Is God Rational?

Modern science must assume from the get-go that everything in the world makes sense. Scientists assume that natural laws are fixed and that nothing happens without a cause; they assume that the world is fundamentally understandable by rational human minds.

Yet science also assumes that no “Higher Being” is interferring in our world; the equations of modern science don’t leave any variables for divine intervention. Should believers try to find gaps in current scientific knowledge in order to sneak God into a rational vision of the world? Much like arguments for the existence of God, this sort of thinking is counterproductive because (1) it is unpersuasive and (2) it reduces God to an object that may or may not “fit” into the structure of a larger Whole.

But what if, as theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich suggested, God is instead the infinite Whole which includes Reason itself? If God is the single, unified “Ground” on which everything “stands,” this would explain the consistent rationality of our world assuned by modern science. This way of thinking about God neither contradicts science nor idolatrously shrinks God down to one finite player within the confines of the game of Existence; as the infinite Game Itself, God is consistent with (yet beyond) reason. In this view, God is not at odds with reason, breaking natural laws and encouraging believers to be irrational; God sustains the rational structures of our world and gives them depth.

From this perspective, God might be called the “Ground of Being” or “Being Itself” (Tillich), and it would be accurate to say that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

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