Proof of the existence of God

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Question:

I read an article in which the author cited the creation of the intelligent human being as evidence for the existence of God. He wrote that something so complex and intelligent must have a creator. I was wondering if you can give another practical example of proof that God exists.

Answer:

Let’s begin by saying that there is no proof that God *does not exist*. Nor will it ever be possible to gather acceptable evidence to prove it. Therefore in a debate with an atheist we start off from the same base. We both have the same burden of proving our statements. What scientists and philosophers theoretically could establish is that there is no need for a God to create the universe and the phenomena we observe, but certainly could not prove that he does not exist. After all, how can the non-existence of something be demonstrated if this thing does not exist?

When we don’t have direct experience of something, the tendency is to rely on someone we assume knows more.

The principle of authority, in short.

For example, we cannot have direct and sensitive proof (pratyaksa) of any event in our history. Without going too far, none of us can be absolutely certain whether the discoverer of America was really Christopher Columbus or Amerigo Vespucci. We don’t even know if they ever existed.

And even fewer remote authorities, those of the last century of which we have photos or videos, could be questioned, as nowadays anything can be falsified.

The point I want to get to is that, unless you are an ajnanika, an agnostic, accepting authorities is inevitable.

Of course, we want to find authorities with which we can have the highest level of trust. If someone has betrayed us once, twice or three times, we will certainly reject them as an authority. If a government causes the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, justifying it with the presence of weapons of mass destruction that never existed, we will never trust them again.

 

According to Vedic wisdom there are three types of evidence:

  1. pratyaksa,
  2. anumana
  3. Sabda

In his introduction of the Sri Isopanisad, Srila Prabhupada writes:

“Pratyaksa means “direct evidence.”

Direct evidence is not very good because our senses are not perfect. We are seeing the sun daily, and it appears to us just like a small disc, but it is actually far, far larger than many planets. Of what value is this seeing? Therefore, we need to read books; then we can understand about the sun. So direct experience is not perfect.”

So we can’t give evidence of the existence of God by utilizing our senses because they are too limited.

Then we have anumana, or inductive knowledge, something inferred by experience or reasoning. It’s hypothesis. God may exist, God may not exist. Anumana also is not very reliable since it depends on the limited knowledge and capacity of calculation of our brains.

Then we have sabda (or sabda-pramana), which is knowledge coming from a divine source.

If we don’t know who our father is, the best authority is our mother. Sabda is the mother of knowledge.

 

However, we don’t say that pratyaksa and anumana can’t give any help. They are limited but can be used to gather some level of knowledge in order to access a superior level of understanding.

For instance, through anumana we can easily determine that God exists because He “cannot not exist”. There are no plausible explanations to creation other that an origin compatible with its qualities. In other words, if the creation is intelligent, its creator must be intelligent. If the creation is beautiful, its creator must be beautiful. And so on and so forth.

The explanation of randomness is absurd and can’t be proved.

So not only do we derive knowledge of His existence, but also what type of origin he has, just like we can understand at least some aspect of the heart of an artist by listening to his song or looking at his painting. If we hear a song, surely we think that the musician is a person because an inert lump of matter cannot produce music.

I am a man, therefore my father and mother can’t be birds or any other living being. They must be human beings. There is no randomness. From a human mother and father always has come and always will come another human being.

If you see a building, you know that it required people to make it. Not some kind of “big bang” but intelligent and conscious work.

Any other conclusion would be unacceptable. So an effect speaks about its cause.

But Sabda, divine revelation, is the best path to knowledge. Those who come to the point of accepting the three sources (Guru, Sastra and Sadhu) of perfect knowledge are very fortunate.

But should we accept them by blind faith? No, but this is the topic for another discussion.

Final note:

There is much more to say about being able to provide evidence on God’s existence, but I’ll leave this also for a future deeper essay.

 

This is a section of the book “On a Silver Platter”.

To buy the complete book, click above

 

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