There will be a public debate on this “ultimate question” next week, and I don’t think I will attend. Firstly, this is hardly relevant to what I do and what I would like to do. Second, this question is more for self contemplation, and as long as people don’t come and cross my way, I have no intension in crossing theirs.
But asking these huge, philosophical questions is fascinating once in a while. Lets you look at life, universe, and everything differently. Kinda like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams does.
So let me try to articulate my thoughts.
To attempt answering that question, we must first define two terms, otherwise any discussion is fruitless:
Let me first define God as that which
- Created the universe
- Created everything in the universe
- Is omniscient
- Is omnipotent
- Looks like human beings
- Answers prayers and performs supernatural feats
- Punishes those who do not believe in Him
Now, let’s first define Existence as the state describing something that:
- Is made of matter, or
- Is energy
For example, we say: this table exists. The light from the sun exists. Harry Potter doesn’t exist.
Now that can raise objections. Does Harry Potter exist?
For that matter, does the number 1 exist? Does “infinity” exist?
Harry Potter is fictional, he only exists in people’s imagination. He doesn’t exist in the real world. The number 1 and “infinity” are abstract concepts used to describe things in the universe or other abstract concepts. They don’t exist in the physical world.
Seems like existence can be applied in more than one way. Something can “exist” in the universe physically, or it can “exist” as an idea, imagination, or concept.
So the ultimate question “Does God Exist” is too vague to be answered.
Does God exist where? In the physical universe? No, He doesn’t exist in the physical universe.
Let me back up that claim first with some hand-waving: Why should the God who created the big bang and every single molecule in the universe look like human beings? It seems simply self-gratifying for us to say that there exists a creator of the universe, in the form of energy or matter, that looks somehow like us.
Since the universe exist, its beginning must also have existed, before which nothing else existed. If we want to call that “God” instead of “big bang”, we must give up many of the other attributes associated with God, because, for one thing, big bang most certainly does not look like us, turn water into wine, nor answer prayers.
Does God exist in the minds of millions? Yes, He certainly does. He has an overwhelming influence over many people as well, and His power over them, be it comforting, guiding, inspiring, or commanding, is very much real.
So, does God exist?
Well, I’d argue that it depends on where you look for Him.
So going to that public debate would be a waste of my time.