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Do We Need ‘God’?

David Cowles

Dec 1, 2023

“Does the idea of a Supreme Being make you uncomfortable? No problem; just will it away!”

When I was growing up, very few people outside of academia would state categorically, “I don’t believe in God!” – i.e., I don’t believe that God exists. Today, that number has risen sharply, and ever fewer people are willing to state without reservation, “There is a God; I’m certain of it!”

Since the so-called ‘Dawning of the Age of Enlightenment’, there has been a consensus among the cognoscenti that it is impossible to ‘prove’, logically or empirically, that ‘God exists’. Human beings are a marvel! The things we can make ‘intelligence’ do for us! Does the idea of a Supreme Being make you uncomfortable? No problem; just will it away! And we’ve done just that: “God’s dead!” in case you hadn’t heard.

It’s completely understandable. Over the past 300 years, we’ve learned orders of magnitude more than we knew before about human physiology, neurology, and psychology. We understand now that we are the product of astrobiology and evolution. We understand that we are a speck on a speck on a speck in an unimaginably vast cosmos. We understand that we are not unique and that we share the planet with millions of other species, some of them very much like us (> 90% DNA match).

We’ve taken off the training wheels; we think we don’t need God (or parents) anymore, and maybe we’re right. Whatever it is that we are, we can pretty much explain it in terms of other things that are. What we still can’t explain is how it is that we, or anything else for that matter, are at all! I’m not talking meiosis and mitosis, the birds and the bees, and I’m not talking about ‘negative vacuum pressure’ either. I’m talking about something much more fundamental. I’m talking about Being per se, the existence that must necessarily underlay every essence – It is

The existentialists, perhaps unwittingly, solved this dilemma for us. Heidegger contrasted Wassein (what it is) with Dasein (that it is). Sartre expressed roughly the same concept by contrasting Etre (being) with Neant (negation). 

After ‘Aquinas and the Scholastics’ broke up, the world literally lost interest in ‘existence’. It was the day, the music, and the magic, died. Humanity decided to go all in on ‘essence’. ‘Pseudo-Machiavelli’ says it best: “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead! Make it work, make it work now, and make it work efficiently. Slavery, colonialism, war, climate change and species extinctions – they’re simply means to an end. Besides, they’re existential concerns, so who cares? Excuse me now; there’s a shipment of human cargo I must inspect. If all goes well, I’ll make a ton on this lot.”

For 300 years, we lost our heads. It took ‘Einstein, Heisenberg, and Bohr’ to rediscover the music of the spheres. Things are better now, but the Enlightenment still casts a long shadow – get it, ‘enlightenment, long shadow’?

But back to God. Of course, God exists! I mean, “Hello!”…but it’s become unfashionable to point to the beauty and complexity of the world in an effort to ‘demonstrate’ the reality of God. It smacks of Creationism and Intelligent Design, and no one wants that, do they? So let’s just see how it all plays out:

Look, I’ll spot you Wassein (‘the kingdoms of this world’): you can have every what-is that is, but you’ve got to give me just one thing in return: Dasein, that it is. (Note: there is only one Dasein, shared by all entities; unique expressions of Wassein are innumerable.) 

So where does this leave us on the matter of God? Here’s where your Wassein comes back into the picture. Check it out. What’s happening right now is the product of what once was on its way to becoming what will be. ‘Be Here Now’ (Ram Dass) doesn’t cut it in your world. 

You can’t account for your Present without bringing in Past and Future; in fact, your Present is just a vanishingly small and ill-defined region separating the two. It is not ‘the ground of all Being’, it is ‘the absence of all Being’, the null set ø that is a subset of every set.

As we shall soon see, all pasts are separated from all futures, but not by some sort of fuzzy, mystical Present. Every event is separated from every other event: Event A ends with its ‘objective immortality’, its ‘superject’, its ‘face’ projected onto the world; Event B begins by executing judgement on Event A as part of everything that is (B’s world). So your Present belongs both to the Past and the Future…as a terminal point of each. 

In your world (Wassein), Past (what once was) and Future (what will be) do not exist here and now, yet your world could not exist without them. So where are they? Wassein only happens in the context of a real past and a real future. So again, “Show me!”  

Science Fiction is confronting this problem with the concepts of time travel and wormholes. But Judeo-Christian Scripture solved it millennia ago. In the Book of Exodus (3:6), YHWH says to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Jesus quotes Exodus, then adds a gloss: “He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22: 32) Therefore, from God’s perspective, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are just as much alive as Moses. From God’s perspective, the entire course of cosmic history, from Bang to Whimper (Eliot), occurs in the Present.

God is no respecter of time. Why should he be? God exists outside of time; he is eternal. To God, Past and Future are both Now! God is the ‘eternal Present’ in which all things are. What to us appears spread out over many billions of years is simultaneous to and in God. Therefore, God ‘is’ Dasein, not ‘what it is’ but ‘that it is’. This is the sense in which we can say that God is Creator. 

Dasein is ineffable; it admits no predicates. The first rule of Fight Club is that you can never talk about Fight Club. The moment you posit a predicate, you re-enter the realm of Wassein. Pretty radical, I’ll grant you…but at least we’re in good company. Moses, Jesus, and now Parmenides: the father of Western science and philosophy came to a similar conclusion independently…2500 years ago. 

Paramenides posited two realms of Being, Doxa, the world of appearances (Wassein), and Aletheia, the world of truth (Dasein). Doxa rests on Aletheia. Like Dasein, Aletheia is ineffable. My precocious but sexist little brother pastes it on his bedroom door: ‘No Predicates or Girls Allowed’. Science has made enormous strides toward describing our world (Doxa) and explaining how this world came to be the way it is, negative vacuum pressure and all. Roger Penrose calls it The Road to Reality

But we’re asking an entirely different question. We’re asking how it is that anything, regardless of what it is, is - including negative vacuum pressure. Anyone can tell you ‘How the tiger got its stripes’; but not everyone can say how it is that there are such things as ‘tigers’ and ‘stripes’.  

More basically, how is it that there is such a thing as ‘is’? (We could ask Bill Clinton.) We are looking for the universal ‘is’ that logically precedes every ‘it’. We ask, “What is it to be, period?” Proposed: “If you could abstract ‘being’ from everything that ‘is’, you’d be left with God.” Dasein without Wassein. The sound of one hand clapping.

To be is to be present, and to be present is to be ‘present’ both to self and to others. Presence to oneself is what we call consciousness, however dim it may be. Presence is existence. To God, everything that is…is here and now. God doesn’t give a dime for time! Embedded within God’s ‘universal and eternal Now’, there are innumerable ‘local nows’ and embedded in many of those ‘local nows’ are other ‘local nows’; the process continues ad nauseum, like Russian Nesting Dolls. 

For example, the process of typing out this essay is what’s ‘now’ from my perspective. This ‘local now’ automatically designates its own Past (assignment or inspiration) and its own Future (publication or rejection). But whatever lies outside my ‘now’, i.e., my Past and my Future, exists nonetheless because it is present to God, i.e., it is part of God’s Now…even if it is not part of mine. That’s why we can say that there is (not was or will be) a Past and a Future!

That’s what we mean by ‘God’. When we say that God created the heavens and the earth, we mean that God is the Eternal Now (heaven) that is the precondition of every local now (earth). If there is no God, there is no Eternal Now, and then there are no ‘local nows’, and then there is no World. 

Every local now is a subset of the universal Now. To be an element in any local (spatiotemporal) now is to be an element in the universal (eternal) Now. Therefore, as Parmenides, Moses, and Jesus realized, there is no such thing as coming to be or perishing. Everything is or is not, period. “O Death, where is thy sting?” 

So, of course, we can know that God exists!  To those who say we can’t prove it, try this: 

  1. Every event (every now) must intersect with its past and its future, i.e., it must at least be tangent to both.

  2. By definition, neither Past nor Future exist now. Therefore, no event (no now) can occur, and there can be no world. 

  3. But we know that events do occur and that there is a world. Therefore, there must be an event in which all other events are embedded and whose past and future are both ø. This Uber-event will include the events that form the pasts and the futures of all other events, freeing those events to happen.

Descartes famously wrote, “I think therefore I am.” He was right, but he didn’t go far enough. He should have said, “I think therefore I am; I am, therefore God is.” Still not convinced? Ok, then, do you endorse the teachings of Pseudo-Machiavelli (above)? Of course not, but then how do you combat them?


David Cowles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Aletheia Today Magazine. He lives with his family in Massachusetts where he studies and writes about philosophy, science, theology, and scripture. He can be reached at


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