- First Proof: Is the world designed by
- The Second Proof: The First Cause of all
- The Third Proof: Our Conscience!
- The Fourth Proof: History!
- The Fifth Proof: Pascal's Wager!
The purpose of this leaflet is to summarize
five philosophical proofs that have been derived from human
reason, for the existence of God. It is hoped that these proofs
will enhance the faith of those who know God and worship him in
their lives. It is also hoped that these same proofs will help
those of us who are still searching.
How, in fact, do we know anything? How do we
know that when we drop a stone it will fall to the ground and not
fly up and hit us in the face? The answer is simple, we know it
from lifelong personal experience. If for some strange reason we
had not yet had the personal experience of seeing a stone drop,
we could still believe that it does from the study of physics and
Newton's laws of gravity. Even for those of us who had seen a
stone drop, the study of these laws would enhance, strengthen and
deepen our knowledge and allow us to more fully appreciate the
reality of a dropping stone.
Our knowledge of God is similar. The deepest
knowledge of God and of the certainty of His existence comes
through the personal experience of Him in our lives. What we will
try to show, in the sections that follow, is a summary of the
ways in which reason can help us also, to appreciate the reality
There are two possible ways to describe the
world. The first way is that it follows the design of a supreme
intelligence while the second way says that it came to be what it
is strictly by chance.
No rational person seriously believes that
great art such as Michelangelo's David or Beethoven's symphonies
arises as the result of a random series of hammer blows or a
randomly produced sequence of notes. We simply know from
experience that these beautiful creations are the result of an
artist and could never come into being randomly or by chance.
Both the universe and human intelligence,
are far more complex and more beautiful than either of these
examples of art and music, so it is only reasonable to expect,
based on the simple experience of our lives, that they must have
had a supremely intelligent designer or God. So if a person does
not believe in a God as a creator, that person has to then
believe that the scientific laws governing the universe and also
our intelligence are only the result of a chance occurrence. The
probability of such a random occurrence actually happening is so
infinitely small as to defy all reason.
We all know that in real life everything
that exists has a cause. We were born because of our parents, as
they in turn were born because of theirs, and so on back to our
first parents. The thought that something occurs without a cause
is not seriously accepted by anyone. When a child comes home with
a black eye we know and believe that there had to be a cause for
it and we will not accept an explanation that"it just happened".
When we apply the same reasoning to the universe we can see that
like the black eye, it did not just happen but had a cause and
that first cause was God.
Each individual event in the universe arises
from a previous event. The stream of events either had a
beginning or they did not. All logic points to a beginning event
and that event was caused by God. The first proof dealt with the
design of nature as described by its laws, such as those which
govern the falling stone, and perceived by our senses. The second
proof shows us how the whole wonderful design of nature was set
in motion. It shows us how the falling stone of the first proof
was formed in the first place and then, in the illustration we
are using, set on its falling journey.
We all know, from what we call our
conscience, that it is right to do good and wrong to do evil and
we sense that we have an obligation to act according to the
ordering of our conscience. Even in a materialistic and
humanistic society almost all people, Christian or not, believe
that a person should follow the dictates of their conscience.
Those few people who do not have this awareness of conscience are
considered by this same society to be mentally ill.
This conscience is not just a feeling within
us but extends to our human intellect being applied to the
knowledge base that we have acquired during our lives. Conscience
not only tells us what we should do but sets before us an
obligation that we are required to carry out if we are to remain
at peace with ourselves. Conscience is the voice of God speaking
to our souls.
However, if God does not exist and we are
only here by chance, so that there is no meaning to our
existence, what obligation can there be to follow our conscience
or anything else. Our sense of obligation towards doing good is
only logical if there is a fundamental morality that transcends
human existence and which has the power and right to demand moral
The people who knew Christ best were his
disciples and their immediate descendants who formed the early
church. They were so convinced by the truth of the Christian
teaching that they had received that they were willing to accept
the vilest persecutions in witness to their faith.
Most of the apostles and their immediate
disciples were martyred, including St. Paul. The Roman
persecutions of the early Christians led to over one hundred
thousand of them choosing a martyrs death as a witness to their
faith in God rather than to deny their conscience in order to
escape these persecutions.
The first thirty one bishops of Rome from
St. Peter down to St. Eusebius who died in 309 A.D., all died for
their faith in Christ. This heroic witness to the faith of
believers has continued down through the centuries. In more
recent time this has included persecutions by the Nazi and
Communist regimes under whose cruel authority tens of thousands
died for their faith. Even in the present day the bloody
martyring of Christians goes on in parts of Africa and Latin
For almost 2,000 years countless people have
lead joyful and often heroic lives firm in their belief in God.
Were all these people deluded or insane? Or were they right?
Pascal was a seventeenth century
philosopher, scientist and mathematician who argued the existence
of God in terms of a wager. He based his wager on the fact that a
normal, rational man will, when given two possible choices,
choose the one with the best chance of obtaining a reward.
For instance, if someone says that your
house is on fire, it could be or it could not. The cost of
finding out if it is, such as looking to see if it is, is small
compared to the potential loss of not bothering to look and
finding it burnt down. It would be utter foolishness for you not
to take that look to see if your house is on fire.
In the same manner, we are all forced to
face the fact that one day we are going to die. At that moment of
our death we will be faced with the fact that either God exists
or He doesn't. If He doesn't exist, then it will not matter
whether or not we had thrown our lot in with God during our
lives. If on the other hand though, God does exist and we were
faithful to Him, we will receive an infinite reward. In the same
way, if he does exist and we were unfaithful during our lifetime,
we lose everything.
So if we bet that God exists and we were
right we win everything. In the same way, if we bet that God
exists and we are wrong and he does not exist, we have lost
If we now look at it from the other side and
at the start of our lives bet that God does not exist and are
right then we win nothing. In the same way, if we bet that God
does not exist and are wrong then we lose everything. So the only
sensible wager is the bet that God exists. With such a wager we
have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
If we accept the fact that God exists and
that he created the universe and man with a conscience and a free
will, to choose from right or wrong, it is unreasonable to expect
that having created us he would not want to communicate with us
and show us his desires for us.
Over the millennia this communication has
taken place within our conscience, other early religions, Judaism
and ultimately His Son Incarnate, Jesus Christ. The communication
through Christ is revealed to us in the scriptures and through
tradition and is interpreted by the teaching authority of the
Roman Catholic Church.
How then do we move from intellectual assent
to a personal knowledge of God? Our relationship with God moves
through stages. The first is when we seek him. Once we seek Him
we already have found Him. Next we get to know Him through study,
prayer and the church. Finally, through faithfulness, prayer and
meditation our relationship turns to one of love.
If you would like to learn more about God
and the Roman Catholic faith you are invited to simply phone the
rectory of the Catholic Church nearest to you and ask to speak to
the Pastor. If he is unavailable, explain to the person who
answers the phone that you are interested in finding out more
about the Catholic Church and they should be able to help you.
We have another leaflet that you might find
helpful called "Approaching the Catholic Church for the First
Time." We would be happy to send it to you by mail or you can
read it on our Internet web site, both addresses are on the back
of this leaflet.