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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Mar 8, 2018

In this episode, Brother Jonathan gives one good reason to believe.

 

One Good Reason to Believe

S2EP5

Remnant Bible Fellowship

 

  1. Intro
    1. There is nothing new about what I’m going to talk about. This has been something that secular philosophers and scientists have discussed for centuries. I don’t take credit for anything in this episode. If there is anything good in it, then it’s because other men’s labors in their respective fields of logic, philosophy, and one of them is an astrophysicist. I’ll give you their names at the end if you want to look them up. There are several good debates on Youtube by them that you can watch for free.
    2. I know that there are places on the internet where the apologetic that I use in this episode is supposedly refuted. I read atheist forums and blogs sometimes too. I find it ironic that these guys think they’ve answered anything, because their answers show that they didn’t even understand it. In addition to why I believe what I’m going to talk about is correct, if you understand it then you’ll see why these bloggers don’t have a leg to stand on.
    3. Before I begin though I will acknowledge that I don’t believe that the presuppositional apologetic is the most effective way to get all the way from the idea of origins to a belief in the Gospel. There are several steps from point A to point C; but from everything that I’ve seen so far, I believe that it is unanswered to this day regarding the issue of origins. But for some people it doesn’t close the circle, and I do see some merit to that. So what I decided to do was to stretch out the issue over three episodes to try and present a good argument for what I believe to be the necessary steps. I believe those three necessary steps are:
      1. From origins to God. By “origins” I mean the discussion of how we got here, and by “God” I simply mean a general understanding of a god concept. I will argue this point in this episode mainly using logical and philosophical arguments.
      2. From deism to the God of the Bible. In this I mean to argue that it is the God of the Bible who distinguishes Himself apart from all other god concepts in the world in a way that makes belief in the God of the Bible justifiable. I will plan to argue this point in a couple of weeks in another episode using logical and evidential arguments.
      3. From the God of the Bible to belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, i.e. “the Gospel”. In this episode I will argue for the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a historical event, and therefore making it justifiable to believe it. I will plan to argue this point after the second point in another episode using the minimal facts. That is, I will mainly use the data/evidence that is accepted by critical scholars. By scholars I mean those that have degrees in the appropriate field to speak about the subject matter. Using the minimal facts method I will take the evidence that is accepted by atheistic and agnostic scholars and show that even with the limited evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ should be considered a historical event.
    4. Now that’s the plan. Obviously, pending some unforeseen event, it is subject to change. Lord willing, that is what I’m planning.
  2. Presuppositions and the Nature of Evidence
    1. Everyone believes certain things. The things that you hold to most strongly, but normally take for granted, are called “presuppositions”. Presuppositions are beliefs that are assumed at the outset before any investigation of evidence; these are pre-supposed and control our interpretation of evidence. Things such as the laws of logic. You bring that to the table without even thinking about it. We naturally think and reason with such laws of logic as the law of non-contradiction. When you walk out of your house in the morning and see your car in the driveway you don’t automatically think, “I see my car in the driveway, but I wonder if it is also somewhere else?” Or, you have a tendency to not think, “I know the laws of physics and chemistry made my car start yesterday morning, but what if today they turn my car into a mushroom when I turn the ignition?” It sounds silly, but I’m using obvious examples. If you see your car in the driveway then you know that it cannot at the same time, in the same sense, be simultaneously somewhere else. This assumes the logical law of non-contradiction, and it also assumes the basic reliability of your sense of sight. The reason that you have confidence that the same physics and chemistry that were in operation yesterday to start your vehicle will operate today in the same fashion is because you assume the uniformity of nature, or what’s called the principle of induction. You believe the universe operates in a general law-like fashion. You don’t expect that today water is not flammable and tomorrow it might be like napalm. These are examples of presuppositions that are the basis for how we look at things. Indeed, without the uniformity of nature, the inductive principle, could the scientific method operate? Hypothesize, observe, test, and repeat. If there was no uniformity of nature to guarantee that the universe operates in a law-like fashion, then you would have no rational basis for believing that given the same conditions things would operate the same way. If that were true, we couldn’t even study the weather. We’ll talk more about that later.
    2. But in all that you do you bring certain basic beliefs to the table, and these basic beliefs govern how you look at and think about things. Things such as your belief that your senses are basically reliable. It’s rare that you immediately question something about your sense of taste, sight, touch, smell, or hearing. You believe them to be basically reliable. You didn’t study and come to the conclusion that your senses are basically reliable. Think about it. Could you study without using your senses to examine them? You would have to use your senses to do so. How about logic? Could you think about things and reasonably investigate whether or not logic is true without using logic in your thinking? Could you frame an argument for or against something without first presupposing that propositional statements ordered in a certain manner may lead you to a rational conclusion?
    3. This is part of the problem with the discussion of origins. Some people think that we can look at evidence neutrally. They think that we should put aside our biases and examine things objectively. That’s impossible though. The nature of evidence is such that it is interpreted. There is no such thing as an observed evidence that is uninterpreted by a presuppositional bias. For instance, both secular scientists and creation scientists examine the same evidences. People think that there are two separate piles of evidence that scientists are sorting out to say, “Well, this one is mine, and that one is yours.” No, both sides in the origins debate see everything as supporting their view. There is a reason for this: they have different presuppositions. They have a different standard by which they determine truth. An evolutionist who believes in billions of years looks at the Grand Canyon and says, “Wow, what a monumental evidence for millions of years!” The creationist looks at the Grand Canyon and says, “Wow, what a monumental evidence for the worldwide flood of Noah!” Why is that? It is because they are interpreting the evidence based on their presuppositions. The evolutionist believes that the earth is millions of years old and interprets all evidence in light of his belief. The creationist believes that the earth was created in 6 literal 24 hour days, and interprets the evidence in light of that belief.
    4. To say that “the evidence speaks for itself” is not only untrue, it’s also a fallacy. It’s called the fallacy of reification. “Evidence” is a word which describes things which cannot speak “for themselves”. People examine evidence, and make conclusions based upon how they interpret the evidence in light of their already assumed presuppositions. To deny this is to already lose the battle, because you are basing your viewpoint on an error in reasoning.
    5. People who think people should, or can for that matter, set aside their presuppositions have not understood this principle. Think about it: can you set aside your basic belief in the reliability of your senses when applying the scientific method when it includes the word “observe”? Can you set aside your basic belief in the laws of logic while applying the scientific method which requires you to form a hypothesis?
    6. All people have presuppositions. The question is: who has the correct ones, and how do we examine them?
  • Worldviews
    1. Everyone has a worldview. Even if you have never put thought into it…you have a worldview. Your worldview is a network of our most basic beliefs about reality in light of which observations are interpreted. All of your presuppositions put together make up your worldview. You can’t escape having a worldview, because in order for you to not have a worldview you can’t believe anything at all. Literally, anything. You can’t believe in math. You can’t even believe in the reliability of your own memory. You have to understand that worldviews have consequences. Whatever you choose as your worldview leads you to other beliefs, which lead to other beliefs, which eventually lead to what you do. Hitler did what he did because his worldview justified it. You can’t read Mein Kampf without seeing that as true. It’s the same thing for the rest of us. The reason that people come together to try to dialogue and end up feeling like they’re banging their head on a wall is because you’re talking to someone who has a different worldview. This is nothing new.
    2. We acknowledge this all the time when it comes to things like politics, but when it comes to science, religion, and philosophy we think we can ignore it. A good example of how different worldviews result in different conclusions of evidence is DNA. An evolutionist looks at DNA and concludes that because different animals are alike in their DNA to a certain percentage that they must be descended from the same parent. A Creationist looks at the same information and believes that it bears witness to a common designer. It makes sense to a Creationist that their DNA would match to a certain extent because we all live on the same planet made by the same Creator. Both look at the evidence in light of different standards of determining truth. This is why in order for us to get to the bottom of the debate we have to examine our presuppositions that determine our interpretation.
    3. By the way, when evolutionists say that humans are descended from apes because we share a certain amount of DNA likeness, they fail to mention that we also share fifty percent of our DNA with a banana: and I don’t see a half-man half-banana person anywhere.
  1. Chain of Reasoning
    1. All your beliefs are based on a belief that you have in something else. Think about how a child continues to ask the question “why” over and over again. Eventually, if you keep asking “why” you believe a particular thing, you will reach a wall where there is something that you take for granted. Inevitably it comes down to a certain belief that is at the base of it all. If you want to illustrate this principle, think of a ladder. Each rung on the ladder leads to the next rung, but the ladder itself has to rest on something solid that upholds the entire thing. If it’s not resting on something solid, then you aren’t going to use it. Imagine trying to use a ladder by setting it on water. Unless there is something to uphold the ladder it won’t be used. The same thing goes for your worldview and presuppositions. Each belief that you hold is predicated upon another, and another, and another, until you have to hit something that is known. I must emphasize that. You have to, at the very basis of your worldview, be resting on something that is known and not just believed. This is what we’ll call your “ultimate standard”.
  2. The Ultimate Standard
    1. If you didn’t have an ultimate standard, a reference point for determining truth that is known and not just believed, then you could never KNOW anything. That’s what we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about beliefs, we’re talking about knowledge. I don’t like arguing for probability. I don’t think it benefits very much. I’m not talking about what’s probably true, I’m arguing about what is necessarily true. If you don’t know that your ultimate standard, upon which all of your beliefs rely, is true, then you cannot be certain of any of your beliefs at all. You are then arguing an irrational belief, and not anything true. You’re arguing a philosophy, not science.
    2. Since all of your beliefs go back to one single proposition—remember the ladder—if you don’t KNOW that ultimate standard is true then you can’t know anything is true at all. A ladder doesn’t rest on nothing. It is anchored to something that holds the thing up. And we’re not just talking about philosophy or religion here. You can’t know anything if you do not have that ultimate standard that you know is true, because everything else rests upon it and is reliant upon its validity. If it’s not true, then you have no basis to assert anything at all. You couldn’t say, “I know mathematics is true.” Or, “I know that cyanide is poisonous.” You can’t assert anything if you don’t have an ultimate standard that is known as true. You have to realize that if you don’t have a reason to believe something, then you don’t know it’s true.
    3. Some would say that they have a reason for what they believe, but the problem is they’re not getting what I’m saying. You can’t use logic, for instance, unless you can justify its existence by your worldview. You can’t use mathematics unless you can justify its existence by your worldview. We’ll be illustrating this in a few minutes.
  3. Examine by what standards?
    1. The question that may be on your mind is how we can examine our worldview and presuppositions as correct or not? By what standards can we examine these things? We’ll settle on three things by which we can examine worldviews and their presuppositions:
      1. Whatever a person chooses as his or her ultimate standard will lead to other beliefs, which will lead to other beliefs, etc. The beliefs that we are led to by our ultimate standard must not contradict each other. A true worldview must be logically consistent within itself. It cannot have internal contradictions. If a worldview did have contradictions then it cannot be entirely true. Imagine if your car could be in your driveway and not in your driveway at the same time in the same sense. That’s impossible in our universe because it is a contradiction. So consistency is one of our criterions.
      2. Even if a worldview is internally consistent that doesn’t mean necessarily that it’s true. A worldview must be able to provide what are called the “preconditions of intelligibility”, or the “preconditions of knowledge”. These are things that must be true in order to know anything. I’ve named a few of them already:
        1. The basic reliability of your memory. If your memory is unreliable then you could never learn anything by observation, because you would never be able to trust what you remember happened in the past in order to conjecture about the future. This is something that is necessary for human knowledge.
        2. The basic reliability of your senses. Without reliable senses sensory observation would never be possible. Science would be impossible and humans could never even begin to learn.
        3. The laws of logic. The strongest evidence to show that the laws of logic are necessary for human knowledge is when you consider that you can’t even argue against them without using them. Can make an argument that they aren’t needful without using them to make an argument? It’s like trying to argue against the existence of air while all the while you are breathing it.
        4. The uniformity of nature. This is a big one, but it is the hardest to understand. We’re so used to taking it for granted that tomorrow will generally continue as today regarding how the universe operates. Basically this is the knowledge that the universe works in a law-like fashion. It enables us to predict the exact minute of a sunrise 100 years in the future. This is one of the things that a worldview, and origins theory, must account for.
      3. Finally, it cannot be arbitrary. This is especially important when considering origins and the existence of God. If I was to say something like, “I believe in God, and it’s not important that I don’t have a reason to believe so.” Atheists would rightly not have any reason to believe in God. Even so, if anyone says, “It’s not important that we have a justifiable reason to believe a worldview,” they are being just as irrational. If a person cannot provide good reasons to believe something then no one has any reason to consider it as genuine knowledge. Genuine knowledge consists of things that are true. Just because something is believed does not make it true. Things such as mere opinion or prejudicial conjectures fall under the category of being arbitrary. If a worldview is true, it cannot be arbitrary.
    2. You really have to grasp this: your worldview is supposed to be in agreement with reality. If it is true, then it will conform to reality and make sense of it. Origins, whatever the answer is, should account for everything in existence that is a result of “the beginning”. If it is our origin, then it would have to explain everything. If a theory, or worldview, cannot account for these things then it is necessarily false. That’s why we’re choosing these things. They are necessary for human knowledge, science, and they bear witness to human experience. Only the worldview that is correct can pass all these tests. The true worldview is the one that is non-arbitrary, internally consistent, and provides the preconditions of intelligibility.
  • The Uniformity of Nature
    1. At this point I want to expand on something further: The uniformity of nature. So many people have a problem understanding why this is important that I want to elaborate on it more. This principle is also called “induction”. You see, in order to do science we take for granted that the universe is understandable—that it can be quantified in a way the mind can comprehend. We assume order, and that’s why we try to figure it out. This order and predictability is what enables scientists to make predictions about the future. Here is the definition of the principle of induction from a college textbook on logic:
      1. “Induction, Principle of: The principle, underlying all inductive argument, that nature is sufficiently regular to permit the discovery of causal laws having general application.” (Copi and Cohen, Introduction to Logic, 14th edition (Pearson Education Limited), p.624)
    2. Don’t underestimate the importance of this precondition of knowledge. The same logic textbook had this to say of the principle of induction in its chapter on logical fallacies:
      1. “It would be wrong to suppose that only silly authors make this mistake. Even powerful minds are on occasion snared by this fallacy, as is illustrated by a highly controversial issue in the history of philosophy. Logicians have long sought to establish the reliability of inductive procedures by establishing the truth of what is called the principle of induction. This is the principle that the laws of nature will operate tomorrow as they operate today, that in basic ways nature is essentially uniform, and that therefore we may rely on past experience to guide our conduct in the future. “That the future will be essentially like the past” is the claim at issue, but this claim, never doubted in ordinary life, turns out to be very difficult to prove. Some thinkers have claimed that they could prove it by showing that, when we have in the past relied on the inductive principle, we have always found that this method has helped us to achieve our objectives. They ask, “Why conclude that the future will be like the past?” and answer, “Because it always has been like the past.”
      2. As David Hume pointed out, however, this common argument is a petitio—it begs the question. The point at issue is whether nature will continue to behave regularly. That it has done so in the past cannot serve as proof that it will do so in the future, unless one assumes the very principle that is here in question: that the future will be like the past. Hence Hume, granting that in the past the future has been like the past, asked the telling question with which philosophers still tussle: How can we know that future futures will be like past futures? They may be so, of course, but we cannot assume that they will be for the sake of proving that they will.” (Copi and Cohen, Introduction to Logic, 14th edition, (Pearson Education Limited), p.141)
    3. Both David Hume and Bertrand Russell stated the problem of this principle. Without the uniformity of nature science and knowledge are impossible though. In essence, most worldviews cannot meet even this precondition of intelligibility. They cannot give a reason for why the laws of nature will continue to behave regularly. To assume that it will, simply because they always have, is to use circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is when you arbitrarily assume the very thing that is to be proved for the sake of proving it. “Why will the future resemble the past? Because it always has.” That argument can be restated this way: “There will be uniformity of nature in the future, because there is uniformity of nature.” The question though is not whether or not we have uniformity of nature, all agree on that, the question is WHY we have uniformity in nature. A worldview must explain why we have it. We’ll see this better illustrated when we begin internally critiquing worldviews. Remember though, if something cannot provide a good reason to believe it, then it cannot be considered genuine knowledge. Something must be known for it to be considered true.
  • How we’ll critique worldviews
    1. The procedure that we’ll go through in examining these worldviews for validity will be as follows:
      1. I’ll begin constructively to show that the Christian faith accounts for all preconditions of intelligibility while being non-arbitrary and internally consistent. I will be spending the next episode in this series more specifically on what sets Christianity apart as the one true standard for determining truth above all other religions and god-concepts in the world. Since I already believe it, and it is my worldview, I will argue from that perspective.
      2. Next I’ll proceed to do an internal critique of the leading opposing worldviews: Relativism, Empiricism, and Naturalism.
    2. As we’re going through this you have to remember that we’re not just throwing around evidence right now. We’re examining the presuppositions and worldviews by which we interpret evidence. So as I’m presenting the biblical creationist worldview you need to come over and stand on my presuppositions with me for argument’s sake. You have to understand the presuppositions and follow it to see how the evidence is interpreted differently, and see whether or not it meets those conditions by which all worldviews can be weighed for validity. Then, I’ll do the same thing with the opposing worldviews. I’ll come over and stand on your presuppositions and do an internal critique of them by the same standards. The goal being to show you your own worldview and its consequences. Most people have never truly thought through their beliefs and worldview. Most people have no idea that they have a worldview, even though it is constantly guiding their decisions and actions every day.
    3. It’s also important to note that just because a worldview is not believed by others it does not mean that they do not live in accordance with it. Consider it this way, if atheism is true and nature is all that there is, then I would only be able to live in agreement with it—regardless of whether or not I believe it—because it would be true. I may believe something completely contrary to it, but if it were true I could not escape living by those presuppositions. I might not live by its morals, but I would have to live in agreement with its presuppositions because they would be true. They would describe reality as it is, if it were true. Likewise, it’s true for atheists regarding biblical creation. If it’s true, then you will be living by those presuppositions regardless of what you believe. You might not live by its morals, but you will live by its presuppositions. Belief in a worldview does not make it true or false. Keep that in mind because it is the most common objection to the presuppositional apologetic—even though it is a strawman fallacy. I’m not saying that people have to believe the Bible or believe in God for them to be living on the biblical worldview’s presuppositions. I’m saying that it has to be true. You might believe the contrary, but it has to be true. I hope I’m being clear.
  1. The Biblical Creationist Worldview
    1. I believe that there is one God (Deu. 6:4; Isa. 44:6, 8) who created all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3). I believe the mind of God controls and determines the entire universe (Isa. 46:9-10; Psa. 135:6). He has told me that He is unchanging (Mal. 3:6), that it is against His nature to lie (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2), that He is omnipresent (Jer. 23:24; Psalm 139:7-8), and that He is beyond time (2 Pet. 3:8). He has told us that He is immaterial (John 4:24; Luke 24:39), and that He is eternal (1 Tim. 1:17) He is the reference point for all truth as it is determined by His own mind (Col. 2:3; John 14:6; 17:17), and He will not contradict Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). He is the absolute that everything rests on.
    2. Regarding origins, the first verse of the Bible answers a few questions:
      1. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)
    3. This explains the creation of space (“the heaven”), of time (“in the beginning”), and of matter (“the earth”). Not as though only the earth was made, or that it consists of all matter, but simply at this time God made matter and the account is focused on the Earth.
    4. This verifies the law of causality, that no effect can be greater than its cause. That’s basic in all scientific investigation and human experience. As Dr. Henry Morris said, “A universe comprising an array of intelligible and complex effects, including living systems and conscious personalities, is itself proof of an intelligent, complex, living, conscious Person as its Cause.” (Morris, The Henry Morris Study Bible, comments on Genesis 1:1)
    5. The Bible tells me the earth hangs on nothing, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” (Job 26:7)
    6. I am told that God made man fully formed out of the dust of the ground (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7). Since he is made in the image of God, I would expect him to be an intelligent moral being.
    7. So let’s start considering our criterion:
      1. Consistency. Though many argue that there are, “many contradictions in the Bible,” I’ve been reading my Bible for years, I’ve studied the original languages some, manuscript evidence, historical context, and I’ve never found a single genuine contradiction in all these years. It may contradict what other people SAY, but it is not internally contradictory at all. Actually, throughout history the sciences have continually vindicated the Bible’s account of things over and over again. It is usually when people are ignorant of the Bible, its claims, or its history, that people make the false claim of there being contradictions in it. It’s much like handing someone a children’s book that says Sally has red hair in chapter 1, and in chapter 4 she has blonde hair. The person who is looking for a contradiction, and a reason to liberate themselves from the book, throws it out claiming that there are contradictions in it. When, if they had read chapter 3 they would have seen that she dyed her hair. Such are the examples given by skeptics of the Bible. If they had done any serious inquiry, honestly considering its validity, they would’ve seen the answer. But, as it’s been said, “If you’re not looking for truth, be sure that you will never find it.” It is demonstrable that the Bible has no internal contradictions. It may contradict the claims of other worldviews, and their interpretation of things, but that’s why we’re having this discussion.
      2. The Preconditions of Intelligibility. Does the Bible provide for the things necessary for science and human knowledge? Yes, it does. We’ll go through the ones we mentioned:
        1. The basic reliability of our memory. Man is made in the image of God. He was made a rational intelligent being. It’s because we were designed and made that we can have confidence in the reliability of our memory. Based on the Christian worldview it makes sense that our memory would be reliable, because we were made by an intelligent being. A Christian has a justifiable reason for this belief, but apart from the Biblical worldview it’s very hard to prove that your memory is reliable without begging the question. If my memory is simply the result of a mindless process that came about accidently to give humans some survival value in the past, how can I justify a belief that my memory is reliable? Only the Biblical worldview can justify this claim.
        2. The basic reliability of our senses. This is much the same as the last. Why should I expect my senses to reliably inform my mind, if both are simply the results of mutations that conveyed some sort of survival value in the past? If I am a creature that was designed by an intelligent and powerful Creator though, it would make sense that my senses are basically reliable. The Bible’s account of creation gives me justification for this belief by stating that I was made to interact with the universe.
        3. The Laws of Logic. Again, the Bible gives justification for the belief in the laws of logic. The laws of logic are immaterial, they are not natural in that sense. They are conceptual. God has told me that it is His mind that controls and determines the entire universe (Isa. 46:9-10; Psa. 135:6). He has told me that He is unchanging (Mal. 3:6), that it is against His nature to lie (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2), that He is omnipresent (Jer. 23:24; Psalm 139:7-8), and that He is beyond time (2 Pet. 3:8). He has told us that He is immaterial (John 4:24; Luke 24:39), and that He is eternal (1 Tim. 1:17) He is the reference point for all truth as it is determined by His own mind (Col. 2:3; John 14:6; 17:17), and He will not contradict Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). This means that His thoughts, which do not contradict, are universal in governing the operation of the universe. This explains the laws of logic being immaterial and universal. Man is made in the image of God, and is designed to follow this pattern—though man chooses to ignore this most of the time in rebellion against God. He “suppresses the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18) because he doesn’t like where logic leads him. He doesn’t want to acknowledge God as an authority over him. All truth exists in the mind of God I’m told (Col. 2:3), and therefore I can expect no exceptions. As a Christian, I have a justifiable reason to believe in the immaterial, universal, laws of logic without exception. Remember, we’re not trying to explain the laws of logic. A worldview must account justifiably, non-arbitrarily, WHY they exist. The Bible provides for this. Therefore, in the Biblical worldview reason, science, and rationality make sense.
        4. The uniformity of nature. Does the Bible give me plain statements that justify my belief that things will continue in a law-like fashion? Absolutely. God Himself has told me that He would do so:
          1. “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:22)
        5. God has specifically stated that He has made all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3) and that all things are upheld by His power (Heb. 1:3). The so-called “laws of nature” are nothing more than man’s description of how God consistently upholds the universe. They are immaterial concepts, and God being the one upholding all things explains why they are binding and universal. God is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-8), beyond time (2Pet. 3:8), and is consistent (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29). God has explicitly promised me that He will uphold things in a generally consistent manner (Gen. 8:22; Jer. 33:20-21). It is for this reason that I am justified in believing that things will operate tomorrow similar to today and the past.
          1. This also explains miracles. God is not “violating” some law in the universe when He does something out of the ordinary. Since these “laws” are merely descriptions of human understanding of how God does things, God is not breaking one of them when He decides to do something other than what we would consider to be ordinary. The Bible describes the universe as an open system when God is continually at work.
        6. We could continue with other preconditions of intelligibility with such things as absolute morality and mathematics. Both of these are immaterial concepts that only the Biblical worldview can give a good reason to believe in. Most people wouldn’t think of absolute morality as fitting in this category, but the imperative that we “ought” to be rational is a moral argument. If we “ought” to do anything, then you are appealing to absolute morality.
      3. Arbitrariness. One of the most common objections to the Biblical worldview is the idea that all we need is a god-concept to suit our needs in explaining all these things. This argument itself is arbitrary. If we simply came up with a god-concept to suit our needs then we are merely giving opinion. Opinions are not synonymous with truth or knowledge. Remember, why can we justify that these true things exist? In the Biblical worldview it is because God has given special revelation to man that is objective and open to examination. It does not rest on human opinion or on subjective experience. Those that claim Christianity does that show their ignorance of Biblical content. This subject is the one that we’ll develop more fully in our next episode on this topic. Suffice it to say that it is because we have the revelation of God’s Word that it is not arbitrary. It is not a person’s opinionated conjecture saying, “well I believe this or that.” Such a thing cannot be considered knowledge until there is a reason to believe it. The one thing that many opponents to Christianity consistently fail to do is examine the Bible’s claims for validity. Many opponents have gone down that road only to end up professing Christianity: C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Simon Greanleaf, etc. Simon Greenleaf was a principal founder of the Harvard Law School and put the claims for the Resurrection of Jesus to the test by plain secular judicial standards. In the end, he became a Christian. There are countless testimonies of surgeons, lawyers, and detectives, putting the claims to the test, who end up becoming Christians because of the overwhelming evidence. I illustrate the issue this way. If you don’t believe in my grandmother it doesn’t matter to me because I know her. I can easily show you her existence if you would “consider the evidence”. I could show you a birth certificate, driver’s license, etc. You might make up excuses though, “those are doctored or manufactured.” If I tell you to come and meet her then, and you say no, who is the one who is being irrational and unscientific then? Most atheists and skeptics do nothing more than watch the history channel, scour atheist forums and blog posts with endless question begging epithets and no facts, and they think that they have done research with an open mind. It’s the definition of arbitrariness on their part, not Christianity’s.
    8. So it is the Biblical worldview that can pass all these tests. That’s why people have continuously become believers throughout the last 2,000 years. Without the Biblical worldview, science and knowledge would be impossible. It is the only worldview that can give a justifiable reason to believe in the uniformity of nature, the basic reliability of our memory and senses, the laws of logic, morality, mathematics, and the list goes on. It is the only worldview that can account for itself and make sense of everything in the universe. It makes genuine knowledge possible.
  2. Relativism
    1. Relativism is the belief that truth is “relative”—that it varies from person to person. It includes the proposition that there are no absolutes. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes. While this isn’t so much an explanation of origins, so many people try to apply it to that philosophically sometimes. It is a worldview though that is very common so we’ll briefly look at it.
    2. Relativism is the definition of inconsistent and self-contradictory. To even say, “there are no absolutes,” is to establish an absolute. In this way, if relativism is true, then it is necessarily false. If it is true that “there are no absolutes” then it is false that “there are no absolutes.” The result is that if it is absolutely true, it cannot be true. Therefore, it is false. This is a philosophy that bears no resemblance to reality.
      1. Another thing to consider is that relativism is impossible to live by. This is called behavioral inconsistency. Moral relativism is a part of relativism. It’s the belief that morality is relative to the person. If it is relative to the person, then you can never tell others that they are right or wrong. This means that you could not even lock your doors at night to protect yourself from other people’s morality. If they believe it’s justifiable to break into your house and murder you, then that is their morality, and who are you to stop them if it’s all relative? Some respond by saying, “Well, we shouldn’t hurt other people or encroach upon them.” Well, you can’t do that in relativism. To do that is to establish an absolute that it is wrong to hurt others or encroach on them. Relativism, especially moral relativism, is a standard that is impossible to live by, and it doesn’t bear witness to reality. If a person believed relativism, in respect to the universe, then they would probably die young. I’m not meaning that to make light of someone’s death, but as one philosopher very well stated, “Even in India we look both ways before crossing the street, because we know that it is either the bus or me: it is not both/and.” If you refuse to believe in gravity’s pull, and you jump off a cliff, the universe is not going to bend to your will. Relativism is the definition of inconsistent, therefore it is untrue.
    3. The Preconditions of Intelligibility. Since relativism is inconsistent on every level, it cannot provide those things necessary for knowledge. This is most easily seen when it comes to the laws of logic. Relativism is a flat denial of the law of non-contradiction. It maintains that you can have b and non-b in the same relationship, at the same time, in the same sense. This obviously does not bear witness to reality. All logical reasoning presupposes that there are absolutes and fixed standards of determining truth. For any assertion that a relativist makes I could very easily say, “Is that true,” and he would have to concede that he is uncertain. If he was certain, then he would deny his own worldview. I’ve given the illustration before on this podcast that if someone says they’re a relativist, and they say their name is Joe, then I’ll just start calling them Sally or something. If they correct me, then they have shown that they really don’t live by their professed worldview. Corrections have no place in a relativistic worldview. Truth, by its very nature is exclusive. By saying that something is “true” you necessarily exclude the contradictory. One main problem that makes this view continue is that people confuse the idea of “truth” with the idea of a “belief”; but just because something is believed that does not make it true. There is nothing in any form of relativism that allows for the preconditions of intelligibility, especially the uniformity of nature. Therefore, relativism is untrue.
    4. Relativism is arbitrary. We have no justifiable reason to believe that it is true. It provides no genuine knowledge, and actually hinders it. To assert that relativism is true is to be arbitrary since there are no good reasons to believe it as true. It is mere opinion, a prejudicial conjecture to protect someone from accountability to absolutes. It is unlivable, unscientific, unjustifiable, and untrue.
  3. Empiricism
    1. Empiricism is the belief that all knowledge comes through observation. While the Biblical worldview agrees that some knowledge comes through observation, it disagrees that all knowledge comes through observation. Empiricism is the belief that ALL knowledge is gained through observation.
    2. The question to ask an empiricist is how they KNOW that all knowledge is gained through observation? Did they observe all things to determine that all knowledge is gained through observation? They did not. Empiricism, as a claim, must be believed without observation. This means that all knowledge does not come from observation. It is self-defeating.
    3. Some empiricists have argued that if they are allowed that one exception of their claim then they can explain everything. This is inconsistency. A worldview, or an ultimate standard for determining truth, must be able to account for itself and everything else. It must, in that sense, be circular; because if it relies on something else then it cannot be an ultimate standard. It is because the ultimate standard of empiricism cannot be proved by its own standards that it destroys the possibility of an empiricist to be certain of anything. It is a ladder that rests on nothing. It doesn’t meet the standards necessary to be considered consistent. There can be no exceptions in a worldview of its own claims. It is internally inconsistent; therefore, it cannot be true.
    4. Preconditions of Intelligibility. Empiricism, because it claims that all knowledge is gained by observation, cannot account for a single precondition of intelligibility. It cannot account for the reliability of the memory or senses, because it has not observed all things to verify that they are consistently reliable. It cannot account for the laws of logic, because these are immaterial and cannot be observed at all. It cannot account for the uniformity of nature, or the principle of induction, because the best it can do is conjecture based upon the past—the best it can do is argue that because nature has been uniform in the past it will be so in the future. As we talked about earlier, this begs the question and proves nothing. In essence it says, “Because of the uniformity of nature there will be uniformity of nature.” This is circular reasoning, and it does not provide a good reason to believe that there will be uniformity of nature in the future. At the best, it is conjecture, and conjecture is not genuine knowledge. It provides no certainty in the uniformity of nature, which is the basis for science and reasoning. It does not provide any other precondition either: morality, mathematics, etc. Empiricism cannot provide a good reason to believe any of these; therefore, it cannot be true.
    5. Empiricism, as a claim, is arbitrary. Skeptics and atheists constantly affirm that they want empirical proof of creation, and yet they cannot provide justifiable proof that empiricism (that all knowledge comes by observation) is true. This is an arbitrary double standard, and it is the fallacy of special pleading. They cannot apply different standards to other worldviews that they do not apply to themselves. This is especially true when the Biblical worldview can pass all these tests and their worldviews cannot. To even claim empiricism is true is to be arbitrary, because it cannot provide a justifiable reason why ALL knowledge comes through observation; therefore, it is untrue.
  • Naturalism
    1. Naturalism is the belief that nature is all that there is and that all things can be explained by natural processes. This worldview suffers the same fate as empiricism. The claim that “nature is all that there is” cannot be proven. It must be accepted before any argumentation.
    2. Naturalism leads to many inconsistent beliefs. It teaches that nature is all that there is, and yet they will use laws of logic which are immaterial concepts and not natural things. Naturalists will consistently act and practice on the uniformity of nature, though their worldview does not account for it. If the universe is the result of time plus matter plus chance: how can there be consistency or the uniformity of nature? To assume these things when your own worldview does not account for them is internal contradiction. The same thing can be said for morality. Naturalism does not allow for any objective morality. Why should I not kill people, steal other people’s things, or lie to other people? Especially if it increases my survival value? That would be consistent with naturalism. It is a shame that schools and colleges teach their students subjective moral relativism, naturalism, and that all people are is a walking chemical accident that has no value, and then these students go out into the world and live by those ideas, and then the world punishes them for it as though they were being inconsistent with what they were taught.
      1. It is funny that in Dawin’s Origin of the Species that the one thing that he did not answer was their origin. If nature is all that there is, then where did it come from? If it began as nothing, then how could it explode in a big bang? What caused the supposed big bang? What exploded? To say that nothing exploded and created everything is inconsistent. A “nothing” cannot explode. Which came first, matter or the laws that govern them? Particles, or the physics that govern them? If matter came before the laws, then where did it come from, and why did the laws come about? If particles came first, then where did they come from, and where did physics come from? Naturalism is bankrupt when it comes to accounting for origins. The Biblical worldview can cogently account for all of these things: God created all things ex nihilo, “out of nothing.” He caused it, and He put it in order, as He presently sustains them. Naturalists want an uncreated creation, and they want an uncaused first cause. Naturalism is internally inconsistent; therefore, it is not true.
    3. Preconditions of Intelligibility. Naturalism cannot account for a single precondition of knowledge. Are our senses and memory basically reliable? “We don’t know. We believe so, but we cannot give a good reason to say so. We’re all just a chemical accident: time plus chance plus matter.” According to naturalism, how can I know that the chemicals and nerves in my body are correctly interpreting the world around me? According to naturalism, I can’t. It is assumed unjustifiably. If I base it on past experience, then I’m trusting in my memory—which is the thing that’s supposed to be tested. Naturalism cannot account for the laws of logic. The laws of logic are immaterial and not natural. A law of logic is not something that you can pick up and touch. It’s not a part of nature. They are a concept, an abstraction. Why then are they in existence?
      1. Some may argue, “I know many people that use logic that don’t believe the bible.”
        1. That’s the fallacy of the irrelevant thesis. I’m not saying that they must believe the Bible to use the laws of logic; but the biblical worldview must be true for them to be able to use them. Laws of logic are not explainable by atheistic worldviews; therefore, it is inconsistent for them to use the laws of logic.
      2. “Laws of logic are just something we’ve developed because they are useful.”
        1. That makes things reduce to relativism. If you can just cast them off willy-nilly then you must begin to accept contradictions. You could never tell people that they are wrong, and you could never argue for anything—like trying to argue that the laws of logic are not binding. The laws of logic are something that has been discovered by man, not created. They bear witness to reality. If they were just a pragmatic thing, then we would be able to cast them off, not use them, and reality would still make sense. We can’t; therefore, you’re wrong.
      3. “Laws of logic are just chemical reactions of the brain.”
        1. If the laws of logic were just some form of chemical reaction in the brain, then why is it that everyone bears witness to the same ideas? Whose to guarantee that some other person’s brain would develop the same laws as you? How then would rational communication and argumentation be possible between people? This also reduces to relativism; therefore, it’s untrue.
      4. Naturalism cannot provide for the preconditions of intelligibility; therefore, it is untrue.
    4. Much the same as empiricism, naturalism is something that is believed arbitrarily. It is assumed a priori. The claim, “nature is all that there is,” cannot be proven. Indeed, it’s easily disproven by all of the immaterial things that the universe bears witness to (absolute morality, laws of logic, principle of induction, etc.). To hold to naturalism therefore, without rational justification, is arbitrary. All things that are believed arbitrarily cannot be considered as providing genuine knowledge, since the foundational belief of that system is in question. This is another ladder that rests on nothing. It is assumed. It is a presupposed philosophy of interpretation that cannot account for itself or everything else that follows. It is untrue.
    5. Gary Habermas said this regarding naturalism:
      1. “The "warm little pond" scenario was invented ad hoc to serve as a materialistic reductionist explanation of the origin of life. It is unsupported by any other evidence and it will remain ad hoc until such evidence is found. . . . One must conclude that, contrary to the established and current wisdom a scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written.”
      2. “Some naturalists hold that since life exists, naturalistic evolution must have occurred, in spite of the improbabilities. Others contend that some as yet unknown laws must have allowed life to begin without the action of any supernatural Being, again in spite of the improbabilities. These solutions beg the question. It is circular to assume naturalistic evolution to be the case in spite of the evidence against such nontheistic solutions.”
      3. (Gary R. Habermas, "Paradigm Shift: a Challenge to Naturalism," Bibliotheca Sacra 146:584 Oct-Dec (1989): [pp. 442-443].
  • Thoughts
    1. Most atheists will not accept what I’ve said in this episode, though they will argue using logic which their worldview cannot account for. “You’re presenting a false either/or scenario that it must be either evolution or God.” How can you use logic when your worldview cannot account for it? Can you tell me that you KNOW the laws of logic are binding, and on what basis can you justifiably make that argument? Even evolutionary scholars have said that it must be spontaneous generation (particles-to-people evolution) or special creation. It’s not a false either/or, it’s a legitimate one.
    2. I hear people who hold to subjective moral relativism make arguments all the time that are moral in their basis. “How can you believe in and follow such a “fill in the blank” God who “fill in the blank”?” Well, things are not true or not based on whether or not you believe them. In that argument is an assumed premise that “all things you don’t like are untrue,” and no rational person believes that premise. In addition to that, the only way to charge God in any way shape or form with any immorality is to hold to absolute morals to which all beings are accountable. You cannot be a subjective moral relativist and tell others that they have done something wrong. It is to be inconsistent with your own worldview, and it denies your own worldview. All of these arguments I’ve heard before, but no one sticks around for the answers to them. That shows that they really don’t care what’s true. They pick a worldview that allows them to live how they want.
    3. So, if anyone wants to argue you’re free to do so. Here’s what I want you to do first, and I won’t respond to any email that does not at least try this first: I want you to tell me how your alternative worldview can account for the preconditions of knowledge, while being internally consistent, and not being arbitrary. If you don’t at least try to figure out your own worldview, then you have no basis to criticize mine; especially when mine passes those tests.
    4. What you have to remember is that you can’t ignore these questions. Your view of origins MUST answer these questions, or it is not even possible. If a theory of origins is true, then it must account for everything that followed “the beginning”. These things are necessary for life and science; therefore, if you can’t cogently and justifiably account for them, then your view is wrong.
  • Food for thought
    1. Here’s a brief list of some interesting quotations:
      1. “Scientists have no proof that life was not the result of an act of creation.” (Robert Jastrow, The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe, (1981), p.19 [a leading astronomer]) *not known to be a creationist
      2. “The evolutionary establishment fears creation science because evolution itself crumbles when challenged by evidence. In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of public debates were arranged between evolutionary scientists and creation scientists. The latter scored resounding victories, with the result that, today, few evolutionists will debate. Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and the late Carl Sagan, while highly critical of creationism, all declined to debate.” (James Perloff, Tornado in a Junkyard, (1999), p.241)
      3. “Evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to bend their observations to fit in with it.” (H. Lipson, “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin 31 (1980), p. 138) *not known to be a creationist
      4. “The first, and main, problem is the very existence of the big bang. One may wonder, what came before? If space-time did not exist then, how could everything appear from nothing? What arose first? The universe of the laws determining its evolution? Explaining this initial singularity—where and when it all began—still remains the most intractable problem of modern cosmology.” (Andrei Linde, “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, vol. 271, November 1994, p. 54)
      5. “No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. Troops of monkeys thundering away at random on typewriters could not produce the works of Shakespeare, for the practical reason that the whole observable universe is not large enough to contain the necessary monkey hordes, the necessary typewriters, and certainly not the waste paper baskets required for the deposition of wrong attempts. The same is true for living material.”
      6. The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it…It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.” (Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p. 148)
    2. There are thousands of quotations like this from secular scientists, who don’t believe in Creation, and nobody ever hears them. Scientists who are honest admit that they are baffled. Perhaps I’ll give a longer list of quotations in the next episode in this series.
  1. The Gospel
    1. Of course, this being a Christian based podcast, I’m not going to end without presenting the Gospel. I challenge you to take time to listen to it as it only takes a minute. Most people think that they know what they Gospel is, or what it is about, and most people are completely wrong. It’s not about church, it’s not about a decision, it’s not about a prayer someone said sometime somewhere, it’s not about “asking Jesus into your heart.” Jesus Christ said:
  2. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:19-20)
    1. Those that care about the truth, and that want the truth, are looking for it. That’s why they examine things to see if there is validity to them. The only people that don’t look for the truth are the people who don’t want it. Most people never honestly investigate Christianity because they want no accountability. However, if it’s true—and it is—then willful ignorance will not protect you in the Day of Judgment. The least thing that you can do for yourself is to investigate it. There is nothing in this world that you get to take with you when you die. There will be no U-haul following the hearse to the graveyard.
    2. God is a King. You are under His jurisdiction as the Creator of the universe and all things in it. As a King and Judge, He has a moral law. You have sinned against the righteous law of the King, and you are a criminal in His sight. This is what the Bible refers to as sin (or the breaking of God’s law), and being a sinner (a violator of God’s law). God says, “thou shalt not lie.” You’ve lied, and are a liar. God says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” But He magnified this to include the very thoughts of your heart also (Matt.5:28). You’ve done this at least once, and so you’re an adulterer. This isn’t including the greatest commandment which is to love the Lord your God with all of you heart, soul, mind, and strength. There are others also. The penalty for violating God’s law is death. You have earned it by willfully breaking God’s commandments. There is coming a day of judgment when all of your crimes are laid out before you and you are sentenced to your death. In eternity, this state is called the second death. It is eternal death. But the King and Judge is merciful and says that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but He wants the criminal to turn from His wickedness to serve Him faithfully. He has Himself made a way for you to be pardoned. This is called the Gospel, it means “good news”. You are in a hopeless situation on your own, but God offers you good news. He Himself has made an offering to pay for your sins if you would acknowledge your crimes to Him (your sins), and embrace your Savior, the one who has made a way for you to be reconciled to the King—Jesus Christ. God became a man to live a righteous life, die a terrible death that He didn’t deserve, be buried in a tomb, and God raised Him from the dead as a testimony to you. He says that He is not only able to forgive you but that He is willing. Your part is to acknowledge your sins to Him, repent of them (turn from them), and embrace your only hope of salvation: the holy and righteous Judge and King, Jesus Christ.
  • Nothing New
    1. I said in the beginning that there was nothing new, and there was nothing really original about anything I said in this episode. I didn’t come up with this stuff myself. I read some of these things in Dr. Jason Lisle’s book The Ultimate Proof of Creation. I looked at some articles and lectures that he gave on the subject. He referenced Dr. Greg Bahnsen and a certain series of lectures that he did on the subject. Dr. Greg Bahnsen himself got it from Dr. Cornelius Van Til. You can reference a lot of good stuff on Youtube like debates. I would recommend the debates that Dr. Greg Bahnsen did with Gorden Stein and another with George Smith.
    2. I myself and not reformed in my theology, but I appreciate the philosophical and apologetic insight that these men have given to others. I would recommend their works on apologetics, but I can’t endorse all of their doctrinal viewpoints. So, if you were intrigued by anything in this podcast, it wasn’t because of me it was because of these other men’s labors.
  • Closing
    1. Like I said, I’ll be going over what sets apart the God of the Bible from every other God concept in the next episode in this series. Lord willing, that will be in a couple of weeks. I have another episode that I told someone that I would do, and they have already had to wait too long. So, after I do that episode we’ll continue this series.
    2. In closing, I’ll sum up my one good reason for believing for you: If the Biblical worldview wasn’t true, then science would be impossible.