Francis Rose asked:

I am taking an introductory metaphysics course in which our first unit is entitled “Who is God?”. One point in my textbook that stood out to me was the author’s statement that “indisputably” if God truly exists in both understanding and reality, then God “must be invisible”. Given how much is questioned in the discipline of metaphysics, why must we blindly accept God as being invisible? What formal proof or logic do we have that indicates that God cannot be a visible entity in reality? Perhaps if God exists, God is visible, and part of our struggle as humans is to be open to seeing God. As an aside, I am not religiously persuaded either for or against the existence of God. I am simply curious about how to approach this question from a philosophical standpoint.

Answer by Gideon Smith-Jones

It’s 23:30 here in the UK but I don’t want to let International Blasphemy Day pass without something being said against God.

Of course God is invisible. What you mean by ‘seeing’ God is something like religious revelation which isn’t literal seeing. Your author means literal seeing. If you could literally see God — not just see God in the sense of seeing some physical event that God has caused but see God as God then God would have to be an entity in the physical world.

If God is an entity in the physical world then a whole load of things that are believed about God can’t be true — being infinite, for example, or omniscient (a physical entity’s knowledge of other physical entities depends on cause and effect, which involves forming hypotheses that are increasingly difficult to verify with certainty).

But isn’t Christ God according to Christian doctrine? Only if you mean something weirdly peculiar by ‘is’, which no theologian to date has successfully explained. ‘I believe because I don’t understand’ (I believe because it’s nonsense) just about sums it up.

If I said I believed in invisible aliens who were with me all the time, observing me, giving an undetectable ‘push’ every now and then to help things along, I would be considered a candidate for a lunatic asylum. Yet this is exactly what millions, or billions, believe about the entity they call ‘God’. So strong is this belief that in some countries you can be put to death for expressing opposition to it.

‘Lots of things we justifiably believe in are invisible,’ a believer may say. The number five. Justice. Gravity or magnetism (you can only see their effects). Well if you’re saying that God is a concept or an abstract object then forget about any notion of God having any physical effect on the world (least of all being able to ‘create’ it). If you are saying that God is like a physical force, that would be fine if you have a testable theory to back it up — including proof of God’s alleged properties. Oh, but I forgot, bang goes infinitude, etc.

The God hypothesis is a crackpot theory which no reasonable human being ought to believe in. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what millions and billions continue to do. Unreason still rules — and will continue to rule until we blasphemers do something effective about it.