I don’t know when, but at some point G-d became a theory – an idea that we had to prove or disprove and that we related to like we do any scientific theory. This is a mistake – an intellectual and historical mistake. G-d simply is not a theory. G-d wasn’t proposed by a scientist or a philosopher to explain the workings of the universe. He’s not the giant string-theory in the sky. That’s not G-d – at least not the G-d that we are talking about.
The G-d that we ‘know’, discuss, debate, listen-to, obey, or even fight against is not the G-d of the philosophers. It is not Plato’s or Aristotle’s understanding of G-d. Rather, He is the G-d of the Prophets and revelation. Long before Plato or Aristotle walked the earth, G-d was approached and encountered by a few lone individuals who eventually established a small, nomadic tribe known today as the Jewish people.
It is the understanding of G-d of these lone individuals (Avraham, Yitzkak and Yaakov) as presented in the Torah and continuously lived by the Jewish people that has survived, thrived and spread throughout history. It is their notion of G-d that has captured the hearts, minds and souls of literally billions of people of all walks of life of all cultural, intellectual, social, economic and historic backgrounds. It is this concept of G-d which has conquered nations, vanquished old religions and led to new ones. It has inspired and moved. Built up and brought down.
In other words, G-d was not proposed as an idea, rather He was approached as a reality. And the result of that approach is a work and a religion which has been an active religious, political, historical, scientific, economic, psychological force in the history of mankind ever since.
When people discuss various ‘proofs’ of G-d they do not mean that this is how one comes to know G-d (although, for someone who is wondering, these proofs can be convincing). Rather, this is how one comes to confirm G-d or, more accurately, come to gain a deeper awareness of and understanding of G-d. G-d came before the proof. He is in our consciousness because of events and works that began almost 4,000 years ago and have not let up ever since.
This also means that responding to a ‘proof’ of G-d with a theoretical alternative explanation is missing the point. Arguments for G-d’s existence are not coming to explain the workings of the physical universe, but rather to corroborate and deepen the understanding of that which had previously been revealed.
Thousands of years ago, before the Big Bang theory, before the discovery of DNA, before the modern ability to better demonstrate the marvelous workings of the physical and biological world, the Torah said that G-d created the heavens and the earth. When a modern man reads that ancient line and looks at various aspects of modern science he can rightfully say – this is my G-d.
To respond that perhaps an ancient alien civilization or an infinite number of parallel universes is responsible for life is to misunderstand what is being said. We are not working from the evidence to G-d. We are working from G-d to the evidence. G-d came first, the evidence came later (at times, thousands of years later). And the evidence is still coming in.
True, there are challenges (and we will deal with those). True, not everything always works in a neat little package (we will deal with that also), but it still doesn’t change the timeline. We are not looking at the world and concluding G-d. G- d came down to us (almost by imposition) from the annals of lived history. He worked His way into the world’s consciousness. The world has since looked for G-d and lo-and-behold, have found Him.
The word ‘proof’ is all wrong – the ‘proof’ came thousands of years ago and has been continuing ever since. That is what we are involved in, a continuation of the proof that G-d Himself brought into history long ago.
So, in short, we are not proving, we are confirming G-d and that makes all of the difference.