Lately, i've been contemplating the mysterious doctrine or belief that many religiously inclined theists have called revelation. It is through this revelation from a god, defined in a certain rational or un-paradoxical way, that many ideas or reality specific conclusions may be presented without literal involvement or experience. I myself do not hold this doctrine, i'm an atheist or an agnostic if any have quarrels with the way many atheists define atheism as being the lack of belief in a god, but in what way could we attain knowledge of how this reality came to be seeing as i clearly have no knowledge of it.

Its not like I know how this reality (Or universe depending on how you define it) came to be because I created it and remember what I did, how I did it, Why, for what reasons, etc. I cannot affirm any greater knowledge on the subject on the same stiff ground as declaring that there is a red cup in front of me. It may be outside my mind or only inside it or I might be in the matrix and so forth. But the statement, "there is a red cup as I define 'red' and 'cup' tautologically through my own experiences at this moment" is in some sense absolute and without disagreement; course this may be because it is a vague statement but it gets the point across.

I don't know how many times i've witnessed an atheist and theist arguing for or against many of the classical or more modern god centered philosophical arguments, whether they hold water or not, they seem to be useless at first and last sight as we do not know how anything truly came to be. Your guess may be more educated or better concluded than mine but we may never know.

Hope this was not to long winded, first time posting here and really thinking more philosophically than logically positivistic.

  • It might help if you restated the terms of the problem at the end. (What exactly are you looking for a brief explanation about? What does a great answer to this question look like in your mind?)
    – Joseph Weissman
    Nov 15, 2017 at 22:42
  • Maybe i'll state it as such, we do not know how our reality came to be and we could assume that any explanation or conclusion given is insufficient being that we know nothing conclusively about the restrictions or boundary conditions of our reality. We only know it exists now but do not know how it could have came about by. Could we know? Just like a theist my suppose that they know things about reality through revelation and possibly side stepping skeptical involvement? Nov 15, 2017 at 23:00
  • I'm not sure if there could be an answer or collection of knowledge, great or not, that would be sufficient enough to side step any form of skepticism when speaking about the origins of our reality. This would maybe possibly be the answer I would side with but hope for someone to argue on the contrary. Nov 15, 2017 at 23:03
  • Like how they may know how the universe came to be even though we did not experience it or were involved in its creation or even present but may know of it through revelation. Nov 15, 2017 at 23:07
  • you will like to read the following, especially Chapters 3 and 4 of Gaudapada's Karika - wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/mandukya-upanishad-karika-bhashya Nov 16, 2017 at 9:51

3 Answers 3


There is no established scientific theory of mind, despite much investigation, and so its not beyond the bounds of possibility that some minds are more attuned to worlds other than the phenomenal.

Some mathematicians believe, for example, that there is an ideal world of mathematical facts that some minds are in tune with. This is mathematical platonism, and a respectable position. We can say that mathematical facts are then revealed to these minds, a veil is cast aside.

Revelation, then, as an understanding of something beyond this world, and illuminating a mind, is then a distinct possibility.

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic Orders?

And even if one were to suddenly take me to its heart,

I would vanish into its stronger existence.

From the Duino Elegies, by Rainer Marie Rilke


I like your question it was written very eloquently. It shows that you have an actual desire to truly find this answer. I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide one. After 20 years of research just today I confirmed what you asked. Is it possible to know reality through philosophy? Yes, It is possible to know through philosophy that is the only way to know how reality was created. But to confirm and to believe, is another matter entirely. To confirm and to believe does take empirical data and does take another science. But none of those would exist without the first thought about why we exist. It is called a perfect thought. Which is very difficult to have as an imperfect. Einstein called it the God thought. It means you literally are able to think a thought that could create a universe. If you were a god. You don't have to be a God to think the thought. That thought is the correct start of reality. The realization of everything and nothing. I know it sounds silly, it's not. When you can understand that. Then you can understand the universe it's that simple.


'Revelation' is spoken of in theism but rarely amounts to much in the way of philosophical knowledge. Many theists would say it is a heresy to suppose that we can know how creation works. In mysticism the preferred word would be 'realisation'. I would suggest you take God out of the equation and follow the philosophical issue.

Lao Tsu asks rhetorically 'How do I know the origin?' and answers 'I look inside myself and see'. This is 'knowledge by identity' and it extends to origins because, they say, consciousness goes all the way down and all the way back. In a more theistic context there is Nicolas de Cusa's 'Vision of God', which goes some way to describing his realisation and links up very nicely with Kant.

..."Its not like I know how this reality (Or universe depending on how you define it) came to be because I created it and remember what I did, how I did it..."

How do you know it's not exactly like this? This is exactly what mysticism claims we can remember if we try. For this sort of knowledge the advice is to 'Know thyself'. The observations cannot be understood without an understanding of the observer and in every case of an observation the universe is observing itself. 'Why consider thyself a puny being', asks Imam Ali, the first Shia Imam, 'when within you the world is enfolded'.

I'd say for an answer forget about God and theism for the moment and examine mysticism more closely. It teaches that everything knowable can be known by you, and this would include your origin.

So I'd very much disagree with your idea that we cannot know the nature of Reality and origin of existence. If you are right then ten thousand sages and mystics are liars. But this is not a theistic teaching and theists often run a mile when it comes up. It is a 'nondual' teaching and a claim of the Perennial philosophy. When assessing these 'mystical' claims it would be vital not to reify anything and this would include God.

EDIT: I see I did not quite answer the question. Philosophical argumentation or analysis can establish the nature of reality insofar as it can be described by a theory. It is not difficult to establish that only one or perhaps two descriptions of Reality work in logic. But 'knowing' is a different matter. Science and philosophical analysis can establish what it would be most sensible for us to believe, but this is not knowing. Knowing, or 'certain knowledge' would require more than analysis or empiricism.

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