According to the dictionary proof is primarily defined as “evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.” The definition goes on to mention one may appeal to a standard for verifying proof or testing a thing to determine if it is proved.
Evidence is defined as “that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.”
Thus proof and evidence are interchangeable terms. In a court of law you have admissible evidence that is accepted proofs for determining the outcome of the case. The jury then hears this evidence and makes a determination based on the plausibility of the preponderance of evidence for or against the Defendant. If the jury sees the evidence as supporting the Defendant they find him not guilty. If they find the evidence insurmountable against the Defendant they find him guilty. Now if the evidence is not sufficient to find him guilty they must default to not guilty for if there is a reasonable doubt they must not deliver a verdict of guilty. So the prosecutor must provide enough evidence to tip the scale to guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the common standard for a verdict based on “proof.”
Proof is not the verdict; proof is merely the evidence by which the verdict is produced. At some point the jury must deliberate on the evidence and produce a verdict.
Next we must agree on what constitutes evidence/proof from which a verdict can be derived. A court of law esteems credible eye witness testimony above all other forms of evidence. If two people claim to have witnessed the Defendant shooting the store clerk and those witnesses are accepted as credible the Defendant doesn’t stand much of a chance to prove his innocence. Documents are also submitted into evidence as proof of wrong doing. I’m sure the Enron court case dealt a great deal with documental evidence. Today we also have biological evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, hair follicles, foot prints, etc. Objects can be entered into evidence such as a weapon or something of that nature.
In review, we have accepted legal evidence as eyewitness testimony, documents, biological evidence, and objects. This is only a few sources of acceptable evidence, but we will start with these.
Now, getting back to God. . . There is evidence of His existence and the evidence comes in the forms of eyewitness testimony (ancient and modern), textual documents, historical records, and archaeological artifacts giving evidence to Biblical historical accounts. Moreover, there are a series of philosophical proofs of His existence. But, before I get started on specifics of any of these categories of evidence does anyone object to these forms of evidence or process of evidence to verdict?
I’ll handle some specifics in my next blog. But first, I will await some comments to see if we are on the same page before proceeding.