Objections to the existence of God


Were matter unconscious and blind, the marvels of the Universe would have appeared by chance. The marvel of the human or the animal eye wouldn’t have any purpose. It would have appeared by chance and it would be used to see just by chance. It is as if they told us  a photo camera hasn’t been made by an intelligent person but has been made at random. Nobody would believe that a photo camera has been made by chance but it still makes less sense to say that the human eye has appeared at random. (And if we accept that Nature or matter is intelligent we are somehow accepting the idea of God even if it is the pantheistic one that is explained on the answer to the third objection)

Furthermore, if live and intelligent beings come from inert non-intelligent matter, we are accepting that from less we can get more: that our source, were we get our existence from, is less than us: without any cause to justify it, we are saying somehow that we are much more that the source from which we have received life and intelligence.  Can somewhat without life and without intelligence give rise to something alive and intelligent? Common sense tells us the contrary. Thus, we must accept that the cause that gave rise to living and thinking beings is also alive and intelligent. Thus, inert and unconscious matter cannot be the cause.    

Moreover, if we suppose that matter is everlasting and in constant evolution to perfection, it must either have arrived already to perfection or to rest, as it has been existing for ever, but we state that neither man is perfect, nor the Universe is balanced or at rest (e.g. at the thermal rest predicted by physical laws). Furthermore, if we suppose that matter is evolving to perfection, such perfection must already exist, for nothing moves to something non-existent. That is to say that matter is not perfect but is the only thing that ever exists and is evolving to perfection is nonsense: it is the same as saying that, besides matter, also perfection does exist (nothing tends to what doesn’t exist) and, therefore, this perfection would have at least some of God’s features and would exist beside and over matter. (Aristotle said: in absolute terms speaking “the act  (the effective being)  must forego the potentiality (the embryo being)”.

Moreover, if matter were perfect, it would contain all perfections from the beginning on, it would be intelligent and alive and there wouldn’t be any evolution.

On the other hand, if matter is inert and unconscious, man by himself is an orphan and no conscious being can help him deal with his sorrow in front of death, the world is nonsense and all the voices of his heart crash against nothingness: his yearning of happiness, love and justice would be a cry in the void. Our heart revolts against such a pessimistic, unhealthy premise that would condemn us to an awful solitude.

Besides, modern science denies the pretended everlasting duration of the matter: according to the latest scientific data the Universe had a beginning:

The radioactivity of some elements – all matter has some radioactivity- shows that matter has an age: if matter lasted for ever, a lot of radioactive elements  would indeed have stopped to be radioactive in order to become their inert isotopes, i.e. stable elements (radioactive elements are  real cosmic clocks that are winded for thousands of years but that started to work some day and will finish working some day.):  Specifically, the sun, that enormous nuclear station, would have transformed  all its fuel of hydrogen in helium and would be an extinguished star.

Furthermore, scientific people agree when they say that the Universe, the stars and the galaxies are moving further away since they are in an expansion process: if matter were  everlasting, the distance between these bodies must be now infinite and although they are very far from each other, that is not true (besides, as we are moving in finite distances, we can assert that some millions of years ago all the matter was concentrated in a little space).

On the other hand, the entropy laws tell us that -although in absolute values it is preserved- the tendency of energy is to degrade, changing gradually to a type of energy less fit to do any useful work. According these laws, in the end, the Universe will be thermally counterbalanced i.e. with a similar temperature everywhere, like dead. And yet, if matter were everlasting, it must be already in such a balanced state and that is not the case.

In order to refuse the theory that matter had once a beginning, some scientists are reviving old thoughts that assert that, after a expansion period, a contraction period will come i.e. that the Universe has cyclical phases of expansion and contraction. The question is what force would put the Universe in movement again, after it had reached its final state of rest? As we know, matter tends to be counterbalanced and thus, the force to generate the expansion process again would have to be a force outside of matter,  such a motor of revived inert matter would be God

Furthermore, the thought that matter alternates expansion and contraction phases for ever contradicts the theory that matter and the Universe constantly evolve to full perfection because there would be periods of progress and periods of moving back, destroying any life and movement. What could be the cause of such alternateness? This is a mystery, but the indefinite progress of matter would have a Damocles sword over it, and the matter and its progressive evolution to perfection could not be the source of everything.

Well, if matter has a beginning -some people estimate the age of the Universe at 10.000 million years when the “big-bang” took place- what did exist before matter appeared?: necessarily, something or somebody had to exist for all eternity, because nothing is born from nothing . So then, such an eternal being who must have given rise to matter is what we call God.



The produced being and the necessary being,

The beings we see are produced by other beings, for instance children by their parents.  Parents and children don’t exist by themselves, but have been engendered by someone else. We could imagine perhaps that it has been like that forever, but then there would also exist a harmony in the succession of produced beings from generation to generation. A kind of miracle for people who have not closed their minds for amazement; nevertheless, as none of such beings could give an explanation of himself, it could neither give an explanation of the generation, of the succession of beings and we would have to think of a being that could give such an explanation of himself and of the succession of beings: we call such a being God.

Moreover, the trick to suppose an endless series of produced beings who can  produce other beings is like supposing a chain of endless links that goes up to heaven (so, from a link, a being, hangs another link, another being) without any link fixed to the highest point i.e. without a being who exists by himself and has not been produced. Even if it had endless links, such a chain would fall down, since it is not fixed anywhere. Thus, if we don’t suppose a fixed beginning of the chain, a being which is not produced and which exists by itself, we cannot justify the existence of any produced being (which doesn’t exist by itself).

Produced beings don’t exist by themselves but owe their existence to some other being, if there is no being existing by itself, no produced being would exist. Such a being existing by itself and everlasting is God.     


Even if matter were hypothetically endless, it can be divided in parts. In such a way, God who, after the present objection would be the same as matter or the Universe, would be composed of limited parts and its being would be generated from limited parts. The existence of the necessary, infinite and most perfect Being, would depend on limited parts that are by themselves not necessary. (A material being, an animal or a rock, for instance, are not necessary beings, for they are born and die or, in the case of the rock, can be transformed into something else). Thus, the necessary being would depend for his existence from non-perfect, limited and not necessary beings.

The conclusion would be that the necessary Being would owe its existence to the existence of not-necessary and limited beings: being formed by matter, without them, he wouldn’t exist. In other words, the necessary Being cannot explain the existence of not-necessary beings but the existence of the necessary Being would be explained by the not necessary beings. Thus, such a Being wouldn’t be the necessary being and, as composed by matter, wouldn’t be God. Therefore we cannot conceive God constituted by matter.

Besides, if someone finds such an argument too obscure, we can refer him to what modern science says: that the Universe has not existed forever: the sun, for instance, burns hydrogen like a nuclear station creating helium and it has not existed forever. In that case, it would have burned out all its fuel by now, and would be an extinguished star without light or heat. If the Universe had a beginning, we cannot say that it is God, the Eternal Being that exists by Himself. And, since from nothing we cannot get anything, the Universe had to be created by something or somebody different from the Universe. The being that is called God, therefore, is not the Universe.

Moreover, if everything and ourselves are God, He would be limited since we are limited, He wouldn’t be all powerful because we are powerless in many ways, He would not be always happy, because we are sometimes unhappy, He would do wrong, because we know we, or other men, do wrong often, He wouldn’t understand everything because we don’t understand a lot of things, He wouldn’t always love because we sometimes hate. God wouldn’t be God but a caricature of Himself, and an idol that would reproduce the image of corrupted man.

Furthermore, if we insist that everything is God, all action would be divine action, sin wouldn’t exist in such a way that if a man murdered somebody it wouldn’t be a crime nor a sin but a holy act, God Himself would murder God. Sin wouldn’t exist, all would be lawful and saint: the big crimes of the History of the Humanity would be actions of God himself. We see that such a God is rejected by our moral consciousness. 

On the other hand, some pantheistic religions try to conciliate the existence of evil and pain in man, as well as his limitation, proposing that man is part of Divinity as follows: the divine soul took a fall and that’s the reason why it re-incarnates in this world, hoping to return to its primitive origin. But, since these religions assert that man is God, such an explanation implies that God himself took the fall and that God is not perfect and, somehow, evil is not apart from God, which is an aberration.

Other pantheistic-philosophical points of view and other pantheistic religious trends state that pain, limitation and evil do not exist, that they are illusory: that is saying a lot, but even supposing it were so, man could suffer by falling under such delusions and, as following such theories, man is God, God himself would have defects and downfalls  i.e. he would be an aberrant God: He who has the plenitude of Being and Goodness and  explains everything, could not explain His own defects and He would not be God. 


Besides, for those who have faith in the Holy Scriptures, the transcendence of God (i.e. that God isn’t immanent to the world and that He cannot be identified with it) is implicitly mentioned in several passages of the Holy Scriptures that affirm that God is creator, preserver and provider of everything; that He is immense and eternal; that He is Spirit and that He lives in an inaccessible light, a.s.o.

For those of the catholic faith, the Vatican Council I says: “ If somebody says that God’s essence or substance is the same as the substance or essence of other things, it must be regarded as anathema” or  that “the divine essence by its manifestation and evolution becomes other things” or that “in the end, God, by defining Himself, is the universal and indefinite Being that constitutes the universality of things of different gender, species or individuals, it must be seen as anathema (Denz. Nb. 1803-1804)”. Another statement of the same Council says:  “God must be considered as real and essentially separate from the world” (Denz. 1782)

We also select some writings of a catholic woman who led a holy life and died in 1960 (The Church has not yet given the approval to the writings, although the beatification process of this woman has started).She says that Jesus Christ himself dictated to her the following paragraphs about Pantheism or doctrine that assert that all is God:

“Some say that everything that exists is God, and, therefore, man has the same nature and essence as God, and even other visible creations of God are God. There is no haughtier mistake.

Man has not the same nature or essence as God, and even less the rest of created things. God is the Creator and man the being that was created by God. Were man God, he wouldn’t have needed to be created, for God is the Uncreated. If man were whole with God, the Earth would already be Heaven because men, the part, would already have the pleasure of the whole. Such a joy, which is the ultimate goal of  man, can be reached after the heroic fights and trials sustained and carried out during the day of earthly exile. How can man be banished to the earth if every existing thing is God?  In such a case, man would already be in God i.e. he wouldn’t be in exile anymore. If he were God, how could he sin? How could he be born with the original sin? And, finally, if he were God, how could he have a beginning through conception when God does exist from the beginning and was not created by anything or anybody?

As you see, my dear, the heretical doctrine that asserts that all is God destroys a lot of truths in God’s and men’s history. It destroys the relations between  royal, divine fatherhood and  filial attachment. It destroys the reverential fear in God. It blows man with wicked and obscene pride by making him raise his haughty forehead and making him say, like Satan:  “I’m equal to You!”  “Who can be like God? To the satanic shout we respond with Michael’s angelical shout: Who like God?” And the sons of God answer: “Nobody like God!  You only Saint! Only You, Lord! Only you Most High”. (Maria Valtorta)

On the other hand, if in order to save man’s imperfections or even his crimes, pantheistic doctrine recurs to the existence of evolution and to that, in a sense, all reality that is God evolves to perfection, it would be to affirm that God isn’t perfect, as he needs to evolve towards perfection. If God is not perfect and He tends to perfection, it means that the perfection to which he tends belongs to another being and this being would be God i.e. the Universe wouldn’t be God anymore.

Further, if the Universe were everlasting and always stretched out towards perfection, it would have reached it quite a time ago, for it had had an eternal duration in order to get it.

Thus we arrive to the conclusion that neither the Universe nor man are God and that such a pretension must be refused as satanic by any man of faith and yet there is a way of love and humility that allows us to share God’s happiness and allow us to be gods: the above mentioned book by  Maria Valtorta speaks as follows:

“It is well said: “You are gods and children of the Most High /psalm 82, 6; John 10, 34)”…and you must reach to be gods by the constant effort in terrestrial life. If you already were gods, you wouldn’t need to strive in order to accomplish it. Love invites you to deify yourselves by loving; but you are neither gods or born gods, because God is just one and unique…the soul, infused by God, gives you aspirations and the way to become kings in Gods Kingdom and everlasting children of the Most High. This is your eternal and immeasurable price, treasure and joy (pgs. 348-349 “Cuadernos de 1845 a 1959” of Maria Valtorta (Italian mystic of the XXth), 1986, Pamplona, Spanish translation by Santiago Simón Orta).

Besides on the first letter of St. John we can read: “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when He appears, we shall be alike to Him, for we shall see him just as He is“ (I St. John 3, 2)


Once we have established, through reason and heart, that God exists, in order to answer to the problem of evil’s existence, we’ll do it with rationally and with arguments of the catholic faith. Let’s make a little comment based on reason: When we say that God isn’t good, it is because we are thinking: “I wouldn’t allow that!” and we are implicitly thinking that we are better than God. And yet, where would our goodness come from? As we are not the cause of our existence, we get our being from our parents and, in the end, from God, how can be better than our Origin and Ultimate Source? If we get our goodness from God, it is nonsense to say that God isn’t as good as us. If our goodness comes from God, God must have a higher goodness (He is infinitely higher than us since He is the only Good One). When we start from here, we can understand somehow the existence of evil:

Somehow, evil as real entity doesn’t have a real existence, and it is rather the absence of good, the lack of being. To make this clear, maybe this discussion between a teacher who wasn’t much of a believer and his pupils can help:  

This teacher asked his pupils: “Did God create all? –Indeed, answered the pupils. The teacher went on: “Does evil exist?. The pupils answered: -Yes. “ Then, God isn’t good or God doesn’t exist”- A pupil then asked  the teacher:- Does cold exist? The teacher answered: “Of course! We all know what cold is”. The pupil answered: -No, sir, the cold is the name we give to the lack of heat, what really exists is energy in the appearance of heat.- The pupil asked again: – Does darkness exist?- The teacher answered : “Yes, we all have the experience of it” The pupil answered: – No, sir, darkness doesn’t exist, it is the name we give to the absence of light.- Therefore,  evil doesn’t exist it is the name we give to the absence of God[2]. (We have to add that such absence is not due to God’s willingness to be absent, but to man’s free will, which rejects God. He respects such freedom by not imposing His presence).

Nevertheless, somebody could ask: Why did God create us free even to reject Him? Before giving an answer, let’s consider this:

There are two kinds of evil; physical evil such as sickness, natural catastrophes and so on and moral evil i.e. voluntary acts that go against our sense of good like murdering somebody.

Let us say, in the first place, that God is the Absolute Good and that in Him there isn’t a speck of evil: (on the other hand, faith says that God is Infinite Love).  Therefore, He cannot be the source of evil. Moreover, supposing that evil does exist, it cannot be an absolute evil. If God is almighty and infinitely good, everything must have some good, even the evil that exists, and that is a relative evil from which some good might come,  and it is good that God allows it, albeit it doesn’t come from Him.

Some atheists claim to not believe in God because they cannot conceive that He allows evil. But the conception they have about evil stems, in part, from their own atheism. For instance: some of them argue the suffering of innocent kids as an evil that cannot be allowed. The catholic faith doesn’t elude the problem but puts it under a different point of view. For instance, a lot of guiltless children, the Innocent Saints, were murdered by Herod, soon after the birth of Jesus Christ, as the Gospels tell us. But we call them innocent saints, because we believe that they are in Heaven, i.e., in a perfect and everlasting happiness. With such a scope, the short evil that they suffered -every terrestrial life is short compared with eternity- gave them an eternal and incomparable crown of glory. The biggest evil that can happen in this world and that is followed by eternal bliss is has the weight of a straw splinter.

Many atheists refuse to accept evil, the suffering of present life, because they don’t think, even for a moment, that a future and eternal life can exist.

It is like somebody traveling to his or her wedding to the woman or man of his or her heart on an old and uncomfortable train with cold weather, smoke, hard seats, a.s.o.

The joy of getting near his or her happy destination makes that he or she almost forgets the discomfort of travel, the same as the man living out a life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, hoping to arrive in Heaven, accepts, even with joy, the hardships of this world:  Once that S. Francis of Asissi was suffering a lot, he said: “I’m expecting so many good things from my pains that I even enjoy them” and St Therese of the Child Jesus, who died very young and after having suffered a lot, says in her autobiography that one day, at night, when she had her first vomit of blood “she couldn’t believe her joy”, because, she was so much in love with God, the perspective of death filled her with joy instead of sadness. Many martyrs have died singing, in spite of the big torments they were suffering.

On the other hand, if one travels on a luxurious train, with every comfort,  but knowing  that at the end of the trip he must be hanged or go to  prison, he will not enjoy any of the joys of the journey, because he is deeply distressed  by  the death penalty or the prison sentence that are coming his way: So, one who, being a believer, lives against Jesus Christ’s teaching and against his conscience, vaguely assuming that his death is outside God’s grace, suspecting hell as goal, lives as an embittered person among all the pleasures of life or one, who being not a believer, expects nothing at the end of his life, has a feeling of void and despair, even if he tries to fill this void with interesting things.

Thus, for the man that lives according to his conscience, the bad things of the present are bearable in the hope of future salvation and the present and false good things are heavy when one fears nothing or condemnation. If we give a bitter medicine to a sick child, he will cry, because it doesn’t taste good but, once he is healed, he will thank the bitter taste of the concoction. The blessed people in Heaven remember with joy all the troubles they had on earth that brought them such happiness. Therefore, the bad things that righteous people suffer are relative, and the prize is absolute goodness. On the other hand, the good enjoyed by not repenting sinners has no taste at all in comparison with the eternal condemnation that is the worst that can be conceived by them.

Nevertheless, we have a lot of questions about this subject: Being infinitely good and almighty, how can He allow evil? How can God allow that some people be damned for all eternity?

In order to answer both questions, let’s say that God, who is infinitely mighty, has created us free, with a free will and that He is absolutely respectful of such a freedom created and allowed by Him, in such a way that we can say that His omnipotence is limited, willingly limited, by the free decisions of men. Yet, sometimes, men decide to do bad things, sometimes, men sin and revolt against love, against good, against truth, against God. Here we have the source of all bad things, of all evil: the use of freedom in order to act wrong, to sin. As we shall see, physical evil also comes from sin. And moral evil, sin, comes from the bad use of freedom.

The reason of freedom and moral evil

Moral evil, the most important one, comes from intelligent and free beings that can therefore disobey God’s laws. God has made all good. And evil, moral evil only comes from the disobedience of God’s law, of His Holy Will. Thus, all moral evil originates from the wrong use of freedom.

Somebody will say then: why has God made us free?: Let’s imagine man were not free: in such a case, he would be like an automat animal and he would  act following the laws of instinct in everything, like an unconscious and irresponsible machine that had been programmed in order to act  this or that way, without any merit in doing so. Man couldn’t then act with moral evil but neither would he be able to act properly. He would be like the animals and he wouldn’t have any merit, he wouldn’t be able to earn the happiness of paradise, as animals do not deserve heaven. On the other hand, he would neither deserve hell, because all he would do, would be following  the laws of instinct, natural laws that he would necessarily have to follow. 

This is why God has made man free in order that he can deserve heaven by acting properly. Therefore, freedom is a good thing that allows us to reach heaven. God has made man in His image and likeness and, therefore, free and able to really act the right way, he is not only able to act like bees do, making honey, without freedom to disobey God’s or Nature laws, following them automatically, but he can act freely and look for the right way to act. He can also not do it, if it is hard for him to do right, he can act, not as a machine without merit, but as free being that accomplishes a moral rightness that puts him near to God, who acts well in a free way.

Thus, freedom is a good thing since it gives us the possibility to act properly -not as machines or animals- and to be like God. In a similar way, light is a good thing but has the counterpoint of darkness. Our freedom to act the right way has the counterpoint that a free being can also do evil. He can use his freedom, which is good, in order to sin and do wrong. Nobody will deny it is nice to have a leg or an arm, even if arm or leg can be used to do bad things. Here we have the source of moral evil, the negative use of freedom that is a good thing in itself.

Physical evil

As for physical evil, it is a consequence of moral evil: it is the punishment or expiation of moral evil (e.g. Adam and Eve are expelled from Paradise after having sinned or king David, after committing adultery with the wife of one of his soldiers and having him killed, is punished by God with the death of his youngest son – as prophet Nathan tells him). And this can be also allowed by God on innocent people, in order that, through their suffering, united with Jesus Christ's, they procure salvation for other sinners (Saint Therese of Lisieux, for instance, offered her life for sinners and suffered a lot, dying very young, although apparently she never committed a mortal sin).

But in spite of the existence of moral and physical evil in the world, absolute evil doesn’t exist, because God always extracts good from bad, by using the suffering of men for His own eternal rightness. Even a sinner dying without repenting and, therefore, condemned to Hell is in a sense a good thing, because it shows His infinite justice which is also a side of His infinite kindness.

Moreover, that sinner has chosen condemnation somehow by himself, by rejecting God who is love and such a rejection of God is the essential trait of the unhappiness of condemnation. He has willingly rejected Love and, although God is infinitely good  and has died in Jesus for every man (He would do it again if it were useful or necessary) in such a way that we can somehow say that He loves us more than He loves Himself, He must also love Himself, in the mystery of beatific love of the Holy Trinity, above all His creatures, because He is  the infinite Rightness and Love. Therefore, Jesus Christ was in everything like man, except in sin.

For no reason will God be unfaithful to Himself, so that if somebody chooses hate instead of love, God turns His sacred face away from him, for love. Therefore, God, who is all powerful, for love and respect to His creature, will not violate its freedom so that, even the condemnation of someone that willingly wants to be condemned is inspired by Love, because God is Love itself.

God loves all that exists because, if He didn’t, all would be nothing again; God loves even men that are in hell (although in a subjective way we can say that they are at odds with God) but those, due to their free rejection of Love (i.e. of God), experience this love as horrible suffering. S. Thomas of Aquinas[3]says: “Sinners (that don’t repent) are loved by God, as men that they are, as beings that exist thanks to Him. But, as sinners, they don’t exist, because his being fails them and that doesn’t come from God”. (It is due to his free choice that they don’t reach the plenitude of being, or goodness, and it is only in this sense that we can say that God “hates” them).

Maria Benedicta Daiber, a woman who lived and died like a saint, illuminates us, with mystical intuition, about this matter:

“God never stops loving His creatures with infinite love. But the awful thing is that a lot of His creatures close themselves to such love, pursuing their vices and passions and they feel it like a burning fire…”[4]

Every evil is used by God to produce a good thing, and evil will not win forever but will be defeated; the infinite wisdom and kindness of God will shine everywhere and everything will be for a higher glory of God. Thus, the cruel death of Christ at the hands of pitiless men was evil, but through it, for the merits acquired by Jesus as a man, God made a wonderful thing: salvation of all men who love Him.

Although the mystery of evil can be partly understood as far as daily life goes, it is very difficult to be accepted at the existential level. The believer joins the infinite love of Jesus for us in his Passion an Death on the cross and he can so stand all suffering with peace, trust and hope. But not without sometimes imploring at the limit of pain: “O, God, why am I forsaken by You?” Hoping that such suffering, united to the pain of the forsaken Jesus, and by His infinite merits, give him, his brothers and even his enemy’s everlasting happiness beyond all words.

[2]Heard from a young boy on Radio María (Spain) in August 2007. According to the words of the boy, the pupil that answered to the incredulous teacher was Albert Einstein, one of the geniuses of Modern Physics.

[3]S. Tomas  of Aquinas: “Suma Teológica”, I, First P., Ch. 20, art.2, answer to the second objection

[4]“Maria Benedicta Daiber” by Emilia García Martín, Barcelona, 1990; Pg.272. (Biography of this Chilean  woman with German ascendancy,  converted atheist who was living in Barcelona almost the 30 last years of her life, where she died in 1987).