II. Evidence of the existence of God from the religious starting point: The discovery of the good God is made, 1. through the religious nature of man; 2. through the great dilemma ? God the best, or the worst; 3. through the spiritual experience of men, especially in Christianity. So far as Dr. Clarke?s proof is intended to be a statement, not of a primitive belief, but of a logical process, we must hold it to be equally defective with the three forms of proof which we have seen to furnish some corroborative evidence of God?s existence. Dr. Clarke therefore does well to add: ?Religion was not produced by proof of God?s existence, and will not be destroyed by its insufficiency to some minds. Religion existed before argument; in fact, it is the preciousness of religion that leads to the seeking for all possible confirmations of the reality of God.?
The three forms of proof already mentioned ? the Cosmological, the Teleological, and the Anthropological Arguments ? may be likened to the three arches of a bridge over a wide and rushing river. The bridge has only two defects, but these defects are very serious. The first is that one cannot get on to the bridge; the end toward the hither bank is wholly lacking; the bridge of logical argument cannot be entered upon except by assuming the validity of logical processes; this assumption takes for granted at the outset the existence of a God who has made our faculties to act correctly; we get on to the bridge, not by logical process, but only by a leap of intuition, and by assuming at the beginning the very thing which we set out to prove. The second defect of the so-called bridge of argument is that when one has once gotten on, he can never get off. The connection with the further bank is also lacking. All the premises from which we argue being finite, we are warranted in drawing only a finite conclusion. Argument cannot reach the Infinite, and only an infinite Being is worthy to be called God. We can get off from our logical bridge, not by logical process, but only by another and final leap of intuition, and by once more assuming the existence of the infinite Being whom we had so vainly sought to reach by mere argument. The process seems to be referred to in
<181107> Job 11:7 ? Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
As a logical process this is indeed defective, since all logic as well as all observation depends for its validity upon the presupposed existence of God, and since this particular process, even granting the validity of logic in general, does not warrant the conclusion that God exists, except upon a second assumption that our abstract ideas of infinity and perfection are to be applied to the Being to whom argument has actually conducted us.
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