God the Father (represented by an old patriarch with white hair) by Cima da Conegliano, c. 1515

Arguments Why God (Very Probably) Exists

(Read the article on one page)

The question of whether a god exists is heating up in the 21st century. According to a Pew survey, the percent of Americans having no religious affiliation reached 23 percent in 2014. Among such “nones,” 33 percent said that they do not believe in God – an 11 percent increase since only 2007.

Such trends have ironically been taking place even as, I would argue, the probability for the existence of a supernatural god has been rising. In my 2015 book, “God? Very Probably: Five Rational Ways to Think about the Question of a God,” I look at physics, the philosophy of human consciousness, evolutionary biology, mathematics, the history of religion and theology to explore whether such a god exists. I should say that I am trained originally as an economist, but have been working at the intersection of economics, environmentalism and theology since the 1990s.

Laws of Math

In 1960 the Princeton physicist – and subsequent Nobel Prize winner – Eugene Wigner raised a fundamental question: Why did the natural world always – so far as we know – obey laws of mathematics?

As argued by scholars such as Philip Davis and Reuben Hersh, mathematics exists independent of physical reality. It is the job of mathematicians to discover the realities of this separate world of mathematical laws and concepts. Physicists then put the mathematics to use according to the rules of prediction and confirmed observation of the scientific method.

But modern mathematics generally is formulated before any natural observations are made, and many mathematical laws today have no known existing physical analogues.

Einstein Memorial, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. Wally Gobetz

Einstein Memorial, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. Wally Gobetz,  CC BY-ND

Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity, for example, was based on theoretical mathematics developed 50 years earlier by the great German mathematician Bernhard Riemann that did not have any known practical applications at the time of its intellectual creation.

In some cases, the physicist also discovers the mathematics. Isaac Newton was considered among the greatest mathematicians as well as physicists of the 17th century. Other physicists sought his help in finding a mathematics that would predict the workings of the solar system. He found it in the mathematical law of gravity, based in part on his discovery of calculus.

At the time, however, many people initially resisted Newton’s conclusions because they seemed to be “occult.” How could two distant objects in the solar system be drawn toward one another, acting according to a precise mathematical law? Indeed, Newton made strenuous efforts over his lifetime to find a natural explanation, but in the end he could say only that it is the will of God.

Despite the many other enormous advances of modern physics, little has changed in this regard. As Wigner wrote, “the enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious and there is no rational explanation for it.”

In other words, as I argue in my book, it takes the existence of some kind of a god to make the mathematical underpinnings of the universe comprehensible.

Math and Other Worlds

In 2004, the great British physicist Roger Penrose put forward a vision of a universe composed of three independently existing worlds – mathematics, the material world and human consciousness. As Penrose acknowledged, it was a complete puzzle to him how the three interacted with one another outside the ability of any scientific or other conventionally rational model.

How can physical atoms and molecules, for example, create something that exists in a separate domain that has no physical existence: human consciousness?

It is a mystery that lies beyond science.

Plato. Elizabethe,

Plato. Elizabethe, CC BY-NC-ND

This mystery is the same one that existed in the Greek worldview of Plato, who believed that abstract ideas (above all mathematical) first existed outside any physical reality. The material world that we experience as part of our human existence is an imperfect reflection of these prior formal ideals. As the scholar of ancient Greek philosophy, Ian Mueller, writes in “Mathematics and The Divine,” the realm of such ideals is that of God.

Indeed, in 2014 the MIT physicist Max Tegmark argues in “Our Mathematical Universe” that mathematics is the fundamental world reality that drives the universe. As I would say, mathematics is operating in a god-like fashion.

The Mystery of Human Consciousness

The workings of human consciousness are similarly miraculous. Like the laws of mathematics, consciousness has no physical presence in the world; the images and thoughts in our consciousness have no measurable dimensions.

Comments

What to me appears to be excellent evidence that life forms evolve and that evolution, therefore, must remain a viable explanation is atavism in the form of vestigial limbs and hip or pelvis structures that appear now and then in snakes, whales, dolphins, etc. How to explain it except that the creatures evolved from something else?

Ancient Origins team; please avoid these kinds of low substance, easily countered articles which do nothing good for the reputation of this site or the advancement of your mission statement.

Much of the above article can be distilled to "we don't understand, therefore god". This is religious apologetics and is not at all scientific or helpful in the pursuit of answers.

AintGottaClue's picture

I'm with HROCHNICK.....you want to argue apologetics, find a religious Forum. This is a science and scientific Forum. Arguments for the "existence of a creator god," unless he was an alien intervening in human evolution, are wasted here. Religion is all "man made," to explain things that the knowledge of that time could not explain...."we don't know, therefor God did it!" Doesn't work any more. We may not know everything, but we do know enough to say, "Nope, sorry, God didn't do it, it was good old mother nature (or visiting aliens, which somehow were always transformed into "gods" because of their knowledge)." One cannot just conveniently ignore the historical, archaeological, and geological record.

History is nowhere near as well known as we think it is.

There are any number of visibly obvious reasons for creation as an organised series of actions rather than the random happenstance claimed by current TV pundits, etcetera. Atheism does not mean theres no God. A-Theism is SEPARATION from or being without God. An Atheist is somebody who knows they are without God- that they exist APART from God, not that IT does not exist at all. Western man has decided to change what the word actually means. Read Silence and the Absence of God in "Citadelle" by Antoine de St. Exupery, and you will get a much better idea. It may also help you understand who the Little Prince is, by the way.

But examine the irony in Attenborough's online film clip about the evolution of the eye, or the old chestnut about the evolution of the Giraffe's neck.

These guys have conveniently forgotten that even were evolution possible, that it cannot possibly account for either idea, as nothing could live long enough to elongate its own neck to feed off trees in the absence of grasses because it would go extinct first, and nothing could keep still long enough and live long enough for an eye to miraculously appear on your skin through the action of the concentration of the sun's rays without shifting to avoid being burned!!

But logic demands more, so we have sex. Sex as we know it among mammals demands the interaction of two separately formed biological systems, neither of which could have possibly pre-existed the other.

Then of course evolution demands progress that in nature does not exist. All butterflies would have evolved to be the same colours, all plants in the same habitat would equally be the same, whereas even grasses in the same locations have very different solutions to existence.

So the idea of evolution logically is very obviously a non-starter. Those who believe in Evolution have a far greater theological faith than those who believe quite simply in God.

Well,no logic has been displayed here so far

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

The Achievement of the Grail.
Leah Tether works at the University of Bristol. She received funding for this research from Anglia Ruskin University, Ghent University, Somerville College, Oxford and the Stationers' Foundation. Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence.

Human Origins

Kalash girls with traditional clothing.
The Kalash (known also as the Kalasha) are an indigenous people living in what is today Pakistan. Although Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, with more than 95% of its population being adherents of Islam, the Kalash hold on to their own religious beliefs, along with their own identity, way of life, and language.

Ancient Technology

10 Innovative Medieval Weapons: You Would Not Want To Be At The Sharp End Of These!
Long before modern warfare, there was a time of knights in shining armor atop equally armored horses fighting for the hand of a maiden or in pitched battle. However, the weapons that these knights wielded expanded far past that of an ordinary sword and shield.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article