I don’t know if this will go anywhere interesting, but…
Discussions about proving the existence of God often simply assume that the notion of “proving something” is clear and simple. But is it?
The question that follows may be too general, but consider it just the beginning of the inquiry.
What does it take to prove something?
When one looks at the variations on “the five ways” of Aquinas as instances of (attempts, at least at) proofs for the existence of God, it looks as though what is sought is a sound argument that has “There is a God” or “God exists”, or something equivalent, as its conclusion. Logic texts, and Intro to Philosophy texts typically define “sound argument” as an argument in which all of the premises are true and is valid.
If what it takes to prove something is a sound argument for that something, the following would be a proof that I currently live in a state in the United States that has 67 counties:
1. If the state Elizabeth currently resides in is Pennsylvania, then the state Elizabeth currently resides in has 67 counties.
2. The state Elizabeth currently resides in is Pennsylvania.
3. The state Elizabeth currently resides in has 67 counties.
The above is a sound argument that has as its conclusion the statement that the state I currently live in has 67 counties.
Is this a proof of the conclusion? If not, what would make it a proof of that conclusion, or, if the example is not even close to being a proof, what would it take to prove that conclusion?