On Theistic Proofs

A theistic proof is any argument (deductive or inductive) for God’s existence. Natural theology is system of theology built upon the general revelation of God within Creation including the universe, logic, and philosophy that seeks to explain or articulate certain things about the existence and nature of God. Natural theology consists of theistic arguments which are arguments that do not appeal to the sacred scriptures for their cogency. The giving of theistic proofs would serve the purposes of supplementing and contributing to the case or argument for God’s existence and the validity of the Christian religion. The aim or goal of theistic proofs is to “establish rationally the existence and certain, core attributes of God.” The Christian faith is not dependent on such arguments but strengthened with their use within apologetic and philosophical discussion.

One objection to the use of natural theology states that because of the vast complexity of the arguments, the conclusions reached have dismal effects upon the philosophers or hearers. The objection basically postulates that because the argument is so complex, its use becomes almost futile despite the cogency or validity of the proof. Many of the theistic proofs can be complex and intellectually daunting but “if a metaphysical proof is deemed more cogent than its denial, then it offers rational support for theism.” Furthermore, the arguments do not have to be involved and difficult to understand to provide some apologetic benefit to the learner. The cosmological argument (the universe having a cause outside of itself) could lead one to further study and think about God’s attributes revealed in Creation and other areas. It is also fitting to point out that many of the theistic proofs are believed in their rudimentary forms through human reasoning alone concerning existence, Creation, and the meaning of life.

Various theistic proofs or arguments are the ontological arguments, cosmological arguments, teleological  (design) arguments, moral arguments, arguments from religious experience, fine-tuning arguments, arguments from miracles, wagers, historical arguments and a host of others. All these categories represent families of arguments for a positive case of God’s existence. Alvin Plantinga lists a dozen or so arguments for God’s existence here.

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