Presuppositional Apologetics Grounds Acumen

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets

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#PAGA

You think this hashtag will begin trending? Probably not 

When I first started hearing about presuppositional apologetics several years, ago, I’ll admit, it took me a while to get the concept. It’s not a way of thinking that I was taught growing up.

I was first introduced to the philosophy by Jason Lisle’s book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation. Dr. Lisle builds a strong case for the layman to understand, but I was unsure how or when to ask questions. I watched videos from Sye Ten Bruggencate, James White, Jeff Durbin, and Greg Bahsen. Each time I learned a little more, and after practicing with in my own interactions online, I feel more comfortable with sharing the gospel through presuppositional apologetics.

How does one start? Ten Bruggencate puts it this way: “Read your Bible and believe what it says.”

Recently, I had an interaction with a skeptic on twitter, and I want to play it out here to help those who may be working to better understand how think biblically and speak the gospel with the authority it deserves.

I want to do it in 2 parts to show why I think presuppositional apologetics is such a powerful tool for the gospel. 

  1. Expose the irrational/arbitrary/inconsistent thinking of the skeptic since their epistemology (theory of knowledge) has no logical foundation
  2. Build a positive claim for the truth of God’s revelation in scripture, so that people will face the decision to repent or continue in their rebellion

 

Expose Skeptic Thinking

About a year ago a skeptic with the username, Haywood and I interacted for a few days. Haywood is friendly and has not resorted to mockery or ad hominem attacks in our interaction, so I have continued to discuss with him.

This past week, he accused me of cognitive dissonance and failing to back up my claims. So, let’s walk through the process of showing how Haywood’s claims (step 1 from above) are impotent since his theory of knowledge (epistemology) is insufficiently justified.

SkepticEpistemology

Haywood explains that his epistemology or worldview needs only reality, his senses and his reason. This is where as an apologist, we can check to see if the skeptic’s worldview has either internal or external consistency. So, we ask questions about his claim to see if his worldview makes sense.

  1. How do you know what is real?
    1. “What my senses and reasoning tell me is real.”
      1. How do you KNOW that your senses and reasoning are valid?
      2. It is inconsistent to assume both that humans progressed from non-reasoning stardust to reasoning human beings via natural processes AND that reasoning is then trustworthy.
    2. “I don’t know. I could be trapped in the matrix.”
      1. This is a retreat into absurdity. Haywood chose this retreat instead of answering the question. This is the point, when the apologist can say: You can put your trust in Jesus or retreat into absurdity (solipsism)
  2. Why do you think your senses are reliable?
    1. “That’s all I have to work with”
      1. Fallacy of assuming the consequent
    2. “What my senses tell me is in agreement with what other people’s senses tell them”
      1. Fallacy of ad populum
      2. One would still need their own sense and reasoning to determine that other people’s senses and reasoning are in agreement. So, that argument is also the fallacy of vicious circularity
    3. “I don’t know”
      1. Fallacy of ad ignorantium
      2. Then, it is not knowledge since knowledge is justified true beliefs
  3. Without God, you’re left to conclude reasoning came about by natural causes. What reason do you have to trust your reasoning if it came from a non-reasoning source?
    1. “I don’t know”
      1. Are there people who reason incorrectly? How could you know if you were one of them?
      2. Fallacy of ad ignorantium
    2. “Because it works”
      1. Fallacy of assuming the consequent

I want to spend some time on his last comment: “the Bible is still wrong.”

Here, Haywood assumes at least four things:

  1. There is an objective standard by which something can be shown to be wrong
    1. How does the purposeless, blind, pitiless, indifferent cosmos produce standards whereby something could be determined to be right/wrong?
    2. Is-ought fallacy
  2. That standard has greater authority than the Bible
    1. Why do you think such a standard has higher authority than the Bible, which God revealed as true? As an example of this, Author A could say that based on historical documents the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt. Author B claims that based on historical documents, the Hebrews were not enslaved in Egypt. Which author or historical documents have the highest authority by which something can be said to be true. In the worldview of any skeptic, all knowledge is provisional and leads to an infinite regression of necessary provisions. In the case of claims against the Bible, there are no standards that have higher authority than revelation from the One who knows everything and is eternally faithful.
  3. There are unchanging, abstract, absolutes like laws of logic, morality, and induction by which to determine truth
    1. How does a chaotic cosmos made only of matter produce unchanging, abstract absolutes?
  4. The Bible is not revelation from God
    1. To know this for certain, one would need to have all knowledge

 

Later, I asked Haywood what he knew for certain, and this was his reply:

Certainty

So by claiming that he cannot be certain of anything, it follows that he does not KNOW anything. His worldview lacks the pre-conditions of intelligibility. Anything that could conditionally be known is just tentative. For Haywood (or other skeptic), some future discovery could be made that would refute any current provisional evidence. So, any claim that the skeptic makes can be refuted with “but since you are only tentatively knowledgeable about this and don’t know anything for certain, you could be wrong.”

The Christian is not burdened with this cumbersome epistemology. As we will discuss in the next section, God (who has all knowledge) has revealed some things, so the Christian can have certain knowledge of those things. 

That section exposed the impotence of skeptics to refute Christianity because of their deficient worldview. In this next section, I want to show how we can build a positive case FOR The truth of Christianity

 

Build a Positive Case

Haywood made a recent claim that presuppositional apologetics doesn’t present a positive case for Christianity.

PositiveCase
Is this true? Let’s see.

The Christian theory of knowledge (epistemology) is built on God’s revelation. God has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible and in Jesus. 

  • Creation: Romans 1:18-20 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Part of the revelation of God is that there is sufficient evidence in creation for everyone to know that God exists.
  • Bible: All throughout scripture, we see the claim that the Bible is the Word of God. These claims include prophecies that were foretold hundreds or even thousands of years prior to their fulfillment
    • Genesis 12:3 “all nations on earth will be blessed through you.”
      •  2000 years later Jesus fulfilled this prophecy as someone from Abraham’s line that brought salvation to all nationalities
    • Psalm 22:16,18 “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they pierce my hands and my feet…They divide my garments among them and case lots for my clothing.”
      • 1000 years later Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced on the cross while soldiers cast lots for his clothing
    • Isaiah 44:28 “who says of Cyrus ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jersalem “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’
      • 150-220 years later Cyrus (prophesied BY NAME) released Hebrews from Babylonian captivity and declared that Jerusalem and their temple be rebuilt
  • Jesus: Jesus is the ultimate revelation as God. Jesus is the Creator, so creation confirms his divinity. Jesus claimed to be God several times and his claims were confirmed when He rose from the dead (as prophesied in Psalm 16:10). Lastly, these self-authenticating revelations are confirmed in Jesus by Colossians 2:3 “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus.”

The things God has revealed in the Bible can know for certain because they were revealed by the One (Jesus) who knows everything and is eternally faithful. 

  • Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”
  • Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”
  • Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Isaiah 33:6 “The LORD will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.”
  • Colossians 2:2-3 “Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”

A common objection to the Bible being a justified source for knowledge is that it contains contradictions. Sadly, nearly all skeptics do not know what a contradiction actually is and have only read in online memes that the Bible is full of contradictions. But there are no contradictions in the Bible, because it is from God. 

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/frequent-mistakes-skeptics-make-with-alleged-bible-contradictions/

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/collection-of-posts-responding-to-bible-contradictions/

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/100-alleged-bible-contradictions-answered/

So, when the skeptic accuses God or a Christian about injustice or foolishness or contradictions in the Bible:

  1. Test the claim of the skeptic, to see if his theory of knowledge can account for justice, logic, truth, reason, or induction. Undoubtedly, any attempt to explain will be inconsistent, arbitrary and/or irrational
  2. Give them the gospel of Jesus, because it is true as shown above

Here’s how I would answer some of the recent accusations from Haywood

ProvisionalTheory

Haywood had claimed that he had refuted by epistemology, so I had asked him, “what provisional theory makes you think you have refuted by epistemology?”

So, putting PAGA into effect:

  1. Test the claim
    1. Skeptics cannot justify knowledge, so I questioned his provisional theory and why he thinks it can refute what I am saying
    2. He has previously mentioned a hypothetical situation (how can you prove you’re not in the matrix?) which he thinks refutes Christianity…or at least presuppositional apologetic. I’ve responded to him, that this hypothetical is a retreat into absurdity, because if he is in the matrix and nothing is real, then his question does not even make sense. It’s ridiculous, so the choice of the skeptic is repentance or absurdity
    3. He also makes the claim that “it was incorrect.” Any “it” he might be talking about would have to be compared against absolute truth, which his worldview cannot justify. So, any claim he might say that was incorrect, cannot be justified.
  2. Give them the gospel
    1. So, a good response to this claim (after exposing it’s impotence) would be “Your thinking and your future can be redeemed by repentance for your rebellion against the Creator. Jesus paid the penalty for the crimes of those who repent.”

ZeroPhilosophers
Test the claim:

    1. “We are debating…” – How do you know what is real? You’ve already admitted that you could be in the matrix or that some future knowledge could change what you think you know now. So, you can’t claim to know anything
    2. “Validity of your version of Christian presuppositionalism, which is held by approximately 0% of professional philosophers.” Again, testing his claim of knowledge to show, that he cannot justify it as knowledge. It is also the fallacy of ad populum: the fallacy that says something is true because most/all people believe it. 
  1. Give the gospel
    1. Truth is not determined by percentage. Truth is determined by revelation from God. 

WrongAboutEverything
Test the claim:

    1. “I can…randomly spit out a hypothetical that shows your epistemology is invalid.” Remember, all “knowledge” from the skeptic, is provisional, so his claim cannot be justified. He makes a particularly grievous claim there, that is clearly false, since because of his epistemology, he could never know or justify such a claim.
    2. Since Haywood cannot justify his own epistemology, he cannot show that any other epistemology (specifically Christianity) is either right/wrong
  1. Since my epistemology is true, we do not have to retreat to absurd hypotheticals or “random spit outs”. Jesus came to redeem reasoning along with creation

 

Many times, the skeptic wants to know from the Christian “Give me proof” or “What proof validates Christianity”

This desire from the skeptic assumes that there is some authority (usually scientism) that has higher authority than revelation from the Almighty. But there is no higher authority than God and his eternal word. Have scientists ever been monumentally incorrect? How could the skeptic be certain that their faith in the current academic paradigm isn’t going to be mocked as ridiculous in the future? Since they cannot be sure of this, why do they insist on bludgeoning Christians with their provisional beliefs?

As Christians, we know there is no higher authority than God, so that desire of the skeptic to try to validate God’s revelation with a higher authority is irrational. But as expected, all evidence does indeed is in accord with what God has revealed in the Bible and in Jesus.

We can trust God with what He has revealed about history, so He is trustworthy with our future.

 

P.S. Please be polite to online skeptics (and skeptics face-to-face). Give the gospel rather than trying to win “debates”.

The Hubris of Dawkins

I just finished watching this video, so you don’t have to. Contained in it is a motley collection of unsubstantiated claims, irrational homage to ignorance, and an impressive display of hubris by one Professor Dawkins

 

Watching the video, I tried to take some notes for discussion. While I captured some of the quotes from Dawkins, there’s more than enough irrational rubbish spouted by the good doctor to fill up a shelf at the local library with his contradictions. Dr. Dawkins’ words are highlighted in red.

As you read through this (or watch the video) keep in mind Dawkins signature quote,

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference

It is a bold and unsubstantiated claim, but THAT is his epistemic foundation. From this purposeless universe, Dawkins somehow conjures up purpose. From this amoral universe, Dawkins somehow judges religion as arrogant. From this pitiless universe, Dawkins manages to create meaning in empiricistic efforts, and from the indifferent universe, he produces eloquence and courage and a TON OF MONEY from his speaking fees.

Interesting note, one can join the Dawkins’ groupie cult with an annual donation of a cool half million American greenbacks $$$$$$$$$$$

Dawkins begins his diatribe by lumping all theism into a single category and throughout the video calls them “arrogant, hubristic, full of presumptuous precision“.

An understanding of modern Darwinism should arm us with courage to fight (what I shall demonstrate) is the hubris of faith

During the Q&A time, I would have loved to have asked Dr. Dawkins, “For the accidental aggregation of stardust in a purposeless universe, with no good, no evil, just blind pitiless indifference, WHAT is arrogance? What is hubris?” There’s just no coming back from his starting point to him giving a rational answer.

We don’t yet have an agreed theory of how the evolutionary theory began in the 1st place.

No kidding. Yet throughout, he tells us the science is settled…and “Those questions have now been definitively answered once and for all by Darwin and his successors

Nobody knows how the universe must have began

He follows up these quotes with “Theologians invoke the God-of-the-gaps at every opportunity” without realizing how he was firing blanks from his own naturalism-of-the-gaps firearm.

Without letting up on the hypocrisy, Dawkins mocks Islam from 4:40-9:10 and with the sweeping generalization fallacy declares all religion as pointless

How can people bear to live their lives bound by such insanely specific and bossy yet manifestly pointless rules?

Those were magnificently rich words coming from the guy who says the universe is purposeless.

Dawkins then leaves his perceived area of safety, biology, and stumbles blindly into philosophy and morality by saying

It’s not hubristic to state known facts when the evidence is secure. Yes, yes, philosophers of science tell us that a fact is no more than a hypothesis which may 1 day be falsified, but which has so far withstood strenuous attempts to do so. Let’s by all means pay lip service to that philosophical incantation. But muttering at the same time in homage perhaps to Galileo’s [LATIN] the sensible words of Stephen J Gould “In science fact can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional ascent.”

So, what is a fact? He claims it to be like phlogiston, and flat earth, and blood letting, and geocentrism…the current best guess. It’s clear that Dawkins does not understand that science is built upon the philosophy of logic, truth, morality, and induction. These foundational entities are unchanging, abstract, and universal. If like Carl Sagan said, “The cosmos is all that is, or was, or ever will be” then how does the naturalist justify unchanging abstract absolutes? They cannot. To do so, they would have to reject their own presuppositions and argue like a Christian, who can substantiate unchanging abstract absolutes with the immutable, transcendent, absolute Creator. Continuing, Dawkins quotes Gould, who invokes the idea of perversity. How does one determine something to be perverse in a universe with no good and no evil? The contradictions are building up!

But that does not stop him from declaring, without reservation, irrefutable facts:

The universe began between 13-14 billion years ago

Really? What calibration techniques (besides presumptuous extrapolation) can one use to verify this claim? What about recent claims that the universe is now over TWO billion years younger than Dawkins’ FACT claim? Uh-oh. Now that there are competing FACTS. To which arbiter of truth do these naturalists turn in order to solve their 2,300,000,000 year disagreement?

The sun and the planets orbiting it (including ours) condensed out of a rotating disk of gas, dust and debris about 4.5 billion years ago

Really? What calibration techniques (besides presumptuous extrapolation) can one use to verify this claim? What about all of the evidence that limits the earth to being younger than 100,000 years?

We know the shape of the continents and where they were at any named time in geological history and we can project ahead and draw the map of the world as it will change in the future

I’d be very interested in hearing how he would confirm this claim? He speaks of the hubris of religion, but verifying a claim of this magnitude reeks of…what did Dawkins say earlier? Presumptuous precision. It was easy for him to cast this judgment on those with whom he disagrees, but when he invokes presumptuous precision in his own claims, he feels irrationally justified.

As a reminder, Dawkins claims

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference

But he persists on in his inconsistency and word-smithing with:

Yet somehow the emergent power of our evolved brains has enabled us to develop the crystalline edifice of mathematics by which we accurately predict the behavior of entities that lie under the radar of our intuitive comprehension

Emergent power? Is that science or story-telling? What mechanism drives and fuels emergent power? Why does Dawkins expect the discovered properties of mathematics to be unchanging, abstract, and absolute in a constantly changing chaotic cosmos made only of matter? Adding to the irrational difficulties of the evolved brain which Dawkins praises, Charles Darwin (in his autobiography) was much less trusting of the reasoning power of the brain if it did indeed evolve from non-reasoning of the “lowest animals”

DarwinAutobiography

We are not arrogant not hubristic to celebrate the sheer bulk and detail of what we know through science. We are simply telling the honest and irrefutable truth. And honest as I’ve said is the frank admission of how much we don’t yet know

Whoa! Dawkins, you’ve straying outside your naturalistic boundaries again into the uncharted waters of philosophy and morality.  “Honest and irrefutable truth” ????!?!?! Didn’t you remind us earlier that facts are simply the best guesses or today that will undoubtedly be panned by future scientists? And what is honesty for the evolved descendants of algae? He’s now singing the praises of ignorance, but he irrationally has said in other speeches that Christians are the ones, who should be mocked.

What are the DEEP Problems for us:
How does the brain physiology produce subjective consciousness?
Where do the laws of physics come from?
What set the fundamental constants and why do they appear fine tuned to produce us?
Why is there something rather than nothing?

Those are deep problems for naturalism indeed. For those with a Christian worldview, these issues are not problems at all, because God has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus. So since the One, who know everything and is eternally faithful, has revealed some history to us, we can be certain of the answers to the questions that his revelation answers. No interpretations of modern paradigms have higher authority that God’s revelation.

The human mind (including my own) rebels emotionally against the idea that something as complex as life and the rest of the expanding universe could have just happened. It takes intellectual courage to kick yourself out of your emotional incredulity and persuade yourself that there is no other rational choice…Which is more probable, the impossible has really happened or that he conjurer has fooled you. You don’t have to understand how the trick was done in order to take the courageous leap of reason and say hard as it is to swallow, I know it’s only a trick. The laws of physics are secure.

The human mind rebels in several ways:

  • The human mind rebels against the Creator. Being born into sin, the human mind wants very much to be its OWN authority in the rightful place of the Supreme Monarch, Jesus! But through humble repentance, the human mind can instead embrace reality and worship the Creator rather than the created.
  • The human mind does indeed rebel against the idea that the universe, life, and consciousness emerged from nothing. Dawkins joins Richard Lewontin in refusing to accept the mountains of evidence for God and instead choosing philosophically to suppress the knowledge of God. Confirmation of Romans 1

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door – Richard Lewontin

Finally, Dawkins claims that even though he cannot justify the very foundations of science, scientism is the ONLY means for answering deep questions:

If science…can’t answer the deep questions, then nothing can

If you interact with atheists long enough, and you’ll hear them say, “Atheism makes no claims. It’s not a worldview. It is simply: a lack of beliefs in a God.”

To that, I have a few things to say: A rock as a lack of belief in God. Algae has a lack of belief in God. So, it means nothing to say that atheism is a lack of beliefs in a God.

Secondly, Romans 1tells us that everyone has knowledge of the Creator, but in their unrighteousness, they suppress the truth.

And thirdly, the high priest of Darwin, Richard Dawkins claims atheism to be a worldview:

The contrast between religion and atheism: I want to argue that the atheistic worldview has an unsung virtue of intellectual courage. 

Now, he still cannot account for courage, intellect, or the laws of logic by which he could contrast religion and atheism, but he understands that atheism is a worldview. It’s just a bad one.

 

Dawkins has heard the gospel of Jesus, but he has rejected it. He now leads the deception of others that naturalism can account for reality in the rightful place of the Holy One. He is to be pitied.

Since we can trust what God has revealed to us about history (and HE has confirmed his historical revelation in the person of Jesus), we can be sure of what God has claimed about the future: hope, peace, and rest for those who humbly repent of their rebellion against the Holy One. Praise God for his amazing grace!!!

Can Your Worldview Withstand Scrutiny?

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This is my part of an interaction I had with an atheist. They claimed over and over that my claims of revelational epistemology were nonsense. I hope you find encouragement in reading through my comments and that they help you more faithfully share the gospel.

Revelational epistemology is a valid field of philosophy. Philosophers such as Val Til, Bahnsen, White, and Lisle did or are teaching this branch of Christian thinking. So, my statement is not nonsensical…in fact, it is the reason we can actually determine ideas to have rational value in the 1st place.

God revealed Himself in creation. Even Dawkins recognizes this fact even though the idea of design by God is abhorrent to him. Dawkins conjured up the contradictory idea of “bottom up design” in an attempt to explain the clear design of the universe out of philosophical convictions…not scientific ones

God revealed Himself in the Bible. The Bible claims to be the Word of God, & it records many prophecies that, once fulfilled, have verified its authenticity. The Bible also records historical events that forensic scientists have over and over corroborated the truthfulness of the recordings.

God revealed Himself in Jesus. Jesus claimed to be God during his earthly ministry. His claims make him either a liar, a lunatic, or the LORD of glory. Which do you think Him to be? His appearance, life, and resurrection both fulfilled numerous old testament prophecies and verified his claims of divinity. Recognizing these facts and repenting of one’s rebellion against the Creator brings forgiveness and abundant life.

Now, to get to the consistency of one’s WV. For Christians, all of these elements are both internally and externally consistent:

  1. matter – God is outside of time/space and brought all of the cosmos into existence (John 1). Because of the curse of sin, we would expect to see decay, suffering, and death in anticipation of God’s ultimate victory (Isaiah 11)
  2. truth – God claims to be source of truth (John 14:6, Prov 26:5)
  3. laws of logic/reason – Laws of logic are unchanging, abstract, and universal. God provides a foundation for LoL because He is immutable and transcendent
  4. Unchanging physical laws, uniformity of nature, induction – Like laws of logic, these laws are abstract and unchanging…like God
  5. morality/human value – Mankind is created in God’s image so has great value (Gen 1:27, Matt 22:37-40)
  6. Generally reliable senses – Although perverted by the curse of sin, senses still function to glorify God, so Christians would expect them to be generally reliable
  7. Human consciousness – God breathed life into humanity (Gen 1:27)
  8. Human ability to comprehend matter, truth, physical laws, morality – It is expected that humans be able to comprehend the things of the universe and abstractions because by doing this, humans bring glory to God.

You can dislike this line of argumentation, but it is illogical & irrational to claim that my WV lacks internal coherence. It is also externally consistent because it solves the problem of induction, provides a truth anchor and has verification through the Bible and Jesus.

Now as a test, see if your WV can withstand the same scrutiny with internal CONSISTENCY

Lastly, I want to address your statement:

“IF you say something like “X Y and Z are true, therefore I believe that God has revealed himself, ergo these other things are true”, then perhaps a conversation could be had”

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the fundamentals. Since God is my ultimate authority, there is no HIGHER authority by which to compare his revelations. He is my epistemological foundation. But it is because He provides this foundation that we can evaluate things using logic, science, evidence to determine things to correspond to rationality or not.

You very much want the ambiguous term “evidence” to be your epistemological foundation except that to evaluate evidence, you have to justify laws of logic, truth, and morality for the evaluation to make sense. Besides, everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview. So, evidence makes a poor epistemological foundation.

YoctoNumeroPhobia

It’s not a real word, but I’m going to construct it and use it as:

The abnormal fear of the smallest defined number.

Stephen Meyers lays out a case that makes it irrational to believe in evolution. The whole video is worth watching, but the link starts at minute 24, when his talk begins to destroy the foundation of evolution.

If you know and understand math, you’ll agree. I’ll leave alone (for now) that without a Christian worldview, one cannot even account for the invariant, absolute, and universal laws like mathematics. At about minute 30 he gets into the math itself:

 For every 12 letters (in the English language) that are functional/meaningful there are 100,000,000,000,000 other ways to arrange those same characters…that are non-functional/meaningful. The very same things are true in the DNA protein case. The ratio to non-functional sequences to functional sequences is even more prohibitively small than in the case of the English language.

For a small protein, the chances of getting a functional sequence without guidance is 1 over 10 ^ 77. This is a number so small that it does not even warrant a definition with latin prefixes. The real problem is much worse for evolutionists who insist that natural selection acting on random mutations has generated all functional code. Since the chances of getting a non-functional protein are so much greater than all of the possible chances (all of the creatures 10 ^ 40) over the perceived available amount of time (3.5 X 10 ^ 9), logic dictates that we declare the evolutionary theory as failed.

Dr. Meyer built his case to answer theistic evolutionists, but the case is even more powerful when used against naturalists, who demand that there is no Creator. So fearful are evolutionists of these arguments that they choose not to even engage with Meyer’s arguments. They resort instead to strawman, ad hominem, and genetic fallacy arguments. When exposed to the near infinitely small chances that their worldview kingdoms have any substance, they become prey to YoctoNumeroPhobia. It is an irrational fear and is solvable by trusting the Creator in what He has revealed. It makes sense rationally (to trust One with infinite knowledge and love), logically (science supports the conclusion) and morally (God provides forgiveness for sin.)

I do want to cover a few comments that Meyer only minimally addresses in his talk. Meyers is not a biblical creationist, but I’m pretty sure that can be solved if he were to read my posts on this blog.

Many think they must adopt an evolutionary understanding of biological origins despite its substantial cost to the coherence of basic Christian doctrine.

I could not agree more!!!! The gospel of Jesus Christ is clear!

  • The Creator made a universe that was very good
  • God declared that life was to reproduce according to its kind.
  • Adam and Eve rebelled and brought death, bloodshed, pain, and the curse of sin into creation. Genesis 3. Romans 5. Romans 8. I Cor 15
  • To bring glory to Himself, God’s plan to offer a substitute to take on God’s wrath in the place of sinful humans was made manifest in Jesus. Jesus took the curse of sin upon himself, which allowed God’s children to be in relationship to him.
  • Jesus rose from the dead.

Is evolutionary theory so well established that it makes it compulsory to read scripture in a completely different way.

It is so important that people not take naturalistic interpretations to scripture. So many heresies arise from trying to dilute the teachings of God’s revelation with cultural proclivities.

So, don’t let YoctoNumeroPhobia crush your soul.

God’s Word can be trusted in what He has revealed about history, so we can trust Him with our future! He is trustworthy!!!

Evidence for the Almighty

Interact with people long enough online when discussing God, and the inevitable demand for “evidence for your sky daddy” (or other pejorative) will arise. So, let’s talk evidence.

Evidence

That’s a decent definition for evidence. As another prerequisite, we need to define God. God has revealed Himself through his creation, through his Word, and through Jesus as The All powerful and All Knowing Eternal Creator.

We need to talk about three more things before we talk about evidence:

  1. All evidence is interpreted by your worldview. Evidence does not speak for itself. Let me give you an example of how people interpret evidence according to their worldview. The evidence is a fossilized dinosaur bone.
    • A Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because the dinosaur was rapidly buried by water-born sediment. Since the animal now exists as a fossil, it avoided decomposition from scavengers/bacteria, so it had to be buried quickly by a massive flood like the one revealed as historical evidence in Genesis 7-9. We know from calculations on ages and historical markers that the flood took place about 4500 years ago, so the bone has been buried for about 4500 years.
    • A non-Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and so the rock layer in which the dinosaur is buried is also that old. Because the rock layer has this fossil in it, we know that the fossil was buried about 65 million years ago.
    • Same evidence.Wildly different conclusions. There is no special atheistic evidence, and there is no special christian evidence. There’s just evidence that people interpret within their worldview framework. Can evidence ultimately convince someone of God’s existence? So, we have to ask how valid is it to put out evidence to convince someone that God exists.
  2. What things count as evidence?
    • Laboratory evidence or repeatable evidence. There are all kinds of examples for this, but let’s go easy: Water at sea level boils at 100 degrees Celsius. This is repeatable and consistent. Most of the time, when I have interactions with people online, they want this kind of laboratory evidence to prove that God exists. We’ll talk more later about why a demand for evidence of the Almighty on this level is absurd.
    • Historical or Forensic evidence. Clearly, one cannot go into the laboratory and prove with repeatability the existence of Ghengis Khan or Thomas Jefferson, but one can, with a high degree of certainty, rely on historical records. Biases play a major role in the documentation of historical records, so it’s helpful to recognize bias and read multiple accounts of a historical event to get the truest picture of the past.
  3. This is not specifically about evidence, but the demand that people make of God. “God you appear before me or you’re not real!” To demand this of the Eternal Almighty is audacious, prideful, and dangerous. On a much smaller scale, it would be similar to saying, “The President of the USA better show up to my birthday party and light my candles, or he’s not really the president.” This demand is completely unreasonable for his authority/position, and it ultimately has no bearing on the president’s authority/position.

What is the evidence for God?

  1. Since God is the Creator, all evidence is evidence for God. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-his divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” A key question would be: What evidence would convince you that God exists, even though he says you already have enough evidence?
  2. Without God, you couldn’t prove anything at all. As the Ultimate Truth shows, God can fulfill the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. To be absolutely certain of something, one must know everything or have revelation from Someone who does know everything. We all know things, therefore God exists.
  3. There are immaterial, invariant, universal entities. Those who believe in a naturalistic worldview cannot account for these entities, because the naturalist is bound by constantly-changing matter. Since God is immaterial, invariant, and transcendental, He can substantiate both the material and immaterial entities. Because there are things like good, beauty, truth, mathematics, and information we know that God must exist to be the source for these things.
  4. The Bible. Scripture claims to be divinely inspired. These claims are internally consistent and continually verified by forensic science. As verification of their divine nature, fulfilled prophecies have been recorded throughout scripture and later come true. Ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the pivotal point in history. Multiple lines of evidence are compelling for this miracle.
  5. Theologetics.org has collated a great deal of arguments and evidence for the existence of God. I highly recommend you research the overwhelming evidence that he has collected
    1. Laws of logic confirm God’s revelation
    2. Teleological Argument
    3. Moral Argument
    4. Ontological Argument
    5. Consciousness Argument
    6. Information Argument
    7. The Truth Argument
  6. Specified Complexity – DNA is a biological code that exhibits specified complexity. It is both highly ordered and elaborate. Scientifically, only intelligence is known to create specified complex code like computer programs. DNA is not just a code, but exhibits informational capacity in multiple dimensions. Complexity of this magnitude requires a magnificent Power.
  7. Irreducible Complexity – “A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, & where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced gradually by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, since any precursor to an irreducibly complex system is by definition nonfunctional.” God shows Himself to be a master designer by creating mechanisms that cannot function with any missing parts. Examples of IC are most of the biological systems: respiratory, circulatory, immune, etc…
  8. Fine Tuning – There are properties of the universe that could have any number of values. If any of these values were different in even the slightest degree, life would not be possible. The universe appears to be not just perfectly fine tuned for life but perfectly designed for the flourishing of life and scientific discovery.
    1. A sub-category of the fine-tuning evidence is the specific evidence for earth being designed for human life:
      1. Perfect distance from the sun provides for liquid water and optimum temperatures for humanity
      2. Unique near-circular orbit prevents massive climate swings
      3. Protective atmosphere – The atmosphere deflects or absorbs much of the dangerous radiation and meteors. It also provides the right amount of heat preservation for life on earth. Its composition fosters the water cycle that sustains life on earth.
      4. The earth is the perfect size for generating a magnetic field of the right strength. The Van Allen belts protect humanity from dangerous radiation. As a secondary benefit of the belts, the beauty of the northern lights can be enjoyed by humanity.
      5. Transparent atmosphere allows us to use the visible light spectrum for vision. Because of this, humanity can observe evidence both inside and outside our atmosphere.
      6. The atmosphere is also the perfect ratio of elements for respiration, combustion, flight, photosynthesis, condensation, evaporation, and UV protection. The atmosphere is also a great medium for passing smell and sound.
      7. The proximity to the moon and sun provide perfect amount of force to control tides and keep the oceans from becoming stagnant.
      8. We can view a perfect solar eclipse because the moon appears to be 400X smaller than the relative distance of the sun, which is 400X further away. Coincidence or design?
      9. The placement of the earth within the solar system protects the earth from most meteor strikes. The large gas planets “vacuum” up most of the dangerous ones.
      10. The placement of the earth within the Milky Way appears to be perfectly designed because it is in a relatively safe part of the bands of stars that allows for the greatest level of discovery.
  9. Symbiosis – Symbiosis is defined as “interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” Unrelated biological systems that cannot exist independently are best explained by a master Designer, who planned their advantageous interactions.
  10. The Moral Argument – While not a specific piece of evidence, the argument that there are ultimate moral laws necessitates a moral law giver. Again, naturalistic worldviews cannot account for universal, immaterial, and invariant moral laws.

This list is not comprehensive, but it is a good start when studiously researching the evidence for the existence of God.

I mentioned earlier that most atheists demand a level of evidence for God on par with 2+2=4 or the repeatable boiling point of water. This demand is absurd, because it is a category error.

God is by definition beyond nature, so demanding a natural evidence for a supernatural event/entity does not make sense. As an example of this, a miracle was recorded in the Bible where Jesus changed water into wine. Jesus did not use a law of nature or mathematical formula to perform this miracle. It is by definition supernatural and does not produce evidence that can be repeated or the process described step-by-step. It’s very much like the character in a video game who demands that the video game designer bring himself into the video game to prove his existence.

So, if your limited worldview has barriers that ignore/suppress/disallow the supernatural, no evidence will ever be good enough.

To know the Creator, you must admit and repent of your rebellion against Him. He is faithful to forgive and only faith in his Son can bring the mercy and peace that we all need.

Suppress the Truth at Your Own Peril

I’ve listened to Shermer debate several different Christians, and his debate style has grown tiresome.
In this debate, Shermer declared victory in the opening paragraph and spent the rest of his time “killing” straw men, showcasing red-herrings, and refusing to provide justification for his assertions. It was terribly frustrating to hear Shermer, who failed miserably at defending atheism, declare victory in the closing remarks when Hernandez chose not to join Shermer outside the debate boundaries. His entire argument (as Hernandez correctly pointed out) was “I don’t like God.”
It’s time for Shermer to retire from debate. He was never able to understand the depth of Dr. Hernandez’s transcendental argument. Shermer continued to “argue” against tired classic Christian apologetics, which Dr. Hernandez never employed.
I find similar responses from atheists with whom I interact. They do not understand the depth of their philosophical dilemma, and they resort to scientism (“we have evidence….you don’t”), wild accusations (“stone adulterers and children!”) and vicious circularity.
In many ways, Christians must do better at framing the debate, so that atheists can at least try to tackle the real philosophical problems rather than fighting on the surface. But it’s certain that those outside the church who continue to suppress the truth will bring on themselves the “futile thinking…with foolish darkened hearts.” (Romans 1)…and thus never be able to understand the freedom of Truth (John 8:32).
It comes down to authority. The atheist chooses dirt (material) as the eternal authority. The follower of Jesus chooses the revealed Creator (and his Word) as his authority.

Why Scientism is Untrustworthy

What is scientism? From a simple Google search:

Scientism is belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints.

The call by many atheists to discard history/religion/common sense and embrace scientism has some problems. One of the biggest problems with scientism is the predictions that are made. Here’s just a few examples.

So, let’s take a look at some of his predictions, made in 1968:

1) “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate,” he said. He predicted four billion deaths, including 65 million Americans…

What actually happened: Since Ehrlich wrote, the population has more than doubled to seven billion — but the amount of food per head has gone up by more than 25 per cent. Of course there are famines, but the death rate has gone down. I don’t think a significant number of Americans have starved….

3) “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people … If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

What actually happened: I’m not hungry. I just ate. Are you hungry? Were you hungry in 2000, especially? Does England exist?

So, what is a reasonable alternative to scientism? Well, if you’re looking for a worldview that has been faithful to historical trustworthiness, religion, and common sense, check into Christianity…not into joining a religious club but truly letting Jesus guide your life. The prophecies contained in the Bible (as opposed to scientism) have been 100% accurate.

Have people (even popes) misrepresented Christianity for selfish or even wicked purposes? Most assuredly. Does it then follow that because people have rationalized bad behavior in the name Jesus, that Christianity should be discarded? You might have even been on the receiving end of poor choices by Christians, but please let me encourage you to test a person’s actions on their alignment with the Bible. There is forgiveness through Jesus, and only in Him can we find hope for the future.

Holy Matrimony

Marriage is a hot topic in today’s culture. Whether it has to do with seeing your bride walk down the isle, your friends avoiding marriage, your friends getting married, gays trying to redefine marriage, or the government trying to define marriage, marriage is on our minds today.

Wedding

Well, Oklahoma has taken steps to get the government out of the marriage business. The reason is that the government should not be in the marriage business at all. In Genesis, God invented the institution of marriage, so it should be his followers that engage in it.

House Bill 1125, which would effectively ban all secular marriages in the state, was passed by a Republican majority and will now go to the state Senate for consideration.

“Marriage was not instituted by government. It was instituted by God. There is no reason for Oklahoma or any state to be involved in marriage,” said one of the bill’s Republican supporters Rep. Dennis Johnson, though marriage is a legal contract.

Marriage is not just a legal contract, it is a picture of God’s love for his church. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells husbands how to love their wives,

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy by washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.

So, without redefining marriage to mean something that God never intended, how can atheists participate in marriage or fulfill its purpose? Marriage is a continual act of selflessness, and while an atheist can be selfless, there’s no reason for them to be selfless. High atheist, Richard Dawkin, even praises the virtue of selfishness at the expense of sacrifice in his book The Selfish Gene. This is the exact opposite of marriage.

The good news is that everyone can participate in marriage, because God can redeem anything. He has mercifully given his Son so that our sins can be paid. We can all enjoy fellowship with Him knowing that our debt is paid.