...YOUR WORD IS TRUTH. (JOHN 17:17)
QUESTIONS ANSWERED FOR CHRISTIANS
Click on a question below to reveal the answer. Click on the question again to close it and select another one...
1. The truth speaks for itself, so why must we defend it?
Let me begin by saying that the Bible is clear and capable of being understood. Those who read it can understand it! And read it we must, for: “The unfolding of [God’s] words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalms 119:130). However, it would be a departure from truth to presume that it does not need explanation. Consider Christ’s ministry amongst His disciples. Did He not explain to them truths they did not understand (see Luke 8:9)? And Nicodemus? He was Israel’s teacher, yet he lacked understanding (see John 3:9-10). Certainly, there are things in this world that need to be learnt and understood, over time. Even so, there is a deeper issue that must be recognised: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Due to a wilful suppression of the truth (Romans 1:18), the natural man has become futile in his thinking, and his foolish heart is darkened (Romans 1:21). Claiming to be wise, he is in fact a fool, for he has exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images formed by the art and imagination of man (Romans 1:22-23; Acts 17:29). He suffers therefore from a culpable ignorance, due to a hardness of heart, and that is why he is darkened in his understanding. In his natural thinking, man opposes the truth; he fights against it. He is not neutral, he is not “open minded” — he is in fact hostile towards God’s truth (see Ephesians 4:17-18; Colossians 1:21-22; Romans 5:10).
Therefore, for those whose eyes have been opened, who recognise and embrace the truth — the truth that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16) — for such is this command given: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 emphasis added). Only through Scripture can minds be renewed, for in His light do we see light (Psalms 36:9).
To presume that God’s Word does not need to be defended would also be a departure from truth. It is patently clear, from Scripture, that we should contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). And why is that? Jude tells us, in the very next verse (Jude 1:4): there are people who seek to pervert the grace of God. Should we turn a blind eye to this? Should we be indifferent to man’s irreverence and contempt for the truth? God forbid, for the glory of God’s very name is at stake! Therefore, we must contend for the faith! The word “contend” literally means to compete with others in a struggle to achieve something. It means to fight for something. For the Christian, our fight should always be for the glory of God’s name. This is why we were created, that God would be glorified through us (cf. Genesis 1:27; Leviticus 11:44; 1 Corinthians 10:31). However, we live in a world that believes it virtuous to “question everything.” The skeptic delights in asking questions, however he is never truly satisfied with the answers he is given, because ultimately he is driven by an a priori commitment to skepticism. This often plays out in a frequent and typical pattern: the skeptic attacks the Christian’s position with a question, the Christians responds; the skeptic attacks, the Christians responds; the skeptic attacks, the Christians responds — and on and on it goes, until they part company. Clearly, there is a determined tactic in play here: attack and make the Christian defend his viewpoint until the battle is over. Cause him to lose ground as he is repeatedly attacked, over and over and over.
Is this the only course of action to take, for the Christian? Is being on the defensive the only route he can take? No, not at all. In fact, our defence must also carry with it an offence. Scripture commands us to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). We must attack the false ideologies and vain imaginations that have taken men and women captive, all the while praying to the Lord that He would grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, that they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:25-26; cf. Ephesians 6:11-12). Of course, we must never forget to be gentle, respectful and gracious in our defence, (1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:6), never losing sight of the fact that if it were not for the saving grace of God, we too would be lost, having no hope and without God in this world (cf. Ephesians 2:11-12; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:7). So we must be winsome in every area of our witness for Christ. For we do not defend God’s truth simply to win arguments, no, in all our defending our goal must always be to win souls (Proverbs 11:30), and this we do for the glory of God, for the sake of His holy and perfect name!
2. Isn’t it all about evangelism and the gospel?
This question illustrates well the confusion that exists within the church today, when it comes to a right understanding of the relationship between apologetics and evangelism. There is an underlying assumption in play here, namely, that apologetics is obstructive to evangelism “in some way.” Is this really the case? Or is it rather that those who are objecting to the spiritual discipline of apologetics simply do not understand the place that apologetics holds within the Christian witness? Sadly, I would submit to you that it is the latter.
When apologetics is viewed as a philosophical exercise designed simply to wrangle with the unbeliever, one can appreciate well the concern that has been raised. However, it must be understood that as much as we are not called to be argumentative, we are called to present an argument. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we must always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks us for a reason for the hope that is in us; yet with gentleness and respect. We see this exemplified in the ministry of the apostle Paul. Often he would reason with his fellow Jews in the synagogues, as well as in the marketplace “with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17). Consider Acts 18:4: “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.” Is it possible to persuade someone without presenting an argument? Of course not. Sooner or later, we will encounter objections to the faith we profess, as we share the gospel. What are we to do in these situations? Yes, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), however, we need to understand that Scripture commands us to make a defence to those who ask us for a reason for the hope that is in us. The unbeliever must embrace the gospel in order to be saved, however, he would lay charge to the authority and truthfulness of the gospel itself. He responds to the grace of God not with humility, but rather in sinful pride. This is why a defence (Greek: apologia) of the faith is in fact part of a gospel presentation (cf. Acts 26:1-29).
We must realise that the unbeliever reasons from a place of autonomy — he is a law unto himself, that is, his thinking is independent of any outside authority, including God’s. In sinful rebellion to God’s authority, through a wilful suppression of His truth (Romans 1:18), he maintains that he is the final point of reference and interpretation, the ultimate court of appeal. His presuppositions (elementary assumptions which serve as the foundational starting point from which we interpret and evaluate the world we live in) are therefore ultimately sinful. And so we must expose his presuppositions — we must expose his sin. And of course, this is exactly what we do when we evangelise! Through the use of God’s law, we expose sin, because we know from Scripture that through God’s law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). Our apologetic is no different. When the unbeliever chooses to embrace “his truth” and does not embrace the Truth, he is saying that there is a god before the one, true God — the god of his own reasoning. He is therefore in transgression of the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
In conclusion, then, we can see that apologetics is not opposed to evangelism, or set apart from evangelism. Neither is it pre-evangelism. Rather, it is part of evangelism (it is run by the engine of evangelism) because apologetics has an evangelistic motive! When we step out into the world to share the gospel, do our hearts not long to see people saved? Of course they do. However, we know that there will be opposition to the gospel, and so apologetics is necessary to keep pushing the evangelism forward. We do this so that the gospel may do it’s work in the hearts and minds of those who hear it. Therefore, apologetics is not obstructive to evangelism, rather, it must be understood that it is in fact necessary for evangelism. Indeed, when it is done rightly, apologetics serves to expose the truth that is suppressed in the hearts and minds of sinful men, which in turn leaves unbelievers without an excuse, before the very God who has commanded them to repent.
3. Why is the method on this website the method to use in Christian apologetics?
When it comes to offering a reasoned defence of the [Christian] faith, any method that is used must be consistent with the faith itself. And so if we were to abandon our belief while defending that same belief, what would this really be saying about our belief? Expressed further, if we maintain (as born-again Christians) that God is a certain God, but we defend Him as a probability and not as a certainty, then what are we ultimately saying? For sure, with such an approach, there are at least two issues that must be realised. Firstly, our defence of God is significantly flawed, and secondly, the right God is not even being defended!
“But how would we be defending God as a probability?” you might ask. Sadly, it happens all too often, and it takes place when Christians yield to worldly presuppositions, i.e., the presuppositions of the unbeliever. Consider the following three in particular, which are illustrative of this capitulation:
1. The unregenerate man is neutral in his thinking (concerning the truth claims of Christianity).
2. The unregenerate man needs conclusive proof for the existence of the Christian God.
3. The unregenerate man is capable of reasoning rightly, to the point that he is able to embrace the truth claim that there is a God who made this world (the one, true God of the Bible).
It must be understood that if the Christian begins his apologetic based on these presuppositions, his only outcome is to present God as a probability. This is because the presuppositions of the unbeliever do not allow for anything else. In their minds, they are the judge, and God is in the dock. Consider, for a moment, the following argument:
The resurrection is proof that Jesus is God and that God exists.
On the basis of the presuppositions listed above, is it possible to prove the resurrection, empirically? No. All we can say is that in all likelihood it did happen. “But that’s ok!” you might say. “Many Christians have become Christians because of evidences presented to them.” Actually, this is not true. It is not the facts themselves that convinced people. If this were so, the “Christian” has based his belief on a probability, and if he is believing a probability, he is not a true Christian. The genuine Christian embraces the resurrection because he embraces Christianity as a whole. We must understand that Christian belief is based on truth. We believe it because it is true. But why is that? Have we come to a knowledge of the truth through the weighing of evidence? No! The Lord granted us repentance, which led to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25). Now, it may be true that evidence was used to silence the futile objections we put forward. It may be true that evidence was used to embarrass us in our sarcasms and in our criticisms against the Bible’s scientific and historic claims. However, we are Christians because the Lord transformed our hearts and minds. Through the preaching of the gospel, He caused our presuppositions to change, presuppositions that were directly linked to our suppression of the truth — due to our love of sin. Yes, evidence may have played a role, but by no means is evidence the cause of our salvation. Neither is it the means. The gospel is the means of our salvation, and God is the cause.
Furthermore, we must understand that the gospel always calls for an exposure of sin. When unbelievers challenge the Bible, when they object to its claims, especially those claims which would hold them accountable, it isn't the weighing of evidence which exposes the futility of their minds. It isn't the weighing of evidence which reveals the foolishness of their presuppositions. Pandering to the presuppositions of unbelievers (by feeding them evidences) does not expose their presuppositions. We expose their presuppositions — we expose their sin — when we show the unbeliever where their thinking will lead, if it were true (see Proverbs 26:4-5).
For example, when the unbeliever decries the notion of moral absolutes (because he refuses to believe there is an absolute moral lawgiver) and yet at the same time makes absolute moral and ethical judgements, we need to point out that he is in fact borrowing from the Christian worldview in his attempt to attack the Christian worldview. He is presupposing the existence of moral absolutes whenever he makes a moral or ethical judgement! Consider the claim that we should not believe there are moral absolutes; we should believe there is no morality. Contradictorily, the unbeliever has exposed the fact that he has a morality about no morality. With a sinful heart he argues from a position of utter futility, using words like should, a word which entails moral obligation or duty. The unbeliever has shown himself to be a fool, but not because he lacks intelligence or is slow of mind. He is a fool morally, because he is corrupt in his thinking (see Psalm 14:1). Through suppression of God’s truth, he is left with his own wisdom, a wisdom rooted in futility and shame (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:20-31).
Another example would be the unbeliever who claims he can know things apart from God; he believes it possible to know things without there being an infinite, all-knowing God. But there’s a big problem: knowledge is predicated upon truth. To know something, it must be true, because we cannot know something if it could be false. And so here we see the unbeliever who would make himself out to be the ultimate judge of truth, in his claim. However, he does not know all things, and yet he maintains that something is true simply because he says it is true. He needs to be exposed for his lack of reverential fear before the God he knows to exist (Romans 1:19-20). We must point out to him that unless he starts with God, he could not know anything at all (Proverbs 1:7).
In conclusion, we can see that really there can be only one method for defending the Christian faith. It must be a presuppositional method, so named because ultimately we are dealing with presuppositions. We are dealing with worldviews (a worldview is a network of presuppositions, through which all experience is interpreted). So our apologetic must be a “big-picture” apologetic. We need to show the unbeliever that his ability to make sense of the world he lives in is wholly predicated upon the God of Scripture. Indeed, the truth of Scripture is our authority; the truth of Scripture is our starting point. Therefore, we do not appeal to an authority outside of the Bible to justify the truth claims of the Bible. No, we start with the Bible, and we show the unbeliever that he too must start with the Bible, because the alternative leads to only one conclusion: futility and absurdity.
4. Are you saying that evidence is bad?
This would be incorrect to say. Evidences can be of great help to us, provided, however, we use them rightly, i.e., within a presuppositional framework. We must recognise our audience, and understand the person to whom we are speaking. At the end of the day, everyone has presuppositions, and they influence how we interpret evidences.
Consider the evolutionist. He begins with the supposition that Darwinian evolution is true, and from this perspective he argues that because it is true we should expect to find evidence that confirms it. There are a number of problems facing him, however. Firstly, it needs to be pointed out that his presuppositions will influence his interpretation of whatever “evidences” he deems to be verifiable. Secondly, there is a logical fallacy woven into his argument, which is viciously circular; not only is he assuming what he is trying to prove, the foundations of his argument cannot even account for the nature of proof itself. This leads to a third point, that is, the issue of how an evolutionary universe makes it possible to interpret evidence in the first place. Evidence is used to reach a conclusion, and a conclusion is either true or false. Therefore, evidence presupposes truth. The question which of course follows is this: how is truth accounted for within a random and purposeless universe? What is the nature of truth, and how do we provide a basis for it? These are questions that the unbeliever must be pressed to answer, because they will expose his presuppositions, which in turn exposes his sin.
Sadly, however, evidential arguments are rarely responded to in this way, by Christians. Worse still, many Christians will even go so far as to agree with the unbeliever, concerning the nature and effectiveness of an evidential argument. For example, you will often hear Christians say:
“The Bible is true because we find evidence that confirms it.”
However, the implications behind such a statement make the statement itself blasphemous. If the Bible is true because we have found evidence that confirms it, the obvious question is this: who has done the confirming? Man. Moreover, if the Bible is true because man has confirmed its truthfulness through his interpretation of “the evidence,” can we not see that man has set himself above the Bible? Furthermore, if the Bible is true because man has interpreted evidences and has concluded that the Bible is true, ultimately this is what he is saying: “The Bible is true because I say the Bible is true.” No, the Bible is true, end of story. And because the Bible is true, we should expect to find evidence that confirms it. And we do! But this does not make it true, rather, it is true purely on the basis of its self-attesting worth alone. Dr. Robert L. Reymond wrote the following in his Systematic Theology: “… if [the Bible] needed anyone or anything else to authenticate and validate its divine character — based on the principle that the validating source is always the higher and final authority (see Hebrews 6:13) — it would not be the Word of God.”
God is not on trial. Man is on trial, and God is His judge. If we approach evidences in the same way the unbeliever approaches evidences — i.e. if we present evidences to the unbeliever for his evaluation and consideration — we elevate man to the position of judge and we place God on trial. It really is that simple. But what does Scripture say? “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12). Sadly, this happens all too often today. Moreover, we must understand that the God of Scripture is not simply a God we reason to; He is in fact the God we cannot reason without. If we do not start with God — if we do not make Him the foundation for our reasoning, for proof, for logic, for ethics, for science, etc — all of life is reduced to absurdity.
Simply put, evidence itself is not the problem. The problem resides around the use of evidence. We must understand that Scripture does not allow for the idea that evidences can stand alone. The unbeliever and believer both need to start with God before they can reason rightly. Indeed, before we can interpret evidences, we must begin with God’s revelational truth. However, this the unbeliever will not do, because of the sinful disposition of his heart. He feigns neutrality, when in actual fact he is hostile towards the faith (see Ephesians 4:17-18; Colossians 1:21-22; Romans 5:10). Moreover, the reason he is on the offensive is because ultimately he is defensive of his position, and the reason for that is because he hates God.
How then should we use evidences when we reason with the unbeliever? We know we ought to expose his faulty presuppositions, however, can evidences not help in some way? Surely evidences must have some uses! Indeed they do. Consider the four listed below:
Number 1: The study of evidences in history and in nature strengthens the confidence of believers. They provide Christians with the answers they need so as not to be intellectually troubled when they hear objections from the unbelieving world.
Number 2: Evidences can also be used to embarrass unbelievers in their sarcasm and in their criticisms against the Bible’s scientific and historic claims. They can be used to silence the futile objections of unbelievers to the claims of Christianity.
As an example, consider the following: There was a time when the Bible was ridiculed because it mentioned a people known as the Hittites. It was ridiculed because nobody had ever heard of them before. However, we now know a great deal about them: at one time in history the Hittites established themselves as one of the great empires of the ancient Middle East. This is not hidden knowledge today. The British Museum, for example, offers visitors the opportunity to learn a great deal about this ancient Middle Eastern culture.
Number 3: Evidences also help to peel away the mental debris of intellectual prejudice that is held by so many unbelievers. A common attitude that is portrayed by unbelievers today is that only anti-scientific people believe the Bible; only emotional superstition could lead someone to believe claims of the Bible. And so the use of evidences can be very helpful when we defend the faith while witnessing to someone. At the very outset we use evidences to clear away the mental debris to open up a way for them to hear and consider the message that we have.
Number 4: Lastly, the proper use of evidences can display to the willing unbeliever (someone in whom the Holy Spirit is working in such a way that their natural resistance has been curbed, perhaps in the process of being taken away, such that they embrace the faith and become a believer) the wonder of God as the original Creator, the providential sustainer, and the miraculous redeemer.
Thus we can see that there are some significant uses for evidences when we proclaim and defend God’s truth. It is therefore helpful and wise to study up on the different evidences available to us. However, we must never forget that according to Scripture evidences cannot stand alone. If we can remember this important truth, we will use evidences rightly; that is, we will use them in a way which honours the God who we worship.
5. How can you say that everybody knows that God exists?
If this question is being asked from man’s perspective only then I can understand well the incredulity that it may well produce. However, this question is not to be judged from man’s perspective, it is to be judged by Scripture, for Scripture alone is our ultimate ruling authority.
Therefore, what does Scripture say? Or rather, what does it not say? The answer may surprise you — nowhere in the Bible do we find cogent arguments for the existence of God. None whatsoever. This explains why there is no command in Scripture asking us to make an informed judgement based on reasons for His existence. Rather, the Bible begins with the words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The existence of God (along with the veracity of His Word) is assumed because it is both a reasonable and obvious position to take. Indeed, the only mention the Bible makes concerning the possible non-existence of God is a single phrase found in the Psalms, considered so important it is found in Psalm 14:1 and again in Psalm 53:1.
The fool has said in his heart: “There is no God.”
As already noted, those who deny the existence of God are not fools in the sense that they lack intelligence or that they are slow of mind. Rather, such a person is a fool because such a person is morally corrupt in his or her thinking. Put simply, the effort taken to decry the existence of God is a sinful effort; there is nothing innocent in it whatsoever. Man has simply no excuse for denying the God he knows to exist.
“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” (Romans 1:18-20).
Scripture is clear: everybody knows that God exists. Everybody. This does not mean, however, that people are “Christians in disguise”. God’s revelation through creation and conscience is not salvific; eyes which are blind must be opened supernaturally through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 16:14; Titus 3:4-6; 2 Timothy 2:25-26). However, God’s revelation is sufficient in that it leaves all men without an excuse. The late Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen lucidly explains:
“At base all men know God as His creatures, but as sinners all men refuse to acknowledge their Creator and live by His revelation. Hence we can say that men both know and do not know God; they know Him in judgement and in virtue of natural revelation, but they do not know Him in blessing unless it is in virtue of supernatural revelation and saving grace.”
In conclusion, note carefully the significance of this truth: if God were to send people to hell for denying the God they do not know to exist, that would not make sense at all. You cannot deny something if you do not know it. But such is not the case. No, God sends people to hell for denying the God they do know to exist.
And that is why all men are without excuse.
6. What then is the proper relationship between faith and reason?
When faith and reason are pitted against each other, the result is nothing short of calamitous. I say this because it is not as if our faith is blind and devoid of reason, with reason itself divorced from the Christian faith. In actuality, reason itself is meaningless without the Christian faith. And so we can say that the Christian faith is rational, i.e., a cogent argument can be made which demonstrates why Christianity is both reasonable and logical.
Consider for a moment one of the most basic assumptions that we bring to the reasoning process (for both the Christian and the non-Christian). Before we reason about something we presuppose the validity of our own reasoning. In other words, we take it for granted that our reasoning is valid. If we did not, we would never trust our own reasoning. But we do trust our own reasoning! And yet, in and of ourselves, we have no basis for doing so. Unresolved this presents a serious problem, because if our reasoning depends on faith — i.e. if we need to bring to our reasoning the pre-belief that our reasoning is valid — the obvious question that must be answered is this: how are we to go about validating our own reasoning?
No pre-belief can ever be directed inwardly. We are imperfect and we are not all-knowing, so we cannot validate ourselves. We are not the ultimate judge of truth when it comes to knowledge. How do we know, for example, that our reasoning is valid? Our only solution is to first appeal to One who knows everything, before we can know anything. And so faith comes before reason. Indeed, reason presupposes faith! Moreover, the substance of our faith must be grounded on the God of Scripture, because the God of Scripture is the all-knowing, objective standard that brings meaning to our faith.
As Christians, we do not exercise a faith that is blind, i.e., we do not believe in something just for the sake of believing. If this were to be true Christian faith, we would be most pitied indeed! No, Christian faith is reasonable, and it is reasonable because without it reason itself is reduced to absurdity.
7. If you use the Bible to defend the Bible, are you not guilty of circular reasoning?
What is the Bible, fundamentally?
Fundamentally, the Bible is revealed truth, from God to man. It is what God has chosen to reveal to us. God, who is truth, speaks to us through the Bible, and that is why it is His Word. Therefore, because it is the very voice of truth, everything that it says is true.
Through the truth of God’s Word we learn of our creative origin, the purpose that God has for us in His creation, the tragedy of man’s rebellious fall into sin, as well as the wonder and grace of our final redemption through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And so the Bible provides us with an account of why we are here. It tells us how we are to live, thus giving purpose to our lives. It also provides us with the promise of a future and a hope, a hope glorious and certain, never to be lost.
But the Bible is so much more, and we will spend a lifetime plumbing its depths. Indeed, its richness and depth is unequaled! However, the Bible is not simply a work unsurpassed because of its richness and depth. The Bible is unsurpassed because it is unequaled in its authority. Indeed, the Bible is our ultimate authority, the very standard that we live by. This means that it is authoritative not just in some areas, but rather, in all areas of our lives. This includes the very concept of proof itself.
Christianity is a worldview, and just like any other worldview, it must hold to an ultimate standard. This makes sense because all elementary truths within any given worldview are predicated upon (they rest and are built upon) an ultimate standard. But how should we defend such a standard? Should we appeal to the standard itself? Surely not, many would say, for if we use the Bible to defend the Bible, is that not a classic case of circular reasoning?
In reality, there is always a degree of circularity when it comes to defending an ultimate standard, but this does not mean it is necessarily fallacious. An ultimate standard cannot be proved from anything else, otherwise it wouldn't be an ultimate standard. Therefore, if it is to be proved, it must use itself as its own standard of judgment by which any decision is made. Furthermore, if the circle of the argument is a very broad circle that not only proves itself but proves everything else, well, this is exactly what we are looking for in an ultimate standard.
This is incredibly important, because it needs to be understood that an ultimate authority must use itself as part of its own proof. This means that there will be some degree of circular reasoning involved. However, as we shall see, this is not a problem, provided the circle is not a "vicious" circle. In other words, it must be non-arbitrary.
Consider the presupposition that there are laws of logic. An argument for its defence would be as follows:
1. If there were no laws of logic, we couldn't make an argument.
2. We can make an argument.
3. Therefore, there must be laws of logic.
Take note that although this argument is perfectly sound, it is also subtly circular. This is because we must assume that there are laws of logic in order to argue for the laws of logic. However, we have no other choice; in order to get anywhere in an argument we must presuppose that there are laws of logic. The case before us, however, does not merely assume what it is trying to prove; it imports additional information to support its conclusion (we can make an argument). And so it turns out that although this argument is a circular argument, it is a powerful circular argument, because to deny it would be to assume it, thus causing any potential rebuttal to be self-defeating — i.e. we would have to appeal to laws of logic in order to deny it.
So how do we know if a presupposition must be true? Simply put, if we have to assume that the presupposition is true even to argue against it in the first place, then it follows that the presupposition itself must be true. Such is the case with respect to the presupposition we hold that truth is always absolute.
1. If truth is not absolute, we cannot say anything is true.
2. We can say that some things are true.
3. Therefore, truth must be absolute.
Notice the imported information that supports the conclusion we are making: We can say that some things are true.
Now, consider the Bible…
1. If the Bible were not true, we could not make sense of the world.
2. We can make sense of this world.
3. Therefore, the Bible must be true.
This is indeed a circular argument. However, note once again the imported information that supports the conclusion of our argument: we can make sense of this world. But of course this is only because of the Bible, for it is the Bible alone which provides us with a basis for truth, logic, knowledge, moral absolutes, the uniformity of nature, etc.
Consider our argument once again:
1. If the Bible were not true, we could not make sense of the world, because apart from the Bible we cannot account for truth, logic, knowledge, moral absolutes, the uniformity of nature, etc.
2. We can make sense of this world.
3. Therefore, the Bible must be true.
In conclusion, let’s consider the significance of what we are really saying here: Christianity is true, however, it is not true because all other worldviews are false. Rather, Christianity is true because it wouldn't even be possible to adduce what was true, or false, if Christianity were not true. By necessity, we must always start with the Bible. Yes, our argument is circular, but this is only because we are resting upon the Bible as our ultimate, ruling authority.
© 2016 A Defence for The Truth
get in touch: email@example.com