It has become commonplace in discussions about faith and religion to note that no experiment can prove or disprove God’s existence. Atheist adherents of scientism point to this as a reason why no one should believe in God, especially with any sort of certainty. Believers, on the other hand, point out that since God is not the object of scientific analysis, science cannot disprove his existence, despite atheistic claims otherwise. God must be known in other ways.
While reading some atheist writers lately I wondered if we believers might not make our point more clearly if, instead of pointing out that no scientific experiment will prove or disprove God as an object of science, we point out instead that every experiment proves God as knowable through reason.
Normally, a scientific experiment will produce results that will confirm or disconfirm an hypothesis. Conclusions are based on observing the results, which could conceivably go one way or the other.
God is not like that. In any experiment, any results whatsoever are evidence of God’s existence. The conclusion of God’s existence is not based on the results, it is based on every facet of the entire experiment itself.
For instance, in any experiment whatsoever we observe beings existing. By observing and questioning beings and existence, we can philosophically conclude a necessarily existing being, whose essence and existence are identical.
In any experiment whatsoever, we observe causality, and by thinking about causality we can come to the First Cause.
In any and every experiment, we observe both change and continuity through change, which leads us on to conclusions about act and potency, essence and accident, and substance which again lead to conclusions about being and causality and finally lead to God.
Finally, in every experiment, we observe intelligibility and order. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t and couldn’t do the experiment in the first place. Intelligibility in nature also leads, through reasoning, to an Absolute Intelligence.
It’s not my intention to trace out any of these arguments in this post. If you are interested, philosophers have been discussing these arguments for millennia. Nor is it my point, here, to argue that God is a good conclusion from any of these arguments. I simply want to point out that the claim that belief in God is not based on any observation or experiment is untrue, if we recognize that the arguments for God begin with real observations of facets of reality – being, causality, intelligibility – which are found in every experiment. The argument for God then follows from reasoning about these observations. God is not observed as an hypothesis supported by a set of specific experiments. God’s existence is known through reason by observing and reasoning about the totality of any experiment, or of any basic observation of the world.
If theistic philosophical arguments are correct, every observation and every experiment proves God.