The most famous, passionately argued, longest-running debate

angry_carlos_hernandez_landeroIn June 2005 I delivered my lecture “If you can read this I can prove God exists” and posted it on my website.

Today, I have to thank a brotherhood of evangelical atheists for making it world-famous. It became the longest-running, most viewed thread on the largest atheist discussion board in the world.

They never successfully countered it.

A few months after I posted my talk, a gentleman named Rob sent me an email that said, “I see right through your sophistry and pseudoscience…” and an intense discussion began.

After a couple of weeks he got flustered, so he went to the largest atheist discussion board in the world, Infidels. He posted a link to my talk and basically said, ‘be nice to this guy while you rip him to shreds.’

I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t nervous. I was nervous. (Wouldn’t you be?) One of me, dozens of them. One slip of the foot and they’d eviscerate my sorry carcass like a pack of wolverines.

If you’ve spent any time on Infidels, you’ve seen – it’s not like those guys are real big on manners. The anger and hostility is so thick you can cut it with a knife. The Infidels website is six thousand pages of rage and spitting vitriol.

It’s do-or-die time. If there’s a hole in my theory, sooner or later these guys will find it.

And I really did fear that at some point someone would pin me down on some technicality. Or at the very least, that I would screw up or say something I didn’t mean and there would be some disaster I’d have to recover from.

Nope. That’s not what happened. What happened was actually a little surprising.

Let’s just say… they used to intimidate me. They don’t anymore.

I called their bluff.

Before this happened, I couldn’t have imagined that any group of self-respecting, educated men and women would actually try to tell me that DNA isn’t really a code. But that’s exactly what they did. (It is formally, scientifically and literally a code. See explanation here.)

They tried to tell me DNA was not a code – then tried to tell me a snowflake is a code – at the very same time!

They mocked me for taking science books and dictionaries literally. They called me every name in the book. One guy got so furious that the moderator had to delete his posts and ban him from the forum.

But after years of trying, they have not punched a single hole in the argument.


The argument begins with an open question “Did DNA come from natural processes, or was it designed?” and it goes like this:

1. The pattern in DNA is a code (by definition)

2. All other codes we know the origin of are designed (by observation)

Therefore we can explore five possible conclusions:

a) Humans designed DNA
b) Aliens designed DNA
c) DNA occurred randomly and spontaneously
d) There must be some undiscovered law of physics that creates information*
e) DNA was Designed by a Superintelligence, i.e. God.

(a) requires time travel or infinite generations of humans. (b) could well be true but only pushes the question back in time. (c) may be a remote possibility, but it’s not a scientific explanation because it doesn’t refer to a systematic, repeatable process. It’s nothing but an appeal to luck. (d) could be true but no one can form a testable hypothesis until someone observes a naturally occurring code.* So the only systematic explanation that is consistent with science is (e) a theological one.


3. To the extent that scientific reasoning can prove anything, DNA is proof of design.


That’s it. That’s the argument. It’s that simple.

It’s so elegant, it’s irrefutable. It’s airtight.

There is nowhere for the atheist to go, except to say “I don’t know.”

Which is the truth. We don’t know, we can only infer.

All these guys understand that once they admit they don’t know, I’ll say, “Congratulations. Welcome to the world of agnosticism. Honest inquiry is now possible.”

Die-hard members of Infidels are profoundly committed to their atheist beliefs. They are just as devout as members of any religious sect. They won’t go there.

So they just endlessly argue that DNA really isn’t a code…. or it’s only a code in our imaginations…. or that rocks and snowflakes and cosmic rays are codes. Or that it’s not permissible for rational people to draw these sorts of silly conclusions.

I spent five years answering every single question and addressing every objection. I posted an exhaustive Q&A summary at You can click to six different pages that carefully address all the major arguments.

I noticed that one by one, the ‘smart ones’ dropped out. The moderator refuses to answer any of my questions, even though I’ve answered every single one of his.

One guy said, “If you quote Hubert Yockey one more time, I’m going to scratch your eyes out.”

One guy, screen name “Robert Webb” eventually showed up. He’s an atheist but he’s also a computer programmer and he called them on it. He said, “Perry’s definitions are correct, points #1 and #2 are right and you’re never going to prove him wrong.” They lashed out at him for saying that, and accused him of secretly arguing my side.

So far as I can tell, most of the ones who are still hanging in there haven’t actually read or listened to my presentation. They just go around in circles and call me names.

I stop by every few months and answer questions. Meanwhile this has become the most viewed, longest-running thread in the history of Infidels.

I have proven God exists, and… the place where this has been most thoroughly articulated is the largest atheist website in the world.

I love it!

God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?

I’ve learned a lot from this. In no particular order, here’s what I’ve observed:

1. When people are backed into a corner and do not want to change their beliefs. They go into denial. No amount of logic, evidence, scientific findings or proof can change their minds. I guess somehow I had thought that if you put enough peer-reviewed, non-controversial textbooks, definitions and examples in front of them they would admit that I could be right.

Nope… not the case. If someone doesn’t want to believe something, there is nothing you can do to change their minds.


2. Most people do not know that science is based on inference. The idea that there is a law of gravity is inferred from 100% consistent observations. You can’t literally prove it. Belief in all scientific laws rests on faith in something you cannot prove: Namely, that the universe operates according to fixed discoverable laws.

3. Many people also do not know that the core belief of science – that the universe operates according to fixed discoverable laws – was originally a religious idea. To the best of my knowledge, this idea was first introduced 3000 years ago by Solomon, who wrote “Thou hast ordered all things in weight and number and measure.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:21)

4. People who are well informed about things like the inner workings of computer systems – hardware and software engineers, for example – almost never challenge me on Information Theory. When I gave three different lectures at Lucent Technologies / Bell Labs, for example (the company where Claude Shannon first developed information theory), nobody accused me of applying the theory incorrectly.

The ones who argue are science wannabes, not professionals. People who think that watching the Discovery Channel or the latest Evolution show on PBS makes their opinions scientific.

5. When people feel threatened they abandon facts and resort to name-calling and emotional tirades. They accuse you of practicing “pseudoscience” and they say that you’re an “idiot” and a “creationist”.

They quote passages from the latest Richard Dawkins bestseller as though it were a Holy Book.

6. The real reason some people believe that life was caused by random accident is they have a very, very hard time fathoming that an all-knowing God would allow the world to be so messed up. This is a moral judgment, not a scientific position. “Accidents happen, therefore it’s all an accident.”

This at least appears to relieve them of having to explain why there is evil in the world. (Perhaps that’s true. But the problem is, it leaves them with no objective definition of what is good.)

7. Theologians gave birth to science in the middle ages. People who believed the world operated according to fixed, discoverable laws, began to search for those laws. People like Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Mendel, Boyle, Maxwell and even Einstein saw science as a way of studying the mind of God.

Science itself got started in ancient Rome, Greece, China and in Islam – but it never went anywhere in those cultures. Why? I would like to suggest that none of those cultures had a theology that described a systematic universe. But Christianity did teach that the universe was systematic and discoverable and that’s why science succeeded in the West after failing everywhere else.

8. Because of my websites and, I have had literally thousands upon thousands of email conversations with people about science, religion, morality, and all of kinds of deep questions. People from literally every single country in the world, every religion, every race and belief system you can imagine.

And I can assure you – NOBODY argues more stridently than the atheists. Nobody.

Militant atheism is most zealous form of religious fundamentalism in the world today. And yes, based on all my conversations and experiences I do classify atheism as an extremist religion. I’ve heard all the usual objections to that but I just don’t buy them. Modern atheism is not the least bit interested in discovering the truth, it’s only interested in making disciples.

A common stereotype of Muslims, for example, is that they are dogmatic and belligerent. But almost none of the Muslims I have ever encountered are actually like that! Atheists overwhelmingly are.

They’re combative and not only do they fail to show respect, they display burning contempt and derision for religious people. Atheists are more dogmatic about what they believe than anyone else I’ve ever encountered. Again, that’s my own experience from answering thousands of emails and debating in the Infidels forum.

9. Many people perceive science and religion as being in a war with each other. It’s a false war that has been largely invented and perpetrated by a tiny minority of extremely angry people. These people have perpetrated a lot of myths, too – for example they tell you that people believed the earth was flat until 500 years ago.

Wrong. People have known the earth was round for 2500 years.

You may not have known that prior to the mid- to late-1800’s there was far less hostility between science and religion. Yes there are the Galileo vs. the Church stories, but we have an exact reversal of that today: Scientists who are persecuted by secular institutions because of their religious beliefs. I predict that some day the present hostility will subside.

10. Atheists are very good at going on the attack. But they are astonishingly weak when they are called to defend what they believe (i.e. that life was a random accident; that the big bang happened for no particular reason at all; that there’s an infinite number of other universes somewhere.) I’ve found that when I press them for answers, they usually at some point suddenly vanish, never to return.

PZ Myers, a very popular biologist, author and prominent atheist spokesman (he is referenced more than 200,000 times on the Internet and was a featured speaker at many Atheist conferences) subscribed to my email series. He sent me an email. He said:

“You’re insane, and you’re ignorant. You can stop sending me your foolish twaddle, your info is now in my filters.”

I kindly asked him if I could post his name and his comments on my website. No response.

That’s it. Total refusal to engage.

You know why?

Because he knows he can’t win.

[I debated PZ on the Unbelievable radio program in 2015. Listen at].

I realize that I am not being terribly kind to atheism here (though I am not being unkind to anyone either). The atheist belief system needs to be punched in the face by people of all beliefs, and forced to account for itself. The infidels debate and this website is an open challenge for atheists to provide evidence for the things they believe in.

Tossing around words like “rational inquiry” and “science” and “non-sequitur” is no substitute for sound reasoning, actual practice of science, and the use of logic.

If atheism is going to wear the robe of science and reason, it’s time for us to expect it to answer science questions, not evade them. We need to demand reasons, not non-reasons. Open factual discussion, not name-calling and childish behavior from anonymous cowards.

And… if the atheist doesn’t know, let’s allow him to admit he doesn’t know, and be kind to him when he makes that admission.

And once he is open to following the evidence wherever it leads, let us welcome him into the world of honest and rational inquiry.

Perry Marshall

P.S.: I used to say: “If you doubt what I am saying here – go to the Infidels site and see for yourself. Read every single post in the 5+ year thread.” (They took it down and refused my requests to make it public. Screen shot at Read every reference you can find to this anywhere on the Internet. If after that you still think that my argument has been dismantled by the Infidels and I’m doing a cover-up job, then come back here and post your questions. Please read the FAQ first.

*P.P.S.: I have a multi-million dollar prize for Origin Of Information at

322 Responses

  1. vachan k.v says:

    To perry
    what is random mutation meant by you?
    see friend dorzilla fly experiment aim was not create a better fly but to study how
    a gene repairs itself from genetic damage and to study gene
    firing radiation towards a creature in aim of creating a better organisms
    is non sense
    1)radiation damages the gene sequence so it won’t lead to a better organisms
    even i say evolution only through random mutation is not possible
    there are other factors which i mentioned
    i gave you an example too
    y we humans evolved from apes??
    its not random mutation its because of our diet

  2. vachan k.v says:

    mr perry
    you challeneged me r8 heres ur answer
    random mutations can be helpful in some circumstances
    Although most mutations that change protein sequences are harmful, some mutations have a positive effect on an organism. In this case, the mutation may enable the mutant organism to withstand particular environmental stresses better than wild-type organisms, or reproduce more quickly. In these cases a mutation will tend to become more common in a population through natural selection.

    For example, a specific 32 base pair deletion in human CCR5 (CCR5-Δ32) confers HIV resistance to homozygotes and delays AIDS onset in heterozygotes.[35] The CCR5 mutation is more common in those of European descent. One possible explanation of the etiology of the relatively high frequency of CCR5-Δ32 in the European population is that it conferred resistance to the bubonic plague in mid-14th century Europe. People with this mutation were more likely to survive infection; thus its frequency in the population increased.[36] This theory could explain why this mutation is not found in Africa, where the bubonic plague never reached. A newer theory suggests that the selective pressure on the CCR5 Delta 32 mutation was caused by smallpox instead of the bubonic plague

  3. vachan k.v says:

    For your kind information
    new strain can come to existance by
    random mutation
    genetic recombination
    u just mentioned the first part

  4. vachan k.v says:

    whoz the decoder for DNA?

  5. vachan k.v says:
  6. vachan k.v says:

    DNA is like a blueprint or instruction manual for our body??
    so lets compare DNA to the blueprint of your house
    when your architect had plans to build your house
    he must be having the blueprint right
    what will be there in the blue print
    diagrams or 0s and 1s
    to build something
    the architects plan should be in decoded from
    if it is coded form then it will not make any sense to anyone unless some decodes it
    now lets take example of our DNA in its raw form
    ggg does this word make any sense no
    but when you decode this this makes lot of sense
    the person who decoded right is you
    so when you see a snowflake
    it wont make any sense
    but when you decode it
    you get overwellming information about temperature,droplet size,altitude etc
    decode here in the sense is the explanation given
    what does DNA represent???
    what does a snowflake represent????

  7. vachan k.v says:

    avida is programmed because there won’t be biochemical laws spotaneously coming out of computer programs so to govern evolution they used some sort of similar biochemical law

  8. vachan k.v says:

    Virtually all the “beneficial mutations” known are only equivocally beneficial,In bacteria, several mutations in cell wall proteins may deform the proteins enough so that antibiotics cannot bind to the mutant bacteria. This creates bacterial resistance to that antibiotic
    hmm i guess its it will be very benificial for a mutant bacteria than from the native ones because it has antibiotic resistance

  9. vachan k.v says:

    Vivid examples of beneficial mutations
    Antibiotic resistant bacteria – at least beneficial from the point of view of the bacteria.
    Radiation resistant fungi inside Chernobyl [1]
    “German Superboy”,[2] an individual example of a human mutation that not only doesn’t cause any visible disfigurement or impairment, but if anything will probably make it easier to maintain a muscular physique and/or low weight. These are characteristics that could be considered desirable in the modern day, when food is abundant.
    The ccr5-delta 32 mutation confers resistance, and to those with a double copy of the gene, immunity to HIV-1. [3][4]

  10. vachan k.v says:

    mr perry,
    it’s time to open your eyes and come out of misconceptions

  11. vachan k.v says:

    ok i read about why evil and suffering exists and also your friend mohammed’s
    lets think practically
    let’s say you bought a new toyota corolla, you paid me its price
    and you were on the way to your home
    suddenly boom!boom! your car got trashed
    then offcorse you will call me because you bought it from me
    so if i use mohammed theory then what will i say??hear dis
    if i did’t put a flaw in the engine of your car you won’t understand how good it is to drive toyota corolla is because without knowing what is bad you don’t understand what is good???no you realized what is bad now you can again buy a new toyota corolla!!!!!!
    What will be your reaction
    paid money is not refundable
    actually you should pay me extra money because i made you understand what is bad in toyota corolla so you can enjoy driving another 1

  12. vachan k.v says:

    Nor is abiogenesis (the origin of the first life) due purely to chance. Atoms and molecules arrange themselves not purely randomly, but according to their chemical properties. In the case of carbon atoms especially, this means complex molecules are sure to form spontaneously, and these complex molecules can influence each other to create even more complex molecules. Once a molecule forms that is approximately self-replicating, natural selection will guide the formation of ever more efficient replicators. The first self-replicating object didn’t need to be as complex as a modern cell or even a strand of DNA. Some self-replicating molecules are not really all that complex (as organic molecules go).

  13. vachan k.v says:

    If something is created it must have a goal so what’s the goal for our life????
    don’t write some bible phrases give me something logical and senseful explanation which you don’t have
    if i designed a watch it helps me to know what the is time????
    so if god designed DNA then it must serve some goal or reason
    also mutations are not all that random!!!!!!!!!
    it’s totally dependent on our environment

    • DNA’s purpose is to convert genetic code to amino acids to proteins and to order those proteins into a functional reproducing organism. And to fill every ecological niche with life.

      The purpose of an eye is to see. The purpose of a sperm is to meet with an egg. The purpose of a penis is to ejaculate into a vagina.

      I recognize that the atheist position asserts that biology only has an appearance of purpose; that the eye merely sees and there is no intent. I disagree. From :

      Haldane [in the 1930s] can be found remarking, ‘Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.’ Today the mistress has become a lawfully wedded wife. Biologists no longer feel obligated to apologize for their use of teleological language; they flaunt it. The only concession which they make to its disreputable past is to rename it ‘teleonomy’.

  14. vachan k.v says:

    mr perry this words were spoken by you.
    There are billions of unique designs.
    Twins do not have identical fingerprints. Fingerprints are partly the result of some “chaos theory”-like process so each is unique. Yes, there are probably trillions of possible combinations of human DNA from basic sexual reproduction and mendelian genetics..

    Fingerprints are partly the result of some “chaos theory”
    hmm chaos theory which random but you were the person who told random mutation destroys information but here you say that chaos theory has its role
    random things can spoil information but how it is useful r8 now
    u make use of it when you want it then blame it
    sorry for pointing out your mistakes

    • Vachan,

      In mendelian genetics there are random probabilities of whether a trait is exhibited in the progeny.

      But that doesn’t make everything random, Vachan. It just means there is a random variable in a directed process.

  15. vachan k.v says:

    don’t test atheist’s patience
    because they don’t know what is patience
    you call atheists who ignore
    now whose is ignoring!!!!!!!
    all theists have hidden faces try to conceal it
    which is now proven by your silence
    you told me too give empirical edvince that mutation has beneficial effect
    also your propoganda will soon die out!!!!!!!!!
    there are lot of misconceptions in site about evolution and abiogenesis!!!!!!
    anyway let me call more atheist friends
    my friends will take it from here
    if you ignore me then you accept defeat perry

    • Vachan,

      I will answer when I get time. Thoughtful questions get a considered response and sometimes this can take a few weeks. I’ll try to respond to you sooner than that. But be patient.

      You may be underestimating the difficulty of the task before you. I recommend that you get the most scientifically astute person you can find to help you, because I’ve taken on thousands of people on this topic online. In 5 years no one has punched a hole in my information theory argument. Get a whole team of biology professors if you can. I invite one and all.

      But most importantly I would encourage you to approach this with an attitude of open mindedness and free inquiry. Atheism strictly forbids free thought. At the promising age of 15 it would be unfortunate for you to close your mind to large amounts of peer-reviewed scientific evidence. However, if you take an agnostic position you will be allowed to follow wherever the evidence leads.


      Perry Marshall

      P.S. I also encourage you to carefully read the other blog posts, the questions and my responses because it his highly unlikely you or anyone else is going to ask a question I have not already answered right here on this blog. Again, take time to digest it. Also listen to / watch my presentations and read all my articles, because it will not be possible for you to discuss my position if you do not thoroughly understand it.

  16. vachan k.v says:

    Standard dictionaries are even worse.

    “evolution: …the doctrine according to which higher forms of life have gradually arisen out of lower..” – Chambers
    “evolution: …the development of a species, organism, or organ from its original or primitive state to its present or specialized state; phylogeny or ontogeny” – Webster’s

    These definitions are simply wrong. Unfortunately it is common for non-scientists to enter into a discussion about evolution with such a definition in mind. This often leads to fruitless debate since the experts are thinking about evolution from a different perspective. When someone claims that they don’t believe in evolution they cannot be referring to an acceptable scientific definition of evolution because that would be denying something which is easy to demonstrate. It would be like saying that they don’t believe in gravity!

  17. brilliantlights says:

    I think the answer to this question requires a more holistic approach.

    The option

    e) DNA was Designed by a Superintelligence, i.e. God.

    is the closest but limited. DNA is just a part of a greater process that was created.

    I had desscribed the story of ‘The Legend of Durga’ in my blog:

    what is interesting is that it touches upon ‘The Hindu Trinity’ who are regarded as the designers of the universe (there is more to it than just creation).

    The ancient texts also mention that unless you practise a great control over your mind, turn inwards and not just outwards, it is very difficult to solve the riddle.

    About someone mentioning in this discussion if it was all designed by a Christian god, I’ve again debated that in another blog on this topic:

    Both these personal views of mine touch upon creation, religious gods, and the world as we perceive it.

    Note that the ancient texts I referred to have exceptionally intelligent discourses on astronomy and mathematics as well so it must be given a benefit of doubt that the answers may lie somewhere in them

  18. ancient learner says:

    I am finding this website thought provoking & challenging.

    I thought you might be interested in the description of Richard Dawkins given by Dr Jonathan Miller, the director and actor. He called Dawkins ‘a born again atheist’, which I think is a brilliant encapsulation.

  19. Michael says:

    I want to respond, so here we go…

    1. Firstly, let me accept that DNA is code.
    2. Let us discount aliens and time travel, random events, etc
    3. God is the only answer.

    Perfect little package, neat, easy to digest, and not too much hole poking options.

    Until one asks which God?

    This is where it gets messy. There are so many to accept today that people may find it easier to accept the alien theory instead.

    Is it the Christian God?
    Muslim perhaps?

    Please elaborate on what “God” may mean to you Perry?

  20. cosmic says:

    I’m not sure that saying that the universe was designed by God counts as a scientific explanation. God would have to be more complex than the universe in order to create it, so this would seem to replace one problem by a harder one, whereas in science we are trying to reduce the complex to the more simple. You say everything must have a cause, so what caused this complex God? If you say everything has a cause except God, one might as well say everything has a cause except the universe as a whole.

    • God by necessity must be uncaused, and simple rather than complex, because of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem. See

      • cosmic says:

        1. Gödel’s incompleteness theorem is surely about mathematical systems not physical ones.
        2. It’s difficult to see how God can be ‘simple’ and at the same time a self-aware conscious being – which is complex entity.
        3. You say everything must have a cause, but God doesn’t have a cause – which seems like a contradiction.

        • 1. Gödel’s incompleteness theorem applies to all systems.
          2. God can be self aware because God has three indivisible attributes: Essence (Father), Expression of Essence (Son), and Understanding of Essence (Holy Spirit). God is indivisible because God is not a system of divisible parts. Love is the attribute of complete agreement and indivisibility between essence, expression and understanding. This is why we can say God IS love.
          3. Everything that has a beginning must have a cause. Logically something has to be uncaused because otherwise you get an infinite regression of causes which nearly all philosophers reject. The universe itself is not uncaused and eternal because of entropy. The universe had to be created by an uncaused intelligent cause.

          • Richard says:

            1. As a mathematician, I know that Gödel’s incompleteness theorems apply to axiomatic systems for mathematics only.
            2. It’s difficult to see how God can be ’simple’ and at the same time a ‘designer’ – which is complex entity. A designer has to be more complex than the things he designs.
            Unfortunately I’m not able to form an idea of what “three indivisible attributes” might mean.
            3. I think that something which is intelligent must be complex.
            An “intelligent cause” cannot be uncaused and eternal because of entropy.

            It’s a deep statement to say that God IS love. There is love in the universe, so God would have to be immanent as well as transcendent.

            Aquinas also says that God is “being itself”, which again is a statement about the immanence of God.

            • Richard,

              1. If mathematics applies to the universe then Gödel’s theorem also applies to the universe.

              When I say “if mathematics applies to the universe” I am invoking the core underlying belief of science and rationality, which is that the universe is understandable and describable in logical systemic terms.

              To reject that proposition is to reject the entire enterprise of science and relegate mathematics to a purely theoretical construct whose relationship to reality is undefined. If the universe is rational, Gödel’s theorem applies to the universe, just like numbers and geometry – because it applies to every description we could ever make of the universe.

              The assumption that the universe is rational is axiomatic. It cannot be proven. But it is the only assumption on which we can build knowledge and a meaningful epistemology.

              2. Gödel’s theorem ultimately leads us to 1 axiom, not a system of multiple axioms, because multiple axioms wold then form a system which further requires an axiom.

              Compare my to Aquinas’ via negativa, considering what God is not. He proposed five statements about the divine qualities:

              1. God is simple, without composition of parts, such as body and soul, or matter and form.[61]
              2. God is perfect, lacking nothing. That is, God is distinguished from other beings on account of God’s complete actuality.[62]
              3. God is infinite. That is, God is not finite in the ways that created beings are physically, intellectually, and emotionally limited. This infinity is to be distinguished from infinity of size and infinity of number.[63]
              4. God is immutable, incapable of change on the levels of God’s essence and character.[64]
              5. God is one, without diversification within God’s self. The unity of God is such that God’s essence is the same as God’s existence. In Aquinas’s words, “in itself the proposition ‘God exists’ is necessarily true, for in it subject and predicate are the same.”

              3. God is not subject to entropy because God is necessarily outside of space and time.

              Good observation on immanence. Yes, it is a deep statement. The apostle John said it first: “God IS love”. John’s theology exceeds everything that came before him in terms of nuance, elegance and sophistication.

              From Wikipedia’s entry on the definition of immanence:

              According to Christian theology the only transcendent, almighty, and holy God, who cannot be approached or seen in essence or being, becomes immanent primarily in the God-man Jesus the Christ, who is the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity. In Eastern Orthodox theology the immanence of God is expressed as the hypostasises and or energies of God. God who in his essence is incomprehensible and transcendent.

              This is most famously expressed in St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where he writes:

              Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. [1]

              The Holy Spirit is also expressed as an immanence of God.

              and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”[2]

              The immanence of the triune God is celebrated in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodoxy during the liturgical calendar feast as the Theophany of God (see Feast of Theophany).

              Pope Pius X wrote at length about philosophical-theological controversies over immanence in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

              In the theology of Karl Rahner, it is said that that “the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and the immanent Trinity is the economic Trinity.” That is to say, God communicates Himself to humanity (“economic” Trinity) as He really is in the divine Life (“immanent” Trinity).

              • Richard says:

                1. The universe is not a piece of mathematics. There are infinitely many mathematical systems, and a very few of them can be used to make models of the universe. Simplifying assumptions are always made when that is done. In mathematical systems there are true statements which cannot be proved within the system. But we can’t draw the conclusion from that that there is something outside the universe. It’s just that there are statements that can be made within the mathematical system which are true mathematical statements but which we can’t prove with the mathematical system we are using at the time.

                In fact we could perhaps construct a mathematical system which described the universe plus some things that don’t exist in the universe (such as imaginary numbers). Then with that system, we might be able to prove all the statements which relate to the universe.

                2. Every effect in the universe has a material cause in the universe that precedes it in time. God is not such a cause because God is not in the universe, God is not material and God is not in time. If God is a “cause”, God is a different sort of cause from all other causes. In fact to call God a cause is stretching the word “cause” too far, in my opinion.

                3. All the designers we know are material and use their brains in order to design things. God is not material and does not have a brain, mind or soul. Therefore God is not a designer in the usual sense of the term.

                4. There can’t be “something” outside the universe, because all “things” are within the universe, by definition.

                5. God is Love. I do not think that this statement relies on statements about the Trinity, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. God is Love. Wherever there is love, God is there.

                6. Aquinas also said, God is “being, itself”. Wherever there is being, God is there. God is omnipresent.

                • 1. The universe is not a formal mathematical statement. However all of modern science assumes (though cannot prove) that the universe is rational and is describable by mathematics.

                  POSTULATE: If the universe is a logical and rational system, then it is describable by mathematics.

                  Therefore if the universe is describable by mathematics, it is subject to Gödel’s theorem.

                  Therefore the universe is incomplete.

                  Therefore there is something outside the universe.

                  There may be multiple other things outside the universe but if those things are rational and logical they are likewise incomplete.

                  2. Yes you are absolutely right. God is a wholly different sort of cause than any other cause. Just like God is a wholly different subject of study than any other subject. Which is why academia never knows what to do with theology. They can’t ignore it but they can’t deal with it in conventional terms either.

                  3. Right again. “Designer” is a very limited designation for God.

                  4. All material things are inside the universe. I am defining an immaterial essence, which is the only thing that fits the bill. It’s hard in human language to avoid the use of the word “thing.”

                  5. I derive this definition of God is love from information theory, actually. Love is desire for agreement and harmony which is a prerequisite for any form of communication to occur.

                  6. Agreed.

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