science requires is quite different, but not contrary, to the God that Christians worship. Moving along, we arrive at a few more qualities of God:

  • God cannot be sensed like a physical object can be.
  • God is a scientific principle, to account for all of motion.
  • Not only has God always been moving, but God will always keep moving with no possibility of changing; otherwise this would insinuate that God has the potential to change
  • So, obviously, no person can change God, and God cannot think about people unless God has always been thinking about people for all eternity. This, however, cannot be proven by science.

If God could be moved by something else, God would, by definition, not be God anymore, but a being that was moved by the real first mover. This God, again, to be clear, is a scientific principle. Nothing more. Nothing less. What we discover about God through sheer reason, with no faith, is that God is just like the laws of physics and mathematics, though God is certainly chief among them, since God is the first.

Before we start throwing in more self-evident truths (so far, we’ve only invoked two: the PNC and the fact that things change), let’s address one question about God: Can there be more than one God? Immediately, we can tell that there is something gravely wrong with this idea, as it is akin to asking if there is more than one Pythagorean Theorem. However, we can still entertain the thought. Remember that this God is a scientific principle that is outside of time. But since God is outside of the physical universe and time, God is not subject to change. So, we have multiple beings that exist outside of time and space with the exact same qualities and never changing. It’s quite simple to represent them in a mathematical format:

  • A=B=C=D…

Using simple division, since they are all the same, you end up with this:

  • 1=1=1=1…

One God. Therefore:

  • There can only be one God

SUMMARY:

  1. God is sheer act and is never changed by anything else, meaning God has always been moving and will always be moving.
  2. Since God is non-physical and cannot be changed, God cannot be moved by any being, especially a physical one. This means that God is not personal, and is therefore an “it,” not a “He.”
    1. It is possible for God to be personal, but only if it is in the very nature of God to think about us for eternity. This, however, cannot be proven by science.
  3. Since God is a non-physical principle, which is outside of time, to suggest that there are multiple gods is unintelligent, as another first principle with the exact same qualities as God could be reduced down to one. This can be represented in the below equation:
    1. GodA=GodB=GodC=… Using basic mathematics, we get 1=1=1…

Image result for atlas
Looks like God really can’t drop the ball on this one!

The Nature of the Matter

Let’s go back to what is self-evident. As I said, I have really only invoked self-evidence two times: the principle of non-contradiction and the existence of real motion. I will now invoke basic observation a third time: though things change, there appears to be a consistency in how things change. For example, trees always grow, flint and steel always produce fire, and the New England Patriots always win (kidding). For a universe that appears chaotic, there appears to be an awful lot of consistency. This consistency, which we can observe always or for the most part, is called nature. It is in an object’s nature to behave the way it does. It is in water’s nature to put out fire. It is in tree’s nature to grow. It is in flint’s nature to produce sparks when struck with steel. These are inevitable observable phenomena. While we might know exactly what causes them to behave in such a way (see my article on essences), we can see that they do behave in a very consistent manner.

From such consistencies, we can make value statements. For example, a tree that does not grow, is not acting in accord with its nature. It has the potential to grow but fails to act on said potency, so it is a bad tree. A pair of glasses that does not improve your vision (or worsens it) is a bad pair of glasses, since the nature of glasses is to help your vision. A government that spends more time defeating itself, rather than focusing on its nature of addressing real issues of its citizens is a bad government. But what do all these different value-statements have in common? Well, an object that is good acts in accord with its nature by actualizing it. A good tree actualizes its nature and blossoms, while a bad tree fails to do so and can only potentially blossom. From this we can gain a few more truths about God and the world:

  • Since God is sheer actuality and has no potential to change, and goodness is defined as that which acts in accord with nature, God is totally good.
  • Total goodness, which comes from sheer actuality, is called perfection. God is perfect.

Since we have defined good as acting in accord with nature, to be evil is to not act in accord with nature. Pure evil, thus, is to be in a state that never acts at all. Therefore, pure evil is nothingness. And just as an empty bucket cannot exist without a bucket, evil cannot exist without good, since evil is really just potential goodness. Thus, even the devil is not pure evil. Bear in mind that the terms “good” and “evil” refer to natural good and evil, rather than moral or ethical good and evil. There is a connection between such variations, though that’s a different essay altogether.

Before we move on to my final section, there’s one more interesting bit of information that is has striking theological implications, even though it still works out of a scientific framework. For God to be perfect and sheer actuality, God must have zero potential to change. This means that God must act upon every idea God possibly ever has, since if It (meaning God) didn’t, It would exhibit potential to change that It never acted upon. Since God’s nature is to be pure act and no potency, the idea that God could potentially do something but not actualize on it leaves us at another contradiction. If God did not act on every idea God had, it would imply that God has potency, meaning that God would not be pure act anymore, which is a characteristic of the physical world, and God would not be able to be the first cause anymore. As you can see, even the slightest contradiction would upend our entire paradigm of not just God, but our ability to explain motion. Therefore…

  • Since God must act on all of its ideas, the universe could have only been actualized in the way God could have potentially made it. Therefore, we live in the best of all possible worlds.
  • Since we live in the best of all possible worlds, and God is all good, evil must serve a purpose that can only yield the greatest amount of good possible.
  • Since God is not a personal agent and cannot have changed its trajectory or actions, there is no way that God could have suddenly decided to make the universe or man. Therefore, God must have coexisted eternally with man and the universe (don’t worry, we will address this later).

SUMMARY:

  1. It is self-evident that there is some semblance of consistency of change in the observable world. This consistency is called “nature.”
  2. Based on our observations of how objects behave, we can make value judgments on the natures of things. If something acts in accord with its nature, it is “good.” If it has the potential to act in accord with its nature but does not, it is “evil.”
    1. For example, a “good” tree has the potential to grow and actualizes its growth, but a “bad” tree has the potential to grow and never actualizes it.
    2. This also means that evil necessitates good, as to say that something has evil qualities evil just means that it lacks some good. For example, an empty bucket implies the existence of a bucket.
  3. Since God is sheer act, and an object is good if it acts upon its nature, God is all good.
  4. To always act in accord with nature is to be perfect. God, by being pure act, is always acting in accord with Its nature. God is perfect.
  5. Failure to act in accord with nature implies a potency that is never acted upon. If something is pure potential, it means that its nature is never acted upon. Since evil is a privation of goodness, pure evil would be nothing at all, since it was never acted upon to begin with.
    1. Therefore, even the devil is not pure evil.
  6. For God to be pure act, it is impossible for God to have any ideas that God potentially can act upon but does not. Otherwise, we have another contradiction. Therefore, our world is the best of all possible worlds that could have existed, as if God could have thought of them, they would have had to existed.
  7. Since our world is the best of all possible worlds, God is pure good, and yet evil exists, evil must have a purpose for generating even more good.
  8. Since God is not a personal agent and cannot have changed its trajectory or actions, there is no way that God could have suddenly decided to make the universe or man. Therefore, God must have coexisted eternally with man and the universe (don’t worry, we will address this later).
  9. This concludes the arguments I will make about God’s nature based on pure reason and science alone.

Image result for pi
Unending? A principle of science? Delightful? God is basically pi!

From Fact to Theory

Up to this point, my conclusions about God’s nature reflect immutable scientific facts. Now, when you think about it, this all may seem exciting, but this God we have discovered is a far cry from our Judeo-Christian one. All we have really said so far is that there must exist an external first cause of the universe that cannot have been moved by anything else. This God is not loving, as this would imply that God cares about people, and thus can be changed by them. This notion seems to challenge the Judeo-Christian belief that God is a personal agent, but as I will try to demonstrate below, this is indeed compatible with our scientific proof above.

Bear in mind that we are shifting gears from scientific immutable facts to theories that cannot be proven by fact but are instead justified by faith in divine revelation. In any good science, there are very key distinctions between laws and theories: the former are immutably-accepted in the scientific community, while the latter are not. That said, there is no better moment to evaluate the validity of a theory than by testing its compatibility with laws. The moment that a theory can be proven as unintelligent, it must be thrown out. So, I will set out to evaluate the intelligence of Christianity’s claims about God’s nature that come from revelation.

I’m Thinking of…

“I have an idea of that than which nothing greater can be thought.” Those are St. Anselm’s words in his proof of God’s existence. Let’s think of something. Anything. How about the perfect vacation? Let’s say the perfect vacation is in Hawaii. How about Hawaii on a sunny day? What about Hawaii on a sunny day with an island to yourself? What about Hawaii on a sunny day with an island to yourself with a good book? Many good books? A thousand good books? How about a pina colada to complement it? Two pina coladas? Three! Potentially infinite! And a private jet! And the New England Patriots just lost! The point is that with anything we can possibly think of, there is something even better we can imagine. But what if there exists something out there that nothing greater can be thought of? The be-all-end-all of possible things that can exist. Such a thing would be the greatest thing in the universe, and Anselm and I would call that thing “God.”

Now, we can think of many things that don’t exist: unicorns, superpowers, Chick-Fil-A open on Sunday, and other mystical objects. However, which is greater? A baseball that exists, or a baseball that does not exist? Existence will always be greater than lack of existence (according to our laws, act is always greater than potency), but some things just cannot exist. But IF something is to be the greatest thing in the universe, it MUST exist. So, the idea of a God that does exist is inherently greater than the idea of a God that does not exist. Thus, we arrive at this theory.

  • IFF (if and only if) God exists, God must be that which nothing greater can be thought. God must be the greatest of all possible ideas.

The shortcoming of this proof is that it does not prove the existence of God in the real world, but proposes that IFF (if an only if) God exists, it must be that that which nothing greater can be thought. But we have proven that God exists with our scientific method, therefore, God IS that which nothing greater can be thought.

  • However, we have proven above that God does, indeed, exist.
  • Therefore, God is that which nothing greater can be thought (the greatest idea).

SUMMARY:

  1. It is always possible to think of something greater than what you are thinking.
  2. However, there must exist something of which nothing greater can be thought. In simplified terms, it is the greatest idea you could ever think of.
  3. This greatest idea is God. However, the shortcoming of this proof is that it does not prove God’s existence in the real world, rather it hypothesizes that IFF (if and only if) God exists, God must be the greatest idea we could possibly think of.
  4. However, we have already proven the existence of God.
  5. Therefore, God is that that which nothing greater can be thought (the greatest idea).

Image result for baconYes, even greater than bacon.

The Floodgates Open Again

Back when we analyzed God as a scientific principle, we concluded that God, man, and the universe, must have coexisted forever. Otherwise, God would have been moved by something to create us, which would go against His nature of being sheer act. Christianity, however, teaches that God made man from nothing. According to our above theory, God is greater than everything else, thus it is not only possible but highly probable that God could have existed without the universe. At face value, this seems to contradict our scientific God.

Remember, God cannot have existed independently of the universe and creation because it would imply that God started and/or stopped creating, implying that something moved God to start or stop creating. But what if it is in God’s nature to create? A God that is constantly creating, never stopping or starting, from the beginning until the end of time. This theory does not conflict with our scientific understanding of God! And the implications for this to be true would be massive:

  • It is possible that God existed before the universe and mankind, so long as the process of creation took an eternity to accomplish, meaning God is constantly creating, and God’s act of creation never ends
  • If this theory is correct, it means that God has not only been creating for all of eternity, but God has been thinking about the human race (including every individual) from the beginning of time in one fluid actualization of humanity
  • It is, therefore, possible for God to be a personal agent (we may start referring to God as “He” again)
  • Creation from nothing and a personal God are both intelligible theories that square away with our laws

SUMMARY:

  1. Christianity teaches that God existed before man and the universe. At face value, this appears to contradict our scientific model of God.
  2. However, upon further inspection, we see that it is indeed possible for God to exist before man and the universe, so long as the process of creation is a fluid one that has and will last for all of eternity.
  3. Such a God would have to be thinking about the universe and humanity for all of eternity and would therefore be a personal agent.
  4. The Christian model of God, who is relational, is therefore intelligible and compatible with the scientific model of God.
  5. Further arguments about God’s nature based on His relational nature must be founded in revelation, the act of God forming a relationship with us. Such ideas that stem from revelation require act of supernatural faith, which is outside the realm of the natural sciences, though such revealed qualities of God must still be intelligible.

Now that we have established the possibility of this personal God, I leave it to revelation to say the rest. The qualities of God I described in the previous parts of this essay (until the theory section) are undeniable truths about a principle of reason. However, the rest of the Judeo-Christian God’s qualities require something I can never provide you with: a leap of intelligible faith.

Hey! You made it this far? Good job! Allow me to reward you with a silly video my friends and I made that has a few tangents to this subject. Please enjoy! However, if you’re looking for the super-condensed summary, scroll past the vid!

Total Summary

  1. In order for real knowledge of the world to exist, there must be some self-evident truths that concern both the subject and object of knowledge.
    1. For example, there must be a world (the object) to know and some principles of knowledge that allow us (the subject) to know about the world.
  2. Chief among these self-evident truths concerning the subject is the Principle of Non-Contradiction: something cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.
    1. For example, a dog cannot be a dog and a not dog at the same time and the same respect.
  3. The statement “Objective truth does not exist” is a contradiction, since stating this as an absolute fact implies that objective truth does exist.
  4. The only way to resolve this contradiction is to admit that objective truth does actually exist.
  5. Therefore, at least one objective truth exists, implying that there could be many (potentially infinite) objective truths that also exist.
  6. It is evident that things change in the world; they move from a state of motionlessness (potential to move) to in-motion (actual motion), but they are always moved by something else that is already moving (like a moving foot kicks a still ball, which causes it to move)
    1. Motion can therefore be defined as the reduction of something from a state of potency to a state of act by means of something in act relative to it.
  7. Time is the measurement of motion (without motion there would be no time), and physics is the study of motion.
  8. Reason is defined as an explanation for causation (e.g. the reason a ball moved is because I kicked it).
  9. It is impossible for something to move itself, since this would imply that an object was in motion (moving itself) while it was motionless (not moving at all). This is a contradiction.
    1. For example, a ball cannot move itself because if it did, it would imply that it was moving while it was not moving.
  10. Therefore, it is indeed impossible for an object to move itself.
  11. Whatever we can discern as the first cause earns the title of God, since we kinda owe it to whatever that is for our existence.
  12. All physical objects must have moved by other physical objects. This includes the Big Bang, because for the Big Bang to move itself, it would require the Big Bang to be happening and not happening at the same time and respect (a contradiction).
  13. Therefore, God cannot be physical, since otherwise He would require something else to have moved Himself, which would not make Him God at all.
  14. If God cannot be physical, it means that God is metaphysical.
  15. Since God is metaphysical, He is not subject to the laws of change that all physical objects are. So, God can be in eternal motion as a pure act. This squares away with our concern that our first mover cannot have been caused by another one.
  16. God is reason itself, as we defined reason as an explanation for causation. Since God is the first cause, God is the ultimate explanation for why all things in the universe happened.
  17. God is sheer act and is never changed by anything else, meaning God has always been moving and will always be moving.
  18. Since God is non-physical and cannot be change, God cannot be moved by any being, especially a physical one. This means that God is not personal, and is therefore an “it,” not a “He.”
    1. It is possible for God to be personal, but only if it is in the very nature of God to think about us for eternity. This, however, cannot be proven by science.
  19. Since God is a non-physical principle, which is outside of time, to suggest that there are multiple gods is unintelligent, as another first principle with the exact same qualities as God could be reduced down to one. This can be represented in the below equation:
    1. GodA=GodB=GodC=… Using basic mathematics, we get 1=1=1…
  20. It is self-evident that there is some semblance of consistency in change. This consistency is called “nature.”
  21. Based on our observations of how objects behave, we can make value judgments on the natures of things. If something acts in accord with its nature, it is “good.” If it has the potential to act in accord with its nature but does not, it is “evil.”
    1. For example, a “good” tree has the potential to grow and actualizes its growth, but a “bad” tree has the potential to grow and never actualizes it.
    2. This also means that evil necessitates good, as to say that something is evil ust means that it lacks some good. For example, an empty bucket implies the existence of a bucket.
  22. Since God is sheer act, and an object is good if it acts upon its nature, God is all good.
  23. To always act in accord with nature is to be perfect. God, by being pure act, is always acting in accord with His nature. God is perfect.
  24. Failure to act in accord with nature implies a potency that is never acted upon. If something is pure potential, it means that its nature is never acted upon. Since evil is a privation of goodness, pure evil would be nothing at all, since it was never acted upon to begin with.
    1. Therefore, even the devil is not pure evil.
  25. For God to be pure act, it is impossible for God to have any ideas that God potentially can act upon but does not. Otherwise, we have another contradiction. Therefore, our world is the best of all possible worlds that could have existed, as if God could have thought of them, they would have had to existed.
  26. Since our world is the best of all possible worlds, God is pure good, and yet evil exists, evil must have a purpose for generating even more good.
  27. Since God is not a personal agent and cannot have changed its trajectory or actions, there is no way that God could have suddenly decided to make the universe or man. Therefore, God must have coexisted eternally with man and the universe (don’t worry, we will address this later).
  28. This concludes the arguments I will make about God’s nature based on pure reason and science alone.

Theory Summary:

  1. It is always possible to think of something greater than what you are thinking.
  2. However, there must exist something that that which nothing greater can be thought. In simplified terms, it is the greatest idea you could ever think of.
  3. This greatest idea is God. However, the shortcoming of this proof is that it does not prove God’s existence in the real world, rather it hypothesizes that IFF (if and only if) God exists, God must be the greatest idea we could possibly think of.
  4. However, we have already proven the existence of God.
  5. Therefore, God is that that which nothing greater can be thought (the greatest idea).
  6. Christianity teaches that God existed before man and the universe. At face value, this appears to contradict our scientific model of God.
  7. However, upon further inspection, we see that it is indeed possible for God to exist before man and the universe, so long as the process of creation is a fluid one that has and will last for all of eternity.
  8. Such a God would have to be thinking about the universe and humanity for all of eternity and would therefore be a personal agent.
  9. The Christian model of God, who is relational, is therefore intelligible and compatible with the scientific model of God.
  10. Further arguments about God’s nature based on His relational nature must be founded in revelation, the act of God forming a relationship with us. Such ideas that stem from revelation require act of supernatural faith, which is outside the realm of the natural sciences, though such revealed qualities of God must still be intelligible.

Qualities of God. God is…

  • The first mover of the physical universe
  • Non-physical, or metaphysical
  • Pure actuality (eternally moving), since motion is a property of the physical universe that implies potency, and God is a non-physical force that is not moved by anything else
  • By extension of the above statements, timeless
  • Reason itself, since all reason for causation traces itself back to God
  • God cannot be sensed like an ordinary object can be.
  • God is a scientific principle, to account for all of motion.
  • Not only has God always been moving, but God will always keep moving with no possibility of changing; otherwise this would insinuate that God has the potency to change
  • So, obviously, no person can change God, and God cannot think about people unless God has always been thinking about people for all eternity. This, however, cannot be proven by science.
  • There can only be one God
  • Since God is sheer actuality, and has no potential to change, God is totally good, since goodness is defined as that which acts in accord with nature.
  • Total goodness, which comes from sheer actuality, is called perfection. God is perfect.
  • Since God must act on all of its ideas, the universe could have only been actualized in the way God could have potentially made it. Therefore, we live in the best of all possible worlds.
  • Since we live in the best of all possible worlds, and God is all good, evil must serve a purpose that can only yield the greatest amount of good possible.
  • Since God is not a personal agent (at least there is no scientific proof to demonstrate this) and cannot have changed its trajectory or actions, there is no way that God could have suddenly decided to make the universe or man. Therefore, God must have coexisted eternally with man and the universe

Theories about God

  • IFF (if and only if) God exists, God must be that which nothing greater can be thought. God must be the greatest of all possible ideas.
  • However, we have proven above that God does, indeed, exist.
  • Therefore, God is that which nothing greater can be thought (the greatest idea).
  • It is possible that God existed before the universe and mankind, so long as the process of creation took an eternity to accomplish, meaning God is constantly creating, and God’s act of creation never ends
  • If this theory is correct, it means that God has not only been creating for all of eternity, but God has been thinking about the human race (including every individual) from the beginning of time in one fluid actualization of humanity
  • It is, therefore, possible for God to be a personal agent (we may start referring to God as “He” again)
  • Creation from nothing and a personal God are both intelligible theories that square away with our laws

 

3 comments

  1. Let it be granted that there exists a series of physical motions of which each motion is the cause of the next in the series of physical motions. The causality of the series is at the level of physical motion. Granting, for the sake of argument, that such a series cannot be regressively infinite, but must terminate in a first cause, then that first cause cannot be thereby identified as a cause of existence, but simply as a cause of physical motion. To identify the first cause of a series of physical motions as God would require identifying God as a physical cause. Your conclusion refers to a different meaning of causality (that of existence) from the meaning of causality of your premises (that of physical motion). The series of causes of motion bears no relevance to the causality of your conclusion. Your claim that the first mover of a series of physical motions cannot be physical is gratuitous.
    Another fault of the argument is that the premises of the argument are not within the scope of my personal experience. The ‘universe’ is not an object within my experience, while the ‘Big Bang’ is a theory of some physicists, not anything within the scope of my or anyone else’s personal experience. My knowledge of existence is fundamentally experiential. Any argument concluding the existence of something not within my personal experience, must be based on the existence of something which is presently within my personal experience such as ‘this’ dog, whose nature explains everything about it, except for its existence.

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  2. Can I get a text version of this? I want to replace every instance of the word “god” with “Flying Spaghetti Monster” to prove that the FSM exists.

    Like

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