On Absolute Proof for God’s Existence.


An atheist might say: “I can’t believe unless I find at least one absolutely airtight proof for God.” This is known as strong rationalism, a view that entails a particularly unreasonable standard of proof. William Davis explains:

“Critics of belief in God’s existence can insist that even if Christians think they have experienced God’s presence they can’t know that God exists unless they can prove it. But do these critics apply this prohibition to their own beliefs? If they did, then they would have to admit that they don’t know that tables and chairs exist, or that the world is more than five minutes old. These beliefs can’t be proven either, but it seems strange to insist that these are not things that we know” (1).

In essence, a believer in God could ask the atheist to provide proof that other minds exist other than his own, knowing full well that such is not possible. Could an atheist prove that the external world exists, or that it wasn’t created with an appearance of age a mere five minutes ago? What about consciousness, and the laws of logic, mathematical and ethical truths – does he have absolute proof for such things? Of course not, none of us do, but we all accept that our senses are reliable. We take this for granted as many things do not fall into the hard proof.

A believer would be in his right to ask an atheist why he applies strong rationalism to the existence of God and not to the other realities he experiences in his life.

However, it comes down to the nature of evidence. We must remember that even if the Christian grants the atheist his argument, namely that there is no “absolute proof” for God’s existence, it doesn’t follow that atheism is true, a point the atheist philosopher Kai Nielsen captures “All the proofs of God’s existence may fail, but it still may be the case that God exists. In short, to show that the proofs do not work is not enough by itself. It may still be the case that God exists” (2). Thus the atheist has to have evidence for his atheism. And that is the nature of evidence. Atheist & Christian alike need to weigh evidence and arguments to see where it points to.


1. William Davis quoted by Michael Murray in the Reason for the Hope Within (1999). p. 43.

2. Kai Nielsen in a debate with Willian Craig: Does God Exist? Available.

25 responses to “On Absolute Proof for God’s Existence.

    • I’ll just leave this short video here for you Arkenaten. By the way it’s “AkHenaten”. I see your avatar so I assume that’s what you were going for. This man is a scientist, with credentials and backing, have a watch if you want to see science prove the biblical definition of what “God” is.

      • I know exactly how my avatar is spelt, thank you very much. Please don’t assume anything on my part.
        I try not to assume you are intelligent. So far it seems to be the correct assumption.

        As for the video. Well, first tell me which god/s you … and Shroeder are talking about?
        First,does this god have a name?

      • Yes, the God of the Bible, and His name (one of His names) is Elohim (just watched the video – great stuff)

  1. ‘Absolute proof’ is a red herring. You’re using an extreme example to distract from the real issue which is that atheists lack sufficient evidence to believe.

    The comment by Davis is absurd. Suggesting that atheists expect an absolute proof is a straw man which is made obvious when he goes on to say that we can’t know that tables and chairs exist etc.

    You accuse atheists of applying ‘strong rationalism’ to your religion while other religions can accuse you of doing exactly the same thing.

    “I think the bottom line is that such an atheist just doesn’t want to believe…“
    How can anyone choose to believe something that disagrees with their reasoning?

    “nor is he being openminded when approaching the existence of God – such is always made obvious when one demands ridiculous standards of proof.”
    What qualifies as a ridiculous standard of proof? All I want is sufficient evidence. Even ‘Doubting Thomas’ wanted proof. And Paul received a visit from Jesus even though he persecuted the early Christians.

    Imagine how many atheists could be saved if they were given sufficient evidence also.

    • What would you consider sufficient evidence for you to believe, Craig? Not just in the existence of God, but in Jesus Christ as Savior?

  2. Perhaps observing someone being judged by God would suffice. Not only would I observe that God exists, but I would also be able to observe whether or not Jesus saved the person being judged.

    • Could you give an example of observing someone being judged by God? And how could you observe Jesus saving someone being judged when Christian theology says that “all judgment is given to the Son (Jesus).”? I’m not being snarky here. I just don’t understand. Please elaborate.

  3. I cannot give an example of observing someone being judged by God. I’ve never observed it. If I had, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    And how could you observe Jesus saving someone being judged when Christian theology says that “all judgement is given to the Son (Jesus).”?

    Is that what Christian theology says? (I’ll admit this is a copy and paste).

    JN 3:17, 8:15, 12:47 Jesus does not judge.
    JN 5:22, 5:27-30, 9:39, AC 10:42, 2CO 5:10 Jesus does judge.

    JN 5:22 God does not judge.
    RO 2:2-5, 3:19, 2TH 1:5, 1PE 1:17 God does judge.

    JN 5:24 Believers do not come into judgement.
    MT 12:36, RO 5:18, 2CO 5:10, HE 9:27, 1PE 1:17, JU 1:14-15, RE 20:12-13 All persons (including believers) come into judgement.

    • I was referring to final judgment at the Great White Throne depicted in the end of the book of Revelation. And if you can’t give an example of someone being judged by God, then how could that be considered proof? You wouldn’t know it if you saw it. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. Not trying to be rude, just trying to understand.

      • No worries. As I said I can’t give an example of someone being judged.

        I find it quite confusing though. Sometimes the bible says God is the judge, and as you mentioned, it also says that Jesus is the judge. Which one judged Enoch and Elijah?

        Speaking of Elijah, perhaps there maybe another option other than observing God/Jesus judge someone. Elijah gives a great example in 1 Kings 18. I would be very convinced by that I think. The only downside though is that it wouldn’t prove that Jesus is the saviour.

        • Perhaps if Jesus appeared to me and showed me his wounds like he did for Thomas. And then performed some miracles like ressurecting someone for example. That would be very good evidence. I think I could accept the salvation part without having to observe it after that.

      • Just one other point which I find very confusing. Jesus is depicted as the saviour by Christian religions all around the world, but never as the condemner. Is that right?

        So Jesus is the saviour that will defend you according to every preacher in a Christian Church, whilst also being the one that condemns people to hell? Interesting!

        That was never mentioned in any of the sermons that I have heard over the years.

        • Bit of a late reply here, lots of family emergencies to deal with lately. I have heard it put this way: we can either meet Jesus as our Savior now, or as our Judge later (after death). In Revelation He is depicted as both a Lion AND a Lamb. We choose in this life whether we are going to accept His payment for our sins now, or pay for them ourselves later. We choose everlasting union with Him, the ultimate Good, or we choose everlasting separation from Him. We make this choice in this life, and our deaths finalize it. At the Final Judgment, He simply confirms our free choice. Does that help clear things up a bit?

        • Thanks for your reply Mark. I’ve since done some reading on this, and as you say it does appear that Jesus is both the saviour and the judge according to Christian doctrine. I can now see why you were perplexed by my suggestion of observing Jesus save someone who he is also judging.

          As I said previously, this was never mentioned in any church service that I have been to. We were told we had to accept Jesus to avoid God’s judgement and God’s wrath etc. So pardon my ignorance.

          While I was reading up about this I found there are also quite a lot of Christians confused by this ambiguity in the Bible. For example Who’s The Judge – God or Jesus?Title
          During my investigation, I noticed Christians commonly offered one of two solutions for this ambiguity:
          (i) There are two judgements which God and Jesus will preside over separately (see first page of above link for an example).
          (ii) God and Jesus are both the judge. Jesus is given authority by God to execute judgement, in accordance with God’s will (see last two pages of above link for examples).

          Anyway, moving along, there are a couple of issues I have with your last comment.

          1) We make this choice in this life, and our deaths finalise it.
          Don’t you think this is a bit unfair for people that got the wrong information (or no information) about the Christian doctrine? There are many possible scenarios, but imagine a child born in India that has been indoctrinated in Hinduism and dies suddenly at the age of 10 without sufficient knowledge of the Christian doctrine. Will that child be condemned to hell for believing what his parents, school teachers and religious teachers told them?

          2) At the Final Judgement, He simply confirms our free choice.
          I don’t agree that it is a free choice, I think it is a choice we are forced to make under duress (threat of hell). Is an agnostic free to not make this choice and continue sitting on the fence? Where does the agnostic go after death if they make no choice?

          • Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Craig. The Bible indicates (I forget the verse, sorry) that God the Father will hand over all judgment to God the Son (Jesus) at the end of time.
            As to #1 above, Christians have debated this topic for centuries, so I don’t want to come across like some kind of expert. I believe God is just, and God will judge everyone according to the light they have received. As Abraham asked of God in the OT when He was about to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” God is Just, and we can trust Him to judge justly everyone who has ever lived.
            As for #2, the moment that first sin is committed, the choice has been made: to rebel against God and His authority over our lives. And we confirm and reconfirm that choice countless times over the course of our lives. After that first act of sinful rebellion, to “not choose” is to choose.
            And running to Jesus to be saved is no more unfree a choice than following a firefighter out of a burning building would be. The trouble with some people is, they refuse to believe that their house is on fire.
            Hope that helps. Blessings.

  4. I think your analogy is incomplete, what if the fire fighter also lit the fire? God created everything, and then he kindly offers a way out, but we didn’t ask to be put in this position in the first place.

    • Craig, none of us asked to be put in this situation, and it is very hard. I don’t want to be in a non-ideal situation which entails separation from God, but i’ve realized that this is our current reality. It is because of sin that we are in this position, hence we are responsible, and because of this we are extremely lucky that God does kindly offer a way out. This can only be done through accepting Jesus as personal Lord and saviour, and his work on the cross.

      • It is because of sin that we are in this position, hence we are responsible, and because of this we are extremely lucky that God does kindly offer a way out.

        Can you please explain exactly what we are all responsible for? What exactly was the cause of sin? I am very interested to hear the theistic evolutionist’s explanation of the fall of man.

    • You are much more forgiving than I am. The way I read it, we were set up.

      God makes us imperfect, but demands that we be perfect, and if we are not perfect, eternal punishment awaits. But if we accept that we were made imperfect, and if we ask for forgiveness for being made imperfect, and if we accept the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for our being made imperfect, then we will avoid going to hell for being made imperfect.

      Do you literally believe “the fall of man” story in the Bible? If not then what is your explanation for everyone being born into this predicament?

      • Sorry for a late reply, but if I could throw some thoughts out here on being made imperfect.

        So firstly, I fully believe the reality of the fall of man. I believe we chose the way of death by partaking in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God made us perfect, but imperfection came by way of pride and greed. I have a problem with the idea that God set things up like this, mainly because He warned Adam and Eve of what would happen if they ate the fruit of the tree. If He planned it, I don’t think He would have given them a dire warning to not eat the fruit, however a lie came in and they believed God to be a liar. Sin is simply a matter of man seeking for God’s spot following the same pattern as Adam. It’s a broken and cursed family tree which has branched out through the ages, as evident today in our society. We’re born with the curse in our genes, God didn’t make us this way.

        Now, we need to see God in the natural perception first before we can understand Him in the spiritual. In the natural, He is a father. THE father, and He does as any good father would do. “God makes us imperfect, but demands that we be perfect, and if we are not perfect, eternal punishment awaits.” (I apologize, but I don’t know how to do italics). So as said before, He made us perfect in the beginning, imperfection came in by way of our own will. God does demand that we by holy (not perfect) as He is holy however. Why? Because of eternal punishment. However, this isn’t God sitting on His throne saying, “No go to Hell sinner!” No, Hell is the natural repercussion of sinful actions and He feels utter language for each one. However, justice needs to be shown. It’s the same way a father warns his child to stay away from the stove. Does he? I’m sure, as I’ve done, we didn’t stay away. We touched it, and we got burned.

        Jesus offers a way, not ONLY by asking for forgiveness, but through repentance. By taking a different road, the better road. The road of glory. He made a way to redeem and save man from the things we’ve done and from the punishment we deserve. So in looking back to the natural, I didn’t blame my father for touching the stove, it’s my own doing, but instead of taking the burn, my father took it upon Himself (he didn’t really, but you get the picture). I can accept that, and say, “I’ll never touch the stove again,” (i.e. repentance) or I can disregard it and go down the same path, next time taking the burn myself, as disobedient actions must be judged justly.

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