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Monday, October 6, 2014

0372: On the Self-Evidence of God's Existence

Entry 0372: On the Self-Evidence of God's Existence 

In addition to propositions, there are other realities which are also said to be self-evident. Some sensible qualities are self-evident to our external senses and the existence of the material world around us is self-evident to our intelligence.

Color, for example, is self-evident to sight, sound is self-evident to hearing, and when I hear and see a person speaking, I simultaneously grasp that that person exists.

Direct sense-knowledge is the strongest evidence that a thing exists. But to grasp the existence of a thing through sense-knowledge there is a restriction, namely, that one has to have direct sense-contact with the existing sensible thing.

Is it self-evident through sense-knowledge that God exist? The answer to this question is a definite no. God is not a physical object accessible to us through the external senses.

God can indeed be discovered in the movement, order, measure, and beauty of the things of nature, but the things of nature are only an occasion to rise to some knowledge of God as first cause. God is not the first thing we know, and in no way can one say that in grasping the accidental perfections of the things of nature one is simultaneously grasping the existence of God.

It is instructive to note here that by means of demonstration and reasoning one can also prove the existence of a thing without having to have recourse to the direct sense-experience of an existing exemplifying individual. The existence of kangaroos, for example, is an established fact and one does not have to go to Australia or to a zoo in order to affirm with complete certainty that kangaroos exist.

Similarly, one can reach a point when one can affirm with certainty that the proposition “God exists” is a true proposition but to know this truth one has to go through a good number of mediating steps.