The Possibility of God

Is God possible or impossible? And why?

I am specifically interested in possibility not probability nor certainty. The probability of God is an entirely different question. The certainty of God is yet another question.

I know very little about this, but it seems to me that one could answer one of two ways.

  1. Impossible because… (I would be very interested to read the support for this viewpoint about the certainty of no God)
  2. Possible because… (I would expect that this would be the majority view, although many who would stop short of saying God was impossible might nevertheless quite likely profess absolutely zero faith in God)

I don’t know, but I suppose that the most interesting character of all would be the one who says that God lacks any degree of certainty, that God is impossible and also improbable, but who nevertheless claims great faith in God. An uncertain God who is impossible and improbable would indeed require great faith, would He not?

I don’t know, but it seems to me that those who profess the absolute certainty of God, require very little faith. If something is certain and there can be no doubt whatsoever about it, if there is no possiblity whatsoever that something could be false, then what faith is required?

I anticipate a few arguements that might sound something like this

  1. I have observed all that exists
  2. I have not observed God
  3. Therefore, God is not possible

Of course, no man has observed all that exists or even a small fraction of it, so the fallacy of such an arguement is obvious. God might be living on a planet in the next Solar System for all we know. A better arguement might be:

  1. Men have observed all that men are capable of observing of existence throughout history
  2. No man has ever observed God
  3. Therefore, God is not possible

Of course, many men have claimed to have observed God, at least “in the form of…” a burning bush, a messanger he sent, a voice, a pillar of fire, a dream, a flower, a spiders web, etc., etc. I do not recall having read about any claim to actually have seen God, except for Jesus Christ himself, who claimed to be the Son of God and therefore surely must have seen his Father. But otherwise, if anyone has claimed to have seen God directly I missed the claim. And as I recall there was something about Moses or Abraham being told that he would die if he saw God, so, of course that may have something to do with it as well.

It is entirely possible that God is particularly choosey about revealing himself to men. That he just does it extremely rarely and only in very unusual circumstances. And that those men just are reluctant to publish their experience for fear of being labled something rather derogatory.

And also, the mere fact that noone has observed something does not mean that it will not be the very next thing observed. Consider the sequence 1,2,3,… What is next? Most would say “4”. But that does not follow with certainty. 4 would be probable but it is entirely possible that it could be something else completely. For example, “5” the next prime.

The classic arguement

  1. The sun has risen every day in recorded history
  2. Tomorrow is a day
  3. Therefore, the sun will rise tomorrow

However, recorded history is a tiny fraction of the totality of all days that have existed in the past and ever will exist in the future. Will there ever be a day when the sun does not rise? Quite possible. Could it be tomorrow? Entirely possible. Is it probable that the sun will rise tomorrow? Yes, but it is not certain.

A better example, would be the coin toss. If a coin is tossed 9 times and comes up heads each time, then what is the probability that the coin will come up heads on the next toss? 50/50. Just like it is on every single toss. What is the probability that a coin will come up heads 10 times in a row? Highly improbable. A suckers bet. But having already come up heads 9 times in a row, the probability of heads on the next toss is 50/50. Men tend to think that the coin is somehow affected by the previous tosses, but it is not. Anymore than God would be affected by his lack of appearances over the last few thousand years.

So my point is that I don’t know if failure to observe God means that God is impossible. I think it may take a better arguement than that one.

I am also hoping to avoid the “X and not X” arguement. God is both possible and impossible. That self defeating attack on the foundation of logic would be better not presented here, please.

Anyway, I am interested to hear what you think about the possibility of God.

This all depends on your definition of god and what his limits are.

There was a post on this in the past, but I cannot seem to find it anywhere.

The claim that Jesus was the ‘Son of God’ was made by others and not directly by himself and means, literally, that such a person follows the Torah in a special way. Christ followed the Torah in the manner of the renewed Covenant (according to Jeremia 31,31 ff) “I have given my law in their inward part - on their heart I do write it…”

Exodus 24
9) And Moses goeth up, Aaron also, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel,
10) and they see the God of Israel, and under His feet is as the white work of the sapphire, and as the substance of the heavens for purity;
11) and unto those of the sons of Israel who are near He hath not put forth His hand, and they see God, and eat and drink.

Exodus 33
20) ‘Thou art unable to see My face, for man doth not see Me, and live;’


What do you mean by, ‘God?’

Is it possible or probable or certain that I’m sitting here writing this? Or is it some sort of new game? If so, what are the rules? For to fatuously question the possibility or impossibility of Deity smacks of heresy and scepticism/atheism. Seems you have already made up your mind to go along with fashionable received opinion that denies Deity and that your intention is to dishonourably profane Deity with worthless and vain quibble.

You say, “I don’t know, but I suppose that the most interesting character of all would be the one who says that God lacks any degree of certainty, that God is impossible and also improbable, but who nevertheless claims great faith in God. An uncertain God who is impossible and improbable would indeed require great faith, would He not?” But did you not say, at the outset of the thread, that you were, “specifically interested in possibility not probability nor certainty. The probability of God is an entirely different question. The certainty of God is yet another question.” You seem to have deviated…

Even to, “profess the absolute certainty of God,” as you put is, seems like some sort of blasphemous tautology. How can one even begin to discuss that which is not discussable? My god is private, it isn’t for public perusal: it isn’t a Michelangelo Pieta on display in an Italian Museum. God is a private thing. Once you enter the public arena Deity, that most lofty and fabulous of all concepts, gets reduced to bullshit. It’s like the difference between private lovemaking and public pornography.

God is most definitely not a material thing. It is not a bearded old man in the sky. God can only be perceived by mind, and pure mind at that.

There is no such a thing as time in god’s realm. I ask you again, what do you mean by, ‘God?’ Explain with perfect precision, define it for us.

God,(Or gods, respectively) by any of the popular mythological definitions seems to me as probable as any other fantastic work of fiction. Possible, sure, but only in a “waking up in the matrix” kind of way.

God as “any greater being that is the architect of the universe” is far more likely than the first, but the lack of evidence to support this idea leaves me with no reason to cling to it.

God as a higher(read:more advanced) form of life that bioengineered life on earth somehow seems even more possible, but then that wouldn’t really be ‘God’ by most definitions.

These three cookie cutter definitions aside, god, to me, has two meanings.The first, being the cold, unfeeling, all pervasive energy and matter that is bound together into anything and everything that is; The sum total of all the energy and matter combined in the universe.
The second, part of the psyche, the ‘god part of the brain’, a part of ourselves people like to project onto something ‘else’. I feel that since all incarnations of this external projectionizing (hhmmm…Is that a word? :stuck_out_tongue:) of god are man made, deifying such a projection is only, by proxy, deifying the man that made that god.
So recognising the spiritual and the carnal to be one and the same, I choose to endow this bestowment of deification on myself. Nobody is so important in my own subjective universe as myself, so nobody is better qualified for the job.
These last two definitions of god are very real to me. So yes, God is possible. He is both the chair I am now sitting in, and I who now sit in it.

I am dissappointed. No hardcore dyed in the wool athiests willing to argue that God is impossible?

As to providing a definition of God, that misses my point. Almost anybody could come up with a private definition of God that would be possible, probably and even certain. However, I am using the public definition of God in the classical sense of the word to mean that which can only be taken on faith. I would have thought that was obvious by my question. To avoid the question by redefining God is not a helpful tactic. Most people understand what is meant by God. Christians, Muslems, Jews, they all share a very similar (not identical but similar) idea of God. Your own private little redefinition and personal rationalization of God (while perhaps satisfying to you) is of little use to the vast majority of the world who clearly understand and have understood through the age what is meant by God.

Also, as my question being sacriligeous, I can only say that sacriligeous is as sacreligious does. Many millions of Christians, Jews and Muslims would say that your private redefiniton of God is sacreligious.

Just one comment here.

You only trust someone or something that you are absolutely certain, eg asking that someone or a certain institution to look after your money.

To trust someone or something that you are doubtful is utterly foolish, eg asking a stranger you meet on the street to look after your car or your house.

Faith is the act of such trusting. Faith is not the basis for such trust.

The basis for faith, the reason for believing anything at all, must be founded on certain truth, and nothing else. Anything short is plain foolishness or a deliberate delusionary evasion of the truth.

You have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow because you trust that God will keep his word and will not amend the fundamental value of the electronic charge, e, or of the value of the Boltzman’s constant and so on; and not because the sun have risen every day as far as any man dead or alive can remember.

Certainty is a function of science, of math, not of religion. Fact is a matter of science and of rational logic, but belief is a matter of religion. There is a crystal clear distinction between knowledge and belief. Opinion is religion but fact is science. If God were a fact and could be proven by scientifiic method, that would be the end of religion. But as long as God remains a matter of opinion, of belief, then it is the realm of religion and not the realm of science. If something is true because it is not possible that it could be false, then that is not a matter for priests, preachers and prophets, but it becomes a matter for scientists and teachers of fact. You want to treat your opinions and beliefs as fact. You want to blur the distinction between what you know and what you believe. You want to act as if your opinions and beliefs carried the same weight as knowledge and facts. That is OK for you. It’s your privilage, so long as you don’t become a danger to society. But, even as you say that, you clearly realize that opinions and beliefs are not the same as knowledge and facts. People don’t fight wars over math. There are no math armies, Why is that? Because math is factual and not a matter of opinion. However, religion is a matter of opinion and of belief. And men fight wars over whose opinion and whose belief will prevail.

By the way, I don’t rely on any promise from God that the Sun will rise tomorrow. In fact, I believe that it is only a matter of time before our star, we call the Sun, runs it’s course, the life cycle of a star, and eventually will go supernova. I believe that is a certainty. The sun coming up tomorrow, is no certainty at all.

Are all facts scientific? ie are all things observable, measureable, repeatible and predictable? A one-off unseen event is not a fact? Is the realm of science the be all and end all of knowledge, and scientists the only ones acceptable to speak the truth? Are philosophical truths scientific facts, for example? If you insist on such a position then you have simply replaced God with Science.

There are indeed things of opinions and beliefs (and we believe whatever we want to believe, and that can be anything, literally, anything), but it does not necessarily follows that God is an opinion or mere belief. You may hold that view but I do not think that all will agree with you. In other words you need to consider the fact that others do not see God as a mere opinion, but a fact.

The end of religion is most welcomed. But a fact remains a fact. I am sure you will agree to this.

Not unless you know that God is the keeper of and reason for faith.

But just to add to your uncertainty, without God. Yesterday we know about a star’s life cycle. Today we know about asteriods colliding the earth. But tomorrow? What if there is a gigantic black hole that is moving past the Milky Way passing our solar system at merely 1 AU (the distance between earth and sun) away, and it is moving now at .99 the speed of light and we have not detected it yet? What will happen? Will we get sucked in? will all the laws of physic and physical constants still remain what they are in the vicinity of the black hole?

Of course what I am also saying is that we do not and cannot know all things, but you already know enough to know that the possibility that God is a fact cannot be dismissed outright, which is the topic of this thread.

The one off event, unseen and unpredictable, may be, nevertheless, suspected, theorized, or even believed, it may certainly be hoped for fervently, but it remains a mere possibility until the event occurs. That is the very point, indeed, of this thread. Until the event occurs, there is no certainty about it. The best laid plans often change. Events that were thought to be certain fail to transpire due to unforseen changes. While the fact that such an event, as the revelation of a diety, has never occured, or at least has not occured in over 2000 years, does nothing to make it impossible, it remains quite possible, but it lacks certainty and it remains a mere possibility not a fact. You cannot accurately and correctly speak of a future event being a fact, unless there is absolutely no possibilty it could be otherwise. If an event were going to occur with absolute certainty, because the universal laws of physics would have to cease to function in order for it not to occur, then you might predict it with 100% certainty, and still it could not be called a fact until after it had occured. Conditions could change in unexpected ways. Your fervent hope and steadfast belief that God will reveal himself at some moment in the future, even if it had the certaiin validity of the universal laws of physics behind it’s prediction, would still not fit the definition of fact until it became a fact upon it’s occurance. Until then it remains a mere possibillity. Unfortunately, the question of God remains open until we are dead, and to date, we have no reliable ability to communicate with those beyond the grave, and so we cannot know what we cannot know. That doesn’t mean we will never know and the possibility of it becoming known fact remains.

I think we created God more so then god created us.
Theres something out there, we were created by something its just…i dont think god is it.

But can you know that this “one-off event” occurred? even if “science” or you were not there to “see” it?

Is such an event a knowable one? ie that which is a possibility may be so because it is knowable but unknown, but it does not mean that it didnt happen! It may have happened but we just didnt know or cannot know it.

In other words even if an event happened it may be, speaking in human terms, fundamentally uncertain, ie an impossible certainty, even unknowable.

But the uncertainty or unknowability is not inherent in the event or entity itself but in our very own humaness and its limitations. It is not a problem with the object, but a problem with the subjective perceiver, who has inherently limited and flawed perceptive capabilities, over and above whatever subjective colourations that colours the perceiver’s perceptions.

And one of this limitations is that we see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, believe what we want to believe. And to deny that at the foundations of what we call “knowledge” is an unbridgeable gap, for which we have to resort to things like axioms, so called “self evident” assertions, reasons (but not logic, for logic fail here); but in reality they are but “leaps of faith”, albeit a reasonable, founded on collective common experiences and evidences, but a faith nonetheless.

Thus in this light of our humaness we must asked whether a thing that “never occurred” is due to our limitations or due to the inherent nature of the thing. We need light to see light.

Now as to us not being able to know for certainty the future, I absolutely agree with you. It is part of the package of our humaness. And thus prophecy, even the very notion, is an unworldly, unhuman one. And that is a certainty. :slight_smile: