Proof of God

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In modern terminology, proof of God denotes the attempt to prove the existence of (a) God with the help of reason . This term was applied retrospectively to various philosophical concepts that wanted to make the existence of gods or a god believable. In contrast to this, there is religious irrationalism , whose proponents reject rational discussions of the existence of God.


Historical and current assessments

Attempts to make the existence of gods probable or to present proofs of god can already be found in ancient philosophy , e.g. B. with Cicero and Seneca ; also in Jewish and early Christian apologetics , then in the Church Fathers , such as B. in Augustine . It was followed by the Jewish and Arab philosophy of the Middle Ages and the z. Partly related proofs of God in scholasticism , including that of Anselm of Canterbury . With the beginning of the modern age there were rationalistic efforts to produce proofs of God, such as B. by Descartes and Leibniz .

The modern assessment of the philosophical relevance of proofs of God is largely based on the fundamental criticism by Immanuel Kant . In his Critique of Pure Reason , he limits possible knowledge about facts to the realm of what is sensually perceptible. The classical proofs of God are therefore inconclusive, because there is no intuition without interpretation (concepts). Rather, people put their own beliefs into the evidence. This applies especially to the medieval scholastic proofs of God, including the ontological ones . Later critics of religion like Ludwig Feuerbach had the idea of ​​understanding God as the epitome of human desires for a fulfilled life that correspond to the individual, but original nature of the human being. According to this projection theory , God would be just a fiction, a spontaneous, faith-based construct of human fantasy that cannot substantiate any verifiable statement about the existence of God.

Neo-scholastics and some religious philosophers argue similarly to the protagonists of earlier proofs of God, for example in natural theology . Representatives of analytic philosophy take up Kant's criticism on the one hand, such as John Leslie Mackie , but on the other hand, like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne , try to reformulate proofs of God. This also applies to the ontological proof of God.


In pre-Christian antiquity and in the Christian Middle Ages of Europe, the existence of gods or a god was mostly not in question. Due to the establishment of state religions and their claim to truth, it was not legally permitted in many places to doubt them publicly. Formal proof was therefore not necessary as a reaction to published criticism, but rather aimed to support religious beliefs or to support them theoretically.

Many early scholastics stress the need to mediate between reason and faith. What is essential for this is the view that reason can understand the existence of God. In this sense, Arab ( Averroes , Avicenna , Muhyī d-Dīn Ibn ʿArabī ), especially Kalamite and Jewish thinkers ( Maimonides ) had already developed proofs of God.

Evidence of God also served to convert “ pagans ”, because political power alone cannot enforce a certain religiosity in pagan societies. Moreover, where the Bible is not yet recognized as Holy Scripture , it is not possible to argue successfully in the theology of revelation.

The high times of the proofs of God were the early modern times and the epoch of the German Enlightenment . For deistic masterminds of the Enlightenment , the evidence of God should enforce a natural religion based on reason without revelation . This idea was particularly criticized by David Hume . With Kant's influential criticism of the proofs of God, the proofs of God lose importance in philosophical discussions. By placing the subject at the center of their considerations, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Søren Kierkegaard tried to rehabilitate evidence of God.

Many of the proofs of God listed here refer to a Creator God according to the Abrahamic definition. They are therefore not applicable to religions that know gods but no creator. This is the case with Hinduism , for example .

Types of proofs of God

Proofs of God can be divided into a priori and a posteriori proofs; Kant already made this subdivision (Immanuel Kant: AA II, 155). Apriori proofs of God are independent of experience. For example, Anselm of Canterbury derives the existence of God from his concept . A posteriori evidence of God is based on experience. The so-called five ways ( quinque viae ) in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas are a typical example here.

Another distinction between proofs of God can be traced back to the statements on the Transcendental Dialectic in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason . A distinction is made between ontological , cosmological and teleological proof of God (Immanuel Kant: AA III, 396). In addition to Kant's structure, the moral proof of God that he himself developed is often supplemented today (Immanuel Kant: AA III, 523).

The ontological proof of God

Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) formulated the first known version of the so-called ontological proof of God in the proselogion . Also René Descartes (1596-1650) has been trying in this way to prove God's existence. Ontologically this type is called the proof of God, as Anselm and Descartes from the logical -begrifflichen level to the level of being (Greek. To on , genitive ontos ) concluded . Kant was the first to describe the approach of Anselm and Descartes as ontological (Immanuel Kant: AA III, 396).

With his proof, Anselm is expressly addressing believers who want to understand the content of their faith, or to put it more objectively, to a faith seeking understanding (“ fides quaerens intellectum ”). Such a belief has a concept of God as one “beyond which nothing greater (more perfect) can be thought” (“quo nihil maius cogitari potest”). According to Anselm, this “concept” can only be understood without contradiction if God really exists. His argumentation structure begins with an assumption to the contrary:

  1. Assumption of the opposite: that beyond which nothing greater can be thought [i.e. i. God] does not exist in reality, only in the mind.
  2. If (1), then something can be thought that is greater than that, beyond which nothing greater can be thought (namely this very thing, but with the additional quality that it also exists in reality, which is then greater than what is merely thought, which does not exist in reality).
  3. If something can be thought greater than that beyond which nothing greater can be thought , then that beyond which nothing greater can be thought is something beyond which greater can be thought.
  4. That beyond which nothing greater can be thought is something beyond which greater can be thought [from (1), (2) and (3) by applying the modus ponens twice ].
  5. (4) is contradictory and therefore (1) wrong, ie: that beyond which nothing greater can be thought [i.e. i. God], exists in reality and not only in the mind [from (1) - (4) through reductio ad absurdum ].

The reception of the Proslogion focuses on the “unum argumentum” (“the one argument”) in Chapters 2-4. This ignores the fact that Anselm does not argue purely rationally, but always speaks as a believer, which is made clear by the prayer-like sections in Chapter 1, for example. On the other hand, in chapter 15 he goes a step further and proposes that God is greater than can be thought.

Kurt Gödel

In 1970 Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) developed a reconstruction of the ontological proof of God in the language of modal logic , which is based on three definitions and five consistent axioms. Gödel's concern "consisted [...] in the proof that an ontological proof of God could be carried out in a way that does justice to modern logical standards". Gödel delayed the publication of the evidence, fearing that his request would be misunderstood as an independent attempt to produce valid evidence. The formal correctness of Gödel's proof was demonstrated by means of machine-assisted proofing for the proof version by Dana Scott , which reproduces the following translation:

Axiom 1 Either a quality or its negation is positive.
Axiom 2 A quality necessarily following from a positive quality is positive.
Theorem 1 A being may have positive qualities.
Definition 1 A being is divine if it has all the positive qualities.
Axiom 3 Divine is a positive quality.
Corollary There may be a divine being.
Axiom 4 Positive qualities are necessarily positive.
Definition 2 A property of a being is essential if it necessarily implies all of its properties.
Theorem 2 Divine is an essential quality of every divine being.
Definition 3 A being is necessarily existent if it necessarily fulfills all of its essential properties.
Axiom 5 Necessary existence is a positive quality.
Theorem 3 A divine being necessarily exists.
Formulation in modal logic

The first definition introduces a concept of God, the second the essential properties of beings and the third the necessary existence. Gödel's axioms 1, 2, 4 and 5 implicitly define positive properties. Axiom 3 supplemented by Dana Scott provides the possible existence of a divine being (Corollary) and Theorem 3 the proof of the necessary existence of the divine being according to Gödel's definition. The proof is of course only convincing if Godel's definition of God is considered sufficient and the ontological framework expressed in the other axioms is accepted.

The cosmological proof of God

The ancient and medieval variants of cosmological proof assume, in some form, that the universe must have a cause outside of itself. The world and its existence are viewed as questionable and questionable. The classic formulation of the cosmological proof of God can be found in Thomas Aquinas in the Summa theologica , who in turn drew on the ideas of Plato and Aristotle .

Thomas Aquinas: quinque viae ad deum

In the quinque viae (five ways) of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), the first four ways to God contain variants of the cosmological proof of God. The fifth way represents the teleological proof of God. Thomas distinguishes the demonstration of God from the movement (ex parte motus) , from the effective cause (ex ratione causae efficientis) , from the possible and necessary (ex possibili et necessario) , from the degrees of perfection (ex gradibus) and from teleology (ex gubernatione rerum) . Each of these approaches is based on empirical facts; H. it contains empirical premises. In Thomas' argument, these cannot be both true and their conclusion , the existence of God, false.

Each of his 5 ways has the same syllogistic structure:

  • the major premise = the 1st premise (Latin praemittere - "presuppose") an empirically verifiable fact (a fact of the inorganic or organic world)
  • the minor premise = the 2nd premise a metaphysical statement, ie an assertion that cannot be empirically proven, but whose assumption is at least not illogical or nonsensical. Such propositions are called axioms , e.g. B. that everything that exists must have a sufficient reason for its being (physical and metaphysical causality principle ) or that there is a correspondence ( analogia entis ) between absolute and created ( contingent ) being , so that meaningful and correct statements about the Absolutes can be made. Those who deny the validity of axioms come to wrong conclusions; their truth is therefore given, but unprovable; this degree of truth is called evidence (from the Latin evideri - "to shine out").
  • the final sentence (lat. conclusio ) = it contains the proof of the existence of God. Since Thomas Aquinas had no doubt about the validity of metaphysical axioms, he considered his proofs of God to be compelling ( stringent ), and his followers in modern times, the neo-scholastics , defend their evidential value to this day.

The individual "paths" of Thomas Aquinas are explained in more detail below:

Via I: proof of movement

The first way, ex parte motus , on which Thomas wants to prove the existence of God, starts from the empirically ascertainable fact of movement in the world (therefore also called "kinesiological" proof of God). Thomas understands "movement" not only physically as a change of location, but in a broader (philosophical-Aristotelian) sense as " transition from possibility to reality " (also in the meaning of "becoming", "change", "development") . Something can be transferred from possibility into reality - according to the principle of causality or the principle of sufficient reason - but only through something that is itself in reality. Everything that is in motion must have been moved by something else - an active cause. Thomas excludes that something can move “by itself” with the “principle of contradiction ”, according to which it is impossible for something to exist simultaneously and in the same respect in possibility and in reality. It is therefore impossible for something to be both moving and moving at the same time and in the same respect, that is, cause and effect in one. Each movement (effect) is itself moved (caused or caused) by something else, this in turn by another and so on. In this way, however, one cannot go back to infinity , since otherwise the entire chain of moving (causes) and moving (effects) - and thus also the movement in the world that we can undoubtedly determine - would not have started at all. So - according to Thomas Aquinas - a " first unmoved moving thing " ("primum movens, quod a nullo movetur") must necessarily be presupposed, which has set the causal chain of becoming in motion without being part of this causal chain itself. “And below that,” claims Thomas Aquinas, “all understand God”.

There is movement everywhere in the world.
Everything that is moved is moved by someone else, ie nothing can give itself the first movement.
So The moving world presupposes a different mover.

An infinite series of movers, each of which has its movement from the outside, does not explain where the movement first started. If a finite series of things in motion cannot give itself motion, then neither can an infinite series. This is why Thomas Aquinas in his “5 Paths” rejects “recourse to the infinite” ( regressus in infinitum ) in principle. Instead, he says: It is necessary to assume that there is a first force of movement ( primum movens ), which has not received the movement from anyone else and in this respect describes it as "unmoved" (Latin immotum - "not set in motion by anyone") can be. We call the primum movens immotum God.

Via II: proof of causality

The causal proof of God ("ex ratione causae efficientis") assumes that everything that exists in this world can be traced back to a cause. Since the series of causes cannot be continued indefinitely, a first non-contingent cause (causa prima) must exist which cannot itself be traced back to any other cause. Aristotle already postulated such a first cause, which is itself uncaused, and called it “the first unmoved moving” (πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον) or the “unmoved mover”. Many medieval thinkers, including Thomas Aquinas , identified him with God. The argument of Aristotle is based on the “ cosmological proof of God” and is generalized by some to a “contingency proof”. The second premise is the principle of sufficient reason .

In the world there are causes (actio) and effects (reaction) that are related to each other.
Every effect presupposes a sufficient cause.
Because of the impossibility of regressus in infinitum , only the conclusion remains,
that the world has a prima causa efficiens (a temporal first effective cause) which itself is incausata (uncaused).

This first, uncaused, effective cause (prima causa incausata) is called God. God is himself the cause of his being; he is being itself in all its fullness.

Via III: proof of contingency

The proof of contingency ("ex possibili et necessario" - Thomas Aquinas) is considered a radical form of cosmological proof. His train of thought is as follows: There are unnecessary beings (the accidental, contingents ). This non-necessary being could just as well not be. But that it is can only be explained by the fact that it owes its existence to another being. This chain of dependencies can only be explained in a stable manner if there is a being (ens a se) on which everything contingent is dependent. This absolute being (absolute) is identified with God. (See also the explanation in the article Natural Theology ).

The world is contingent (= not necessarily existing: everything empirical arises and disappears again, is therefore dispensable).
Since the contingent cannot give itself its being and since the regressus is excluded in infinitum , the existence of a contingent cosmos presupposes the existence of an absolute being (ens necessarium): from this necessarily existing being every contingent being receives being.
So the contingent world presupposes the existence of a necessarily existing being in order to explain its origin; this being is called God

Arguments based on this pattern face various objections: the argument is only conclusive under certain conditions that are not shared by every ontology. These include: the premise that there is an objective distinction between contingent and necessary in a sense relevant to such arguments; that questions about the why of an object always require mention of another object in the answer; that the exceptional case makes sense anyway, that there is also something (“first”) for which this does not apply; that this can be identified with God (especially the God of a specific religion).

A variant of this comes from Leibniz , who assumed that there must be an ultimate reason for things that lies outside the world and therefore with God. God be the sufficient foundation of the world.

Modern variants of the cosmological proof of God argue as follows: The physical constants of nature are coordinated in such a way that life as we know it is possible - which would change if there were a deviation of a few per mille. This vote can only be explained as a planned election - by a creator god. (More on this in the article Fine-tuning the fundamental constants .)

This line of argument is opposed to the so-called anthropic principle : "Because there are observers of the universe, it must have properties that allow the existence of observers" . If this principle is already understood teleologically (the universe has properties of a purposeful kind), the reasoning becomes circular , according to critics . Conversely, if the anthropic principle is understood non-teleologically, i.e. if the apparent expediency is explained scientifically, the argumentation of the “cosmological proof of God” becomes inconclusive, according to critics.

Via IV: step proof

Also ex gradibus rerum .

In the world there are more or less good, true and beautiful things, that is, the values ​​are graduated.
Since a return to infinity (regressus in infinitum) is out of the question, there must be a being who is the highest truth, goodness and beauty and thus represents the absolute end point in the gradation of values.
So There must be an optimum (or verissimum, nobilissimum) that is the cause of its good, true and noble being for all inner-worldly being. We call this supreme good, true and noble God.
Via V: proof of finality

see → corresponding section , also “teleological proof” - ex gubernatione rerum .

There is order and expediency in the world (→ the physical, chemical and biological laws of nature).
Order, determination and purpose require (aliquid intel legens) a thinking mind as a folder, otherwise you would have to back an infinite regress accomplish.
So the world needs an orderly spirit to explain its order, and we call it God.

The teleological proof of God

Evidence with Thomas Aquinas

The term teleology traditionally refers, for example with Thomas Aquinas , to a systematic arrangement of the world through which things reach a higher degree of perfection. Teleology therefore goes beyond the original perfection of things, relates to an open natural causality and requires an external cause. This is necessarily intelligent due to an intentional order.

The teleological proof of God is traditionally based on the control of the world (gubernatio rerum). It can therefore be seen that there are permanent or accumulated improvements in things. These necessarily require a world control. Unreasonable things are not in a position to pursue a goal and require other things that make them the goal. The top priority must be an intelligent being who is able to set a goal.
"And that is what we call God," says Thomas Aquinas.

God as a morally necessary assumption in Kant

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) contradicted the possibility of cosmological, teleological and ontological proofs of God. Theoretically, the ideal of a supreme being is "nothing more than a regulative principle of reason to view all connections in the world as if they arise from an all-sufficient necessary cause" and not the "assertion of an existence necessary in itself". For practical reason it is nevertheless “morally necessary to accept the existence of God”, because the moral law leads through the concept of the highest good to the knowledge of all duties as divine commandments. In his critique of teleological judgment , Kant finally came up with his own moral proof of God: “Consequently, we must accept a moral world cause (a world creator) in order to set an end in front of us in accordance with the moral law; and as far as the latter is necessary, the former is also to be assumed: namely, it is a god. ”However, this is not“ an objectively valid proof of the existence of God ”, but Kant restricted the validity of the proof : "The reality of a supreme moral-legislative author is thus only sufficiently demonstrated for the practical use of our reason, without determining anything theoretically in terms of its existence". In this respect, Kant does not provide any proof of God in the logical-philosophical sense.

Cicero's proof of God e consensu gentium

The ethnological or historical proof of God was contributed by Cicero (106–43 BC). He assumes that there is no such thing as a people without religion ( e consensu gentium ). The common God experience of all peoples suggests the real existence of the divine:

"There is no people that is so wild, and no one among all who is so raw that he does not have a thought of the gods in his mind - many think that is wrong about the gods (but this usually comes from a bad way of life) - nevertheless all believe that there is a divine power and nature; but that does not bring about an agreement or a consensus among the people, and neither is acceptance enforced by institutions or laws; the agreement of all peoples in the whole matter must be taken for a natural law. "

However, this is more a plausibility argument than strict evidence.

The "Pascal bet"

No proof of God in the actual sense, but an argument why it makes sense to believe in God even in the absence of proof, is the " Pascal bet ", which operates with arguments from the cost-benefit analysis . The French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) argued that it was better to believe in God unconditionally because you lose nothing if he does not exist, but be on the safe side if there is a God: “ So trust that it exists without hesitation ”.


On the ontological proof of God

The monk Gaunilo von Marmoutiers , a contemporary of Anselm, and later Thomas Aquinas criticized Anselm's version of the ontological proof of God. Gaunilo countered Anselm that one could not deduce from the term the existence of the facts referred to. The (mere) concept of a “perfect island” does not (already) prove its actual existence. Anselm replies that the logic of his argument cannot be applied to anything other than “that beyond which nothing greater can be thought”.

Thomas Aquinas tries to refute the ontological proof of God in his Summa contra gentiles (Book I, Chapter 11) and in the Summa theologica (1st book, 2nd investigation, 2nd article) without explicitly naming Anselm as the author of this proof of God . According to Thomas Aquinas, the concept of God as something beyond which nothing greater can be thought is not immediately obvious. From the fact that this is understood, it only follows that God is in the mind, not that He actually exists. In addition, Anselm did not differentiate between what is absolutely obvious ( per se notum simpliciter ) and what is immediately obvious to people (per se notum quoad nos). Since man cannot grasp the essence ( essentia ) of God with his human mind, one cannot argue that God's existence is immediately evident since his being is his essence ( esse est essentia ).

In modern times, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) corrected the variant of the ontological proof of God by René Descartes (1596–1650) to the effect that the possibility of the existence of God must first be shown, but under this condition he agreed to the proof: “Set, God is possible, that's how he exists. "

The best-known modern criticism of the ontological proof of God comes from Immanuel Kant (Immanuel Kant: AA III, 397-399). In the Critique of Pure Reason (1st ed. 1781, 2nd ed. 1787) he tries to show that the ontological proof mixes different categories . The modal term will be used like a term that is subordinate to the category of quality, i.e. a property. However, a “purely logical” predicate is treated like a “real” one, that is, the connection of ideas is not differentiated according to whether it is based on subjective or objective reasons. To say that a thing is or exists does not add anything (no property) to it. The only evidence of existence is experience. So you are just repeating that you have learned that this thing exists. Furthermore, the definition of the perfect being according to Kant already presupposes its existence. The ontological proof is therefore simply a circular argument or a tautology . Since God has no objective reality, there is no contradiction in the denial of God's existence, it does not even deny the conception of the essence itself. But if the sentence “A perfect being does not exist!” Is not logically contradictory, then the sentence “A perfect being exists!” Is not logically necessary.

Kant's argument had far-reaching consequences. She led the logician Gottlob Frege (1848–1925), in his formalization of logic , to express existence not as a predicate , but through an operator, the existential quantifier. This takes up the distinction between real predicates and apparently real predicates in the tradition of analytic philosophy . Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) criticized the ontological proof of God that it can only be true if there is a direct path from fantasy to reality. Norbert Hoerster (born 1937) argues similarly . Accordingly, it says nothing about the truth of a hypothesis if its inventor includes the existence in the definition. Alfred Jules Ayer (1910–1989) pointed out that one can insist that the term “God” also includes the assertion of existence. But from the assumption that the greatest conceivable being must also exist, it does not yet follow that there is actually a being that corresponds to the concept so determined.

Gödel's formally unequivocally correct ontological proof is also controversial. On the one hand, the logical-ontological framework for the theory of positive, negative and essential properties must be accepted. On the other hand, the question arises as to whether the content of the evidence achieves its goal. According to Thomas Gawlick, the problem is the proof of positive properties for the theodicy question, namely the proof of God's love and omnipotence and their compatibility, because only the identity x = x can be proven as a positive divine property. The contemporary philosopher and logician Joachim Bromand also expresses the following criticism: Gödel's proof does not show that the properties of God form a consistent set, i.e. the set of properties of God is a set of positive properties. “In this sense” it is incomplete as proof of the existence of God. To investigate and evaluate the properties of God is the task of theology and is not part of the concern of proof.

On the cosmological proof of God

A frequent point of criticism is the lack of conclusiveness in the evidence. The conclusion breaks the causal chain arbitrarily and ultimately rejects the causality principle: because either everything has a cause or God is without a cause.

Carl Sagan (1934–1996) commented on the subject in the documentation Our Cosmos and argued with Ockham's razor : If God created the universe from nothing, the question of God's origin must be clarified. If the origin of God is postulated as unanswerable, one step in the chain of argument can be saved: The question of the origin of the universe cannot be answered. Assuming that God has always been there, the universe has always been there.

Richard Dawkins (born 1941) goes into detail on the cosmological argument in his book Der Gotteswahn . He rejects the attempt to accept God as a way out of an infinite regress and therefore rejects Via I, II and III. He considers the level argument to be too unspecific: one could just as well need an unsurpassable maximum for negative attributes and thus prove that God has undesirable or trivial properties.

The Kantian criticism of the cosmological proof of God goes even deeper: For Kant, causality ultimately only forms a category of understanding that is immanent in our thinking and is inevitably placed in our consciousness as a structure over the contents of our sensory perceptions. On the other hand, we cannot grasp reality itself or things in themselves. To this extent, our capacity for cognition also eludes the establishment of whether not only our own imagination, but also reality itself obeys the rules of causality, as it governs our thinking as a category of understanding. Thus, according to Kant, the premise of the cosmological proof of God cannot be checked.

On the teleological proof of God

An early critic of the teleological proof of God is David Hume (1711–1776) in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion . Immanuel Kant treats teleological proofs of God under the heading of physics theology . Although he admits to this evidence that it makes the idea of ​​God work more likely, it is not a matter of compelling evidence: the order of nature is only an indication of a demiurge who brings matter into order, but not of a creator God who can create what he wants out of nothing. A physicotheological proof therefore only pretends to provide empirical evidence for the existence of a God in the Christian understanding; in particular, having an idea of ​​God cannot be traced back to the experience of nature, but must be a product of the speculative use of reason.

More recently, the teleological argument has been reissued by the intelligent design movement in the United States, which denies that natural selection is sufficient for evolution . Critics of teleological proof usually start with one of the two questions: “Do order, beauty and expediency really exist?” And “If expediency really does exist, must there be an authority that created it?” The second question is often referred to denies that "expediency" can easily be explained by the theory of evolution.

At Pascal's bet

see also: section criticism in the article Pascal's bet

The philosopher John Leslie Mackie (1917–1981) criticized this argument because a number of possibilities were neglected. Whether someone believes in God or not can be irrelevant to the way God treats that person. A divine being could even be more benevolent to honest atheists than people who believe in God based on the arguments put forward by Pascal. Furthermore, it is possible that it is not belief in God in general or in Christian God, but only belief in Odin or Allah that determines the fate of a person after death. One can therefore decide on the basis of the bet to believe in the wrong God and, despite the belief, share the lot of the unbelievers.


Philosophy Bibliography : Proof of God - Additional references on the topic


  • ED Buckner (Ed.): The Existence of God (relevant texts by Aristotle , Thomas Aquinas , René Descartes and John Locke in English translations)
  • Reinhard Hiltscher: Evidence of God. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2008, ISBN 978-3-534-20011-5 .
  • Norbert Samuelson, John Clayton: Art. Proofs of God , I (Samuelson), II – III (Clayton), in: TRE , Vol. 13, 708–784.

History of Evidence of God

  • Herbert A. Davidson: Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy. Oxford University Press, New York 1987.
  • H. Schultze: The ontological proof of God. Historical-critical overview up to Kant. Hamburg 1900.
  • M. Esser: The ontological proof of God and its history. Bonn 1905.
  • A. Daniels: Evidence of God in the XIII. Century with particular consideration of the ontological argument. Münster 1909 (= BGPhMA. Vol. VIII).
  • G. Grunwald: History of the proofs of God in the Middle Ages up to the end of the university. Depicted according to the sources. Münster 1907 (= BGPhMA. Vol. VI, 3) ( facsimiles ).
  • Alvin Plantinga (Ed.): The Ontological Argument from St. Anselm to Contemporary Philosophers. New York 1965.
  • Johannes Hirschberger : Evidence of God. Ephemeral - immortal. in: J. Hirschberger, JG Denninger (ed.): Thinking faith. Frankfurt am Main 1966, pp. 101-149.
  • Dieter Henrich : The ontological proof of God: its problem and its history in modern times. Tübingen 1967.
  • H. Knudsen: Evidence of God in German Idealism. The modal theoretical justification of the absolute presented in Kant, Hegel and Weisse. Berlin / New York 1972.
  • Hansjürgen Verweyen : Asking about God. Anselm's concept of God as a guide. Ludgerus, Essen 1978 (= Christian structures in the modern world. Volume 23). ( Online edition )
  • Friedo Ricken (ed.): Classical proofs of God in the view of contemporary logic and philosophy of science. 2nd Edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1998 (= Munich philosophical studies. New series, Vol. 4), ISBN 3-17-014416-2 .
  • T. Kukkonen: Averroes and the teleological argument. In: Religious Studies. Volume 38, No. 4, 2002, pp. 405-428.
  • Rolf Schönberger : Think God. Introduction to the great proofs of God and commentary on Robert Spaemann's proof of God. In: Robert Spaemann (Hrsg): The last proof of God. Pattloch, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-629-02178-6 , pp. 33-127.
  • Robert Spaemann : The last proof of God. , Pattloch, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-629-02178-6 .
  • Kevin J. Harrelson: The ontological argument from Descartes to Hegel. Prometheus Books, Amherst 2009.
  • Joachim Bromand, Guido Kreis (ed.): Evidence of God from Anselm to Gödel. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2011.

Younger systematic discussion

see. the overviews and selection of literature in the articles of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy listed below , as well as the literature listed in the article Atheism .
  • William Lane Craig : The Existence of God and the Origin of the Universe. Brockhaus, Wuppertal and Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-417-20443-7
  • John Haldane / John Jamieson Carswell Smart: Atheism and theism , Blackwell Pub. 2 2003, ISBN 0-631-23259-1 .
  • Hans Küng : Does God Exist? Answer to the question of God in modern times , dtv 1628, Munich 1981, p. 585
  • John Leslie Mackie : The Miracle of Theism. Arguments for and against the existence of God , Reclam, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 3-15-008075-4
  • Graham Oppy: Ontological Arguments and Belief in God. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1995, ISBN 0-521-48120-1

Popular literature

  • Hans-Dietrich Matschke: Evidence of God and their criticism. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 6 1979, ISBN 3-525-77410-9 (Göttinger Quellenhefte for teaching and study group vol. 1)

Web links

Wiktionary: Proof of God  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


Overview representations


Individual evidence

  1. Johannes Hirschberger describes the philosophical methods with which ancient ideas of God can be proven as a sufficient reason in the scholastic sense. See Hirschberger. Philosophy-History Vol I. . Frechen (licensed edition) n.d., p. 105.
  2. See Karl Vorländer : History of Philosophy, Vol. 2. P. 217.
  3. Wolfgang Röd : The Path of Philosophy, Vol. II . Munich 1996, pp. 295-299.
  4. ^ Gotthard Strohmaier : Avicenna. Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-41946-1 , p. 130 f.
  5. Immanuel Kant, Collected Writings. Ed .: Vol. 1-22 Prussian Academy of Sciences, Vol. 23 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, from Vol. 24 Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Berlin 1900ff., AA II, 155  / The only possible evidence for a demonstration of the Existence of God.
  6. Immanuel Kant, Collected Writings. Ed .: Vol. 1-22 Prussian Academy of Sciences, Vol. 23 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, from Vol. 24 Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Berlin 1900ff., AA III, 396  / Critique of Pure Reason, Book II of the transcendental dialectic, third main part: The ideal of pure reason.
  7. Immanuel Kant, Collected Writings. Ed .: Vol. 1-22 Prussian Academy of Sciences, Vol. 23 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, from Vol. 24 Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Berlin 1900ff., AA III, 523  / Critique of Pure Reason (2nd ed . 1787).
  8. Anselm's argument was first given the name “ontological proof of God” through Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason ; see. z. B. Anselm of Canterbury; Franciscus Salesius Schmitt (Ed.): Proslogion. Investigations. Latin-German edition , Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1962, p. 13.
  9. ^ S. Anselm of Canterbury: Proslogion , chapters 2-4, e.g. B. here: Chapters II – IV
  10. Giovanni B. Sala: Kant and the question of God . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1990, p. 45 .
  11. Immanuel Kant, Collected Writings. Ed .: Vol. 1-22 Prussian Academy of Sciences, Vol. 23 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, from Vol. 24 Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Berlin 1900ff., AA III, 396 .
  12. Abridged after Edgar Morscher: What are and what should the proofs of God be? Comments on Anselm's proof of God (s) , in: Friedo Ricken (Ed.): Classical proof of God in the view of contemporary logic and philosophy of science. , P. 64 f.
  13. S. Anselm von Canterbury, Proslogion , Chapter 15: "non solum es quo maius cogitari nequit, sed es quiddam maius quam cogitari possit." than can be imagined. ")
  14. See Kurt Gödel: Ontological proof . In: Kurt Gödel: Collected Works Vol. 3: Unpublished Essays and Letters . Oxford University Press 1970, p. 403. Line 17f Note on consistency.
  15. Facsimile of Gödel's autograph with the title Ontological proof online: Gawlick, Th .: What are and what should mathematical proofs of God be? (PDF; 520 kB).
  16. Kurt Gödel, Appendix A. Notes in Kurt Godel's Hand, in: JH Sobel. Logic and Theism: Arguments for and Against Beliefs in God. Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 144-145.
  17. Joachim Bromand: Evidence of God from Anselm to Gödel (=  Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft ). 1st pages = 393 edition. Suhrkamp , Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-518-29546-5 .
  18. Joachim Bromand: Evidence of God from Anselm to Gödel (=  Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft ). 1st pages = 392 edition. Suhrkamp , Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-518-29546-5 .
  19. a b Christoph Benzmüller, Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo: Formalization, Mechanization and Automation of Gödel's Proof of God's Existence on Footnote 3 deals with the difference between Dana Scott's axioms and Gödel's axioms, in particular the addition of axiom 3 to replace a weaker axiom of Gödel's!
  20. a b Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologiae - Pars I, Quaestio 2. The Logic Museum, accessed on July 22, 2017 (English).
  21. cf. Plato, Phaidros 245 c ff., Nomoi 891 b ff.
  22. cf. Aristotle, Physics VII-VIII; Metaphysics XII.
  23. a b On Thomas Aquinas quinque viae ad deum
  24. Thomas von Aquino: Sum of theology , summarized, introduced and explained by Joseph Bernhart, Volume I, God and Creation , Alfred Kröner, Stuttgart 1938, p. 24
  25. Hans Waldenfels: Contextual Fundamental Theology , Schöningh, Paderborn, 1985, p. 134f
  26. De ente et essentia 4: “Non autem potest esse quod ipsum esse sit causatum ab ipsa forma uel quiditate rei, dico sicut a causa efficiente, quia sic aliqua res esset sui ipsius causa et aliqua res se ipsam in esse produceret: quod est impossibile . "
  27. ^ I 3 4: "Si igitur esse rei sit aliud ab ejus essentia, necesse est, quod esse illius rei vel sit causatum ab aliquo exteriori, vel a principiis essentialibus ejusdem rei. IMPOSSIBILE est autem, quod esse sit causatum tantum ex principiis essentialibus rei, quia NULLA res sufficit, quod sit sibi causa essendi, si habeat esse causatum. Oportet ergo, quod illud cujus esse est aliud from essentia sua, habeat esse causatum from ALIO. "
  28. ST I – II q 1 a 2 “Prima autem inter omnes causas est causa finalis. Cujus ratio est, quia materia non consequitur formam, nisi secundum quod movetur ab agente: nihil enim reducit se de potentia ad actum. "
  29. ^ ST I 103 a 1 or "Ultima autem perfectio uniuscujusque est in consecutione finis. Unde ad divinam bonitatem pertinet, ut sicut produxit res in esse, ita etiam eas ad finem PERDUCAT; quod EST gubernare. "
  30. ST I 103 a 1 resp "Cum enim optimi sit optima producere, non convenit summae Dei bonitati quod res productas ad perfectum non perducat."
  31. ST I – II q 1 a 2 “Illa quae rationem habent, seipsa movent ad finem, quia habent dominium suum actuum per liberum arbitrium, quod est facultas voluntatis et rationis; illa vero quae ratione carent, tendunt in finem propter naturalem inclinationem, quasi ab alio mota, non autem a seipsis, cum non cognoscant rationem finis; et ideo nihil in finem ordinari possunt, sed solum in finem ab alio ordinantur. “Aristotle Phys. lib. II, text. 49.
  32. ST q 2 a 3 resp
  33. Videmus enim in rebus naturalibus provenire quod Melius est, aut semper, aut in pluribus; quod NON CONTINGERET, nisi per aliquam providentiam res naturales dirigerentur ad finem boni, quod EST gubernare. ST I q 103 a 1 resp.
  34. ST I q 2 a 3 resp "Ea autem quae non habent cognitionem, non tendunt in finem, nisi directa ab aliquo cognoscente et intelligent, sicut sagitta a sagittante."
  35. ST I q 2 a 3 resp "Ergo est aliquid intelligens, a quo omnes res naturales ordinantur ad finem;"
  36. Thomas von Aquino: Sum of theology , summarized, introduced and explained by Joseph Bernhart, Volume I: God and Creation , Alfred Kröner, Stuttgart 1938, p. 25
  37. Kant: Critique of Pure Reason , B 647.
  38. Kant: Critique of Practical Reason , A 226.
  39. Kant: Critique of Judgment , p. 621, Concordance: 424.
  40. Kant: Critique of Judgment , Concordance: 434.
  41. ^ Cicero, Markus Tullius: Conversations in Tusculum. I, 30., in: Gigon, Olof: Talks in Tusculum. Munich, 1992.
  42. Blaise Pascal, Penseés, No. 233, transl. From d. Frz., Online text edition
  43. Gaunilo von Marmoutiers: Quid ad haec respondeat quidam pro insipiente ( What anyone could answer to this [thing] for the fool ). Anselm, in turn, writes a reply to Gaunilo: Quid ad haec respondeat editor ipsius libelli ( What the author of his own little book could answer to this [matter] ). Anselm himself insists that these two letters be added to the proslogion , cf. Anselm of Canterbury; Robert Theis (transl.): Proslogion , Stuttgart 2005, p. 138.
  44. Hansjürgen Verweyen: Asking about God . Anselm's concept of God as a guide. Essen: Ludgerus 1978. (Christian structures in the modern world. Ed. By Wilhelm Plöger; 23), p. 38. Online text
  45. Leibniz: Nouveau Essays , IV.10 §8: "Supposé Dieu soit possible, il exist."
  46. Immanuel Kant, Collected Writings. Ed .: Vol. 1-22 Prussian Academy of Sciences, Vol. 23 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, from Vol. 24 Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Berlin 1900ff., AA III, 397-399  / Critique of Pure Reason B 620 -621.
  47. Norbert Hoerster: The question of God , Beck, Munich 2005, p. 15ff
  48. Gawlick, Th .: What are and what are mathematical proofs of God? Commentary on Gödel's autograph p. 2, last theorem: x = x is positive.
  49. Joachim Bromand: Evidence of God from Anselm to Gödel (=  Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft ). 1st edition. Suhrkamp , Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-518-29546-5 , pp. 405 .
  50. Norbert Hoerster: The question of God , beck, Munich 2005, p. 21
  51. Carl Sagan: Our Cosmos. A Journey Through Space, Chapter 10: On The Edge Of Eternity, 1996, ISBN 3-86047-244-5
  52. ^ Richard Dawkins: Der Gotteswahn (Original title: The God Delusion ), 2nd edition, Ullstein, Berlin 2007, page ISBN 978-3-550-08688-5 , p. 109
  53. Immanuel Kant: Critique of pure reason (2nd ed. 1787) . In: Kant's works (Academy edition) . tape III . Berlin 1968, p. 414 .
  54. Norbert Hoerster: The question about God. Beck, Munich 2005, pp. 27-32
  55. ^ Entry physico-theological proof of God in Rudolf Eisler's Kant lexicon (1930)
  56. so Richard Dawkins: And a river sprang up in Eden. The clockwork of evolution . Goldmann Science masters, Munich 1998, p. 73 ff ("Secret benefit")
  57. Norbert Hoerster: The question about God. Beck, Munich 2005, p. 31
  58. John Leslie Mackie: The Miracle of Theism. Arguments for and against the existence of God. P. 322. Stuttgart, Reclam, 2007.