Converging and Convincing Proof of God: Introduction
The Church teaches that man is capax Dei, has a capacity for God
The existence of God is not self-evident to us. Nevertheless, "man's faculties," in particular his reason, "make him capable of coming to knowledge of the existence of a personal God." And that knowledge is sure. We have moral certainty that God exists. For that reason, those who deny his existence are, in the words of St. Paul, "without excuse." (Rom. 1:20) That is why the psalmist says that a " fool" says in his heart that there is no God. (Ps. 14:1)
The existence of God is not self-evident to us, quoad nos. (S.T. Ia, q.2, art.1, co.) Nevertheless, "[m]an's faculties make him capable of coming to knowledge of the existence of a personal God." [CCC 35] And that knowledge is sure. We have moral certainty that God exists. For that reason, those who deny his existence are, in the words of St. Paul, "without excuse." (Rom. 1:20) That's why the psalmist says that a " fool" says in his heart that there is no God. (Ps. 14:1)
It was this understanding that legitimized the ubiquitous laws in this country that required belief in God as a prerequisite for holding public office. It is reflected in our very Constitution, which, although it prohibits the requirement of a "religious test" for the holding of public office (which is a matter of faith), it assumes that a public official will swear an oath to God ("so help me God") to support and defend the Constitution, which necessarily implies belief in God. (The Constitution also allowed for affirmations, not to accommodate atheists, but Quakers who would not swear to God although they certainly believed in him.)
It was considered right to require of public officials belief in God and belief that God was a rewarder of those who seek him and the ;judge of men at the end of their lives (since that was a matter of reason). It was thought unreasonable not to believe in God, and it was believed that the unreasonable refusal to believe in God could only be explained as being the result of a moral deficit, a deficit which justified exclusion from office.
In this country, the first time belief in God was equated with "religion" under law (and therefore a matter of faith alone, and not a matter of reason) was in the Warren Court's 1961 decision in Torcaso v. Watkins, a case also famous for having used for the first time the term "secular humanism" in a legal opinion. In Torcaso, a Maryland notary public challenged that state's requirement that any holder of public office was required to make a "declaration of belief in the existence of God." The Supreme Court, stacked at the time with liberal justices and headed by the unabashed liberal Chief Justice Earl Warren, unanimously found that requiring a public official to believe in God was unconstitutional (even though the Constitution itself requires oaths or affirmations to God to hold office, but, hey, who ever said liberal, result-driven justices are consistent?).
The faculty that makes man capable of coming to the knowledge of God is reason, and that reason is informed by the faculty of man's sense organs, but also includes what might be called his internal "senses," such as man's appreciation of beauty and his conscience.
Traditionally, reason's witness to the existence of a personal God have been referred to as "proofs" of God or "ways" of coming to know God. "Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality 'that everyone calls God.'" [CCC 34] All these "proofs" or "ways," however, start from observation either of the physical world about us, or the "world" within us.
As the Church taught in the First Vatican Council of 1870 in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Dei Filius:
"The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, may be certainly known by the natural light of human reason, by means of created things, 'for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made' (Romans 1:20)."
The reason that proves with moral certainty that God exists is not reason "in the sense of in the natural sciences" as the Catechism makes clear. God, after all, is not subject to experimental proof. You cannot prove God exists (or doesn't exist) by climbing to a precipice and throwing yourself off in the experimental gamble that such an act will prove God exists since he has given angels charge over us, and their hands will bear us up lest we dash our foot against a stone. (Matt. 4:6).
Invisible realities do not admit of direct visible proof like the physical sciences. And God is not proved by mathematical equations. Neither the reason of mathematics nor the reason of the physical sciences is the kind of reason that can be employed to discover that God ...
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