Does God exist?

“Yes, after all…
  • The Universe(s) began to exist

      Physical reality (all contiguous space, time, and matter) began to exist.

      This article analyzes 5 evidences,…
      • [Big Bang] Gravity equations yield a past-bound singularity.
      • [BGV theorem] Any average-expanding space has a beginning.
      • [2nd Law] Total entropic decay has not arrived yet.
      • [General 2nd Law] Total generalized entropy is not maxed.
      • [Philosophy] Logically, prior events cannot number to infinity.

      This is relevant because if space, time, and matter began to exist, then the required cause of those three things obviously can't depend on those three things. (That would require self-causation.) So the cause is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. Moreover, it must have both the ability and disposition to cause space, time, and matter to exist. This sounds very suspiciously like God; and functions as a powerfully fulfilled theistic prediction.1 By contrast, it is a uniquely awkward and surprising development for atheist thinkers; it “was not even remotely expected”2. (In fact, atheists largely hated it and labeled the idea unscientific.)3

      But no,…
      • …a beginningless-cosmos model is true (e.g. emergent, pre-BigBang, cyclic).
      • …the Schrödinger equation implies the past is eternal. [Forthcoming]
      • …time does not truly exist. [Forthcoming]
      • …there is no first point in time. [Forthcoming]
      • …the singularity isn’t a first event (it is not in time). [Forthcoming]

      But so what? Plausibly,…
      • …the Universe began to exist without a cause?
      • …the cause isn’t God

      1. Quentin Smith (Atheist professor of philosophy at Western Michigan): “The central idea of this cosmology, that the universe exploded into existence in a 'big bang' about 15 billion years ago or so, seemed tailor made to a theistic viewpoint. Big bang cosmology seemed to offer empirical evidence for the religious doctrine of creation ex nihilo.” [“A Big Bang Cosmological Argument For God's Nonexistence” in Faith and Philosophy Vol. 9. No. 2 (1992): 217]
      2. Lawrence Krauss & Robert Scherrer: “In 1908 the scientific consensus was that the universe was static and eternal. The beginning of the universe in a fiery big bang was not even remotely suspected.” [“The End of Cosmology?” Scientific American (March 2008)]
      3. Robert Jastrow (Agnostic cosmologist, director of NASA): “…the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; ...” [14.] “For the [non-believing] scientist... the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” [God and the Astronomers, 2nd ed. (W.W. Norton & Company, 1992), 116.]
  • The Universe is fine-tuned to permit life

      Of all the known ways the Universe's physical laws, constants, and initial conditions could have been, few ways would ever allow any life to exist.1

      This article analyzes three evidences,…
      • …various constants of physics are fine-tuned.
      • …various initial conditions are fine-tuned.
      • …various laws of physics are fine-tuned.

      This is a very awkward and shocking development for atheist cosmologists2 because it means for them that we got really lucky for no reason. If God exists, however, then the Universe’s ability to permit life is not nearly so surprising or improbable.3 A life-permitting universe is the kind of thing God would plausibly choose to create.4

      But against the truth of that first claim, plausibly…
      • …changes just yield different life forms
      • …constant's can't be different (T.O.E.)
      • …life-friendly Universes are rare but probable[Forthcoming]
      • …one can't do probabilities with an infinite range[Forthcoming]
      • …new knowledge will eliminate fine-tuning
      • …over 99.9% of the universe is hostile to life.

      And against the relevance of that first claim, plausibly…
      • …many universes exist or existed, and we won the universe lottery.4
      • …we would not be here unless the unlikely did occur.
      • …the Universe is equally fine-tuned to permit rocks, etc.[Forthcoming]
      • …God would need a fine-tuner, too.
      • …“God did it” is not an explanation.

      1. Specialist Luke Barnes recently co-authored A Fortunate Universe (Cambridge University Press, 2006). He also published a review of the scientific literature, 200+ papers, and confesses he can only think of “a handful of physicists that oppose this conclusion, and piles and piles that support it.” See here for non-theist specialists confessing that the fact of fine-tuning is not in dispute.
      2. See confessions from Lemley, Deutch, Weinberg, Davies, Townes here. One example:
        Philip Ball (Physicist, 10+ years editor for Nature): “Our universe is so unlikely that we must be missing something… the incomprehensibility of our situation even drives Susskind's team to ponder whether an ‘unknown agent intervened in the evolution [of the Universe] for reasons of its own’…” [“Is Physics Watching Over Us?” Nature, Science Update, 2002.]
      3. See comments from Vilenkin, Davies, Dyson, Polkinghorn, Tipler, Hoyle, Penzias, Greenstein here. One example:
        Fred Hoyle (Former atheist “greatly shaken” by fine-tuning; influential astrophysicist): “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.” [“The Universe: Past and Present Reflections” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics (1982): 20:16.]
      4. Why would God create a life-permitting universe? See the choice arena section.
      5. [Forthcoming]. For now, to see a compelling and novel critique of the multiverse's utility as an explanation for fine-tuning, consider reading Collins's “The Fine-tuning of the Cosmos: A Fresh Look at its Implications”, available online.
  • The Universe is fine-tuned for discoverability

      Of all the known ways that a life-permitting universes could have been, few have initial conditions, laws, and physical constants which would ever allow its potential lifeforms to learn about it. This is a uniquely awkward and shocking development for atheists1 because it means for them that we got really lucky for no reason. If God exists, however, then the Universe’s amenability to being discovered and known is not nearly so surprising or improbable.2 Such a universe is the kind of thing God would plausibly choose to create.

      1. Albert Einstein: “You may find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world to the degree that we may speak of such comprehensibility as a miracle or an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be in any way grasped through thought... The kind of order created, for example, by Newton's theory of gravity is of quite a different kind. Even if the axioms of the theory are posited by a human being, the success of such an enterprise presupposes an order in the objective world of a high degree, which one has no a priori right to expect. That is the miracle which grows increasingly persuasive with the increasing development of knowledge.” [1956, A Letter to Maurice Solovine]
        Eugene Wigner (Nobel Prize winner, theoretical physicist): “The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.” [The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Physical Sciences (1960), 14.]
        Paul Davies (Agnostic turned deist, physics professor at Cambridge, etc.): “A common reaction among physicists to remarkable discoveries… is a mixture of delight at the subtlety and elegance of nature, and of stupefaction: ‘I would never have thought of doing it that way.’ If nature is so ‘clever’ it can exploit mechanisms that amaze us with their ingenuity, is that not persuasive evidence for the existence of intelligent design behind the physical universe? If the world's finest minds can unravel only with difficulty the deeper workings of nature, how could it be supposed that those workings are merely a mindless accident, a product of blind chance? … Uncovering the laws of physics resembles completing a crossword in a number of ways. In the case of the crossword, it would never occur to us to suppose that the words just happen to fall into a consistent interlocking pattern by accident.” [Superforce: The Search for the Grand Unified Theory of Nature (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 235-36)]. Also: “It is impossible to be a scientist working at the frontier without being awed by the elegance, ingenuity, and harmony of the lawlike order in nature. In my attempts to popularize science, I am driven by the desire to share my own sense of excitement and awe with the wider community; I want to tell people the good news. The fact that we are able to do science, that we can comprehend the hidden laws of nature, I regard as a gift of immense significance.” [“Physics and the Mind of God”, Templeton Prize address: Online]
      2. Paul Davies (Agnostic turned deist, physics professor at Cambridge, etc.): “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they come from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least part comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.” [“Physics and the Mind of God”, Templeton Prize address: Online]
        D. Halsmer, J. Asper, N. Roman, T. Todd: “Human-engineered systems are characterized by stability, predictability, reliability, transparency, controllability, efficiency, and (ideally) optimality. These features are also prevalent throughout the natural systems that make up the cosmos. However, the level of engineering appears to be far above and beyond, or transcendent of, current human capabilities. Even so, there is a curious match between the comprehensibility of the universe and the ability of mankind to comprehend it. This unexplained matching is a prerequisite for any kind of reverse engineering activity to be even remotely successful. And yet, mankind seems to be drawn onward toward a potential wisdom, almost in tutorial fashion, by the puzzles of nature that are continually available for us to unravel. Indeed, the universe is so readily and profitably reverse engineered as to make a compelling argument that it was engineered in the first place, apparently with humanity in mind.” [“The Coherence of an Engineered World”, International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, Vol. 4(1)(2009): 47.]
        Albert Einstein: “I have found no better expression than ‘religious’ for confidence in the rational nature of reality, insofar as it is accessible to human reason.” [Letter to Maurice Solovine, (1 January 1951) [Einstein Archive 21-174]; published in Letters to Solovine (1993)]
        Robin Collins (Philosopher-physicist at Messiah College): “The heart of the theistic alternative is to explain the fact that our universe exhibits BSC by claiming that (i) a universe exhibiting BSC will realize both moral and aesthetic values to a greater degree than universes not exhibiting BSC and (ii) God would have some reason to bring about a universe structure to realize these values. … In the theistic explanation, the claim that God provides a non-ad-hoc connecting link between value and existence is based on a natural extrapolation from our own experience that once grasped, the goodness or beauty of a state of affairs gives us ― and presumably any conscious agent ― a reason to prefer that state of affairs. The idea is that part of grasping that a state of affairs has value ― whether moral or aesthetic ― is to "feel" the desirability of the state, and hence have some motivation to bring it about. … Whether one buys this sort of argument or not, I think that at minimum one has to admit that it is in no way arbitrary or ad-hoc to hold that a perfectly free, omniscient, and omnipotent being would have the desire to bring about states of goodness and beauty.” [The Fine Tuning for Discoverability DRAFT (2014), 18. Avaliable online.]
  • Cells, brains, eyes “look” intelligently designed

      Features of living organisms resemble the products of an intelligent mind intentionally arranging parts for a purpose.

      This article analyzes one evidence,...
      • … the cell and its inner-workings seem to be.

      This is relevant because if God did not exist, then the likelihood of this superficial appearance is very low. However, if God does exist, then life's existing and resembling intelligently designed objects is not nearly so unexpected—it was designed.

      Actually it is not relevant. Plausibly…
      • … [life evolved in an unguided way that mimics the pattern of intelligent design].[Forthcoming]

  • We have mostly reliable cognitive faculties

      Our perception, memory, reason and so forth can justify beliefs, and have a propensity to recommend to us true beliefs rather than false ones.1 [Full article.]

      After all, consider intuition (the most controversial): it justifies beliefs like…
      • …x law of physics is constant.
      • …x happened in the past.
      • …x exists outside my mind.
      • …x is conscious.
      • …x is objectively morally wrong.
      • …x could've occurred.

      This is relevant because it is awkward and unexplained if atheism is true, whereas if theism is true, it is not nearly so unlikely or unexpected. After all, creating moral agents with generally reliable cognitive faculties able to interact with each other is the kind of thing a good God would plausibly choose to do.

      Actually its not relevant. Plausibly…
      • …reliable faculties were selected for by an unguided evolutionary process.[Forthcoming]

  • God-belief is instinctive for humans
  • Objective morality exists

      Some actions are morally wrong despite what anybody believes. This is relevant because the existence of such specifically personal facts in the world is unlikely if the world is, at bottom, impersonal (e.g. just particles and physics), and yet it is very much the kind of thing we would anticipate if a God exists who grounds the world and who could not fail to have been loving, honest, etc.

      But so what? Plausibly… [All Forthcoming]
      • x's net consequences are bad.
      • x is done for bad reasons.
      • x wouldn't be done by an “ideal observer”.

  • A “necessary being” exists
  • Miracles have occurred
  • [Many more arguments]


  • “No, after all…
  • God is an incoherent notion

      God's properties are incoherent or yield contradictions.

      After all, it is incoherent to be…
      • …all-powerful (e.g. able to lift unliftable rocks)!
      • …all-knowing
      • …all-good
      • …timeless
      • …spaceless
      • …immaterial
      • …free (will)
      • …perfectly rational
      • …both timeless and personal
      • …both timeless and a creator
      • …both omniscient and libertarianly free
      • …both omnipotent and omnibenevolent
      • …both all-just and all-loving

      This is relevant because if God's properties are incoherent or impossible, then God is incoherent or impossible.

      By way of response, however...
      • …it is rather bearing the “maximally consistent set of knowledge, power, and benevolence” that must be incoherent.1

      1. God is generally defined as the greatest, most worship-worthy possible being. This is fundamentally what theists have always wanted, insofar as they think humans were designed to recognize God as such. This notion of God in turn is best understood as follows: the being which bears the maximally consistent set of set of knowledge, power, and benevolence (see Yujin Nagasawa, Maximal God (Oxford, 2017).). While the alleged individual incoherences listed above have a complexity of responses and counter-responses, at the end of the day, most any proven incoherence in the concept of omni-properties will simply force the theist into a logically possible analogue nearby, the very analogue that presumably fits the most worship-worthy possible being.
  • Theism is a wild hypothesis (“extraordinary”)

      The idea of a God existing is extravagant and intrinsically improbable; the so-called prior probability of God’s existence—prior to looking at evidence for or against—seems very low. This is relevant because a low prior probability is functionally similar to having evidence against it. More complex and bold hypothesis have more ways/chances of being wrong. We expect them to be wrong in the absence of sufficient evidence.

      But no,
      • …the God of bare theism is more simple than a single fundamental particle. God is a unified soul (an unbreakable thing with no parts)1, and its the simplest possible soul: it only has three fundamental properties (those necessary for being a soul), and in their simplest form—without limits.2
      • …reason alone confirms theism (or something close). [Forthcoming]

      1. Stewart Goetz: “Thus a table, unlike a soul, is a complex entity or thing in virtue of the fact that it is made up of parts that are themselves substances (substantive parts). Physical scientists inform us that a table is actually a lattice structure of molecules bound together by attractive powers affecting appropriate capacities, and when this lattice structure is broken by a sufficient force, the table breaks. Unlike a table and material objects in general, a soul is not a complex entity because it has no substantive parts. Instead, it is substantively simple in nature. It is a simple thing. While a soul is complex in so far as it has a multiplicity of properties, it is simple in so far as it has no substantive parts. Thus complexity at the property level is compatible with simplicity at the level of thinghood. [“Human Persons are Material and Immaterial (Body and Soul)” in Debating Christian Theism (Oxford, 2013), 262.]
      2. Trent Doughtery: “[The Standard Model of Physics] posits 16 fundamental particles that fit into three categories....Some theists think that the simplicity of a theistic universe should be assessed similarly (See Swinburne 2004, chapter 5...) Theism postulates one brute fact and the rest flows from that in conjunction with necessary truths about value. Bare Theism's fact is the existence of a person with two properties -- knowledge and power -- held in the simplest possible way -- zero limitation. The explanation of every contingent truth (other than his own existence, if that is taken to be contingent, an issue too big for the present discussion) is a function of the goodness of the corresponding state of affairs. Since there is no best world, an arbitrary choice must be made as to which initial world segment to actualize among sufficiently good initial world segments (this wordering allows for "...the universe to unfoled in way sperhaps unforeseen to God, if it contains beings with free will or if it contains certain kinds of chance processes). If having a good deal of chance in that world is best, then that world will be expected to have a good deal of chance. So if one applies a method of assessing the ocmplexity of the phsical universe to assessing the complexity of the theistic hypothesis, Theism turns out to be a very simple hypothesis indeed. Naturalism lacks this kind of explanatory simplicty and systematicisy. there will be quite a number of brute facts: the existence of contingent being, the existence of a number of laws, the many particular parameters of those laws, and so on. Counting up the number of brute facts in Naturalism by the same method used earlier will be difficult but it seems that inevitably it postulates more than one brute existent with only two properties held in the simplest ways.” [“Reflections on Explanation and Draper's Argument” The Blackwell Companion to Evil (Blackwell, 2014), 85.]
  • Only the natural world of science exists

      Fundamental reality is mind-less (or mathematically describable). This is relevant because God is essentially a thinking-thing without limits, and God's nature cannot be captured by mathematical equation.

      No, [All Forthcoming]
      • Mental properties exist.
      • Souls exist
      • Heaven exists
      • Moral facts exist
      • The cause of of the natural world exists

  • God would opt for less suffering than we see
  • He'd opt for more to believe, for relationship sake
  • “God did-it” is not an explanation