Arguments against the existence of God

All of the arguments below aim to show that it is improbable or impossible for God to exist. Most of the arguments are a problem for the classical concept of God rather than the Mormon concept of God. None of the arguments are successful in showing that it is improbable or impossible for God to exist and should not be considered a defeater to the experience confirming God exists. There are also good reasons to think that God does exist.

The Argument from Inconsistent Revelations

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. If God exists, we would expect compatible revelations

P2. But faithful seekers of God produce incompatible revelations

C. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: William Alston said “Why shouldn’t there be realms, modes or dimensions of reality that are so difficult for us to discern that widespread agreement is extremely difficult or impossible to attain, even if some veridical cognition of that realm is achieved”. 1

The Problem of Evil

There are two problems: The logical problem and the evidential problem

The logical version can be formulated as follows:

P1. If there is a God, he is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient

P2. Evil exists

P3. Evil is incompatible with a being who is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient

C. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: The value of a world with humans with free will is of greater value than a world without humans with free will. 

The evidential version can be formulated as follows:

P1. If there is a God, he is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient

P2. Unnecessary evil exists

P3. Unnecessary evil is incompatible with a being who is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient

C. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: We are in no position to say that there are unnecessary evils. We should be agnostic on the issue.

The Destiny of the Unevangelized

The argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. If there is a God, he is omnibenevolent

P2. Many people do not hear about God on earth and is beyond their control

P3. God sends people to hell if they don’t believe in him

P4. An omnibenevolent being would not send anyone to hell for something they had no control of

C1. Therefore this is contradictory

C2. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: This assumes that earth life is the only opportunity to know God. In Mormon thought everyone has a chance in this life or the next to know God.

The Dysteleological Argument

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. God is perfect

P2. If God is perfect, then all his creations would be at least well designed

P3. Humans and animals are not well designed

C1. Therefore God did not create humans and animals

C2. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: Mormonism rejects creatio ex nihilo and in Mormon thought, God works within natural law.

The Argument from Reasonable Nonbelief

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. If there is a God, he is perfectly loving.

P2. If a perfectly loving God exists, reasonable non-belief does not occur.

P3. Reasonable non-belief occurs.

C1. No perfectly loving God exists

C2. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: This assumes that earth life is the only opportunity to know God, everyone will get their chance in this life or the next.

The Argument from Parsimony

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. If something is not needed to explain anything then it probably does not exist

P2. We can explain everything without the need to invoke God

C. Therefore, God probably does not exist

Brief Response: P1 is a misapplication of Ockham’s razor.

Infinite Causation Argument

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. God is the cause of everything

P2. But something must have created God

C1. Therefore God cannot be the cause of everything

C2. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: God is not the cause of everything. In Mormon thought, some things are co-eternal with God.

Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. We see evidence of apparent design

P2. If God is the cause of design then God must be quite complex

P3. Something must be the cause of God

P4. Whatever is the cause of God must be even more complex than God

P5. This complexity is unnecessary if we can find a less complex solution

P6. Natural selection is less complex

C. Therefore God almost certainly does not exist

Brief Response: The argument is a non sequitur and it is not at all clear that natural selection is a better hypothesis than a designer.

Omnipotence Paradox

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. A God must be omnipotent

P2. If there is something a God cannot do, then he is not omnipotent

P3. If God can create a stone so heavy he cannot lift it, then there is something he cannot do

P4. If God cannot create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it, then there is something he cannot do

C1. Therefore, whether or not God can or cannot create the stone, there is something he cannot do

C2. Therefore God is not omnipotent

C3. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: God can only do that which is logically possible. God can create the stone but can then not lift it. This is a logical necessity so is not a problem to omnipotence.

The Problem of Hell

There are two versions of the argument: Omnibenevolence and Omnipresence

The omnibenevolent version of the argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. God sends people to hell forever for what they have done on earth

P2. God is omnibenevolent

P3. An omnibenevolent being would not send people to hell forever for something they have done on earth

C1. Therefore the concept of hell is contradictory

C2. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: D&C questions whether there is an end to eternal punishment

The omnipresence version of the argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. God sends people to hell

P2. Hell is a place away from God

P3. God is omnipresent

C1. Therefore the concept of hell is contradictory

C2. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: God himself has a body so is not omnipresent in that sense.

The Argument from Free Will

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. Omniscience and free will are incompatible

P2. God is omniscient

P3. Humans have free will

C. Therefore God is contradictory.

Brief Response: God is not necessarily omniscient but instead knows all that can be known at any given time (which may not include future free actions)

The Anthropic Argument

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect

P2. God created morally imperfect humans

P3. An omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect would have created morally perfect beings instead of imperfect humans.

C1. Therefore God is not omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect

C2. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: We are eternal intelligences, God did not create us ex nihilo.

The Praxeological Argument

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. God exhibits all perfections

P2. Aseity is a perfection

C1. Therefore God has aseity and has no need to do anything

P3. God has taken actions (e.g. created the world)

C2. This shows a contradiction

C3. Therefore God does not exist

Brief Response: Aseity is not a perfection and God does not possess this property

The Historical Induction Argument

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. There have been thousands of proposed Gods throughout human history

P2. Most of these proposed Gods are now believed to not exist

P3. Therefore it is probable that any remaining proposed Gods in the future will also be believed not to exist

Brief Response: This is hasty generalisation and assumes that the existence of all God’s are of equal probability.

The Witness argument

This argument can be formulated as follows:

P1. There are many people throughout history who, through experience, believe there is no God

P2. We should believe what is known through experience is true unless there are reasons to think otherwise

P3. There are no reasons to think otherwise

C. Therefore God probably does not exist

Brief Response: If this is valid logic then the contrary argument for theists through experience believing in God is of the same value.

  1. Alston, W P, 1991. Perceiving God. 1st ed. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press[]