Can the Existence of God Be Proven?

Does God exist?


Course outline

1. ‘First Cause’ Arguments
These arguments try to establish that the existence of God properly explains the very existence of the Universe: why is there anything at all. We will ask: Could the Universe explain its own existence? Could time be without a beginning?
2. ‘Design’ Arguments
Often it is claimed that the natural order of the Universe lends rational support to belief in God, and that the hypothesis of an intelligent Creator has significant force in explaining the apparent ‘fine tuning’ of the Cosmos. But could the order of the Cosmos be a ‘brute fact’ without explanation, particularly in light of evolutionary theory?
3. Ontological Arguments
Many philosophers have down the centuries argued that the very concept of God’s perfection entails that God must exist in reality, and not just the mind. What are we to say about these (‘ontological’) arguments? Is ‘existence’ a property of an ‘object’?
4. Belief in God and a Way of Life
Our last session will look at alternative ways of thinking about the relation between reason and religious faith. We will ask if belief in God may be required in some way as an adequate foundation for the highest kind of ethical ideal, and examine the idea that the very notion of a proof of the existence of God is inconsistent with a believer’s commitment to God.

Learning outcomes

Identify some historically important arguments for the existence of God.
Gain experience in critically appraising philosophical arguments.
Understand some of the key debates in contemporary philosophy of religion.

Who should attend?

Those with a personal interest in philosophy, science, intellectual history, religion, or theology
People looking for an accessible and topical introduction to philosophical argument.


  • 4 X Fridays, 7 - 28 June, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • $125.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Thomas Harvey

Seminar presenter

Thomas Harvey

Thomas Harvey

BA PGDipArts MA PhD Auck

Thomas Harvey recently completed his PhD in Philosophy in the School of Humanities at The University of Auckland. He has been a Graduate Teaching Assistant for a range of courses at the University through his time as a graduate student. He has research interests in Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science and the History of Philosophy, and is currently working on a book on the Argument from Evil against the existence of God.

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