Monday, September 12, 2011

What Follows if God Does not Exist?

This is not an apologetic argument for non-believers. That is, I fully expect some or even all of the premises to be denied by non-Christians. This is more of an "intellectual devotion" time. I am examining the claim that God is logically necessary, and without God, nothing would exist, neither would anything be true. I claim if God is the ultimate explanation of why anything is true, then the lack of that explanation necessitates nothing is true. But then it would be true something is true. Hence, the conditional is impossible.

It's not merely the antecedent's being false that makes this problematic, but rather the antecedent's being logically impossible that creates the problem. What we are really saying is the state of affairs of nothing being true cannot exist. But if God is logically necessary and the ground of all being/truth, then that's just what it means: it means there is no truth without God (else God just happens to be the source of this truth, rather than being the source of necessity). I don't find calling the impossibility of his non-existence to be very controversial, for that is all it means to say that one is logically necessary. Consider the following argument:

1. If God is logically necessary, then he cannot fail to exist.

2. If God is the source of all truth, then he is so necessarily.

3. God is logically necessary.

4. God is the source of all truth.

5. Therefore, God cannot fail to exist.

6. Therefore, God is the source of all truth necessarily.

It follows analytically from (5-6) that:

7. If God did not exist, then truth does not exist.

8. Truth does exist.

9. Therefore, God exists.

If one questions (7), consider a parallel premise:

10. If numbers do not exist, then mathematics do not exist.

By (10) I mean the concept of numbers. Yet we can use and conceptualize numbers and movements all the time: the very numbering of the premise makes the antecedent false. Further, most people believe the antecedent is necessarily false, and hence impossible to be true. Yet it seems to be true as a datum that mathematics would not exist without numbers, even if it is impossible for mathematics to fail to exist! In the same way, I maintain it is true that without God, nothing would be true. The Christian should embrace this as a thought for devotional reflection.
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  1. Although your deductive reasoning is pretty sound, I do not agree. We do not need a god to have truth. For another thing, you cannot prove there is God or any god for that matter. You said if there is no God then there is no truth...And by saying God is the source of all truth then you are ultimately saying God is all but without having evidence how can you say He is truth. The definition of truth is: That which is true or in accordance to fact or reality. So if God is the truth then there would be facts to prove it. Science has proven things without the help of this so called God. In time science will also disprove the existence of God.

  2. Normally I don't allow anonymous comments, but yours was so thoughtful, so I decided to make an exception (I can do that, you know!) :)

    First, just a minor, technical point. In deduction, if the reasoning is sound, it means it is correct. So while you could disagree, your recognition that it is correct would make this unlikely you think it is sound. :)

    Next, in deduction, if the premises are true and the argument is logically valid, the conclusion cannot be false. So in that case, we can prove God. If by "prove" one means 100% certainty, then no; but then the claim becomes trivial, as we can prove very little with 100% certainty.

    Third, the statement that God grounds all truth does not mean that God is all; in the same way that God grounds morality doesn't mean God is every objective moral value.

    Fourth, evidence is that in virtue of which a proposition or premise is more plausible than it would be without such facts. By this definition, it is obvious there is at least some evidence for God. But it seems you may define evidence as that which proves something. If this is the case, and if I am right about what you are saying when you say "proof," then not even science can meet your standard!

    Finally, science cannot even justify itself--it must rely on philosophy for that. It's just not equipped to prove God's existence or non-existence.


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