This week I’m going to look at something that is a bit more abstract, but it can be quite powerful if you can wrap your mind around it. Essentially you go about showing that in order to make sense of anything (using logic) or understanding nature/doing science, you have to presuppose the existence of God. This is often called Presuppositional Apologetics. You may often hear it called the impossibility of the contrary, because it enables you to say things like “it is impossible that God doesn’t exist because…”.
This form of arguing goes directly to the level of the person’s worldview and questions that. Can other worldviews make sense of reality simply by the way they think? Or do they require the unbeliever to borrow unwittingly from the Christian worldview to operate? A way to look at it by comparison is by looking at what we’ve already covered. The basic idea undergirding the Moral Argument that we covered last week is that God must exist in order for objective morals and duties to exist. In the same way, you’re saying that God must exist in order for logic (thinking) and ordered nature (science/trusting our senses) to work/make sense. You’ll have to bear with me as I lay a bit of groundwork.
In philosophy there are 3 things commonly referred to as the Laws of Reasoning. Aristotle put them down into writing, but they are universal laws, applicable to all peoples at all times in all cultures. The Law of Noncontradiction, The Law of Identity, and The Law of Excluded Middle. These are the technical names that refer to the ways in which rational thinking is possible. If I were to tell you that my car is parked outside right now, and my car is not parked outside right now, we know that both of these things can’t be true at the same time, in the same way. We know that by intuition, because obviously two things that are contradictory can’t both be true! The reason we know that, technically, is because the Law of Noncontradiction exists.
The Law of Identity: A thing is itself.
The Law of Noncontradiction: (the corollary) A thing cannot be both itself and not itself at the same time, and in the same respect. (Like the car example)
The Law of Excluded Middle: There’s no third (middle) way. Either something is itself or it is not itself. (There isn’t a middle way to my car being either outside or not outside.)
All these things are the objective laws which determine how thinking is possible, and how we are able to arrive at truth. Interestingly, they are not dependent on a particular set of people in a certain time, and most importantly, they are themselves grounded in the very nature of God Himself. How do we prove this?
Law of Identity: “I Am Who I Am.” – Ex. 3:14
Law of Noncontradiction: “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies” – Titus 1:2a & “he remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.” – 2 Tim. 2:13b
Law of Excluded Middle: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” – 1 Cor. 15:14 (either He was raised, or He wasn’t, no middle way) “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” – Gal. 6:7 (no middle ground in sowing/reaping, and that God will not be mocked [no deception or middle way])
Bonus: All Three: “I am the Lord (1st), and there is no other (2nd) , besides me there is no God;(3rd)” – Isaiah 45:5
Alright, so let’s suppose you can make sense of all that. What does it matter? Well, as an argument for the existence of God, it’s particularly powerful because everyone must use thinking in everyday life, especially if someone is trying to form arguments against the existence of God! It’s sort of like someone taking the position that oxygen doesn’t exist, allthewhile using oxygen to argue the point! The Atheist cannot account for the laws of logic because they are not material entities, and on the Atheistic worldview, only material entities can exist.
This carries over into studying/observing nature (doing science) because in order for the entire scientific enterprise to continue, you have to assume that nature is orderly and understandable by us. Those assumptions only make sense if there is a Creator who is rational, has created with purpose, and has designed us with the ability to know anything. On a materialistic worldview, those things would all be staggeringly improbable, let alone completely random and pointless. If you want to see how this plays out in debate format, you could take a sizeable chunk of time to listen to one of the greatest debates in history.