The M+G+R Foundation

On mathematical or philosophical "proofs" of the existence of God

Do they have any value?

By Ricardo de Valencia

St. Augustine and Mathematical Formulas


We will answer the question posed in the title: Are the supposed mathematical or philosophical proofs/demonstrations (often called "ontological proofs") of the existence of God of any value?


As a starting point, we will use a letter we received from a close friend.

From: V @ USA
To: Various

I think this article, which I found as an advertisement on Facebook, may be of interest to some of you. (1)

[The article is about a "mathematical proof" of the existence of God, formulated by a renowned mathematician]

Comment me what you think of it, if not for its religious content, for its philosophical part.

I find in the portions I partially read a detail (2) that could be due to the lack of full knowledge of the writer of the article and that is that Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine), who lived from November 13, 354 to August 28, 430, in his book "De Libero Arbitrio" made a fascinating demonstration of the existence of God through mathematics, which precedes that of John Philopon (490 to 570).


Our comment:

It seems to us to be pure philosophers' entertainment, of no real value in bringing us closer to know God.

How can anyone encapsulate God in the language of Mathematics or Philosophy and then say that "it has been proven"? It is impossible! He cannot be "encapsulated"!

The only thing that these thinkers (3) succeed in proving is that "their" concept of God has a certain logical consistency. But it does not cease to be, in each case, a concept so limited that it supposedly contains God —the uncreated Creator in whose mind the Universe is contained— in a few logical statements.

With some humor we might summarize it thus:

God, by definition, is unfathomable and cannot be contained in a definition.

Nevertheless, even if they are wrong in their approach to God, perhaps we can learn something about why so many people, throughout history, have been obstinate in "proving" the existence of God philosophically, "scientifically" or even "mathematically".


An assessment

If we were to draw any constructive lesson from observing the lucubrations of such philosophers or mathematicians, we believe it would be the following:

God, who created us, causes His Spirit, His Love and His Logic to filter down to our spirit and our intellect. It is this infiltration or inspiration that makes us intuit that God —or, if one prefers to say, the existence of God— is perfectly logical and coherent, even necessary. This is the seed that, if well received by a soul, forms part of what we call Faith. God is pure harmony and, somehow, we perceive that harmony in the soul before we do in the intellect.

Some thinkers with a certain Faith, following that inspired and correct intuition that "God is coherent, logical and necessary," mistakenly believe that this can be established purely from the scaffolding of reason or science. Each of them believes that his/her "ontological" argument leads to the conclusion or "necessity" of the existence of God. But it is the other way around, it is the seed of Faith that God has sown in them what drives them to want to express that intuited divine coherence in the language closest to their area of scientific or philosophical specialty.

They would finish their work much sooner if they recognized that this intuition has come to them through Faith (inspired by God). Some kind of Faith is necessary in the first place because it is the only cause that explains why they feel moved to elaborate their "arguments proving the existence of God". But, if some Faith is necessary in the first place, then subsequent rational arguments cannot be placed as principles prior to Faith.

The proof that this is so is that any person who has no Faith will quite naturally reject the alleged "proofs of God's existence." Otherwise, it would be enough to present any of such "demonstrations" to a rational atheist and the atheist would automatically believe (and it doesn't work to say that there are no rational atheists). Such "proofs" have only a "consolation" value for those who, not having reached a more intimate communion with God through the dialogue of Love, believe that they are "solidly confirming" the intuition of their Faith through abstract logic or philosophy.


We can reach the same conclusion —that God can never be proved by science (4) or philosophy— with a very simple theological argument:

God has placed us on Earth, on our journey in time (5), to test us in order to give us the opportunity to return Home. As part of that test, He has decreed that we depend on Faith to believe in Him. If He were to manifest Himself before our eyes so concretely that we could not deny Him, there would be no room for Faith, we would not be truly being tested and we could not acquire any merit to earn our way back to Paradise. Period.


Do you want to truly know God? Then practice what He asks of us: "help the orphan and the widow", "help the helpless and the needy", "do good and do what is right" (6), be kind to everyone (7), pray for your enemies, do good to those who hate you (8), ask God for Faith, and then ask Him for more Faith (9)... Because the simple fact of loving our neighbor awakens a mechanism that allows us to know God better, since the satisfaction of doing good is a reflection of God in us, who has made us in His image and likeness.

Those who feel loved and those who love (10) will be more open to consider that God is real and loves them, and that openness, in turn, will be felt by God as an invitation to enter their lives and offer them more signs that He is Real, that He is Alive and that He responds (11), not like the "God" of the philosophers, which is a mainly inert concept, as if immobile on a pedestal.

(1) Original article: Is There a God-Shaped Hole at the Heart of Mathematics?
(2) By "a detail", we believe that the author of the letter means "an absence".
(3) Various arguments, throughout history, in favor of the existence of God
(4) One can always affirm that the observation of the Universe and Nature and a deeper knowledge of them through Science leads us to an amazement that makes us exclaim, God exists! But we are not referring to that as a "(definitive) proof". Even to arrive at that exclamation, some kind of Faith is necessary, or else any learner of the mysteries of the Universe would automatically believe in God.
(5) What is "Time" and "Eternity"? Predestination and Free Will. Both are a reality.
(6) Psalm 82:3-4, Isaiah 1:17, Jeremiah 22:3, Zechariah 7:9-10
(7) Luke 14:12-13, Luke 6:31-34
(8) Luke 6:27,35
(9) Luke 17:5, Mark 9:24, Matthew 7:8
(10) Don't despair, don't give up! We cannot expect to be sanctified instantly.
(11) The Will of God - How to discern It

En Español:  Sobre las "demostraciones" matemáticas o filosóficas de la existencia de Dios

Published in Spanish on September 28th, 2022
Translated to English on September 30th, 2022

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