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The Desire for God: Exploring the Existence and Nature of God through Rational Proof and Faith

This text examines the quest for God, the existence of God, and the role of faith as evidence through rational and logical proofs. It explores the decline of belief in God among Millennials and addresses the misconceptions surrounding faith.

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The Desire for God: Exploring the Existence and Nature of God through Rational Proof and Faith

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  1. Official Christianity, of late years, has been having what is known as “a bad press.” We are constantly assured that the Churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine---”dull dogma.” It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness.

  2. We are waging a war of religion. The immense spiritual strength of our opponents lies precisely in the fact that they have fervently embraced, and hold with fanatical fervor, a dogma which is nonetheless a dogma for being called an “ideology.” We on our side have been trying for several centuries to uphold a particular standards of ethical values which derives from Christian dogma, while gradually dispensing with the very dogma which is the sole rational foundation for those values.

  3. The desire for god • The desire for God is written in the human heart • Only in god will a person find the truth and happiness they long for. • Throughout history humans have expressed their quest for god in various religious beliefs and behaviors. • This vital bond of humans to god can be forgotten, overlooked or rejected for various reasons.

  4. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. Rom 1: 19-20.

  5. God’s existence is not self evident. • A truth which is self evident cannot be denied by anyone. • Example: “the whole is greater than any of its parts. • The existence of god is denied by atheists. • Therefore God’s existence is not self-evident. • All men do not always have a clear notion of the meaning of the term “God”. • To possess knowledge of God, need to demonstrate his existence.

  6. #1 Proof from motion • Motion is gaining or acquiring something which it did not have • Cannot be in motion and at the same time be at rest. • Where did motion originally come from? • Movers must have received motion. • Must have a first mover- God

  7. #2 Proof from Causality • Statues, automobiles, houses, books were all made • These things did not make themselves • When we have an effect, we need to look for the cause • First efficient cause is called God

  8. #3 Proof from contingency • There are things in the world that do not have to exist. • They are generated and they corrupt. • There is a time when this thing did not exist. • It cannot attribute its existence to itself. • The fact that there are things in the world which are dependent upon others points to the existence of a Being that is not dependent on anything for its existence- That is God. A being who must necessarily exist.

  9. #4 Proof from degrees of perfection • Things have varying degrees of perfection. An animal has a higher degree of life than a plant. Man has a higher degree of life than an animal. • Look at a tree- it does not possess the perfection of life in its entirety. • If combine all the living things in the world they would not constitute all possible perfect life since ”life” itself seems limited less. • No finite thing can contain infinite perfection and beauty. • A limited perfection is a received perfection. • There must be a being that has infinite perfection that it can pass on to the limited. That is called God.

  10. #5 Proof from Design • There are things which serve a purpose. • Man has eyes to see. Ears to hear. Birds have wings. Fish have gills. • In each object parts are fitted together to obtain a definitive goal. • Design of a useful thing requires intelligence, ability to think abstractly before fitting the parts together. • Trace back the source of all intelligence, one with unacquired intelligence-that is god.

  11. Data collected by the Pew Research Center shows that while the percentage of older Americans who believe in God has stayed relatively consistent, the percentage of Millennials who believe in God has been steadily declining over the past 10 years. Because of scientific progress, we no longer need to rely on mythology or religion to understand the natural world. As a result, many people now think that faith is unnecessary and is just an emotional choice. Some believe that evidence for god’s existence is not even possible.

  12. Feelings and/vs faith • Is faith just a feeling or something else? • Indiana jones and his leap of faith across an abyss. • Is a blind leap of faith really faith?

  13. Faith: “The realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” • Faith is more than belief. It is living one’s life based on the certainty of god’s love and providence as revealed and shown by jesus.

  14. Monsignor Georges Lemaitre • Catholic Priest. Focused on Einstein’s Theory of relativity. • Argued that the theory supported that the universe was expanding. Hence at one time the universe was very small and extremely dense. • Einstein argued for a static universe, balanced by “cosmological constant”

  15. Lemaitre’s theory laughingly called “big band theory”edwin hubble observed that the light of distant galaxies was stretched out (red shifted) meaning they were moving away from us more quickly. • Einstein reversed his opinion of lemaitre’s theory calling it: ”the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.” • Einstein had “fudged” a number in his general theory of relativity to avoid the conclusion that the universe was expanding. After he accepted lemaitre’s theory, he changed his calculations and admitted it was the biggest blunder of his career.

  16. Arno penzias and robert wilson measured nearly equal amounts of cosmic microwave Background (CMB) everywhere in the universe they scanned. They realized it was caused by an incredible burst of energy from a single point at the beginning of time.

  17. In 2003, Arvind Borde, Alexander vilenkin and alan guth devised the bvg proof. • They concluded that any expanding universe, without exception, has to have a beginning. • Any universe we could imagine would have to be expanding and therefore, also have a beginning.

  18. It is said that a good argument will convince a reasonable man and that a proof will convince an unreasonable man. Now that the bvg proof is in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they must confront the problem of a beginning-dr alexander vilenkin

  19. Entropy means that every physical system including our universe will eventually run-down until it dies and can do nothing. • If our universe always existed, it would have completely run-down and today would be dead. • But our universe is not dead and hence had to have a beginning. • Cannot have something from nothing. • stephen hawking said the universe could spontaneously create itself from nothing because of the law of gravity (which is something)

  20. You tube generation assumes god is a fussy mythological figure, a character from an old wive’s tale or an outmoded fantasy. • They do not grasp that god is a reality that exists through the power of his own essence and that he gives rise to all finite beings. • When they say science explains everything I counter that the physical sciences can describe the characteristics and dynamics of finite things but they cannot begin to address …why there is something rather than nothing, why there should be a universe at all

  21. My soul longs for you, o god. (ps 42:2) • Elizabeth seton • Married 1794 at 19 to william seton, a wealthy businessman • Had three girls and two boys. • William’s Business and health failed in 1801. • The fillichi family invited them to come to livorno, italy to recover. But in 1803 william died. • Fillichi family’s catholic faith impressed elizabeth. • Returned to new york and decided to become a catholic.

  22. She became a catholic mar 1805. her family and friends abandoned her. • Antonio fillichi, who was in new york at the time supported her. • Received an invitation from Bishop John carroll to start a school for girls in baltimore. • That set the groundwork for her being the foundress of the american sisters of charity and the basis for the us catholic school system. • Set up a religious congregation to staff the schools. • Life shows that we have a longing to know god and to draw closer to him.

  23. God comes to meet us.god reveals his holy name to moses. • By natural reason man can know god with certainty on the basis of his works • There is another order of knowledge which man cannot arrive at by his own powers. That is divine revelation. • Revelation allows us to learn about god’s inner life and his loving plan to save us from sin and share in his divine life. • God’s revelation unfolded gradually throughout history. God manifested himself to our first parents. Made a covenant with noah. • Called abraham to make of him a great nation • Reveals to mosesas: “I am who am’

  24. The prophets prepared the covenant people to look forward to the coming of the messiah. • In revelation the gulf between God and the human race is bridged. • God desires to have an intimate relationship with the human race. • Revelation is the act by which god speaks to and forms a covenant people.

  25. God fully revealed himself by sending his beloved son and the holy spirit. • The son is the father’s definitive word. • No new public revelation will occur before the final glorious manifestations of christ. • Revelation is already complete but not made completely explicit. • God’s revelation is transmitted by apostolic tradition and scripture.

  26. Revelation calls for a response of faith and conversion. • By revealing himself, god wishes to make us capable of responding to him and of knowing him and of loving him beyond our natural capacity. God desires all men to be saved. (1 tim 2:4) • Private revelations: ok if lead us to christ. Cannot claim to surpass or correct revelation given to us by christ. • History today is taught from a secular viewpoint. • Tough to live in a society that has counter christian cultural currents. A society of disbelief.

  27. How do we make the leap that there is cosmological evidence for a creator to christianity? • The bridge between the transcendent creator and christ has to do with love. • Can pick up implications of love from the way in which the universe is created. But the evidence from physics does not concern the unconditional love of god. That revelation was given to us by christ. • A creator alone with infinite power would be like aristotle’s god. Once he has fulfilled his purpose of ultimate, efficient and final causation, he is detached from the affairs of rather base and uninteresting human beings.

  28. Proclaim the gospel to every creature(mark 16:15). • Tradition is the living transmission of the message of the gospel in the church. • The oral preaching of the apostles and the written message of salvation under the inspiration of the holy spirit (bible) are conserved and handed on as the deposit of faith through apostolic succession. • Both living tradition and the written scriptures have their common source in the revelation of christ.

  29. Jesus christ is the fullness of revelation by his teaching, witness, death and resurrection. • Jesus commanded his apostles to proclaim and witness his kingdom of love, justice, mercy and healing. He sent them the holy spirit to enable them to fulfill his commission. • The apostles did this orally, in writing, by the heroic sanctity of their lives (all were martyred except john) and ensuring that there would be successors.

  30. The apostles chose men to be bishops to succeed them and handed on to them what they received from jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the holy spirit. • Magisterium: The pope and bishops in union with him are successors of the apostles and inherited the responsibility of authoritative teaching. Authentic interpretation of the word of god is entrusted to the teaching office of the church alone.

  31. Sensusfidei: The whole body of the faithful cannot err… in matters of belief. There is a supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people- they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals. The holy spirit dwelling in the church draws the whole body of the faithful to believe what truly belongs to the faith. Not based on popular opinion. • Sacred scriptures grow with the one who reads them. • Tradition, sacred Scripture and the magisterium work together, under the action of the holy spirit for the salvation of souls.

  32. end

  33. Revelation is the self disclosure of god and his plan to save us. • Revelation took centuries to unfold. • God established a personal relationship with our first parents. • Revelation resulted in a covenant. God had a covenant with Noah. • Revelation is when god speaks to and forms a covenant people. He started with abraham. Then chose moses and gave him the divine law.

  34. 1. What is the most positive and creative power or capacity within me.

  35. 1. What is the most positive and creative power or capacity within me? • Intellect. Artistic creativity--------------can be misused.

  36. 1. What is the most positive and creative power or capacity within me. • What about love • Love by its very nature unifies, seeks the positive, orders things to their proper end, finds harmony amidst diversity and gives of itself in order to initiate and actualize this unifying purpose. • Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:7

  37. 2. If love is the one power that seeks the positive in itself, and we are made to find our purpose to live through love, could god (being perfect) who created us with this loving nature be devoid of love?

  38. 2. If love is the one power that seeks the positive in itself, and we are made to find our purpose to live through love, could god (being perfect) who created us with this loving nature be devoid of love? • If the creator were devoid of love, why would the creator create human beings not only with the capacity for love, but to be fulfilled only when they are loved? • If the creator is devoid of love, why make love the actualization of all human powers and desires and therefore of human nature. • If the creator is love, creating a loving creature would seem to be intrinsically and extrinsically consistent with who he is.

  39. 3. Is my desire to love and to be loved conditional or unconditional? • We appear to have a desire for perfect and unconditional love. We have the power to connect with another human being in empathy, care, self-gift, concern and acceptance. • This sense of perfect love has the positive effect of inciting us to pursue ever more perfect forms of love.

  40. 3. Is my desire to love and to be loved conditional or unconditional? • This expectation of perfect love from other human beings leads to frustrated expectations of others. The longer we are with others then the little imperfections begin to manifest themselves that may lead to irritation. We see that the other is not perfect. • We expect our beloveds and ourselves to be perfect, hence we have a desire for perfect and unconditional love.

  41. 4. If my desire for love can only be ultimately satisfied by unconditional love, then could the creator of this desire be anything less than unconditional love? • If the creator does not intend to frustrate the desire of unconditional love within us, it seems his creation of desire would imply an intention to fulfill it, which implies that quality is within him. • This means that the god of desire for unconditional love is (as the only possible fulfillment of that desire) himself unconditional love. • How can we have a desire for perfect and unconditional love if we have never known or experienced it?

  42. 4. If my desire for love can only be ultimately satisfied by unconditional love, then could the creator of this desire be anything less than unconditional love? • Unconditional love itself seems to be the cause of our awareness of it and our desire for it. Unconditional love transcends all conditional manifestations of love, hence it might be associated with the creator. • The creator would be associated with our human awareness and desire for unconditional love. Hence the creator would have to be at lease capable of unconditional love.

  43. 5. If the creator is unconditional love, would he want to enter into a relationship with us of intense empathy, thaT is he would want to be Emmanuel (god is with us)? • If god does not have unconditional love he would not want to be with us. • An unconditionally loving god would have unconditional empathy and care for others. • God would not need our affection. He would seek unconditionally to protect, defend and enhance us. • An unconditionally loving god would not be egocentrically conscious of the infinite distance between creator and creature.

  44. 6. Would it be typical of the unconditionally loving god to want to be fully with us? • We have data that shows us that 1. God is in our midst (emmanuel) and 2. god is unconditional love. That experienceable event synthesizing those two things happened with the incarnation.

  45. Christ is about the desire to be intimately involved in the affairs of human beings made in his image and destined for his eternity. We have a god of unconditional love. A god that wants to be with us. A god wanting to save us unconditionally and bring us to his own life of unconditional love. • How do we know that god is loving and not indifferent?

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