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arguments for God, Book Reviews, philosophy, Thomistic Philosophy

Book Review: New Proofs for the Existence of God by Robert Spitzer

Robert Spitzer’s New Proofs for the Existence of God (hereafter NPEG) presents in rigorous detail, five arguments for the existence of God, a section discussing the plausibility of multiverse/string universe scenarios, and some philosophical discussion on methodology.

Before continuing the review, I should note that the “New” in NPEG is nuanced. Spitzer notes this himself (my guess is that it was a marketing technique. “New” refers to the evidence from cosmology and further research in philosophy which lend new power for these arguments.

Chapter 1 presents a cosmological argument. Spitzer cogently argues that “(1) If there is a reasonable likelihood of a beginning of the universe… and (2) if it is apriori true that ‘from nothing, only nothing comes,’ then it is reasonably likely that the universe came from something which is not physical reality” (Spitzer, 45). This conclusion is supported by explorations of current cosmological theories about the origins of the universe.

Chapter 2 presents the teleological argument, which Spitzer bases on the universal constants. The argument leads to the conclusion that “the odds against an anthropic condition occurring are astronomically high, making any life form… exceedingly improbable.” It is a probabilistic argument, the likes of which I defend in my article Past, Probability, and Teleology (Hope’s Reason 2011-1).

Following chapter 2 is a chapter which discusses the possibilities of inflationary cosmology and the string multiverse written by Bruce Gordon. It is extremely technical and will provide readers with cogent arguments against the possibility of a multiverse scenario circumventing the previous arguments.

Chapter 3 presents Spitzer’s metaphysical argument for the existence of God, which is full of sound argumentation along with some interesting Thomistic Philosophy wherein he discusses God’s simplicity in the most coherent way I have read. I greatly encourage readers to look into this chapter, if only for the discussion of this oft-neglected doctrine.

Spitzer follows this with Chapter 4’s metaphysical argument derived from Bernard Lonergan’s Insight, which is a subtle version of the argument from reason. This chapter was particularly good because it focuses on a little-used type of arguments for the existence of God–that if our universe is intelligible, that can only be explained by God’s existence.

Chapter 5 is an argument from contingency similar to the Leibnizian cosmological argument.

Chapter 6 engages the question of method in philosophy along with whether atheism is actually rational. I was intially put off by the title of this chapter (“Methodological Considerations and the Impossibility of Disproving God”), but happened throughout the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the rigorous arguments and enlightening conclusions Spitzer laid out.

Finally, the last two chapters outline some more considerations about the universe and the relation of humans and God.

NPEG was a surprising read for me. I went in with neutral expectations, and those were blown away. Spitzer’s knowledge of the topics in the work runs deep, and his writing style is clear and cohesive. It is genuinely exciting to read. Readers will be challenged by the arguments for the existence of God, and engaged in the details and philosophical explanations of these arguments. I highly recommend this work to those interested in advanced books on arguments for God’s existence.

——

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Book Review: New Proofs for the Existence of God by Robert Spitzer

  1. Yup! God can be mathematically ‘found’ in the Big Bang (latest NASA measurement is 13.73 billion years).

    Then you need the ‘Age of the Earth’ multiplied by the Earth’s Precession of the Equinoxes… and then…

    Yup! Its more about arithmetic which paints a prettier picture than minimalist mathematics.

    Mmm…

    Posted by John D. Miller | October 14, 2011, 12:07 PM
  2. I would think that Spitzer would have tried to deal with my Proof for God’s Existence, which is analogous to the Proof by Saint Anselm:
    1. Assume that if God Exists, God is Good.
    2. Assume that The Good is Positive.
    3. Assume that an important aspect of The Good is Existence.
    4. Therefore, if God is Good, and an important aspect of The Good is Existence,
    Then God Exists.

    Posted by Anthony J. Fejfar, B.A., J.D., Phd. Coif | November 10, 2011, 2:39 AM
    • If I reduce this argument symbolically we have:

      [let ge be “god exists”; gg be “god is good”; “g” is good; “=>” is entails; “e” is existence

      1) ge ⊃ gg
      2) gp
      3) g => e
      4) (gg ⊃ g => e) ⊃ ge

      But the difficulty here is that in premise 1 you assume the existence of God, which makes the argument circular. Basically it boils down to:

      ge ⊃ gg ⊃ ge

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 10, 2011, 10:08 AM
  3. Another Proof for God’s Existence also should have been included in Spitzer’s book. I, Tony Fejfar have a Proof for God’s Existence which follows that of Aristotle and Thomas Aquainas:
    1. Assume that you are watching a billiards game.
    2. As you watch the billiards game, you can see that the arm and cue stick are the efficient cause of
    one billiards ball hitting another billiards ball.
    3. From the sense experience observation of the billiard balls being involved in a chain of cause and effect,
    you can see that cause and effect exist in the Universe.
    4. Once you have observed that cause and effect exist and operate in the Universe, you can then reason
    that if you work your way back from every effect to the preceding cause, you will see that it may be
    that there is an infinite regress of cause and effect within the finite material universe.
    5. However, you can see that it is impossible for the finite to contain the infinite, and thus that
    an infinite regress of effect back to a preceding cause in the finite universe is impossible.
    6. Since it is impossible for there to be an infinite regress of causes in the finite material universe, we must come
    to the conclusion that finite causality in the material universe was caused by The First Cause, Uncaused Cause,
    namely, God.

    Posted by Anthony J. Fejfar, B.A., J.D., Phd. Coif | November 10, 2011, 2:54 AM
  4. This Lonerganian type Proof for God’s Existence developed by Anthony J. Fejfar, is as follows:
    1. I Experience God with Spirituality.and Religious Experience and Intuitive Experience.
    2. I understand God with Philosophy, Theology, Logic, and Quantum Physics.
    3. I Judge that God Exists with a Probable Judgment of Fact, based upon my
    Experience, Understanding, Judgment and Reflection upon God’s Existence.

    Posted by Anthony J. Fejfar, B.A., J.D., Phd. Coif | November 10, 2011, 3:17 AM

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