Is god supernatural?: The conundrum of belief

In a previous update, I made a claim in passing that “If god can interact with the natural world, then god ceases to be supernatural.” That is, any interaction between any god and the natural world can be observed. Such observations would be integral to forming hypotheses, theories, and ultimately proof that god does exist. Of course, this would do little to prove what exactly god wants of us, but that’s neither here nor there.

This sets up a conundrum for people who claim that supernatural agencies such as gods exist. That is, A) either god interacts with the natural world and can, therefore, be observed and tested, or B) god is supernatural and (to take the Deist route) remains supernatural by not interacting with the natural world. Until such a time that evidence can be gathered to support group A, the question of whether or not god exists is irrelevant. If evidence is impossible because the position is on B, then the question of whether or not god exists is also irrelevant.

Perhaps I’m being a little too narrow on the Deist model. There are some who claim that god created the universe, thus interacting with the natural world, but has since ceased its interaction with the universe. This necessarily implies that the evidence to support such a claim does indeed exist; we just haven’t discovered it yet. Unfortunately for them, this is not generally how science works. Usually (with very few, yet remarkable exceptions) we make observations and collect evidence prior to making a claim. Religion works the other way around, which is why it constantly must adapt to survive. Here the question is still irrelevant until we discover evidence.

I would imagine some might counter this argument by saying, “god is powerful enough to interact with us without leaving behind evidence.” There are two problems with this statement (actually three, if we include the first part of the claim, which is god does indeed exist). First, they are essentially saying that god is a natural being that can’t be observed. This creates a brand new conundrum. Why would any of us assume that natural phenomena lie permanently beyond the scope of inquiry? Wishful thinking, I suppose. Second, it is also saying that god cares enough about us to interact with us, but not enough about us to prove it. This is precisely the moment when religious people turn to faith. It’s again more wishful thinking than anything else. They hope that god will reveal himself and therefore blindly accept that he will.

Let’s turn this back around on me, to be honest and fair. In the beginning of this post I made two claims that rest on the assumption that god does exist (I do not claim that god exists, however; I merely set the scope of my argument). The first is that if god interacts with the natural world, then god is not supernatural. The second is that if god is supernatural, then god does not interact with the natural world. Both of these are merely ideas. They don’t even qualify as hypotheses because I don’t claim an ability to test these ideas. Indeed, I have no reason to test them, and I don’t plan to do so. Instead these “claims” exist merely as fun things for believers to consider. The limit of my argument is that it cannot be proven and therefore is irrelevant. Unfortunately for me, religion doesn’t work that way.

About Rayan Zehn

I'm a political scientist.
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20 Responses to Is god supernatural?: The conundrum of belief

  1. Atheist arguments are always based on logical fallacies or false premises.

    “If god can interact with the natural world, then god ceases to be supernatural. That is, any interaction between any god and the natural world can be observed.”

    God who is omnipotent can indeed interact with the natural world just like an artist can interact with his work of art or a game maker interact with his own game.

    And God who is omnipotent may act being seen or unseen according to his will.

    Atheists always create God in their own image which means that God is always subject to the will of the atheist.

    That of course is another logical fallacy called circular thinking.

    • Rayan Zehn says:

      I think if you read the last paragraph you will see that I preemptively addressed your comment.

      • OMGosh!

        I’m thoroughly embarrassed!

      • Cerberus Black says:

        Mr Zehn, I do offer my apologies regarding your work as I did not realize that this was yours to begin with. I work a lot and was just reading the comments without realizing who’s work it really was. And so, I’m very sorry that I’ve atrbuted your work with someone whom obviously cannot think for themselves. As in, Silence of mind.

        Good day to you

      • Rayan Zehn says:

        I need to update the format of this page. The comments section can get confusing if more than two people reply to a thread.

    • laryter says:

      Say we came across an alien species so highly intelligent and beyond our wavelength of seeing that they could be seen or unseen as they wished (like your god). Would you call these things god? There are multiples, does that then refute your idea that there is one god or does it completely refute simply the idea of any god(s)? If you deny that these aliens are god, then you jeopardize your position in saying god is omnipotent. If an alien species can share the same characteristics as the god you claim exists, than that means god doesn’t exist as these things are beings who can be seen, discovered, measured, etc. Thus, it falls under the natural world and not of the supernatural. Lack of an explanation of anything does not mean god. Ever.

      • Lary,

        Aliens are science fiction.

        And science fiction cannot rationally be used to argue against reality or the real facts that have been revealed about reality.

        God is provably real through reason.

        Atheists wrongly and ridiculously insist on restricting proof of God’s existence to the scientific method.

        Science’s sole purpose is to discover how our material universe works.

        God is not material, he is spiritual.

        So using science on God is more ridiculous than trying to use the trunk of a tree to pick your nose.

      • laryter says:

        SOM-stop trolling. You waste your breath and limited brain cells while the rest of us have deep and intellectual discussions. If you’re not willing to see things from another perspective, then leave.

      • Cerberus Black says:

        This is an interesting point, Laryter. Though I cannot see the human species to ever develop that far, in the sense that we’re too childish and will eventually destroy ourselves. But, could it be possible that we’ve ever been visited?

        Perhaps in the past it is possible that this could be indeed the case, and your standing on the subject is sound, but… Thus far there is no evidence in which to support it.
        I do like your hypothesis though, and hope that you’ll expand on it. It’s a good argument.

        I hope that you didn’t find me insulting because I was just making my point in endeavor to reach, SOM, through realism. And realism has always been my calling.

        Have a good day

      • laryter says:

        I would certainly agree with the cynicism (which isn’t a bad thing, I see it as a part of realism) that we will eventually destroy ourselves. We are well on the way with the environment anyways. My hypothesis was founded on the idea that what would happen if we did meet some creature that met the credentials and personification of a god(s).

        And there is definitely no evidence for it. Except the potential for water on Mars, the water vapor on Europa, the approximate 90 expo planets that have the potential to be habitable. As is the case with looking into space, we are looking back in time. Thus, I think there is still some indirect evidence to base the hypothesis. We’ve just touched the very basic understandings of how the universe functions and we still have so much more to wrap our heads around. Like the neutrino–we can barely catch it because our technology is not yet that far ahead (as with the atoms years before).

        I appreciate the challenge! People need to be challenged in a constructive way: this is what science embraces. This is why peer review exists. There are inherent issues with the process, as there would be with anything. However, it is the best process we have thus far to evaluate our existence. Much better than saying the spaghetti monster did it;) Thanks for the discussion, Peace~

      • Cerberus Black says:

        Hi, Laryter.

        Regarding said creature:
        It is possible that such a creature would exist, but when one looks at our own world and observes a planet abound with competition for survival, and additionally with the human compulsion for war, rather leaves a bitter taste in favor of such elder civilians. But, could another world indeed have achieved this?… Perhaps it is possible, but it would have to be a world without the competition that exists hear on Earth.

        We as a spices have indeed progressed in our scope and understanding within the last 300 years, but there are still those that insist to set our civilization in reverse, and being overbearing as is the case, then we only have the dark ages to look forward too I suppose… I do not have any knowledge of others that my have lived on other worlds in the past, but I’ll bet that they’ve suffered the same fate that we ourselves eventually will suffer.

        And thus, our species regime of superiority will dwindle to dust.

        But if there are an older civilization within another solar system, I’ll bet it’s inhabited by some other conscious machines.

        Thank you, Laryter. I’ve rather enjoyed the conversation.

  2. Cerberus Black says:

    Silence of mind;

    Please, by all means prove to us beyond any shadow of doubt that your creator even exist. Can you? I doubt it.

    And no. There no alines visiting our earth, but I wouldn’t say that alien life is nonexistent in our own galaxy.

    • Black,

      According atheist physicists Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku, the universe happened all by itself.

      That everything happened all by itself, they claim, is what physics teaches.

      Of course that is ridiculous.

      It is obvious that everything has a cause.

      That is what science teaches and in fact, the scientific method would be an impossibility without the ordered and logical and predictable principle of cause and effect.

      So we can reason out the following:

      1. Every cause has an effect.
      2. If we follow the causes and effects back and back we arrive at the First Cause.
      3. That First Cause is God.

      This proof of God’s existence is infinitely more reasonable than the atheist doctrine of faith, that everything happened all by itself.

  3. Cerberus Black says:


    And according to you and many other theologians the god of the bible exists. Can you provide absolute proof to that assertion? You haven’t even convinced me of that assertion when it’s based on mere argument alone.

    Next, you seem to say that atheist assert that science teaches the claim that the universe suddenly flashed into existence, but then you want to direct my attention to the obvious fact of a universe of causality?

    Please direct my attention to the causality of god? Or did it not ever come to your attention that something else may have been responsible for the creation of this universe? That’s what science teaches, isn’t it?

    If you are going in an unbiased fashion then you don’t start at your comfort zone of: “god did it ” and then work in reverse to satisfy your beliefs, do you? No…
    You are not in any way in recognition of the scientific method if you’re coming with a concussion entirely based on the works of a synthetic religion of men. So if the universe wree to show you that something else were responsible, what then? Will you worship it instead of god?

    • Black,

      The Bible is a book of faith.

      Using a book of faith to prove the existence of God is circular thinking which is a logical fallacy.

      That is exists is a matter of reason, not religion.

  4. Cerberus Black says:


    But you still have to provide absolute proof to show your deity exists, logic or faith alone will never conger its existence. Can we at least agree upon that understanding? Otherwise , the only thing you’re left with is faith.

    • Black,

      In mathematics, for example, theorems are proven through reason only.

      Proofs in geometry start with what is called “givens” and then reason is used to work the proof.

      Physical proof is not possible because geometric proofs are 100% conceptual.

      The proofs (there are various) of the existence of God start with givens (facts) and then through reason the proof is worked out.

      Likewise, physical proof is unnecessary because God is spiritual.

      Consequently, the demand for physical proof is absurd.

  5. Cerberus Black says:


    You state:
    “The proofs (there are various)”

    But not an ounce of proof has been offered. What clear (facts) have been presented? If you are going to make a claim then you are the one who should back it up. Why, I can make the claim that a mighty unicorn made the universe, but without proof my claim is no more valid than that of your own. I’m sure you’ll never see this because you’ve already started with god and are working backwards to satisfy your own conclusion, and that’s not how science works.

    This is why proof is indeed a necessity in order for you to recognize any truth within our reality. So, the real absurdity would be to not rely on physical proof. And you have already said that within your own argument:

    “I made two claims that rest on the (assumption) that god does exist (I do not claim that god exists, however; I merely set the scope of my argument).”

    And, your right. Your spiritual claim is (irrelevant) because of your assurance that said deity exists, even if you insist that it only qualifies as just (spiritual) you still have no evidence to bring to anyone’s attention.

    Philosophy works that way because it allows you to say whatever you wish with the answers of, yes, no, and maybe. I don’t work that way at all.

    • Black,

      In order to become an atheist, a person must give up there ability to reason.

      That is because atheism is a 100% faith-based belief (I can prove that too).

      Consequently any use of reason will be invisible to you.

      My three sentence proof of the existence of God is a classical argument that is over 2500 years old.

      My humble contribution to our Western Heritage is to boil the argument down to only 3 sentences.

  6. Cerberus Black says:

    Silence, you said:
    “In order to become an atheist, a person must give up their ability to reason.”

    And you’ve already have done that with your own argument, so the point is? So sorry, but you have that statement in reverse.

    And it’s because theology is 100% faith based. And you have already provided 100% proof for that it is.

    “Consequently any use of reason will be invisible to you.”

    You’re right, silence. Any and all reasoning will escape every fiber of your being, because you’ve already closed your mind, and can never know what it really means to reason anything.

    “My three sentence proof of the existence of god is a classical argument that is 2500 years old.”

    And proves nothing. As in, argument only. And since you’ve based your entire argument on mere (assumption) alone has destroyed your own argument completely. Epicurus has the better one.

    “Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him god?

    Again, here’s what you’ve said:
    “I made two claims that rest on the “assumption” that god does exist (I do not claim that god exists, however, I merely set the scope of my argument).”

    So, the only thing you’ll ever have is assumption alone – with no answers.

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