Robert J. SPITZER. New Proofs for the Existence Of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010. Pp. 320. $28.00 pb. ISBN 0802863833.
Reviewed by Timothy BEEHLER, Lourdes University, 43560

Robert Spitzer proposes to tie together modern advances in science with theological arguments for the existence of God using contemporary theories from the realm of physics, as well as both classical and modern philosophical and metaphysical proofs. Spitzer postulates that science has led the discussion back to God (2). To this end, he provides a logical roadmap that easily flows between (both forward and back) pertinent scientific discoveries and the philosophical arguments related to them, as he states:

“When [scientific] discoveries are allowed to complement traditional proofs for the existence of God, they provide a remarkable rational foundation for the existence of a unique, unconditioned, unrestricted, absolutely simple, super-intelligent, continuous Creator of all else that is” (3). Although he starts from the assumption that a transcendent reality (being) must exist, he is able to maintain a working objectivity that bases each discovery and claim in physical proofs. The major strength in this method lies in his balance of tangible and spiritual claims. By first stating the claims of each discovery and enumerating both the strengths and weakness therein, Spitzer allows the arguments to speak for themselves without bias.

Spitzer concisely presents his findings in accordance with his thesis and constructs arguments to proceed through a rational process, building a foundation for the existence of God through a posteriori methodology. The preliminary chapters integrate science and philosophy by examining scientific theories that imply the existence of God and bolstering these findings with philosophical arguments. Initially, he uses data from Big Bang cosmology to bring the origins of the universe under scientific scrutiny (chapter 1). Chapter three reinforces this procedure by using metaphysical arguments for the unique, unconditioned reality required to create – conditioned reality cannot exist except that an unconditioned reality also exists by which conditioned reality has its being. In like manner, chapter two provides probative rationale for this unconditioned reality as “Super-intelligence,” using data supporting the extreme improbability of chance forces creating anthropic conditions within the confines of a finite universe. Chapter four proceeds to support this claim by insisting that a “Super-intelligence” must necessarily be “unrestrictedly intelligible, implying that it is an absolutely unique unrestricted act of understanding – understanding itself” (109).

Although this book can help answer questions of doubt surrounding the existence of God, give insight into many scientific inquiries for the existence of God, and introduce both classical and modern philosophical approaches to the question of the existence of God, the novice, in either science or philosophy, will do well to start elsewhere. Though Spitzer does his best to present the arguments and findings of scientists and philosophers in a way comprehendible to the layperson, the equations and proofs presented in this work can become cumbersome and at times overwhelming. Through thorough investigation and explanation of the procedures involved in the proofs presented, Spitzer, at times, labors over multitudinous theories to support his claims. Thus, while well grounded, the complexity of the arguments will be beyond the preparation of some readers.

In the end, the author stays true to his thesis and procedure, revealing a corroboration of the leading scientific theories and philosophies in supporting a reasonable claim for the existence of God. Though purely physical proof will not suffice, the procedure demonstrates John Henry Newman’s theory of informal inference: a “ground[ing] in the convergence of a multiplicity of probabilistic evidential bases” (23). By this means, Spitzer presents “proofs” which demand thoughtful investigation by even the most rigid skeptic.

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