History of religion

Is there god

(Published in GralsWelt 40/2006)                                   

If we find a clock while walking, we will hardly ponder how a hurricane might have ravaged a junkyard to make this clock come about by chance. Because it is clear to everyone that it must have been a watchmaker who designed and built them.

However, a clock is decidedly more simply structured than the most primitive living being, such as a bacterium. How much more did the world, with its abundance of life, need a constructor, i.e. a creator who conceived and built it?

With this thought we follow the explanations of the English theologian William Paley (1744-1805), who wanted to prove the necessity of a Creator in this way.
And that brings us to our topic, the proofs of God.

"This admirable arrangement of the sun, planets and comets could only have emerged from the counsel and rule of an all-decisive and omnipotent being."
Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

Evidence of God in the Middle Ages

 Even early Greek philosophers were aware of the order and harmony of the cosmos. Anaxagoras (approx. 500-428 BC) spoke of "nature in its well-orderedness". The idea that it shows the world a master builder's plan has also been passed down from Plato. However, he suspected two gods: an imperfect demiurge, the creator of the earthly world, and the unchangeable good who dwells above the "sublunar world" in the realm of ideas.

The first Christians did not need proof of God. They firmly believed in the redemption of the believers through the Son of God Jesus, who is unthinkable without the existence of his heavenly Father. It was only when theologians of the Middle Ages pondered all possible and impossible questions that they found it desirable to also prove the existence of God, and they constructed various models of thought, of which we shall briefly touch on the most important:

The first mover
Greek philosophers and medieval theologians believed that someone set the planets in motion; this required a "self-immobile mover". Isaac Newton shared this opinion. He also believed that from time to time external interventions were necessary to keep the planets on their orbits.

On the basis of today's cosmologies, the planetary movements arise naturally by themselves. That is, without the hand of God, which would have given them their impulse and thus determined their orbits.

"A little science away from God, but a lot leads us back to him."         Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).

“We discover that the universe shows traces of a planning or controlling power that has something in common with our own, individual spirit - not, as far as we have discovered up to now, feeling, morality or aesthetic ability, but the tendency to which we have called mathematical for want of a better word. "    James Jeans (1877-1946).

“The universe is a huge thought. In every particle, every atom, every molecule, every matter cell lives and works, unknown to all, an omnipresence. "                                 Jean Guitton (1901-1999).

"The old covenant is broken; man knows at last that he is alone in the impassive immensity of the universe from which he happened to emerge. Not only his lot, but also his duty are nowhere written."                                   Jacques Monod (1910-1976).

"The more comprehensible the universe becomes to us, the more senseless it appears to us"         Steven Weinberg (b. 1933).

"Modern science kills God and takes his place on the empty throne."      Vaclav Havel (born 1936).

The ontological proof of God
Anselm von Canterbury (1033-1109) defined God as "that beyond which nothing greater can be thought" and took the view that a being who possesses all desirable qualities such as omnipotence, omnipresence etc., however, has the quality lacks existence, cannot be of the greatest possible perfection.

One can discuss this idea further (cf. e.g. 5, p. 30 f.).
Nowadays this proof is no longer convincing because it presupposes something that has yet to be proven.

The cosmological proof of God
Everything that exists must have a cause; in the case of the universe, that cause is God. To the question: “What cause does God go back to?” Then only one answer remains: “God does not need a cause! He is a necessary being, the cause of which is to be sought in himself. "
This moves away from the mechanism of this logic. One begins with the demand that everything must have a cause and ends with the statement that at least one thing - namely God - does not need a cause.

The teleological proof of God
Here, too, one starts from a prerequisite and then concludes - from evolution, for example - that the world has a meaning and that it is developing with determination. Meaningfulness and single-mindedness seem unthinkable without a creative, thinking mind.
Today's natural scientists believe that many coincidences determined the developments and reject the assumption of teleological (goal-oriented) processes of any kind.

The moral proof of God
Here the conscience of the person, his obviously existing moral consciousness, serves as evidence that a higher authority must have placed his moral consciousness in his cradle.

The failure of metaphysics
Metaphysics, which sought proofs of God, was once an important part of philosophy. Theologians and philosophers have written voluminous treatises on the above and many other evidences of the Creator's existence. In Catholic doctrine to this day, proofs of God belong to the natural or rational knowledge of God, which, in addition to his existence, also includes his personality and other properties. On such paths one wants to advance to him as the creator of the world and founder of the natural moral law and thereby prepare the supernatural or revelatory faith in God.
Evidence of God hardly plays a role in Protestant theology today.

The theodicy problem
Theodicy should also be mentioned in this context. This “justification of God” wants to explain why many incomprehensible things can happen in our world without the Almighty intervening. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) dedicated a work to this question in which he came to the conclusion that we live in the best of all possible worlds. He did not find too much approval, and Voltaire mocked Leibniz 'thesis of the "best of all worlds". (See, "Why does God allow all of this?")

The impossibility of philosophical proofs of God
In 1781 Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) published his Critique of Pure Reason, in which he showed that all proofs of God are only thought structures without a real basis. Since then, philosophical proofs of God have been considered an impossibility, and very few philosophers are still concerned with metaphysics. Scientists and mathematicians have been thinking more or less atheistically since the end of the 18th century.
However, names are given by modern scientists who believe in God or were: Max Planck, Albert Einstein, John C. Eccles, Jean Guitton, Hoimar v. Ditfurth, Paul Davies….
Do the latest scientific research point to God after all?

Which god do we want to prove? 

When natural scientists - unless they are atheists or perhaps agnostics - exceptionally get involved in the question of God, then they tend to tend towards a pantheistic or deistic idea of God.

Pantheists assume God in everything, see no difference between God and the world, God and the universe. The pantheistic deity is not necessarily supernatural, otherworldly, but a driving and supporting spiritual principle that encompasses all nature, the whole universe, the totality of the laws of nature. These laws may have arisen at the same time as the universe and are likely to disappear with it one day; an idea that goes well with the cosmological worldview of our time.
With a view to the Grail Message "In the Light of Truth" by Abd-ru-shin, it will be pointed out that we are only "creatures" who find God's work, his will, his universal laws in creation, and in no way encounter him personally can.

The deism has been common since the Enlightenment. He assumes that after the creation of the world, God no longer exerts any influence on his work, neither through miracles nor through revelations. Accordingly, it would be hopeless to look for transitions where the worldly meets the divine in order to experience the proof of his existence in a connection with God of whatever kind. From this point of view, divine work during the creation of creation can only be inferred from the perfection of the laws of nature. These natural or divine laws were then already given before the act of creation and did not arise in the “Big Bang”.

Both images of God differ from the transcendent but personified God of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), who continuously follows developments on earth and intervenes directly or indirectly if necessary; z. B. through supernatural events, i.e. miracles. It is difficult for natural scientists to believe in divine arbitrariness, in God's interventions beyond the laws of nature; for the basis of all natural sciences is the unlimited and unrestricted validity of the laws of nature in time and space, which even a god cannot disregard.

So we have to decide how we want to deduce or even prove the work of God: In the harmony of nature, in the complex interplay of natural forces, which appear to be finely tuned to one another, so that beings could arise who had the origin, meaning and goal of the universe ponder. Most proofs of God move along this path.

Or we look for transitions from the transcendent to the earthly, and hope to meet the divine at those interfaces where the infinitely great meets the infinitely small. This is, for example, the inner path of the mystics in many religions. Occasionally, even today's seekers of God try to find a contemporary connection between physics and metaphysics on this path. B. Helmut Hansen (5) in his book "From the discovery of God on the edge of the universe" tries.

Finally we can - like the people of antiquity and the Middle Ages - believe in the intervention of higher powers, in the hand of God which leads everything to the best. With this we move into the field of belief that lies outside the natural sciences, beyond the ability to prove by earthly means. Believing does not need proof and is not the same as believing in something or having a belief.

Modern references to the Creator

For a seeker of God, the work of the Creator in his work of creation - our world - should be revealed or at least let itself be guessed at. There will hardly be any logically incontestable proofs of God, but there may be clear indications of the “great master builder of the world”. It should be noted that all logics themselves start from something postulated (unprovable axioms) and deduce logically from it. Neither mathematics nor the natural sciences should lay claim to “truth”.

The fine-tuning of the natural constants
So that a (or the) universe in which we live could arise, innumerable development steps were necessary, which had to be precisely coordinated. Under the headline "The Big Bang as Proof of God" (under "Science") was dated anthropic principle reported. Countless events had to take place with the utmost precision exactly as they happened, so that a universe could arise in which people think about their world, about the meaning, purpose and goal of their personal being. It's hard to imagine that the incredibly fine coordination of the laws of nature, all the countless necessary development steps, came about purely by chance.
The anthropic principle is not a proof of God; not even a scientific hypothesis, because it is neither refutable nor provable.

Well thought-out constructions
Under the headline "A Constructed Universe" (here under "Science") the ID (intelligent design) principle was used. This idea, also advocated by some scientists, says
"... that various properties of living beings can best be explained by an intelligent cause, not by indirect processes like natural selection".

The ID principle does not accept the widespread neo-Darwinist teaching that everything came about “purely by chance”.
In Pennsylvania (USA) in 2005, the demand by creationists to teach the ID principle in schools even led to a legal battle in which Darwin's supporters initially won. A judge is said to have called the ID principle “creationism in disguise”.
The ID principle is also not a scientific hypothesis or theory, since it can neither be refuted nor proven. With the ID principle, we are on the same level as the watchmaker's evidence described at the beginning, albeit on the basis of more recent experience.

“Research has long since gone beyond the Christian framework. Ever since it opened up the depths of the micro- and macrocosm and immeasurably expanded our understanding of being, since we have known the building blocks of creation and the tremendous force that binds them, since we have nuclear physics, biology and chemistry as the pacemaker of a new religion, the cosmos and have progressively revealed and deciphered the order that governs it, the belief in God corresponding to a childhood stage of humanity is no longer sufficient. It is no longer a question of belief, but of certainty. For whoever does not put chance or natural laws on the throne, which cannot be thought without a legislator, is inevitably facing the highest power that we call God. Only fools or the ignorant can deny it in the face of the knowledge that man has today. We see a divine revelation that transcends every concept, shakes our values and is both crushing and at the same time highly uplifting for people who are shrinking to dust. Shattering, because the greatness of creation and thus of the Creator, which is only now to be sensed, paralyzes every human megalomania, uplifting because God, who is represented in creation, has granted man the freedom to participate in destruction or construction despite his smallness. A freedom that finds the most visible expression in the use of atomic power for the elimination or further development of life; which leads from the narrowness of Christianity into responsibility not only before but for God. Failing to satisfy it, not being able to satisfy it, because a totalitarian state, a totalitarian government, a totalitarian ideology is interposed between man and God, is bondage, which is more terrifying than death. " (9, p. 57 f.).

What do we really know
If we apply the scientific yardstick and if we stay within the framework of philosophical logic, then we cannot know anything about the extra-physical; of which this has been called metaphysics since Aristotle, and which modern people might consider esotericism or religion.
We know with certainty, since we see it, that our universe exists, and that this our world offers exactly the conditions that are prerequisites for our existence:
"The conditions in our universe seem to be made in a unique way for life forms like us humans. " (3, p. 238).

The “best of all worlds” postulated by Leibniz (see above) came close to this statement by a scientist of our time.
As a person, one does not really want to “believe” that these conditions came about purely by chance. So there is a plan of creation after all, according to which everything came about, and: A planner? Neither this creator himself nor the pre-existence of a plan can be proven.

Even the hypothesis of multiverses put forward by the physicist Hugh Everett explains nothing: In his search for an original solution to a quantum physical problem (Schrödinger's cat), Everett speculated that innumerable universes could have arisen or are still continuously emerging, which the latest physical theories allow. One of (any) many universes then (by chance) received the conditions that are necessary so that life and ultimately we humans could develop. Such speculations are hardly more real than theological proofs of God.

After all, since William von Ockham (1285 - approx. 1350) there has been the principle known as "Ockham's razor" of choosing the simplest from several possible explanations. The idea that any number of universes - physicists can probably never find out about - were necessary in order for us to be allowed to arise in one of them is, in my opinion, one of the most absurd that scientists can think of. This idea probably serves one purpose above all: The idea that God could exist can be avoided!

So it will continue to be left to each individual to believe in God or in atheistic scientific models, which want to offer the current description of the world. So far, all scientific worldviews have moved in the area of the physically verifiable, in which God can hardly be proven, but just as little can be refuted.

(1) Davies Paul, God and modern physics, Goldmann, Munich, 1989.
(2) Davies, Paul, Der Plan Gottes, Insel, Frankfurt, 1995.
(3) Gribbin John / Rees Martin, A custom-made universe, Birkhäuser, Basel, 1991.
(4) Guitton Jean / Bogdanov Grichta / Bogdanov Igor, God and Science, DTV, Munich, 1996.
(5) Hansen, Helmut, On the discovery of God at the edge of the universe, Via Nova, 36100 Petersberg, 2005.
(6) Jeans James, World Space and Its Riddles, DVA, Stuttgart, 1931.
(7) Löw Reinhard, Die neue Gottesbeweise, Pattloch, Augsburg, 1994.
(8) Monod Jacques, Chance and Necessity, Piper, Munich, 1971.
(9) Unruh, Friedrich Franz von, lawsuit for Germany, Hohenstaufen, Bodensee 1973.
(10) Weinberg Steven, The First Three Minutes, Piper, Munich, 1977. 

Addendum 2020
From the mathematician and philosopher Friedrich Gödel (1906-1978) there is a complicated, mathematical formalism, which is supposed to serve as "proof of God". (https://github.-com/FormalTheology/GoedelGod).
The Free University of Berlin and the Vienna University of Technology have tested this formalism and announced in a press release of 17. 10. 2013 that with the help of computer programs the logical correctness of this system proof was confirmed. (Wikipedia).