# Probability of the Existence of God

‘The existence and non-existence of God is equally plausible’ is a statement I’ve seen many times in different discussions here on Peaceful Science.

It’s a difficult claim to challenge, simply because plausibility is so subjective. Things I find plausible you may find wildly implausible and vice versa.

So some here have reactions within that range to the original statement.

What happens if we substitute in ‘probability’ for ‘plausibility’?

‘The existence and non-existence of God is equally probable’.

It’s still complex to argue: for a start, we really must specify which God. Even saying 'the Christian God’ doesn’t help all that much, since folk have wildly different understandings of Who that is.

But at least probability places it within a pool of occurrences. That is, the probability of the existence of God can be thought of as a fraction: (number of times God does act as predicted by believers)/(number of times God has the opportunity to act as predicted by believers). This will, in usual probability manner, take a value between 0.0 and 1.0 (inclusive).

I have chosen actions over existence since existence seems to reduce back to plausibility: folk believe God either exists none of the times or all of the times He has the opportunity to exist.

This doesn’t solve anything: there’s a heap of work still to be done. But I offer it as, I would argue, a more fruitful approach to thinking about the issue and engaging in discussion.

One seems to be a philosophical question, the other a mathematical question. So I’m not sure this works.

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That seems an entirely reasonable position for an agnostic.

Now, I turn skeptical. I don’t see any reasonable way to assign probabilities here.

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Then you get a very different topic. They’re just too different. It’s okay to discuss both, and to me it doesn’t matter that the topics are ‘subjective.’

I’m not sure ‘plausible’ is a philosophical question (at least in an analytical tradition of philosophy). As I noted, it seems to be entirely subjective. Do you have a rejoinder to that, i.e. something that makes it less than entirely subjective?

I proposed a way, and am willing to discuss whether it is reasonable - or how and whether it could be made more so.

You proposed a different question about actions of gods. This is, first off, not a question about existence. Yes, a god must exist to act, but in an effort to avoid the perfectly reasonable (and yes, subjective) consideration of plausibility, you proposed ‘probability’ then promptly changed to ‘action.’

But much more problematic is the suggestion that a ‘probability’ based on action is somehow less subjective than plausibility. I don’t see it. By the time you arrive at a list of actions and means of detecting them, you have made so many wild (and IMO bizarre) stipulations that any worry about ‘subjectivity’ is swamped by the insane contortions needed to define these gods, their actions, their choices, and the criteria by which these things are understood.

For me, ‘subjectivity’ is not a problem to be solved. Rather the opposite IMO. Since these gods are always hiding and have spent all of human history being mysterious, the only interesting questions are about plausibility. About whether it is reasonable to “believe in” a god with various characteristics or a particular history of alleged behavior, given that we all know that we don’t have evidence that can be subjected to an analysis of probability. Please note the emphasis on “for me,” but also note that I don’t see how you can convert this question into something mathematical (or for that matter respectable) by assigning probabilities to the actions of hidden beings that claim to be omnipotent.

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Yes, you did. But I don’t see how that works.

If you change “believers” to “non-believers”, then you get zero divided by zero. And that should hint at a problem.

If you leave it worded as you propose, then I suspect that probability value is highly subjective and mood dependent.

Oh certainly, to both of you. The language may well suggest a mathematization that I’m not really proposing.

It seems to me that @thoughtful, for example, is implicitly assigning a probability of 0.5 to the question of the existence of God, claiming that it is equally probable (but using the term ‘plausible’) that God exists as not.

I agree, subjectivity is not a problem in itself, but it does make many of the discussions here almost impossible to pursue. Once the assertion has been made, there is little more that can meaningfully be said.

So, for example, on risk judgements, humans are more likely to be killed by lightning strikes than by sharks (6000:4), and vastly more likely to be killed by cars. Yet most of us are more frightened of sharks, at least when swimming in the ocean. We’re not great at judging risk.

But I think, if not a mathematical probability number (and I agree, the space is very, very nebulous and difficult to define), then from Pascal’s wager on (and probably long before that) people have been trying to figure out the cost-benefit, risk-reward ratio of belief.

Now, belief itself doesn’t correlate especially strongly with existence, at least for supernatural entities. And if it did, arguably Shiva has more believers than Jehovah so is more likely to exist. But these analyses and claims are consequential.

I understand that the move from existence to action is problematic, and tried to outline some of the problems in the OP.

It was one possible attempt to operationalise the concept. There may be other, better ones… and I hope people will be willing to propose and defend them.

So, with that proviso that we’re looking for a space, not a number… I still reckon the discussion is worth having.

And I still reckon the claim in the first sentence of the OP is bootless and kills the possibility of meaningful discussion.

First we have to define what probability means in this context. The frequentist interpretation is a no-go (i.e. in X number of possible worlds, in what fraction of them does God exist?), because God, if he exists, is a necessary being who exists in all possible worlds. (If you disagree with this statement, then you are thinking of a different sort of god that I do not believe in and the conversation should end there.)

So we should interpret probability in Bayesian terms, where the number we assign to belief in God reflects how “reasonable” that belief is compared to other beliefs.

Proceeding with that assumption, I don’t see how believer’s ability to predict God’s actions should have anything to do with the plausibility of God’s existence. If God exists, would we expect to be able to predict God’s actions? Christians certainly predict certain events will happen in their narrative, such as the Second Coming and the Resurrection. However, neither of these events have a definite date attached to them, so they are not verifiable. Regarding divine intervention because of believers asking via prayer, I’m not sure that there’s a clear way to understand that either. It’s not clear to me that the more believers pray for something to happen, the more likely it will happen. It might depend on a host of other factors that only God knows.

Thus, to me it doesn’t make much sense to assign even a Bayesian probability to belief in the existence of God. The problem seems to be this: assume I devise a formula for calculating God’s existence. It is a black box B(G) with N binary inputs to yes-no questions (a simplification for the sake of the illustration). I input a set of binary values S = {s_1, s_2, ..., s_N} and the formula gives out a number P[S], where 0<P[S]<1. In my opinion, if God actually exists, then that will instantly impact almost everything else in my belief system, such that the set S will drastically change. In other words, an atheist and a theist will choose very different values of S, such that B(G) is nothing other than a tool to demonstrate your confirmation bias.

Now, one could argue that we should restrict N to the set of yes-no questions that both atheists and theists can agree upon, such as empirical facts. However, in my opinion that would not be a very meaningful question to decide on the very question of God’s existence. The probability God’s existence obviously depends on many questions about metaphysics, morality, and epistemology which are difficult to get full agreement on between even fellow theists or fellow atheists. It may be possible to use that method to approach the question of whether God created the universe 6,000 years ago or other theological questions which do intersect with science. One might even be able to use it to assign the probability that Christianity (as opposed to another religion) is true (given a certain probability for God’s existence). But regarding God’s ultimate existence, I am pessimistic that we can find a set of N which will satisfy both theists and atheists.

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(I’d quote all of Daniel’s fantastically excellent post, but that would just take up space. But please read my reply as a comment on all of it.)

Thank you, yes, you’re quite right: I ought to have made the move from frequentist to Bayesian myself, and am delighted you did. It makes much more sense.

I’m not sure that follows, though: ‘reasonable’ seems to me to get us right back to entirely subjective ground. FiveThirtyEight.com has a prediction for the US election result based on applying Bayesian statistics to all the available data, and the methodology is far more rigorous than ‘seems reasonable’.

Could we rephrase that as “…the number we assign to belief in God reflects the aggregate of all the relevant data”? That is, Bayesian statistics take a ‘prior’, a best available assumption about a probability, and then modify it as new information is available.

The catch, of course, is in that phrase ‘relevant evidence’: who decides which evidence (and what kinds of evidence) is relevant? It’s challenging, and you’ve addressed a number of possibilities.

Very likely. And yet, I would argue that being able to discuss the various s-values, and perhaps to home in on one to discuss in some depth in a particular discussion, is more fruitful than a discussion that begins and ends with “I think B(G) 0.0” and “I think B(G) 1.0”.

I agree that limiting ourselves to the empirical is close to scientism and a priori excludes much that is relevant to divinity, so I’m with you in saying we shouldn’t do that.

I tried to say, but probably need to emphasise more strongly, that it is crucial to specify which God is under discussion. I agree that “the God who returns in the clouds of glory at the Second Coming” is impossible to saying anything that useful about with a scheme like this. I think “the God who created the whole universe 6000-odd years ago (and is not a trickster who plants fake evidence)” is much more amenable to some sort of discussion.

I take your point that there are many variables to “the God who heals the sick when asked”, including the ineffable wisdom of God, and yet I would argue that, when the well-designed experiments are done and there’s no difference between intercessory prayer and chance, that is relevant evidence that decreases the probability of the existence of that particular God.

As someone noted further up the thread, action is not necessary to existence, but existence is necessary to action. It’s an important one, but in a sense a side issue here. The Gods people describe do stuff. The existence of a God who does specific stuff is amenable to evidence in the way the simple existence of a God is not.

(Mods, I’m going to make a second post, but it is also large, and on a different thought to this already-large post, so while I normally much appreciate your work in merging the multiple posts my scattered mind sometimes produces, please don’t merge these.)

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The argument we usually get here at Peaceful Science is of this form:

1. There cannot be a natural explanation of abiogenesis +
2. Because I believe God did it +
3. And the existence of God is as plausible as His non-existence →
4. You must prove the non-existence of God before I will accept the possibility of a natural explanation for abiogenesis

It is not a logically strong argument, and there are multiple possible ways to challenge it, but I do think that ‘plausible’ is standing in for ‘probable’ or ‘likely’ at Step 2. If the existence of God was plausible but wildly improbable, the argument would be far weaker than it is apparently assumed to be.

(could have used more formal logic symbols but trying to keep it plain-language and accessible as far as possible)

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(If you disagree with this statement, then you are thinking of a different sort of god that I do not believe in and the conversation should end there.)

It can apply to a god you don’t believe in like Allah, who is also a necessary being.

Proceeding with that assumption, I don’t see how believer’s ability to predict God’s actions should have anything to do with the plausibility of God’s existence.

Oh it does. If it doesn’t why did Elisha take Baal’s silence as proof that he was nothing more than an idol? Elisha even went ahead to have the prophets of Baal killed, indicating that he took Baal’s inaction as strong evidence that he didn’t exist.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+18:20-40&version=ESV&interface=amp

If God exists, would we expect to be able to predict God’s actions?

Elisha accurately predicted God would respond, so why shouldn’t we?

It’s not clear to me that the more believers pray for something to happen, the more likely it will happen. It might depend on a host of other factors that only God knows.

This sort of argument has never resonated with me. What other host of factors should prevent God from answering the prayers of seriously ill Covid-19 patients on ventilators? Is he limited by these factors?

Thus, to me it doesn’t make much sense to assign even a Bayesian probability to belief in the existence of God.

Elisha did this and murdered prophets based on his posterior probability.

The probability God’s existence obviously depends on many questions about metaphysics, morality, and epistemology which are difficult to get full agreement on between even fellow theists or fellow atheists

Why should it depend on these other areas? Why can’t he regrow the limbs of all amputees in the world, as that would convince the most thick-skinned atheist that he is realer than Santa Claus.

But regarding God’s ultimate existence, I am pessimistic that we can find a set of
N
which will satisfy both theists and atheists.

I agree.

Hi David
I have not had time to comment and read the comments but have a thought. Professionally I am an investor who owns both private and public companies. When making investments I cannot calculate precisely the odds of success but my livelihood is based on making decisions that have more more likely hood on success than failure. I work through lots of data before I make a decision or invest in a person or business I know well.

Do you think this method may be applicable to deciding for or against a theistic worldview?

Actually, I believe in Allah. (I’m Indonesian so the word “Allah” just means God to us.) Both Christians and Muslims agree that God is One, the Creator of all and that He is a necessary being. The disagreement is mainly rooted in historical events such as Jesus’ death and resurrection, which vindicates Jesus’ claim as the Son of God.

I’m not sure where you’re getting the notion that Elisha’s situation should be applicable to all of us. Elisha was a prophet directly commissioned by God on a specific mission to confront the idolatrous Israelites, who were meant to be faithful to the God of Israel.

In contrast, there are numerous instances in the Bible itself where the believer calls upon God but doesn’t seem to immediately receive a satisfactory answer, such as the story of Job and Psalm 88.

Furthermore, for a Christian, God not granting believers prayers for earthly benefits (such as wealth or health) is ultimately inconsequential because we have been granted a future inheritance of eternal life with Him (Eph. 1:11-14, 1 Pet. 1:4-5).

I don’t know. Whom am I to question God or His wisdom? Was I there when He laid the foundation of the earth? (Job. 38:4)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

(Isaiah 55:8-9)

If I were allowed to question God, if I were right to demand that He reveal all of His plans to me and that He only do things in a way that made sense to me, then would He still be God? How can I worship a God who is an equal to me and has to justify Himself to me?

Thus, this question is yet another example of the disconnect between Christians and atheists. A Christian will not question or second-guess God and his decisions, even if they are difficult to accept sometimes. Again, it is sufficient for us that we have been graciously granted eternal life with Jesus Christ.

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This helps me see the motivation for preferring “probability” to “plausibility” when confronting statements that claim to be an “argument” for or against something. I understand. It just doesn’t work for me, or perhaps I should say I don’t think it will ever matter.

To me, most importantly, it’s hard to see why such a thought process should be “challenged.” It is, to me, transparently not an argument. It’s a post hoc rationalization. In some sense it is disrespectful to the person to treat their thought as an “argument” that can be “challenged.” If we want to help the person escape this place, where they are likely trapped by sociological and psychological forces, we perhaps ought not focus at all on faux “arguments” like that one. Nothing will come of that.

But also this is why I think plausibility is the first thing to discuss when the existence of gods is the topic. Without establishing something remotely reasonable about the main character, discussing the probability of its existence is simply madness. This is one of the main points of the common atheist claim that everyone is an atheist (as a stance) toward essentially every god in the universe. This is the main point of my comments here at PS about various other gods that humans “believe in” to varying extents. To even entertain a “calculation” of a “probability” that the god of Kenneth Copeland or Paula White “exists” is to commit oneself to at least a few outgroups from among the universe of gods that deserve a chance. When, instead, we mean “a nice version of the American evangelical god” when we say “God,” we show our calculations to be something more akin to cynical apologetics.

In short: “probability” without plausibility might seem reasonable for the gods that are most popular on PS, but the whole conversation rests on ignoring Russell’s teapot, Nessie, Thor I mean Loki, Mórrígan, Bob*, Dumbledore, Holy Supreme Wind, Titania, and innumerable other gods who we are somehow comfortable excluding despite the nonzero probability that their fury will end us all. We do this, knowing the risks, because the existence of these gods is not plausible.

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Do you mean to claim that Christians can’t do this? Or oughtn’t do this? Besides being inconsistent with some famous accounts of biblical figures, this kind of pronouncement is fully incompatible with my former faith as a Christian. I respect your confession of your own beliefs but I find this kind of talk disrespectful.

I think focusing on the names that people have given to different gods is a distraction. I’m not convinced, for example, that there is any significant difference philosophically speaking between believing in Zeus and believing in Loki. Both would still agree that naturalism and materialism is false, and that is a more fundamental question compared to quibbling over the proper name(s) of God(s) and what exactly they did in history.* If (for example) one makes an argument that the probability of Zeus’ existence vs. atheism is 0.5, this shouldn’t automatically change to 0.33 once we also consider the probability of Loki’s existence, or to 0.25 once we also consider Morrigan (and so on). That would be a nonsensical probability assignment.

*Though I would argue there is a significant philosophical difference between believing in Zeus vs believing in Allah or Yahweh.

What I mean is that Christians shouldn’t use that as a basis to disbelieve God and leave their faith completely. As you allude to (and I also mentioned in my post), the psalms record numerous instances of believers struggling with God and asking why He seems to hide from them. (e.g. Psalm 13:1: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face for me?”) Despite that, the psalmists voice their struggles about God’s actions with God and to God. Even as they seem to doubt God’s actions, they still express that in prayer to God. The problem of pain and suffering is real and is poignantly expressed through the Bible and history, but a Christian should let pain bring them closer towards God instead of away from him.

Finally, it is not my intention nor my position to judge the genuineness of people’s faith confession. It is only God’s role to do that. But I’m just stating what I personally think it means to be a Christian from my own faith experience so far. When I suffer personal setbacks, I usually cry out to God instead of questioning His existence.

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Actually, I believe in Allah. (I’m Indonesian so the word “Allah” just means God to us.)

This is dishonest, you know I was referring to the Muslim version of God and not a mere translation of the word.

Both Christians and Muslims agree that God is One, the Creator of all and that He is a necessary being.

They agree God is one, but not in the same sense. To Christians (most groups), God is three persons who equally share in the being or essence of godship. To Islam, God is one person who fully possesses godship. These are different descriptions. Muslims don’t even recognize the personhood of the holy spirit.

The disagreement is mainly rooted in historical events such as Jesus’ death and resurrection, which vindicates Jesus’ claim as the Son of God.

Thus on the basis of rejecting the sonship of Jesus, Islam is a false religion in the eyes of Christianity. The same works for Islam, but in reverse: by accepting Jesus as the son of God, Christianity is a false religion. So there is no way Muslims and Christians serve the same Creator. That means we have two distinct necessary beings who are equal in all regards, so how do we choose which is the true one?

I’m not sure where you’re getting the notion that Elisha’s situation should be applicable to all of us.

It is very applicable. Elisha only communed with Yahweh and not Baal, so he had no clue if Baal existed or was as powerful as Yahweh. He set up that challenge as a means of generating empirical data to decide (and show the onlookers as well) if Baal would listen to the oblations of his adherent and burn up the bull offering. The prophets of Baal cried unto their God for hours and nothing happened, Elisha did same to Yahweh and he promptly responded. Elijah took this inaction on the part of Baal as proof that he was nonexistent. Remember you said:

Proceeding with that assumption, I don’t see how believer’s ability to predict God’s actions should have anything to do with the plausibility of God’s existence.

Elisha predicted that Baal would not respond and when Baal did not respond, he took it as evidence that Baal did not exist. In Bayesian terms, the posterior probability for the existence of Baal dipped to nearly zero and he murdered those prophets on that basis.

In contrast, there are numerous instances in the Bible itself where the believer calls upon God but doesn’t seem to immediately receive a satisfactory answer, such as the story of Job and Psalm 88.

I am not talking about “satisfactory answers”, neither do I place constraints on the timing of the God’s response. I am talking about his inability to act at certain crucial points in time. For Elisha, God acted promptly. For many seriously ill Christian Covid-19 patients or tsunami victims, he chose to keep silent. Following Elisha’s lead we can conclude his existence is extremely implausible due to his inaction.

Years ago I wanted to get a feel of God’s awesome wisdom, I searched the scriptures for places he engaged in conversations with worshippers on issues like human suffering. Of course, I looked up Job, but I was disappointed. All God did was boast about his creative accomplishments and not provide answers to Job’s questions.

Furthermore, for a Christian, God not granting believers prayers for earthly benefits (such as wealth or health) is ultimately inconsequential because we have been granted a future inheritance of eternal life with Him (Eph. 1:11-14, 1 Pet. 1:4-5).

Sorry Dan, all Christians and other non-muslims are going to the place of torment reserved for them by the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Allah of Islam. No virgins for you.

In addition, why shouldn’t God grant health requests even if he promised perfect health in the afterlife or when he comes again? Some diseases are quite debilitating, patients need drugs (sometimes with nasty side effects) to get moments of relief. Why does God ignore the cries of those among them who are Christians? Why doesn’t he listen to the request of Christians around the who live in abject poverty and suffer serious malnutritive or non-malnutritive medical conditions?

I don’t know. Whom am I to question God or His wisdom? Was I there when He laid the foundation of the earth? (Job. 38:4)

So who was Elisha to question Baal or his wisdom or his unwillingness to respond? Was he there when Baal founded the world?

If I were allowed to question God, if I were right to demand that He reveal all of His plans to me and that He only do things in a way that made sense to me , then would He still be God? How can I worship a God who is an equal to me and has to justify Himself to me?

Yes he would still be God if he revealed most of his plans to you and did things in a way that made sense to you. God plans to destroy the wicked and reward the righteous, doesn’t that make sense? Does knowing this plan and its sensible nature reduce the divinity of God?

Thus, this question is yet another example of the disconnect between Christians and atheists.

I am not an atheist. I am a Christian (Catholic) whose faith is hanging on a thin thread.

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No, I’m sincere. Both Christians and Muslims believe in the existence of a necessary, simple, Creator Being they both call “God”, even as there are stark disagreements on many other things regarding God, including the inner life of God known as the Trinity. That is all what I meant to say. In the context of that specific argument, the necessity of God (if He exists) is what we are talking about.

We’re drifting off-topic here. The truth or falsity of a religion doesn’t necessarily mean that they worship completely different gods. (For example, I think several dogmas of Roman Catholicism are wrong; does that mean that you and I worship different gods also?) There’s enough commonality between Christianity and Islam (compared to Christianity and atheism, for example) that an argument against atheism could improve both the odds of Islam being true and the odds of Christianity being true. Now, I happen to think there are good arguments in favor of Christianity’s understanding of God compared to Islam, but that’s not what this thread is about.

First, for the sake of accuracy, we should note that it’s actually Elijah, not Elisha in that passage (1 Kings 18).

Second, there is no evidence from the text that Elijah was doubting the supremacy of Yahweh in that passage and wanted to gather some “empirical evidence” for himself. That is just eisegesis. Why should Elijah think that, given that in the previous chapter (1 Ki. 17) he had predicted a drought and raised a widow’s son? Rather the whole affair was meant as a public demonstration for the idolatrous people of Israel - to pressure them to follow Elijah as the prophet of the Lord instead of the prophets of Baal.

20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”

Third, there is no evidence in the Bible that God promises to always pass people’s personal tests for His existence every time they ask. Instead, Jesus himself said to Satan, quoting Deut. 6:16, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Lk. 4:12).

Because we aren’t Elijah and we are not in his situation and mission. In fact, Jesus said: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39). By the sign of Jonah He meant his death and resurrection, which Scripture testifies to us and for which we have decent historical evidence for.

That doesn’t follow from the text (bold emphases mine):

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

Clearly Elijah was asking God to act there and then in order to publicly vindicate Elijah’s claim as a true prophet of Yahweh in front of the people and turn the people’s heart back towards the God whom they were supposed to worship in the first place. Elijah didn’t need to convince himself that he was a prophet of God, as I said, he already acted so in the previous chapter by raising the dead. To analyze this in terms of an experiment Elijah conducted to inform his Bayesian calculation of the probability of existence of Yahweh is eisegesis and anachronistic.

At most you can conclude that if God exists, he doesn’t always act promptly to relieve people’s suffering. How does that lead to God’s complete non-existence?

Given that I don’t believe Islam is true, this has no relevance for me. Again, we’re drifting off-topic here.

I have a feeling that this is not just an intellectual problem for you, but possibly a personal and existential one, so while I have an intellectual answer, I don’t think it is right for me to respond with that here.

Yes, because then God’s thoughts would be on the same level as my thoughts, in contrast to Isaiah 55:8-9. He would be no better than just being a fellow human being - one that I might admire, but not worship. God is not just some superior version of a human being that happens to be slightly smarter and nicer than me and “in charge”. Instead, He is the ultimate standard of goodness and being itself.

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