Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Can You Prove God Philosophically?


            In all the universe, there are thoughts and ideas that define universal things. We love, we hate, we think, and we aren't immune to the universal truths in this existence. The very first foundational thing that must be established before proving anything is that, truth exists. It sounds almost contradictory to prove that truth exists because by trying to prove anything, one is proving that truth exists, that premise is undoubtedly based on the truth believed. Therefore, to believe that truth does not exist, is to believe that truth exists because one believes something. Furthermore, to trust in science, or history, or to believe that anything can be learned, is to believe that truth exists. Regardless of what modern philosophy teaches, truth is not relative because the definition of truth is something undoubtedly correct. Life itself is based on truth. In the most honest way, a cell conducts its programmed responsibility to bring oxygen where it must be, as well as performing its other functions. The truth is that the cell works. It works because the machines it's based on work. Those machines and molecules are based on systems smaller than most of us can comprehend, and they work systematically. Any system working is in its most basic way, is truth. It is truth because it's based on laws that govern it. One knows the laws that govern a cellular machine because the machine works. This reasoning continues in a circular fashion. The question goes, can God be philosophically provable? Throughout history, philosophers attempt to prove this very thing. One of the most well known philosophers and theologians who attempted to prove this is Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas is not the only philosopher to seek the answer to this question. The question has revolved throughout the history of the human race, even today it ranges as the hottest topic. If someone says anything about God, ears perk up. Instantly interests are brought to attention. There are only two choices to the question of God. In the infinite spectrum of understanding, if there is a true answer, there is undoubtedly reason and evidence to believe that reason. A truth cannot exist without reason to believe it. God is true, so there must be a reason to believe he exists. The concept of God and God himself is a provable philosophical concept. If God isn’t true, there is evidence to coincide. As Sir Author Conan Doyle said, with his unusually potent logic, “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” (Doyle 375).
         Aristotle had his own evidence for God. For anything to exist, there must be an eternal form to begin the process. Aristotle proposed that there is an “Unmoved Mover” (Sproul 49). That for anything to begin, the mover must have been eternal and unmovable. Thomas Aquinas later attaches his own ideas onto this very same philosophical argument. Aristotle lays down the foundation of his argument saying that “everything is both the form or reality which has grown out of something which was its matter or raw material; and it may in its turn be the matter out of which still higher forms will grow” (Durant 56). Basically, Aristotle is saying that you can’t toss random matter into a pot and birth life. Life does not birth from death. A dog comes from an embryo and is born of another dog. That matter is an organized map of protein. Before that, protein is organized into its most basic components of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen (Tortora 44). It has the potential of being formed, not the actuality of form. In the same way, a sculptor does not make a statue of a great warrior by letting formless clay sit by itself or be twisted around in a tornado. Of course not, the sculptor arranges it as he should have it, and so the creation of this statue is in order because it was placed in order. This argument is similar to the argument that nothing can come from nothing. If you have no direction or form in the beginning, you will not end up with form, because there is simply no form without purpose. All things on earth serve a purpose, even formless matter, but only to be used as a supply for form. From this argument, you can evolve to understand the “Unmoved Mover,” argument (Sproul 49).
         Since order cannot come without order, who or what started this order, and what is the nature of this entity? The Unmoved Mover argument is the theory of God. Aristotle deduced that for God to exist, he must be the ultimate reality or “pure actuality.” He is the potential, the choice, being, eternity, Alpha and Omega, and true actuality. If the Unmoved Mover were simply the first “Mover,” that Mover would also need a Mover and there would be an endless number of Movers. Thomas Aquinas later expounded on this argument saying, “It has been shown that God is the first Unmoved Mover. Now the first Mover, moves no less than the second Movers; more so, indeed because without Him they do not move other things” (Aquinas 113). Richard Dawkins narrows his ideals a slight bit more in the book, God Delusion, “ Nothing moves without a prior mover. This leads us to a regress, from which the only escape is God. Something had to make the first move, and that something we call God” (Dawkins 77). To dispute this claim, there are predictable avenues to follow. Richard Dawkins, popular atheist author lays out his argument saying that this is a good argument except, Thomas Aquinas “assumes” that God is immune to regress (Dawkins 77.78). Dawkins solution sounds valid except through closer analysis. If God is immune to regress, God is not all powerful. If God is not all powerful, the question of how everything began is left open because if God is not immune to regress, there is a mover before that mover. Is this confusing enough yet? This fallacy is a very complicated fallacy. Dawkins answers the question without answering it. He demonstrates a logical fallacy called a Straw man essentially redefining and creating his own scenario for the Unmoved Mover, and disproving it. Dawkins condemns the concept of God being Unmovable by assuming that an Unmoved mover is an assumption. He builds his argument on these two flaws.  Of course God can’t exist if he isn’t immune to regression, that’s why Thomas Aquinas doesn’t believe the existence of God is regress-able. The reason Aquinas and Aristotle believe there is an Unmoved Mover is because there must be. It's undeniable to reason anything other than that there was a first mover. If there was no mover, how did anything begin to move? All other possible truths are eliminated and an Unmoved Mover is the last avenue offered for the existence of the universe. It can't be believed that everything has always moved because matter is not immune to regression. Current science shows us that there was a beginning in the universe. Dawkins’ reasoning is a circular argument leaving the question that the Unmoved Mover was supposed to answer, open like a wound still yet to be bandaged. The assumption that Dawkins presumes, is in fact the only option available. If it can be proved that dead matter and everything form order, regenerates itself and is on an ever progressing path, Dawkins’ argument deserves a second look. However, we’re still left with another question, if everything regenerates itself without plan or purpose, founded on mere chance, where did everything come from? Since science tells us that the universe had a beginning, for anything to exist with order, there must be an absolute threshold by which all things come from. If an absolute threshold doesn't exist, everything in existence is left to the merciless hands of nothing, and how can anything exist without plan?    
            To greater understand the argument for the Unmoved Mover, there must be a reason why Aristotle believed that the mover must be the ultimate reality. There are three possibilities for how the universe came into being. First, the Universe was an infinite and absolute nothing. Since nothing can come from nothing as earlier described, this argument can be crossed out. The second is that matter in the universe existed for all eternity, but without a plan, it’s the same as saying nothing makes nothing. This argument depends foundationally  on chance for the development of everything. As described by R.C. Sproul in his book The Consequences of Ideas, “Chance is a perfectly meaningless term to describe mathematical possibilities, but the word becomes a sneaky bogeyman when used to describe something that has not power to influence anything. Chance has no being, and that which has no being has no power to do anything” (75). Chance is another word for nothing, and nothing makes nothing without a plan. Can you imagine flinging metal and other natural resources into a pile, letting it sit for millions of years, and expecting it to produce a computer? We established  that chance doesn’t create anything; therefore, this argument raises yet another question, where did the original matter come from? Through science, we are told that time and space had a beginning. The second argument can be thoroughly discarded. The third possibility is an ultimate actuality. This is why the ancients held on to this so called, “assumption.” Like everything else in the universe, this conclusion wasn’t arrived at by chance. Aristotle believed that it may have been possible for matter to have always existed, but it could not have moved into form without a mover to move it. Aristotle’s god is not like the Christian God. His god is passionless and really only sits around doing nothing but think. Since, he made everything and knows everything intimately, he doesn’t have much to do but nothing. In this way, Aristotle’s god is perfect, without desire because he has everything, and nothing to take up his eternal time (Sproul 47). This employs yet another question. If God is passionless, and does nothing, why did he create the universe? The argument has now been “moved” from truth, to existence, to existence needing a mover. Knowing the argument we know, God as a mover must exist. Having already been through the argument of purpose, we know that all things need purpose! Aristotle leaves us hanging with the notion that God simply does nothing for without purpose, thereby disrupting his own rules. God as a mover is a necessary argument for the nature of the universe. But one must still ask, why would an eternal God, want to create us or anything if he is passionless.
        “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1.1). This is one of the most famous, statements in the world. Since it was written, it has since encompassed all religions, and all religions battle for the right to define who God is. Assume for a minute that God is evil. If God is evil, why should he create anything beautiful? Why should food taste good or sex feel good? Why do we laugh? Yes there is pain in the world, but if God is not evil because he created so many good things for us, then one must assume that something went horribly wrong. For if God created the world and it was good, evil would be good as well. We know that evil is not good. If God is perfect, he would create a perfect world. What is the answer? The answer is free will. If God created a world where everyone was automatically good, humanity would certainly not be the one making that decision. Instead, God would have made that decision and free will would not exist. Instead, bionic robots would roam the earth and simply exist. However, if free will exists, emotion exists. Here the Mover takes a huge risk giving humanity the ability to reject or accept the Him. This is the purpose for much of the pain in the world, because humanity has a choice to be good or be evil. Without free will, love does not exist. If there is a creator, all humans must have something in them that is also of the maker. Every artist leaves his touch. All humans need love. We all need to love and be loved. In the same way, the reason for free will is that love can exist. Picture someone who has a child, and they are a father to that child. This father instructed his child to everyday come and tell him, “I love you daddy.” Picture another father with a child, and this father didn’t instruct the child to say anything, but every so often that child out of his own free will, came to him and said, “I love you daddy.” Which “I love you,” means more? In the same way, it can be concluded that God must have created free will for that purpose.
         Putting the idea of freewill and love together, one is left with one more question, why again did God create humanity? There is one thing that cannot be unless a person has free will, the ability to love. The ability to love makes living worthwhile. To force love would not be love, but true love can only be given through free will. For God to exist, extending our conclusions by way of a logical chain, God is love and must be love. God cannot simply be a passionless Unmoved Mover, for that leaves us wondering why we exist. If God or the Unmoved Mover exists, a person cannot ask why God exists, only why things are the way they are. God simply exists for an Unmoved Mover must do just that. Philosophically God must be, but the nature of God is a far more interesting question. It’s an interesting concept to believe that maybe everything exists because of love. As the Apostle Paul says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13.2). To prove that God is philosophically provable, one must also come to the conclusion that God is passionate and loves, without this conclusion, nothing would exist because there’s no point. Furthermore, for God to be provably true, truth must exist. In the question of everything, there is undoubtedly one truth in the universe from which all come, for out of a lie or randomness, nothing true can be.

                                         Works Cited
Aquinas, Thomas. Basic Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Ed. Anton C.
  Pegis. New York: Random House, 1945. 113.
Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Great Britain: Transworld, 2006.
Doyle, Sir Author C. Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I. Vol. 1. New
  York: Barnes & Noble, 2003. 375.
 The Holy Bible. 1 Cor. 13-2. NIV ed. Colorado Springs: International
  Bible Society, 1973.
The Holy Bible. Gen. 1. NIV ed. Colorado Springs: International Bible
  Society, 1973.
Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy. New York: Simon and Schuster,
  1926. 56.
Sproul, R C. The Consequences of Ideas. Wheaton,Illinois: Crossway
  Books, 2000. 49.75.
Tortora, Gerard J., Berdell R. Funke, and Christine L. Case. Microbilogy
  2nd ed. Menlo Park, CA: The Benjamin/Cummings Company, 1986. 44.

                                     Can You Prove God Philosophically Outline
I. Thesis: If God is true, there must be a reason to believe he exists. The concept of God and God himself is a provable philosophical concept. If God is not true, there is evidence to the contrary.

II. Truth
A. Truth is foundational
B. You must have truth to prove a stance
C. Life is based on truth

III. Prove God Philosophically
A. Two choices
         1.God exists
         2. God doesn’t exist
B. If God exists, there is reason to believe so

IV. Actuality and Potential
A. Everything comes from something else
B. Order doesn’t form without reason
V. Unmoved Mover
A. God must be pure actuality
B. Dawkins against Unmoved Mover
        1. Aquinas assumes God doesn’t regress
C. Dawkin’s Logical fallacy

VI. Why there must be an Unmoved Mover     
A. Three possibilities
        1. Absolute nothing
        2. Only matter existed
        3. Unmoved Mover
B. Aristotle’s God
C. God’s purpose for human life

VII. Why God must be a Loving God
A. Why is there good? Why is there evil?
B. Free will
C. Love a driving force
VIII. Why did God create humanity
A. One thing an Omnipotent God can’t have
B. Love

C. Interesting concept

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