Everyone is entitled to my own opinion. That’s one of my dad’s old lines but I’m afraid it’s become true of my generation. We all have these preconceived notions, we have presuppositions, we have our own basic heart commitments, we each have a framework by which we view all of life, a worldview. Today we all speak out of our own worldviews but we hardly ever acknowledge our heart commitments. Most of us haven’t been taught to think critically so we stay on the surface level without checking our foundations.
When someone asks me for proof that God exists I have a couple different options. I could talk about how everything that begins to exist has a creator or I could talk about how all of nature testifies to God’s existence. I could use an existential approach to reach in and press on the longing for purpose that we all experience. I could try and overwhelm your mind with all the evidences that I think are killer arguments for God’s existence. There are tons of options out there, some of them are really great, others not so much. I’ve found that one of the best approaches out there is to challenge the assumptions behind the question itself to show that God must necessarily exist for you to even ask for proof.
When you ask me for proof that God exists you’re standing on a mountain of assumptions. You’re assuming that knowledge is possible. You’re assuming that I’m a sentient being with a mind capable of thinking. You’re assuming the laws of logic are necessary and universal. You’re assuming that we can use the laws of logic to inquire after truth as we reason together. You’re assuming that words do in fact have meaning. You’re assuming proof is attainable, that nature is uniform and the future will be like the past. You’re assuming there is a universal moral law because you’re expecting me not to knowingly deceive you. You’re assuming a lot of things when you ask for proof of God’s existence.
Faith vs. Faith
Instead of running down each rabbit trail I listed in the second paragraph, I’d rather go over one of the greatest proofs for God’s existence: that you can’t even ask for proof without God necessarily existing. I understand that sounds a little weird at first but another look will hopefully reveal what I mean by that. In order for knowledge to be possible we need a starting point. We can see through the history of western philosophy that when you don’t start with God’s revealed word you can’t actually know anything. The autonomous philosopher’s systems continually collapse on themselves. There is nothing you know without faith in an authority figure. Every system of knowledge is based on faith, In order to know anything you must first believe something. So when you assume truth and knowledge are possible I’d argue that your assumption can only be true if the God of the Bible, the Ultimate Source of Truth, exists and has given us the propositional truth as well as the ability to come to know it.
Another assumption, that’s closely related, is the assumption that the Laws of Logic are universal and necessary. When people speak of Logic they usually just mean the Law of Noncontradiction, formerly known as the law of contradiction. You’re assuming that two things can’t both exist and not exist at the same time in the same place and in the same way. Maybe that sounds too fancy, but it just means that I know I’m sitting at a desk right now and not both sitting at a desk and standing where the desk is. That’d be illogical, right? Even if you don’t fully understand, you’re utilizing the laws of logic right now while you read this post. You’re mind is made to reason, you’re reading my words and seeking to understand what I’m writing. You’re not assuming that I mean what I’m trying to say and the opposite of what I’m trying to say at the same time. Everyone has to think in this either/or kind of way, no matter what you say. Even if you say “no I don’t think that way”, you’re saying I don’t think in the either/or kind of fashion, I think in another. Do you see how that works? You’re saying I don’t think A, I think B… That’s either or thinking hahah. So we all have to use logic in order to live, it’s inescapable. Since that is the case, what must be necessarily true? Well God must exist in order for us to utilize the universal laws of logic. These logical laws are universal and immaterial, you can’t go to Walmart and buy a pound of logic right? So where do they come from and how is it that we’ve come to use these laws? Well as Christians we believe that logic is an aspect of God’s mind, He has created us in His image to represent Him and He’s gifted us with reasoning capabilities to utilize logical laws and love Him and give thanks to Him as we cultivate the earth He’s created. If the God of the Bible doesn’t exist there is no justification for utilizing the logic you so desperately need.
Uniformity Of Nature
Another assumption you may be standing on is that nature is uniform and the future will be like the past. When you ask for proof, more often then not, you’re looking for something that is testable, observable and reproducible right? You’ve been taught about the scientific method and today it seems like science is king. We learn all sorts of really cool things about science and we’ve used scientific experiments to discover so much about the world we live in and the universe we inhabit. But most of us haven’t learned much about he philosophy of science. That science depends on a lot of assumptions as well. It depends on nature being uniform. It depends on the future being like the past. Let’s take a quick look. If something is testable it has to be tested… by someone. This brings us back to the problem of Logic without God. If some proof or evidence is observable there has to be someone observing it with their senses and perceive what’s happening with their reason. And lastly if something is reproducible that would assume that the future will be like the past and the laws of nature are uniform, that induction is a real thing. As a Christian I believe God has made the universe in an orderly fashion and thus we can study it and come to know things about it. I believe that the future will be like the past because I believe what the God says in His word, that He is indeed holding all things together, that He is faithful, and that the seasons and times will continue until Christ comes back. This is a necessity for science to work at all. If you’re expecting proof to be testable, observable and reproducible I’d say that’s evidence that God must exist necessarily.
Ethics, Morality and Meta-Ethics
The last assumption I wanna talk about is morality. When you ask me for proof, you’re most likely assuming that lying is wrong. You don’t want me to knowingly lie to you about some sort of evidence I bring to you. You know lying is wrong and unhelpful. You’re going to be listening to what I say all the while testing what I say and looking for inconsistencies, you wanna know if I’m telling the truth. In scientific experiments we expect scientists to tell us the truth of their experiments. But morality, although necessary for science and human progress, isn’t a part of science, it’s in the field of ethics. The ethics of science is not really a scientific discipline it’s a philosophical one. If you’re assuming that lying is wrong at all, I’d say you’re appealing to a universal moral law, outside of yourself because if it wasn’t you couldn’t expect others to understand your own subjective morality. If you call someone out for lying you are appealing to a morality outside or above yourself and the person you’re talking with. Objective morality is dependent on the God of the Bible. The moral law we all experience written on our hearts, most often referred to as our conscience, is evidence that we’ve been made in God’s image and we prove that to ourselves and others every time we make moral claims and judgements.
There are better men than me who have laid out this argument more cogently and persuasively but my goal in this post has been to encourage you to check your foundations. We all have a worldview, a basic framework for how we view the world. When you ask for proof that the Trinitarian God of the Bible exists you’re showing that He must exist necessarily for you to even ask that question. The most common aspects of proof, logic, science & induction, and morality, all depend on the God of the Bible. So when you ask for proof you’re showing He must actually exist. Check your own worldview and ask yourself if your beliefs even allow you to ask for logical, scientific truth claims.