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Belief in God may be better than non-belief, but here’s the thing: some people dispute every detailed proof of the existence of God.  

I’ve made a study of the arguments, both tedious and profound, of the best-known philosophers – the cosmological argument, the ontological argument, the teleological argument, the anthropological argument and others. I have a list of 555 “proofs” of God, each in three or four lines. That list of 555 proofs, however, came to me by way of a society of atheists, who either did not carefully consider them or found them unconvincing, and thus uninspiring. 

In my study of these proofs, I’ve come to understand that logic and reasoning can help us figure out why a Creator exists – but I’ve also reached this conclusion: proving that God exists through reason alone often falls short. The Baha’i teachings have helped me in that regard:

It is evident that whatsoever man understands is a consequence of his existence, and that man is a sign of the All-Merciful: How then can the consequence of the sign encompass the Creator of the sign? That is, how can human understanding, which is a consequence of man’s existence, comprehend God? Thus the reality of the Divinity lies hidden from all understanding and is concealed from the minds of all men, and to ascend to that station is in no wise possible.

We observe that every lower thing is incapable of comprehending the reality of that which is higher. Thus, no matter how far they may evolve, the stone, the earth, and the tree can never comprehend the reality of man or imagine the powers of sight, hearing or the other senses, even though the former and the latter alike are created things. How then can man, a mere creature, comprehend the reality of the sanctified Essence of the Creator? – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised edition, p. 166.

While I don’t think reasoned proofs are particularly effective, nevertheless, I’ll share some observations that resonate with me. (I’m sure these are on the list of 555 somewhere.) The first I’ll state as poetry and as a riddle:

The Works Director
It’s science when we discover how our world works
and art when we reveal what we are called to manifest.
It’s labor when we toil to contribute to society
and recreation when we take time to repair.
It’s friendship when we delight in another
and procreation when we are driven to create another.
It’s community-building when we order our lives together
and civilization-making when we spread this order.
But what directs these activities and compels our action?
It’s something within us, that makes us want to discover,
to create, to labor, to be with another, and to build collectively.
It’s a single force that drives us to act,
to become and to improve the world.
It’s more than utilitarian survival.
It recognizes us in others and moves to bring us together.
It’s stubborn in declaring unity even against persistent obstacles.
But what is this thing that moves us and directs our very being?
And what are we who are so moved?
We seem to be sentences.
Nouns, verbs, adjectives and more,
set in motion by an unseen author,
made to rhyme with other words before and after us
in chapters and books in a great evolving, perfecting story.
We are instruments, sounding out a symphony
when we are tuned and true.
Being played in a divine melodic score.
But who is the author and composer?
It must be God acting within us,
driving us toward a divine completion.

We each form a part, it seems, of an enormous divine plan. We are not independent authors of our destiny; we take part in a physical and social system created for us and guided by mysterious and ultimately unknowable spiritual forces: 

No human understanding can approach this station, no utterance can unfold its truth, and no allusion can intimate its mystery. … Minds are powerless to comprehend Him, and souls are bewildered as they attempt to describe His reality. …

Thus, in this connection, every statement and explanation is deficient, every description and characterization is unworthy, every conception is unfounded, and every attempt to contemplate its depths is futile. Yet for that Essence of essences, that Truth of truths, that Mystery of mysteries, there are splendours, effulgences, manifestations, and appearances in the world of existence. – Ibid., pp. 166-167.

The divine plan unfolds slowly, making mistakes and correcting imperfections as it goes – in some places faster than others. The physical signs, well known to evolutionary biologists, make evolution visible. But the signs of social and spiritual evolution, less visible but just as real, show us that divine plan at work.

10 Comments

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  • Jan 27, 2020
    I don’t think acknowledging the existence of God is at all unreasonable. After all, that God would be completely beyond are comprehension and categorically different from contingent existence in an utterly transcendent manner is, as I see it anyway, the most reasonable of conclusions.
  • Trute Resound
    Jan 27, 2020
    There are however some incredible coincidences right here on the planet that I find hard to explain without a Creator. The similarity of every organic thing to human beings (In terms of DNA) is between 50% and 96%. And isn't it handy that all of this food was already growing by the time we evolved. When you study the history of the Earth, you find that everything had to happen almost exactly the way it did for us to have evolved and survived. The more I study science, the more it convinces me of the existence of a Creator.
  • Robert Charles Moldenhauer
    Jan 26, 2020
    Nobody can prove the existence of God, that's why it's called Faith. You make the leap of accepting God and everything else falls into place, but you have to make that leap, no other way I'm afraid.
  • Kunal Gilani
    Jan 26, 2020
    In my experience, atheists do not deny the existence of God. They deny the existence of God that has been communicated to them. This might be a god that has created hell and heaven and/or who is going to bring people out of their graves on the day of judgement. Athiests require evidence in order to accept something - as should we all. In many ways what I think Bahai’s believe - other ancient religions may consider us as ‘atheists’ as we don’t believe in what they did? I think - As Bahai’s we let our love for God unite ...us. As humans we should let our sense of reasoning unite us with whom we call Athiests... By the way - I really loved your poetry - and will try and remember parts of it :).
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  • Roger Prentice
    Jan 26, 2020
    Hi Tom - have you shared the 555 arguments some where. Atheists serve us well!
    • Thomas Tai-Seale
      Feb 24, 2020
      Sorry Roger, I'm not sure where on the Internet these things now are.
  • Faried Abdul-Wahid
    Jan 26, 2020
    To me, our brains uses language to communicate...But language is restricted to the information we gather from outside by 5 senses, which are at best perception and limited to what is time/space borders. However, using the 2nd principal of thermodynamics (Entropy) lead me to conclude there is higher existence than my limited time/space world. For me, the 2 defying facts of the 2nd principle of thermodynamics was deductive conclusion of a higher/spiritual (God) existence .
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Jan 25, 2020
    A beautiful story for you. One swami in the Himalayas asked a Vedanta teacher: “Ishwar ke astitva mein akatya pramad dijiye!” — “Give me an irrefutable proof of the existence of God!”. And the immediate answer was: “Your own existence”. Tumhara astitva: Your own existence.
    • Thomas Tai-Seale
      Jan 25, 2020
      Beautiful and complete!
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Jan 25, 2020
    „We are instruments, sounding out a symphony
    when we are tuned and true.
    Being played in a divine melodic score.
    But who is the author and composer?
    It must be God acting within us,
    driving us toward a divine completion.“
    Well said. That reminds me of Rumis Mathnawi. The highest spiritual attainment has been expressed by the Sufis with the phrase insân-i kâmil, the perfected or completed human being. The fully awakened human being is the ultimate proof of God. Our own existence, what we are, our own consciousness. Think about it. All religions struggle to prove the existence ...of God, but none of them struggle to prove your existence.
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