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    Proving God – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. How can you prove there is a God?

    proving godA. I have two quarrels with your question.

    The first quarrel is with the delineation of what the real issue is.

    What is the real issue? Whether there is God, not “a” (i.e. any) God. If there is “a” God there can equally be other gods, and if there are other gods there is no God.

    The second question is with the word “prove”. There were medieval theologians who proposed rational proofs (cosmological, teleological, ontological) and indeed Maimonides insisted that it is logically impossible for God not to exist, to be one and unique, and to be eternal.

    However, believers know God is there for reasons that are above and beyond conventional standards of proof. God is there not because of rational proofs but because we encounter and experience Him.

    An attempt at an analogy: how do we know that love exists? Can we prove it in some scientific manner? We experience it (or its absence). We see what love does for people and what people do for love. How do we know God exists? We see what God does for people and what people do for God.

    What does God do for people? The long and distinguished history of belief provides an answer. The sheer existence of the world provides an answer (don’t tell me about all that is wrong with the world: there is a God-given charge to man l’takken olam, to repair, to restore the world). The fact that we are alive is evidence that God does things for man and has faith that man will be worthy of the privilege.

    What does man do for God? Man can and should make himself into the response to the Divine command, “Be a blessing”.

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