This series comes from a treatise I drafted for a skeptical friend. Its aims are more or less the same as the “Existence of God” series, but I’ve tried to sharpen up the writing, the content, and the overall structure of the presentation. I’m sure it will go through yet another iteration if I permitted to live that long.Foreword
In the following pages are laid out – what I think are – the compelling arguments for the existence of God.
These pages are hard-fought. When I was a freshman in college, I was confronted by an atheist who was at least shrewder than I, if not also smarter. When he asked for my arguments for the existence of God, I didn’t have any. There had never been a need.But integrity demanded, then as now, that if belief in God was irrational and unfounded, I would have to give it up. And I could further sense, and later came to understand, that all the meaning and significance in the world hung upon this question. That is, I realized I had to answer the question, and that I had everything to lose if it turned out I had been wrong.I had much to learn, at any rate! Not long after the challenge had been issued, I encountered the five ways of St. Thomas Aquinas, who started from the senses and reasoned his way to the existence of God. But I did not understand them, and while encouraged, I was still lost.Fifteen years later and I would finally make my way back to Aquinas with sufficient understanding. Not a word of his has changed, but now I am positively gripped by his arguments. They are logically powerful and lead inescapably to the existence of God.In the meantime, I encountered many other arguments for the existence of God, and reflected at length on the question and its manifold implications. Naturally, I also encountered arguments against the existence of God, and critiques of arguments for His existence. Though I was sometimes at a loss, not sure which argument had a greater claim to the evidence and not sure how to handle one objection or another, God’s existence gradually looked more and more sure.What follows, then, I loosely call “proofs” for the existence of God. Some are formal, logical proofs; others are arguments which are simply meant to point to God, even if they do not lead inescapably to Him. To include only the former could be a bit dull; only the latter would be unsatisfying.It is most challenging to face a paradigm shift. It is painful, disturbing, exhausting, humiliating – or worse. Very few people are disposed to make a transition like this readily. I understand that, and do not expect you come out of this a theist. Rather, as we set out, let me simply ask for your heart and your mind to be open, your soul and strength to be listening in. Be skeptical, sure, but be skeptical on both sides. Some say the problem of evil proves that God does not exist; I would counter that God must exist, or there would be no problem of evil! You see what I mean. Indeed, for the duration of this little book, let God’s existence be an open question. See what you find.