I do think that all sound arguments ( a sound argument is one whose premises are true, and one which is valid) must have true conclusions, even if that conclusion is one you do not believe is true. Therefore, if a sound argument has, as its conclusion, that God exists, then that conclusion is true.
The problem is that you cannot prove that all premises are true. A God proof undertakes a proof of God's existence, but it does not undertake a proof of every
premise. The cosmological argument suggests that there of necessity is a first cause or prime mover -- but other than its intellectually appealing qualities, there is no proof of such a thing.
The ontological argument, eg that of Anselm (and Descartes) suggests that 1) I can conceive of an infinitely great being; 2) Existence is greater than nonexistence; 3) Therefore God must
exist because I can conceive of him. But these premises also fail -- 1) Am I truly capable of conceiving of infinite greatness, or do I just think I am? 2) What is the measure of greatness such that existence must
be greater than nonexistence?
So these premises may be plausible
, or appealing, but they are not rock solid -- and therefore neither is everything built upon them.
Furthermore, language is not rigid either. Plato offers a proof that your dog is your father:
1. You have a dog, therefore that dog is yours.
2. The dog had puppies, therefore that dog is a father.
3. Thus, your dog is your father.
Woo hoo, an unassailable logical proof -- but the phrase "your father" means something rather specific in common speech, and < [possesive] father > conventionally refers to the actual paternal unit of the possessing entity, not merely an object that is possessed. So despite having rock solid premises ( 1-the dog is yours and 2-the dog is a father), to claim "I can prove your dog is your father" is only possible because of the malleability of language. And Bertrand Russell's explorations of the verb "to be" has shown that in speech (rather than formal logic) it in itself is used imprecisely and has to be broken into sub-meanings:
. (the is of existence)
Paul. (the is of identity)
tired. (the is of predication)
Exact same word, and in fact perhaps the most common verb in any language (certainly this one). Yet more complicated in other languages (ser vs estar in Spanish, for instance), where each
verb "to be" can have sub-meanings.
So if this most fundamental verb, to be
, isn't even without room for error, then how can speech in general be beyond subtle twists and vagaries??
Do you mean that a God proof may be logically valid (i.e. its conclusion follows from its premises), but that we can never be certain that all the premises are true?
Yes, exactly. The premises and the words they contain may be stated as if they have no vagary, but there isn't always a 1:1 correspondence between a word or phrase and a specific idea.