Using Deductive and Inductive Research Methods to Explore The Existence of God

Research methodology which includes deductive methods and inductive methods are used to collect evidence to show that God exists.

Best Practices February 18, 2021

Some people claim that God does not exist because they cannot see Him.  Research methodology which includes deductive methods (quantitative/measurement approach with hypothesis) and inductive methods (qualitative/exploratory approach with premise) are used to collect the evidence that shows that God exists even though He is unable to be seen.  

Deductive Reasoning:

The deductive method involves making a hypothesis to test whether a theory is true or not.  If all null hypotheses of a theory have been rejected, we can prove that the theory is true or part of reality.  By using external evidence to prove internal reality, the deductive method can be used to reject null hypotheses surrounding a theory by utilization of large-to-small, outside-in, and narrowing down processes with external validity (evidence). This results in the narrowing down the number of null hypotheses available to reject the theory. 

There are several procedures and steps involved in deductive research (quantitative research):

  1. Search a belief or theory to test.  A possible theory to test may be something such as the following: God created the world.  
  2. Formulate a null hypothesis.   An example of a null hypothesis for the theory in Step 1 may be the following: The creatures of the world were made randomly and without consistent concepts, purposes and designs. 
  3. Collect data to test the null hypothesis.  To test the null hypothesis in Step 2, one may collect data about the physiological systems of all animals and plants to reject this null hypothesis.  
  4. Analyze the results to determine if 95% of data rejects or supports the hypothesis.

This deductive research approach can be used to create hypotheses that testify God’s existence. 

Null Hypothesis 1:  If all creatures were not designed very delicately, systematically, and sophistically, there must not have been an intelligent designer or creator (God). 

Data from Bible author:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

Data from Scientists:

https://www.closertotruth.com/series/do-science-religion-conflict?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzoTt6Kjc6wIVRr7ACh3LjAU7EAAYASAAEgL2UvD_BwE

Conclusion:  The null hypothesis that the creatures of the world were made randomly and without consistent concepts, purposes and designs is rejected. In addition, the alternative hypothesis is accepted. 

Null Hypothesis 2:  If the entire universe is not organized in a systematic way, there must be not a creator or God who designed the universe.  

Data from Bible author:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1

Data from Astrology scientists: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/01/20/can-science-prove-the-existence-of-god/#4fea61b85ada

Conclusion:  The organization of the universe and all of its stars and constellations rejects the null hypothesis that the universe was created by random chance in a random fashion. 

Blind spot for deductive method:  One cannot know for sure that the intelligent design is by the Christian God or the gods of other religions.  

Inductive Reasoning:

The inductive method involves making a premise to create a new theory or new perspective.  This approach requires one to believe in something first and use this belief or perspective to see everything in the world and allows one to make sense of the world. It uses internal frameworks or beliefs first and then makes everything fit into this framework. Inductive method involves establishing the truth from an inside-out, small-to-large perspective with internal validity (evidence).  

There are several procedures and steps involved in inductive research (qualitative research):

  1. Explore a belief or theory. An example may be the following: God might exist.  
  2. Formulate a premise question.  An example of a premise question for the theory in Step 1 may be the following: Do you approve God’s existence?
  3. Collect and expand the data pool with resources from various opinions and information. For the example, this step may involve collecting information from interviews, focus groups, observations and all relative documents, including the Bible.  
  4. Set grouping criteria or factors. Groups for the example may include groups such as God’s Nature (Cognitive), God’s Attitudes/Motives (Affection), and God’s Behaviors.
  5. Check the frequencies on each grouping criteria and determine what will be the most important grouping criteria. For the above example, the most important grouping criteria will involve defining God’s existence.

For example, researchers ask the following question to a focus group: “Do you believe in the existence of God and if so, tell me why you say so?”

Premise: Christians already have the belief in the Bible and its premises, so they will generally provide all the connections on how things or events turned out to be good or miraculous at God’s will. Similar to an empty photo frame, everything that has happened can be interpreted and fitted into this frame with rationality.

When asked about the existence of God, all twelve prophets proclaimed that God uses them as messengers to convey His messages. Once we group all of their testimonials, we can portray what God looks like and come to a conclusion about God’s existence and his different unique traits (factors).

Qualitative research is all about using an inductive approach with premise questions to group people’s opinions into different factors. Quantitative methods on the other hand use survey instruments to set up a limited number of answers in the hypothesis first to measure people’s attitudes and perceptions.  

Blind spot for Inductive Method: You first have to believe in Biblical context and use this context to rationalize the events in the world.  We call it faith.

Although he may be invisible, God has the power to interact with human life, and people with research mindsets to utilize deductive and inductive reasoning can feel His existence and impacts on their lives.

Authors

Dr. Chi is the Professor of Management, Graduate Program Director, and Associate Dean of the Business department at Andrews University, USA. He has served at Taiwan Adventist College as an instructor for four years (1985-1989) and has served at Southwestern Adventist University as a business professor for 16 years. As the Business Department Chair and MBA Program Director at SWAU, he was also awarded Educator of the Year in 2007. He received his B.A. in Theology, B.B. A. in Business Administration (Accounting), M.B.A. in Business Administration, PhD in Leadership and Administration with minor in Business Management, a second PhD in Quantitative Methods, Statistics, and Research Evaluation.

Dr. Grace received her PhD in Nursing Science from Texas Woman's University. Her dissertation evaluated the effects of music relaxation video on pain and anxiety in patients who received intracavitary brachytherapy for gynaecological cancer. She is the 2011 recipient of the International Research Dissertation Award from Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. Currently, she is a Full Professor and teaching at Andrews University Department of Nursing in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA.

    22 comments

  • Avatar
    | February 18, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    I thought that this article provided a number of insights that I had never really thought about or explored when talking about the existence of God. I thought a crucial part of the article was when Dr. Chi talked about how Christians will be able to provide an answer and connect the dots that lead towards Gods existence. This is very important because Christians (Seventh-Day Adventists) have this common belief in God. But this is not the case for everyone. So it is crucial that we are able to look at proving his existence from the standpoint through different research methods, especially when talking about Gods existence with someone who may be skeptical or not believe in him at all. I really liked the points that were made throughout this article and would recommend this read to my peers.

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    | February 19, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    The breakdown of both deductive and inductive reasoning was vivid and clear. From a religious perspective, it can be challenging to agree on what is fact primarily due to dissimilar beliefs from one religion to the next, or even within the same religion. Effectively using deductive and inductive reasoning are great methods of searching for answers to the uncertainties in our world. This article did a great job of outlining these methods of reasoning.

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    | February 19, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    The way you used deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning methods was indeed insightful and interesting as it provides logically and scientifically meaningful evidence for God’s existence, and this method can not only benefit and satisfy the doubts and questions of non-believers but also us believers. In this day and age, the power of faith and conviction alone is not quite enough to draw non-believers to faith and this method and your result is something I’ll remember to use in the future. For us believers, however, as much as this method and its results are reassuring, we should never forget that God doesn’t reveal Himself to us overtly because He wants us to believe and have faith out of personal conviction rather than believing simply because it is a proven fact.

    I do have one question for you. If we were to apply your methods to prove the existence of gods in other faiths, would we arrive at the conclusion that these other “gods” exist as well, or would the results ultimately point to our God?

  • Avatar
    | February 19, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Regardless of whether it be through our character reflecting God and touching people’s hearts through our actions or wanting to minister to others, our primary obligation as Seventh-Day Adventists is to have individuals wanting to find out more about Jesus. Throughout history, we would utilize either inductive or deductive thinking independently to achieve a specific change in the hearts and minds of individuals who’ve never known the Son of God. I believe that if we somehow happened to join these two types of thinking, we would be able to create a more absolute form of understanding like this article.

  • Avatar
    | February 20, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you for this information Dr. Chi. The premise of faith is important to understand biblical truths. The Bible states in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” So belief in the Bible must start with belief in the one from whom the inspired words were given. This foundation is important in exploring the existence and/or nature of the world. With this foundation, if the question is asked, “who created the world?” and the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” (Genesis 1:1) then the conclusion can be drawn that God is the creator of the world.

  • Avatar
    | February 20, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Despite the blind spots that the deductive and inductive methods may have, as much as scientists, philosophers and intellectuals have tried to show that God does not exist and regardless of the research method they implemented, they have not found irrefutable proof that there is no God. As human beings with limited intellect, there are some things that go beyond our understanding capacity. I believe that one of those things is the mystery of divinity, God has reserved it because He wants us to develop our faith in Him. At the same time, even though I believe and serve an “invisible” God, he left me visible evidence of his existence in the wonders of nature and his presence in my daily life.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 4:50 am

    This article was very interesting and well-done. One cannot entirely prove that God exists just the same as evolution theories cannot be entirely explained. With using the deductive reasoning, “we can prove that the theory is true or part of reality.” I think in the case of God existing you can only prove that it is part of a reality, and setting out to prove that it is true is a fool’s errand. We were not meant to prove that this Superior Being exists and that this is the only truth. We were meant to have faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) When speaking with someone who does not believe in the existence of God you cannot convince them otherwise if they are not willing to take faith into the equation. Sometimes as Christians it is hard to look at this situation from an atheistic point of view. It is contrary to everything we are taught. When trying to convince others of God’s existence we need to first and foremost to take faith into account.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Comparing science and religion is a precarious thing because of the fact that science is practice that is specifically dependent on being able to prove ideas through research/experiments. I can see how we can apply the inductive and deductive reasoning here to those who believe in God and the bible. However, for someone who is a non-believer I could see how this article would be flawed to them in the sense that the Bible is being sourced as providing factual information. Many people who are not Christian believe that the Bible is written by people who believe and God and therefore, very flawed in the sense that they could just be writing about a reality they have created in their mind. Watching the interviews, Daniel Bennett kind of touched on this topic by saying that scientific fact cant be combined with religion because religion involves emotional truth. Emotional truth can not be proven because it is a truth that is very real for individuals who share that belief but cannot be proven by scientific methods 100%. Owen Gingerich added the concept of purpose where science is not a human purpose driven notion, and religion very much is. Then you have Marvin Minsley who claims theology doesn’t ask questions, while science is all about that. Even going as far to say its completely incompatible with the idea of science at all. Coming from a religious background myself, I believe that God can not be scientifically proven, the Bible can not be proven to be all factual for the Christian religion. I wonder if God were here today if he would still hold the Bible as supreme, or have certain ideals changed over time? Reality is that science and religion will never align all way, which I think is part of the beauty of faith because it is partially a blind trust that God. This trust and faith is a huge part of our relationship with God, and that comes with the territory of religion.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    It can be hard to discern deductive from inductive reasoning, especially from a biblical point of view. This article does a great job doing that discerning the two as well as giving some more information than most readers most likely did not know.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    I found this article quite interesting. To see how it would be if someone was looking for God in these two ways, but I do believe that both these ways leave many questions. The best way, among these, would be to prove God’s existence through inductive reasoning but as stated, the blind spot is that the person has to have some sort of belief in the Biblical context. My question is what do we do when trying to prove to someone who doesn’t believe in God, that God exist? Although deductive reasoning can lead to an answer, it doesn’t always lead to the correct religion or even if we decide to take away the whole form of religion, it doesn’t lead to the right God. It is possible that the whole test could leave someone believing in Allah or in Buddha. This leaves too many things up for interpretation and belief when the main goal is to bring someone to Christ, the Christ who died and rose again and is coming back to save us.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    For me one of the ways we see God’s existence is the ability of how people get transformed. From what they used to be to becoming different. The story of Paul is a good example. But lets set the Bible aside for the sake of this argument. We can not see God physically, at least not just yet, but we sure can see the things He is doing around us. A preacher told a story about a man who was mocking him every time he met him and everyday he kept on asking the preacher to prove that God existed. One day the preacher was meeting with one of the people he had preached to and who had gotten converted. In the same room there was this man who was mocking the preacher. When the man came to the table to mock the preacher as he did many times before, telling the preacher to prove the existence of God. The preacher asked the two men to meet. The man who had been converted said if he hadn’t been converted the man who mocked the preacher could have been one of his victims. Basically the man used to fight and even kill anybody and anyone who said something he did not like before . He told the man if God did not exist his life could never have been changed. The burden is not ours to prove that God exists, but it is for those who say He doesn’t.

    Ecclesiastes 11:5
    As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the bones are formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    This article outlined two methods that can be used to prove the existence of God. I particularly appreciated how the author mentions potential fallouts with each research method and the implications that are present as well. As a Christian, I believe in the existence of an Intelligent Creator, God, and understand that it takes some level of faith to do so. God’s existence is continually justified in my life as I learn more about the human body and how all the small processes come together so perfectly and I am amazed by the understanding that I won’t be able to understand everything about the universe and its phenomena. Thank you for sharing examples of how we can deduce or induce our belief and understanding in a greater being.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    Hello Dr. Chi,

    Thank you for your perspective on the use of deductive and inductive research methods to explore the existence of God. You made both methods feel practical and easy to use. I appreciated the way you highlighted the successes and failures of the uses of each method as well as a step-by-step guide on how to think through them. Thank you for your thoughtful and informative approach to such a profound topic, I look forward to putting these methods into practice.

  • Avatar
    | February 21, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    This was such an insightful article about the ways that we can explore God’s existence using more concrete methods that are typically associated with the field of science. I especially appreciated how Dr. Chi acknowledged potential “blind spots” for both the deductive and inductive methods, which gave me confidence in his honesty as an author. This article provided new ways for me to examine my faith without pushing me to adapt a certain set of beliefs.

  • Avatar
    | February 22, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    This is a very interesting article. I’ve never thought or even attempted to think that one can use inductive reasoning to try to prove that there is a God. Growing up as a Christian, it’s easy to slip into automatic and just assume that everyone thinks and believes the same things that you do. I think if we learn how to use inductive reasoning in our everyday lives it will push us to have a stronger faith and to expand our worldview.

  • Avatar
    | February 28, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    It’s interesting to see the usage of deductive and inductive reasoning in this article as deductive reasoning in theology would usually be related to using an ontological argument starting from a premise and drawing conclusions from them.

    While I do agree with the blind spot for the deductive method and inductive method, I believe there to have more problems when looking and using the inductive method than what’s mentioned above. While faith is indeed good to have, a key issue with inductive reasoning in Christian belief is often inductive work in selective ways (by this I mean that other pieces of the Bible can give a broader assessment thus it’s necessary for an inductive argument to be careful of bias in selectivity of evidence from the Bible).

    I do agree that science does point itself towards a Creator and it very compatible. While people like to look at certain data, there will always be a bias instead of looking at an overall situation. I believe that both methods have to be used together to understand an overall situation rather than using one method over the other. To arrive at truth, it is wise to use a combination of both deductive and inductive logic.

  • Avatar
    | February 28, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    First off, I would like to say that this article was very interesting. I loved the way you broke down the two methods of reasoning (inductive and deductive reasoning) to explore the existence of God. Not only did you give your audience a breakdown of each, you gave blindspots and successes as well. A topic such as this isn’t an easy one to dive into, but you made using these two methods of reasoning practical. No matter how hard the “geniuses” of this world have tried, they have yet to find undeniable evidence of God’s non-existence. This is why we trust because we as humans are not “all knowing” and are limited in our knowledge. This was a very good article. Thank you.

  • Avatar
    | February 28, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    The way this article outlined Deductive and Inductive methods to prove the existence of God was quite insightful. I believe that these methods truly help answer certain questions and doubts that as Believers we might harbor, In my opinion non believers might struggle with the methods of deductive and inductive satisfying their doubts concerning the existence of God, but the way in which you discern between and thoroughly explain the methods of Deductive and Inductive research methods in relation to the existence of God truly makes it so that as Christians we are able to give valid responses towards the existence of God. This article truly did a good job at explaining and connecting these methods.

  • Avatar
    | February 28, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    The use of inductive reasoning to prove the existence of God was the one most intriguing aspect I noted whilst reading this article. I was curious about the method of questioning individuals who believe in God if they approve of God’s existence. This led me to ponder on the use of qualitative research, especially when answering some of life’s most terrifying questions about not only God and religion, but the reason for our existence. This article has brought to light methods that I would have rather reserved for “more scientific” studies–methods that can be used to help us under beliefs about God and the like.

  • Avatar
    | February 28, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article, I gained a new perspective on exploring the existence of God. I got the impression that deductive reasoning was very logical, I like how the author compared and contrasted a biblical perspective as well as scientific reasoning. Even as a Christian, I have to say I was assured about my beliefs by the scientific data provided but I also acknowledge that non-Christians may understand this information differently, not knowing whether the creator is God or god from other religions. I thought inductive reasoning was very interesting, forming broad generalizations from specific beliefs. As Dr. Chi put it, “Inductive involves establishing the truth from an inside-out”(Chi, 2021). I think this is a good way to gain perspective because as Christians, we can easily be caught up in our Christian bubbles and not put much thought into understanding other people and other worldviews. This sometimes makes it difficult for us to evangelize because we are not able to relate to others and draw from similarities. I also agree with the blind spot mentioned, that not everyone believes in something or the bible therefore this method would not be applicable to them. In conclusion, I think as Christians we should not be too concerned in proving the existence of God but have faith that he lives because it is through faith that we are saved.

  • Avatar
    | March 1, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    This was a very insightful and edifying read. For me, it was, a bit more personal because of the instances in which I have/haven’t been able to see God move in and throughout my life. I came up through the public school system, and in that environment you have to be a lot more “peculiar”. It is so much easier to be a light in a dark room, so when I came here for university, it was a bit more of an adjustment. This article gave some logical reasonings into how important it is to realize that God is all around you, even if you don’t always feel his presence.

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    | March 2, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    This article is brilliant. There are 2 types of people, people who make decisions logically, or off feelings. I make my decisions off logic. This article is brilliant in the sense that it uses reasoning to prove that God exists. I am excited to take this method into other areas of my life and try to see if what I believe in is truly correct. It is important to test what you believe in, and not just believe because that is what you were taught to do. Thank you for this brilliant article

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