7 Thought Experiments About the Existence of God
‘Be ready at all times,’ says St. Peter, ‘to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you’
Do you doubt the existence of God? I invite you to consider the possibility that you’ve not fully thought this through. The following “what if” scenarios are important to ponder as I find many people simply presume that the universe and humanity would simply be better off without even considering God’s existence.
What if death didn’t exist?
Then … no one would die. The human race would be condemned to eternal starvation as the world wouldn’t be able to sustain an infinite population for an infinite amount of time.
But … with death, we come to understand what is futile and what is worthwhile in life, thus giving us opportunities to grow in love in the service of others.
What if no one ever got sick?
Then … we would miss an opportunity to show compassion to those in need.
But … with illness, we can appreciate our mortality and seek to alleviate suffering wherever it can be found
What if everyone were wealthy?
Then … if money were to appear each and every time we needed it without having to work for it, we would become indolent and apathetic.
But … disparities in wealth can prompt the compassionate among us to give of themselves in the service of others.
What if no one had to work?
Then … the human race would lack all initiative. Why improve yourself if everything were always the same regardless of what any of us do? Without initiative, there would be no curiosity or progress.
But … with the need to work comes initiative, progress, personal development, virtue, patience and a dedication to education and self-improvement.
What if evil didn’t exist?
Then … good wouldn’t exist. No one would understand the distinction between good and evil and thus everything would be acceptable, and not acceptable, simultaneously. Love would no longer exist. Neither would hatred. Nothing would matter at all.
But … with evil in the world, we can exercise our free will and either hinder or facilitate the spread of evil in the world. Thus, we become moral or immoral beings. We can also identify who exactly is truly interested in improving the lot of all human beings and who is just interested in talking about it.
What if everyone got exactly what they wanted?
Then … it would contradict with what everyone else wanted and thus could never exist. Farmers would want rain while picnickers wouldn’t. Who would win lotteries? Each person would wish himself to be the winner, but for a lottery to work, 99.999% of sold tickets need to lose. What of those who wish harm on others? Should they get their way also? What about those who make foolish wishes? Should all test-takers get 100% even if they refuse to study? Such a situation would be untenable and unrealistic.
But … with the lack of assurance of getting whatever we wanted, we come to an understanding of what is truly important in this world. We can commit ourselves to helping others or we can seek out our own good.
What if everything were exactly as I wanted it to be?
Then … has there ever been a single instance of a person who is completely self-indulgent and self-referential and, indeed, self-reverential, that has ever led an exemplary, virtuous and heroic life? The answer is a resounding “no.” If we had everything we wanted, and if everyone else did too, what would motivate anyone to love or be compassionate toward anyone?
But … without the assurance of getting everything we want, we can come to appreciate what we have and thus come to rely upon the Source of Love who alone can supply us with everything we need.
And, thus, without a leg upon which to stand, the arguments against God are toppled and quashed. Logic, that rarified thing that separates us from lower animals, is a sign of God’s existence. Even the Scriptures tell us that God confounds the wise and foolish alike (Matthew 11:25, Acts 6:10, Ephesians 1:8, Ephesians 2:8–9, 1 Corinthians 1:10–27, 1 Corinthians 3:19-20, Proverbs 1:7; 3:7, 9:10). In his infinite wisdom, God uses foolish things to confound those who believe themselves wise. Submit to him and he will send us his Wisdom to attend to us (James 1:5).
Christ promises us that, when in need to answer difficult questions, if we are open to him, he “will give you such words and wisdom that none of your enemies will be able to refute or contradict what you say” (Luke 21:15). Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. As St. Peter recommends, “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you” (1 Peter 3:15).