I keep saying to atheists that you can’t argue against the existence of God if you don’t know what you are arguing against, or if you don’t know what is meant by that word. This is not to convert you, that takes faith of your own free will.
This is to clear up what we mean as a matter of reasoned discourse, something you should welcome as a free-thinker.
Some say that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated but is held by faith alone, and that no one can reason that God exists. This can seem so if the arguments made to prove the existence of God are weak. If the knowledge of principles of demonstration only arise from what can be sensed, then whatever transcends the senses can be said to be indemonstrable. Therefore, one will conclude that God is indemonstrable.
This opinion can be shown to be false by demonstrating that we do arrive at causes by studying the effects. That is the order of the sciences. If there is no knowable thing higher than what can be sensed (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch), then there is no higher science than basic physics. And that is not true. Stop for a moment and consider how much of modern science does not involve any direct sensory experience at all.
“For the invisible things of God… are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” (Rom. 1:20).
To understand the arguments for the existence of God, first requires an understanding of the difference between being and essence. The terms are not identical. The question “is it” is different from the question “what is it”? This error arises when the name “God” is not clearly defined.
“We firmly believe and simply confess that there is only one true God, eternal and immeasurable, almighty, unchangeable, incomprehensible and ineffable…one absolutely simple essence, substance or nature…one principle of all things, creator of all things invisible and visible.” Fourth Lateran Council 1215
In God, being and essence are identical, that is – God subsists in Himself. God is Existence. He is Himself. We do not know fully this being or essence (since we are not God), but if it is real, then it is not only something that exists in the intellect. It exists objectively, independent of any individual’s intellect.
Enter the term “quiddity” which means the inherent nature or essence of a person or thing; what makes a thing what it is.
The quiddity must be taken as a meaningful distinction. All other definitions of God either remove the effects of God from Himself (I.e. He doesn’t exist because we can’t see Him.), or they in some way relate God to His effects (I.e. He’s just a bearded, bossy man in the sky). They do not absolutely define God as identical being and essence. The only logical definition of God is that God transcends all sensible things and sense itself, but His existence can be demonstrated with sensible things since He created them.
Thus, the origin of our knowledge transcends what can be sensed, but it is consistent with what we sense. Think about that. Is that true or false? This is just the beginning.
[learn_more caption="Source"]Summa Contra Gentiles, Book One, Chapter 12 “ THE OPINION OF THOSE WHO SAY THAT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD CANNOT BE DEMONSTRATED BUT IS HELD BY FAITH ALONE.”[/learn_more]
Sites That Link to this Post
- A few good links | eChurch Blog | April 16, 2012
- Three Ways to Win Every Debate with an Atheist | Accepting Abundance | May 28, 2012