rea•son (r¶“z…n) n. 1. The basis or motive for an action, a decision, or a conviction. 2. A declaration made to explain or justify an action, a decision, or a conviction. 3. An underlying fact or cause that provides logical sense for a premise or an occurrence. 4. The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence. 5. Good judgment; sound sense. 6. A normal mental state; sanity. 7. Logic. A premise, usually the minor premise, of an argument. --rea•son v. rea•soned, rea•son•ing, rea•sons. --intr. 1. To use the faculty of reason; think logically. 2. To talk or argue logically and persuasively. 3. Obsolete. To engage in conversation or discussion. --tr. 1. To determine or conclude by logical thinking. 2. To persuade or dissuade (someone) with reasons. --idioms. by reason of. Because of. in reason. With good sense or justification; reasonably. within reason. Within the bounds of good sense or practicality. with reason. With good cause; justifiably. --rea“son•er n.
1. (n.) Something that produces a result:
• cause • antecedent • determinant • occasion • source • root
2. (n.) A statement of causes or motives:
• explanation • rationalization • account • justification • rationale • why and wherefore • why
3. (n.) A fact or circumstance lending logical support:
• proof • basis • case • evidence • foundation • ground • justification • rationale
4. (n.) Something that influences a decision or moves to action:
• motive • cause • consideration • motivation
5. (v.) To use the powers of the mind:
• think • inquire • theorize • cogitate • contemplate • meditate • ponder • question • reflect • ruminate • speculate • study • deliberate • consider • rationalize • remember • recall
6. (v.) To exchange views: • discuss • consult • argue • confer • converse • debate • deliberate • palaver • parley • talk over • thrash out • chat • wrangle
7. (v.) To draw an inference on the basis of insufficient information:
• conjecture • feel • guess • infer • intuit • presume • sense • speculate • surmise • think • suspect • calculate • reckon * theorize • imagine • hypothesize • presuppose • fancy
log•ic (l¼j“¹k) n. Abbr. log. 1. The study of the principles of reasoning, especially of the structure of propositions as distinguished from their content and of method and validity in deductive reasoning. 2.a. A system of reasoning. b. A mode of reasoning. c. The formal, guiding principles of a discipline, school, or science. 3. Valid reasoning. 4. The relationship between elements and between an element and the whole in a set of objects, individuals, principles, or events. 5. Computer Science. a. The nonarithmetic operations performed by a computer, such as sorting, comparing, and matching, that involve yes-no decisions. b. Computer circuitry. c. Graphic representation of computer circuitry.
1. (n.) A line of reasoning:
• argument • defense • apologia (literary) • apology (literary) • case • plea • rationale
2. (n.) Logical and methodical reasoning:
• ratiocination • induction • deduction • dialectics • analysis • argument • syllogistic reasoning • inductive reasoning
Logic is one of the great foundations of the western mind. Our knowledge gathered in History and science our glued together by it. Yet when we look at reason we still have to have a starting point. because otherwise we will never find an objective authority by which we can evaluate our reasoning.
The introductory level of the mind begins in experience. Experience is the personal history of how we have survived to the point of understand the world and having a worldview.We grow up learning survival by the system that is around us. Both our earthly environment and Social structure. We receive basic education as to how to accomplishing survival. We also learn not only how to cope with the knowledge that we have been given; but we learn to cope with the mysteries that allude us. Religion is our discipline and relationship to that realm of mystery.
Reasoning will transport us from an experience worldview that we received, on to a logical worldview which we must establish. As the author I must begin with my experience. I was raised primarily with a christian worldview, but also a naturalistic worldview. pantheism was introduced, but not seriously until I was nearly grown. I chose the christian worldview for many reasons. But essentially I experienced God on a moral level, subjective level and social level as superior to the other ways(world-views). Millions of others from every culture and nation, across the span of thousands of years, have had similar experiences. So I am confident to start at this point.
I believe that the next step to take in discovering the truth would be the test of logic. Now that we have a worldview from our experience to begin with we have to ask ourselves if our views are even valid to begin with. If our beliefs do not make sense and contradict each other then chances are we don’t have the truth from our experiences. But if we if our beliefs do match up with our logic then we have the ability to move on to the next step in pursuit of the truth.
When we look at logic I think it is good to notice the change in approach. When I speak of experience I am able to speak with a passion and the truth I seek is a hope that is personal to me. However as I pursue the truth in reason I clear my mind of emotions in order to focus on my ability to reason. My pursuit of truth is now in search for the accuracy of logic and logic is used as a measuring stick for the truth claims that I will purpose.
As we begin this discussion of rational argumentation, it is very important that we remember reasoning that God exist, is not the proof or the basis for belief. These logical arguments are only to prove that the rejection of God is untenable and that the christian religion does not logically contradict itself.
Before we find reason’s for what we believe we must delve into a little known subject called “epistemology”. Basically epistemology is the study of knowledge, how we can obtain knowledge, how we can verify it and where our intellectual starting point is to begin with.
In the modern world of scholastics, there are two basic sources of knowledge. By logic or rationalism which is knowledge obtained by human reason. For instance through the outside world, we discover certain things like gravity and nature etc.
Through rational thought I can realize Laws like the Law of Non-contradiction (“a” doesn’t = “non a”) or the Law of Cause and Effect. The second way of obtaining information is by deduction in which one finds evidence through observation of the world.
However, let us ask ourselves, what makes these the only two sources of knowledge? One may say “There is no other natural way that for a person to obtain information.” But then, think about it, there is no other "natural way". You see if I am arguing for the possibility of miracles, and I do, then why do I have to presuppose that the only way that I can obtain information is through natural processes? The fact is I don’t! This is a false presupposition made by those who are naturalist. However, the goal is to find out how to obtain knowledge. So I have the right to find what I believe is reliable in helping me to obtain knowledge. So I can presuppose revelation as a source of knowledge, since it comes from God and since God knows everything then He would be the most objective source of truth. And in doing this I would presuppose the existence of God.
There are good reason’s to presuppose God’s existence. First of all God cannot be positively disproved. An atheist may disprove the need for God. But until one has an exhaustive knowledge of all things there is always the possibility that God can be found there. This holds especially true given the nature of God. The classic Definition of God’s shows Him to transcend time and space. Since man can only search things inside time and space then it is impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist even if we can not find him in the material universe. Secondly, the concept of God helps us to be assured of epistemology. Rene Descartes (father of Rationalism) and John Locke (father of Empiricism) held to the existence of God and based there assurance of there epistemological systems on the existence of God. Also, there are many in History who have or at least claimed to have knowledge based off of revelation and attest to it’s reliability. If this is a reliable source of information then we must first believe in God in order to accept it.
Some may think this concept of presupposing things as ludicrous. However I think that this is in fact probably the most honest of knowledge systems. The great 19th century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid discussed this concept rather thoroughly. As opposed to skeptical philosophical systems like that of Philosopher Emmanuel Kant, where all information must be verified. Reid argued that we all have an inner rational knowledge built inside us simply titled “common sense”. It is true that there are things that people generally assume as true. You never have to teach a baby how to breathe and later on you never have to teach kids that it is good to hold their breath. It also seems natural for people to want to live. People generally treat life with enough respect that they desire not to kill people. In saying this I am not trying to say this happens every time but I would say that it is so common and otherwise would be because of unnatural situation. For instance someone with an initiative to kill is not acting regularly but acting irregularly based on four occasions. They have mental disorders, they were not raised well, they been taught in some way that murder is ok in certain circumstances, they have deluded themselves. Otherwise, we tend to believe murder is wrong, possibly the worst ever. We also assume that people can be trusted to tell us the truth.
In order for us to function in this life we have to presuppose certain things otherwise we would not be able to function. Imagine a world where children could not seek medical attention because they didn’t understand the biology and medical science and therefore they couldn’t doctors. Imagine a world where we couldn’t go out to eat unless we knew what our food was made of. We couldn’t receive public education but would have to go out and rediscover all forms of knowledge and technology on our own. We couldn’t drive cars unless we checked it every time we used it. Obviously, this way of life has little or no practical value. Therefore, in order to simply live our lives we have to assume things.
I believe God is one of these things that are safe to assume. After all in the Western Court system in order to find the truth we always start from the notion of innocent until proven guilty.
(vs. atheist, panentheist, dualist, and deist)
So I have justified my presupposition in the existence of God. From this point I will move on to set forth that the existence of God is necessary according to His definition.
Now when it comes to dialogue of a subject (discussion of something) the two parties need to have an identical definition. Otherwise communication is impossible. So if Existence was necessary to the definition of God. A person would have to believe in God in order to understand his definition. So first let us see why existence has to be necessary.
If God were the creator of everything then what would he be made of? The answer is Himself, in order for God to have created everything he would have to be made of himself. Otherwise there would be something responsible for his existence. Now as to why there can’t be an infinite number of causes as oppose to starting with God I will explain in more detail in the next argument for God. (The cosmological argument) Now if God’ s existence is based upon Himself, then his existence is necessary in order to understand his definition.
But how do we come upon this definition? Usually general acceptance, also by the revelation of the Hebrew God (Judaism which is one of the Oldest Religions in the world) are we normally to come to the subject. However, Rene Descartes was able to postulate the definition and existence of God logically. His purpose was to create an epistemology where we could reason an understanding of reality. Descartes started off with a skeptical point of view trying to find something that could not be doubted. However, he found himself doubting all reality. He was about to doubt his own existence until he realized that if he did not exist; he would not be thinking about the problem. And so he established his first truth that he was a being. From there he observed that he was a limited being and that there were things that he lacked, also that he had a point of origin. He reasoned that the only way that he would know that he was limited was if there was a perfect standard that he did not meet. This perfect standard had to be “ greater than that which can be conceived”. And so, now he knew of this perfect standard. All that he knew of himself which was limited, so this being would have to have the absolute most (unlimited resource) of. And so Rene had limited power this being (God) was omnipotent. Rene had intelligence, while God was omniscient. Rene had a temporary existence, while God was necessarily existent. One could argue for separate omni qualities, but they would always be lack until the equation is God. Now that he knew He existed and God existed. He knew God created this temporary reality and that God could be trusted in making Rene’s senses of reality real. Sense God was perfectly Honest, God could create things like Rene, and God did things for a reason. Also since Rene was a person and God was a person and God created Rene, God must be interested in Rene and would naturally make Rene capable of interaction.
Many non-theists (usually atheist) believe that all this was just an intellectual crutch that man naturally makes in order to gain assurance. However, this argument is only a counter to the construction of the ontological argument. This counter has remained unproven. Plus the non-theist in using this solution never actually even deals with the real argument. They never actually deal with the definition of God. If we can conceive of nothing and absolute minimum, then we can conceive of God and the absolute maximum.
Now let us look at the problem.
When we ask the question “Does God exist?” there are only 3 real alternatives. The 1st alternative would be that God is a contradiction. The 2nd alternative would be that God is a reasonable concept however he is not real and therefore a figment of the imagination. The 3rd alternative is that God in actuality is in fact real.
Let us investigate the 1st response. For God to be a contradiction he would have to be unreasonable. An example of a contradiction would be fire/ice (the image of ice on fire). Now although I can give a title to this concept and although I can fantasize about this concept I can’t truly conceive this concept because it is a contradiction. The fire may go against the ice and the ice may be thrown into the fire, but the result is either steam or water. The two items can in no way be fused together. Therefore I can not conceive truthfully of fire/ice.
While there are many Atheist who are passionate about their disbelief in God, very few of these would actually assume God was a contradiction. This is because of the common experience people have of the concept of God. Not only does people conceive God, but also there is an entire field of study on this subject. This is known as Theology. In this framework we come to realize that many ingenious men have spent years of time conceiving of God. Besides, most philosophers who do not believe in God spend hours of time dealing with the subject. It seems rather obvious that God is conceivable. The trick is in the simple definition that was given by the Medieval Theologian Anselm. “That which is greater than can be conceived.” You see it is true that there are paradoxes in the concept of God, which are quite natural because His being is beyond our comprehension. However God is not inconceivable but his conception is far more advanced than our logic. In other words he is beyond us in his ways. Therefore we can discuss God although we can’t discuss God exhaustively.
Onto the 2nd response which is to say that while God is conceivable he is not real and is in fact simply a myth. To this we must look and see if God is a figment of the imagination. So is being a figment of the imagination compatible with being God? Because we must remember that in order to communicate we must remember to have the same concept of God. First God created the universe while the imaginary God created nothing. Secondly, God is Omni-benevolent (perfectly good) while the imaginary god only has good aspects attributed to Him sense He cannot act on His own. God immutable or unmoving the imaginary God changes according to whatever the person conceiving Him wants it to be. God is unlimited in Knowledge and yet God only knows what the person imagining him attributes to him. God is Omni-present (everywhere) but the imaginary god only resides in the mind. God is all-powerful but the imaginary God only has power that is attributed by those who conceive of Him. In fact the imaginary God has no free choice or will. God is necessarily existent while the imaginary God does not exist. Finally God is eternal while the imaginary God only has a presence when He is conceived. So nothing in fact in the definition of God actually matches up to an imaginary God. So this has nothing to do with the question of God’s existence because it has nothing to do with God. It is a different concept altogether. Therefore to can’t be correct.
The only answer left is the 3rd response “God is actually real”. After all it is part of God’s definition that he is necessarily existent. Besides the only others have been disproved.
Aquinas unmoved mover and movable universe.
In order for us to have reality there must be something sustaining it. Physics operates under the principle of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. So everything is subject to decay. As time passes everything changes and is temporal. Nothing stays the same.
That which sustains reality can’t change because if it changes then it can deteriorate and all reality would crumble. Yet we know that reality is still with us it has been since the beginning of civilization. (as well as before civilization). Some may say the laws of science is what holds reality in place but the laws of science are principles not real entities, beside these are only based upon human observation which is fallible. Even if Scientific laws were unmovable we would have to know what holds them in place since they are mindless principles. Time sustains much of our universe but times changes and we can’t receive the past so if everything is changing then what is that which is sustaining reality and never changing? The answer of course is God.
This aspect of Aquinas argumentation is not well renowned as others.Yet it shall appear a greater issue in the future as cosmologies fall apart and reformulate.
a. Aquinas version
One of the laws in philosophy is that every cause has an effect. In fact there is an almost identical Law in Science that states that “ every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Another popular type of phrase is “if then” if I do ____ then ___ happens. It is a very simple principle and an obvious truth we learn in life that we live in a system of cause and effect. Causes and effects are inseparably linked together. So that if you have found a cause you will find it’s effect and if you find an effect you will find it’s cause. We live in a world full of effects. We see a world in which atoms constantly move and the world is always changing. S o that our entire reality is obviously the effect of something else. Every Cause that we come across has been changed by something else. Because of this what see to be causes are actually the effects of a greater cause. Its relation identifies something in our reality as a cause or effect. For instance a man might be a father to some and a Son to others. But ultimately everything in our reality must have a cause.
If this were not true then we would not have our reality. Because we just came to the realization that all our reality is the effect of something else. So there has to be an original cause to all reality. If not then why do we have the reality; which is an effect? So there has to be an ultimate cause or 1st Cause. Now the 1st cause must be unable to change, in other words immutable. After all if it is able to change then there must be a cause behind it. So there must be a 1st cause who is unable to change. If the 1st Cause is unchanging and is responsible for all reality then it must not have a Beginning. In other words the 1st cause must be eternal. These are all attributes of God.
Now let’s look at the only alternative. That instead of a 1st Cause we have an infinite number of causes and effects, what happens is that we travel down an infinite number of minor causes. Since we find no ultimate 1st cause, then we have to question whether or not the law of cause and effect is valid since there is no cause for our effect. The result would be that the Laws of cause and effect are invalid and that there is no such thing as cause and effect. As a result our universe must therefore function in Chaos. So one must live their lives with no order to them since after all, to live in order is to admit that there is an effect to the actions they cause.
Now we are back to square one. Where we have a 1st cause who possesses at least some of the attributes of God (Creator, immutable, eternal). Now let me recap what we have done so far in the book. By my experience I came to find Christianity as the truth, so that for the test of logic I must start by testing my experiences. In the beginning I found that I can not logically disprove the existence of God and then I found that there is nothing with presupposing the existence of God in order to be assured of my epistemology (science of knowledge). So I can presuppose God exist. Then I learned through the definition of God that He must exist. Now I can confidently or positively believe in God as my presupposition. With God as my presupposition I find this argument to prove logically the following attributes and existence of God.
Vrs. eternity of matter and illusion
Now in the previous paragraphs I showed one aspect of this argument as displayed by the Catholic Theologian Thomas Aquinas. However there is another side to the argument. You see that Aquinas has dealt with the concept more in the form of the Law of Cause and effect theory. Now we will move to discussion more of the cosmos itself. This version is known as the “Kalaam” Cosmological argument. Originated by Aristotelian medieval Muslim scholars (try saying that 3 times fast!). I am using the structure of Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig.
Whatever begins to exist has a Cause. The key word in this sentence is Begins. As we demonstrated in the earlier version of the argument that every effect that we see has a cause. If something exist then it is an effect. For it to begin existing there has to be a cause.
The Universe began to exist. The universe exists and so presumably it must have began to exist. What helps this argumentation out is that the universe is expanding and therefore moving. (See next chapter on evidence) The vast majority of Cosmologists acknowledge this. And in most of them the whole universe begins from a single point. (though if the big bang theory falls out of favor, we have the unmoved mover argument still in play.
In fact it is very possible from this to assess that the universe likely ceased to exist if we go back in time far enough.
Therefore the universe has a cause. And so we reach the conclusion that the universe, which is all that we know of reality, must have had a cause. Most likely the 1st Cause mentioned in Aquinas argument. Even the alternative (alternative dimensions) doesn’t make a great deal of sense because how would they have created a universe and how would they not need to be created themselves?
Aquinas Different universe:
Another way Aquinas observed that there was a God is by the differences in the universe. We have big and then small, short and tall, wide and thin, heavy and light, fast and slow, hot and cold light and darkness, strong and weak so on and so forth. These are measures of things. Why are there measures? In fact why is there a greater and less then? These measurements have to be based off a standard of some sort. The standard has to be that which is the most or greatest. If it were based on the least then it would have no basis. Why is that? Because the least is zero, since zero is nothing. Some would ask about negative numbers. However negative numbers are not numbers and they only count against a higher standard because then they can compare themselves. But other than that they don’t exist.( of course many mathematicains question whether numbers are real things, but that is another issue) If it counts at all it is a different measure. For instance a hole is not going to be -5ft high it is going to measure +5ft deep. So Zero is the smallest measurement since it does not have value. However 0 is nothing and you can’t base something off of nothing. If you want to measure things you observe by the great or ultimate thing. God is the universal ultimate. Therefore all things having a measure testifies to God being the archetect.
Obviously we are now moving from an internal logic to external logic a lot of this form of philosophy empowers empiricism. So a great deal of this philosophy has to do with the philosophies of men like John Locke.
A. Our senses
Now we can discuss logic that we have internally but how are we going to discuss knowledge with out the constant data that we receive through our senses? As far back as we can remember we were receiving data from the outside world. How do we get this data? There are certain things in our world that have to be in place for us to be capable of this. 1st of all the outside world has to exist. 2nd we have to exist. 3rd the outside world has to be capable of being observed. 4th we have to be capable of observing the outside world. The naturalist may have theories on how the outside world exists and we exist, but what about our ability to perceive? They may say that the ability to perceive which we have has evolved. However even if we have the ability to perceive what about matters ability to be perceived. Who says that matter has to have an odor or color or light or sound? These are things we take for granted about the universe. Then let’s look at the others again. What makes us evolve senses that help our mind work? Wouldn’t that take thought? Thought which nature is not supposed to have. Thought which we haven’t evolved yet. So who is giving design to us and our senses. Also if we look back at our prior argument we see that the world had to be created. Also we ourselves were created. Therefore the source of Creation would have designed us. Making God an Intelligent designer. Before I finish off this conclusion let me show different aspects.
Now there is a group of people from a modern worldview known as post-modernist. These people would place this subject at the very front of our exploration of truth. The post-modernist believes at the foundation of their core that no one is able to know or have truth. As a result of this they mostly do not believe in truth in general. They believe that the meaning of words is in a constant state of change. The definitions differ according to the person’s own perspective. Therefore our ability to communicate is totally untrustworthy. Therefore people are untrustworthy. If people are untrustworthy then trust is unattainable. Post-modernists then, go on to make the assumption that people only communicate as a ploy for manipulation. Therefore the truth is only what we can convince other people.
To presuppose that man is incapable communicating language is a tall order. First of all it goes against most anyone’s experience. It also goes against so many natural processes in our society. How can economics exist? After all, the whole process of economics is based on the principle that we can communicate exactly what we want to each other. Yet do you really think a post-modernist wouldn’t expect the economic system to work when they collect their paychecks? How about when they get robbed, are they going to accept the fact that criminal couldn’t help it being unable to understand that the postmodernist didn’t want their stuff taken?
What about the system of law, if that couldn’t be communicated then would a female post-modernist expect justice from the police and court system after being raped by a rapist? How could she do this consistently when she does not trust in their ability to understand language? She would have a hard enough time proving that her being raped was wrong. After all, there is no absolute right or wrong. And the rapist probably couldn’t understand her language.
Now I think I have made my point that words must have meaning. From here we must ask ourselves where did we get words. Some may say that they evolved from grunts. However a grunt can only express emotion. They can not identify a thing. Actually we are taught words growing up. Words go back with us through the generations. Now it is true that the meaning of words can change over the generations and the use by millions of people. There are two types of languages living languages and dead languages. Living languages are still in use while dead languages are no longer in use. Latin, which is a dead language, is used in theology, philosophy and law. The reason is because it is a dead language so that the meanings of Latin words are set in stone. Living languages have words that can change meaning.
Yet with words, they have to be taught to us. We do not have words naturally. There have been cases where people have been neglected and were not taught any language; as a result have severe brain damage. Why? Because we use words to think about things, without words it is hard to memorize and use logic. If I didn’t have words Math would be worthless. (Blah + Blah = Blah?). And so we are given words to empower us to think. So if people are not born with words where do they come from? Some may just say other generations but what I am asking is where do they originally come from? If no human were born with words, and animals do not use them where do they come from? The only possible answer is from an intelligent being. Then it wouldn’t be hard to see the intelligent being identified as God. The only possible solution to the problem outside of God would be aliens. However not only are we not sure of their existence anyway, but then we are left to ask another question. Where did the aliens get language?
Throughout the universe we have order. Our universe is grouped together in galaxies. These galaxies are held together by gravity. They are composed of solar systems. Which center around stars. They have planets that rotate around them. ( along with comets, moons and asteroids) The planets contain their own gravity. The planets contain matter in the form of solids liquids and gases. These are composed of elements and molecules. The molecules are combinations of Atoms. Atoms are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. Then they are composed of a material called quark. All of them are things that are contingent upon other things in order to exist. According to the theory of relativity, gravity and energy have to exist in order for time to even exist. Atoms are dependent on a connecting energy. Molecules are dependent on atoms Matter is dependent Molecules. Space is dependent on matter. Planets are dependent on gravity, Matter and stars. Stars are dependent on Hydrogen, gravity energy. Solar systems are dependent on planets and stars. Galaxies are dependent on solar systems. Finally the universe is dependent on Black matter, Galaxies, gravity, Light, matter etc. Notice that things like light, gravity and the connecting force of atoms do not even have a clear reason for their origins. Now we have not even to begun to talk about life yet. However the universe it seems is designed to run in a specific way, because the chances of our current state to be naturally arranged is not very probable and can not even be complete in it’s explanation. For the universe must not only have a creator but it must be designed in order for it’s existence to be fixed. The basic frame of the universe provides a way of sustaining the planet earth. The planet earth is the only place in our universe that we know of that sustains life. With the possible exception of mars which may or may not contain bacteria. The fact is that the earth is the most unique planet in the solar system. And there have to be specific measures for the earth to exist. If the earth were any closer to the sun it would be too hot for life. If it were farther away it would be too cold for life. If it were not for the moon the ocean would not create waves which stir up the water. And the water would be poisonous for life. And our ozone helps create an Atmosphere for animals to breathe in. All these specific things have to be in place and all these things point to a design. As far as organisms there is so much structure in just the DNA molecules that scientist have only recently been able to understand the codes. Not to mention all the advance programming put into a cell itself. But our planet doesn’t just have one-celled organisms we have animals. And even intelligent creatures known as human beings. However more of this will be shown in the next chapter on evidence.
Now that we have an intelligent designer what does that mean? First of all, we remember what we have established about God through him being 1st cause. He must be unchanging the creator of everything. He must be eternal and necessarily existent, now he must also be intelligence. If he sustains the universe he must have awareness of all of it and he must be intelligent over it. For him to go about creating the universe he must have power over the universe. So his power and intelligence is transcendent of the universe. From the ontological argument for us to recognize a limited creation we must have an unlimited standard. Therefore since God is this standard he is unlimited in all his ways.
Now we that we have established a case for God from the outside world we move into the area that is our inner-world. This area moves slowly into the spiritual. When we investigate the outside world we overview Human beings as organisms. Though we have not yet ventured into the area of humans as persons. Morality is an interesting aspect of life. It is the connection between the spiritual world, the material world, and the world of the individual. It has a way of determining value upon ourselves and other individuals. It is intensely personal and at the same time, intensely logical.
Because of an intense link between the rational material world and the subjective/spiritual world, many secular materialistic worldviews have trouble with the concept of moral law. First of all, though we should understand what morality entails. Morality is the natural conscious law of humanity. Morality places rule over the way that we look at functioning in society, to functioning as an individual, to even having a certain personality and how to properly handle our relationships. Obviously morality is very dominating.
Those who want to deny moral law would tend to divide it up into different categories. Specifically they separate individual morals (personal preference) and social morals (laws) they also have a tendency to put relational morals into law as well. Those who deny absolutes in morality tend to speak against personal morality and shy away from law. The reason for this is very practical; if they were to break law they would be anarchist and be arrested or imprisoned. If one wants to challenge the status quo they ought to do it at a range or else not only will they be punished, but also they will be thought foolish.
However there is an obvious link in the morality of the society and the morality of the individual, they are linked for the simple reason that morality applies the same way to both. For instance the moral law, which stands against stealing, it is generally wrong for an individual to take another person’s property without permission. It is also considered wrong to take another societies property (usually land, rights) without permission. The United States waged war against Iraq in 1990. The United Nations approved of this based on the fact that the Iraqis were guilty of the moral law of taking over Kuwait for their oil rich land. And so you have an example of multiple societies in agreement with and holding each other accountable to Moral Law. We for instance judge the nazi society as evil according to moral law. The Nazis took over several countries by force and were responsible for the slaughter of half the Jewish race (just because of unmerited hatred of Jews) along with many other crimes. We recognize that racism, fascism, murder, and enslavement go against what is commonly accepted as moral law. Now we should remember that although I am arguing that moral Law is universally in place this is not to say that it is always adhered to. As humans we know that color exist since we can see it. However just because all people who are blind or color blind can not see color doesn’t mean that color is not a universally true concept. Therefore if there is a person or society that doesn’t accept moral law it is only because they are lacking in their perception of morality not because the morality doesn’t exist.
Another thing to notice is how morality does a good job relating to cause and effect as well as the law of non-contradiction. First let’s look at cause and effect. Murder is considered a moral wrong because it brings several bad effects. It devalues human life, which is a high principle of how to engage society. It destroys the life of the individual being murdered. It hurts the society since they can no longer benefit from the work of the murdered individual. Finally it puts the murderer in danger of retribution from either society or loved ones. Therefore, because of these negative affects murder is naturally wrong. Let’s take a more difficult example like sexual promiscuity. What bad effects does the cause of sexual promiscuity bring. 1st it can psychologically problematic. Sex is a natural symbol of unity and ultimately a symbol of the bond of marriage which is the basis for a family. Therefore to have promiscuous sex is to devalue the family. In doing this, it also devalues the individual, especially for women. It often destroys families (adultery). This in turn disrupts society. Since single parent families make less money and are a burden on the culture. They hurt the economy, bring about many legal battles and psychologically damage family members. Promiscuous sex also becomes an addiction that enslaves people and can bring about sexually transmitted diseases. So from these effects even a debated moral like sexual promiscuity becomes a rational choice.
Those who try to blur the lines of morality more often than not want to deny the responsibility for there own immoralities. The problem is that this does not stop the laws of cause and effect. Ignoring the laws of morality is destructive and does not relieve the situation. Also those who break moral laws tend to break the laws of non-contradiction. One who steals lives in a contradiction when others steal from them. To ask for justice and break justice is a contradiction. Now if the circumstances make the act a different activity then that may be an exception. But if we are talking about the same activity then the law always stands. Let’s say you take a gun and go into someone’s house and shoot them to death, that would be murder. However, let’s say you have a gun, another person has a gun and they have shot in your direction and barely miss, so you proceed to shoot them to death. The circumstances have changed your activity to killing for self-defense as oppose to murder. After all the murder was a set forth choice in which you didn’t have to kill the other person.
However in the case of self defense you had to defend your life and you had little or no time to react other than with lethal force. Now lets say instead of killing someone you did not know you went into the how of someone who treated you harshly through life and in some way abused you so you find them sleeping and shoot them to death. This activity is not motivated by self-defense it is now motivated by revenge and you did not have any need to preserve yourself by doing this, and so therefore it was murder.
So we have a logical element to morality. What about the individual element to morality? How can we say that morality is not just some obscure use of logic? This is where we start looking at the morality as it relates to the individual. What causes immorality in society that is obvious in it’s effects takes place within the individual. With out the individual participation the group never comes about. We ask ourselves the question “If there had been no man known as Hitler would there have been a World War two?” We knew that the atmosphere was made just right for a person like Hitler to rule. However Hitler was the organizing and original force behind the Nazis. It was his evil vision and his leadership that led to this historical monstrosity. This is an obvious case where the individual immorality provides a foundation for the social immorality. It is the individual who chooses evil acts and groups merely repeat their leaders. And so the individual’s morality is of primary importance since after all it is the cause of larger moral shifts and influence. So what is it that causes these building blocks to individual immorality? Answer: The immorality of our own characters. Our own identity powers our behavior and somewhere in our identity there are character flaws. Yet these flaws can actually change over periods of time for the better or worse.
Now that we have established that morality is not just personal in nature. What about the spiritual element to morality? How can we say that morality is not just some obscure use of logic? Morality first of all is universal showing allegiance for a Higher power. It also shows a conflict within because we have the concept of evil. Therefore we have the lawgiver (higher power) and a movement of disobedience to the law. Evil can be established as a universally destructive force just as much as a virus can be labeled a biologically destructive force. It may take place in many different forms but what it basically amounts to is rebellion against moral law and the destruction of whatever it touches. Once we establish that there is a difference between good and evil there are only three possible views of evil and good. The 1st option is the one least taken rationally, which states that evil, is superior to good. The problem with this view is that evil is a destructive force. Destructive forces are negative while good is a positive force. That which is greatest is the most positive. For instance between Forrest Gump and Albert Einstein we would conclude that Albert Einstein has the greatest intelligence. We would also conclude this since from his IQ being positive more than the 1st. That which is positive is greater. Also think about the mathematical signs (greater than>;less than>) The second view is popular in dualistic religions/philosophies. This holds that good and evil are equal forces eternally separated. The problem with this view is similar to the last response. If evil is destructive it is negative and if it is negative it is not positive. Since it is not positive it is not great; while good is positive and therefore great. So how can they be equal? Even if they were equal how could you tell the difference between the two? Why would good be good? Why would evil be the wrong thing to do? I remember watching the “kung fu” television series where the hero David Carridean; had to deal with his evil nature. In the end instead of defeating his evil nature he took it in giving it some, but not all of himself. The problem is with this view is that good and evils are opposing forces. Also to be moderately evil is simply being evil. For instance as oppose to the desire to kill millions I only kill thousands of people. What I did was still an evil act. So there is not a definitive line of good and evil where we can wait in the middle. We have to follow good in order to do what is right.
Therefore we end up with good being set up against evil, good being better than evil and evil only being a distortion of what is good. Not only is God the standard of measurement as argued by Aquinas but he is the standard of morality sense morality can be measured. God being “The greatest” is the most moral or the most good.
Now at this point we must ask the question if God is morally good then why is there evil and why is there suffering? After all, God is all powerful and in control of the universe. So why is not the universe good as well? Many people may have experience overwhelming aspects of evil and suffering in the world and these are very compelling in ways that are beyond a rational discussion. However, this is what we are dealing with, logic. So in answering this I want to express sympathy to those who have experienced this in massive ways like the Holocaust but we are going to go about this in a logical manner. Now the universe is different than God and possesses different properties than God. God did not make more of himself. He made things/the universe. The universe is not the ultimate. Therefore morally the universe is not going to be ultimate either. The universe is not going to appear as the ultimate and therefore our experiences in reality do not always reveal God’s nature but only pieces of reality. God also did not act directly in creating evil but allowed it’s existence. As a Bible believing Christian this is shown more relevantly. God initially created a morally “very good” universe (Gen. 1:31). However God created beings as free moral agents. Then due to the immorality of the serpent(Satan) and Adam & Eve evil (sin) entered into the universe. The Cause of Evil brings the Effects of Death (and suffering). So God only was responsible for the product of free moral agency. So was it immoral to create free moral agency? Let’s apply this to us. Would it be immoral of us to control other people? Many people call this type of act tyranny or slavery. When we take control of others we force them to follow our will. When we make them serve our will we disregard their will. In doing this we disregard their well fare for the sake of our well fare. We then steal their freedom. God is self-sufficient and so he is not interested with taking our freedom. God is good and he cares about our well fare. God desires us to follow him because his standard is better than ours. Yet God is not going force it upon us because that is not a God-like response. Now God is still active in the universe in the sense of Judging creation since he is the standard and the caretaker of creation. He therefore communicates what is right and wrong through the conscience and the consequences of immorality (death & suffering). He is also working the universe towards the ultimate good and will establish ultimate Justice in both the afterlife and at the end of time. Besides these evil things in the world establish proof of God because of their mere existence. They would not be recognized in any other system or dealt with as totally.
However why is evil organized? Why do we have networks of organized crime? Why do we have networks of drug dealers? What about terrorist organizations? What about evil empires? After all these are forms of immorality but the all have a design to destroy. Isn’t that positive? Why are there positive Negative forces in the world? If there is an organization then there must be an organizer. However this can’t simply be left to the individual organizers of each group. For the simple fact that they are not unique in there efforts. So what is the unifying factor between these various criminals? What could possibly link Al Capone to Absama Bin Laden? Nothing external, they come from different parts of the world, different countries, different time periods, different languages, different religions different race/ethnicity’s and different methodologies. It wouldn’t surprise me if they knew absolutely nothing about each other. What unifies them is internal. It is a drive, but not just an internal passion but a similar push, and even more important a similar charisma. They have the ability set the spirit not only in themselves but to cast it to others. These truths come together to spell out the fact that there is a negative spirit/spirits which organizes evil. The Biblical Christian has an answer for this. It is the devil and his demons. Spirits that rebelled against God and organize humanity in an effort to rebel against God as well. Also, there are secondary gods/spirits in our world that start good movements what about these?
Human experience and the spiritual realm
In the investigation of the realm of morality we have discussed the spiritual realm. Does this realm even exist? The problem with the spirit realm has the same problem as the concept of God. This is that the spiritual realm is not visible. We can’t simply see the spiritual realm. We can however observe the effects of the spirit realm and show it’s necessity. There is however a popular worldview known as naturalism however. Fundamental to their belief system is that the supernatural does not exist. Since, the supernatural transcends common observational realm the naturalist is not going to recognize the supernatural realm even if it is exist, the naturalist will simply concoct a natural explanation. This is an obvious bias against supernatural events and the spirit realm. Not only is it bias but it only holds together through circular argument. Miracles/spirit world is impossible because it does not exist. To their credit they usually explain away the supernatural but this still can never prove that the spirit realm does not exist. After all you can only explain the incidents of supernatural activity that you know of and this leads to an endless argument as opposed to a proven position. If so, they would have to be practically omniscient. So now that we can see that the anti-supernatural argument is void. Is there any positive source of affirmation for the spiritual realm?
This can be found in experience. Now this has to be a universal source of experience. After all if we simply go by individual experience then we only have a subjective (opinionated) case which can be met by subjective anti-supernatural experiences. However there is a universal experience which all people have, and this is the need to transcend ourselves. Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, Animist, New age, and Atheist all have a need to transcend themselves. Christians want to relate to God and go to Heaven. Muslims want to go to heaven. Animist and polytheist want to make it in the afterlife. New Ager’s seek to realize their godhood. Hindu’s want to get ahead in the caste system through reincarnation. Buddhists want to transcend reincarnation in order to reach nirvana. Even the Atheist is seeking the next evolutionary leap. Atheists are constantly in search for what they consider most important. Whether it is science, aliens, government justice, world peace, romance, family, wealth or worldly pleasure they are constantly in search of that which is transcendent. Sadly theirs is a worldview with the least and so they are the hungriest. So why is it that mankind is seeking something that transcends reality? Why is this seemingly universal? If evolution were true then people would have had to evolve this trait. Yet if there were no spiritual or transcendent realm there would be no use in having these experiences in our psyche. If there is a creator then things happen for a reason and people have an urge to reach the transcendent because there was a transcendent. There is something out there beyond what we physically sense. Whether we deal with aliens, psychics, prophets or ghost there is a constant hype about the supernatural. In America over the last few years we have had a massive attempt to suppress this phenomena. However, the non-stop attention these businesses (like psychic counseling) gain the more proof that there is something that they all are getting from these experiences that they need. Now this not to say that these experiences are always healthy. I would tend to believe the majority of which are not. However this does state that there is a real need for that which is spiritual. And those humans recognize intuitively the need for this spiritual realm.
We also recognize a spiritual leading in moral directions that was alluded to in our discussion of morality. When we have these massive political movements in a certain moral direction it can’t be pinned solely on the leaders of these movements because there must be people who are willing to be lead. And yet the ideology is leading the people aside from the people themselves. In fact these ideas take people over to the point where they are willing to risk their lives for their causes. Those independent causes of these movements are neither therefore the leaders nor the followers. So what about the ideas themselves? What would give these ideas the ability to act independently? After all they are simply fictitious concepts to help understanding. How can a concept have a drive when it has no independent movement? Plato wrote the book “ The republic” in which he described a utopian society. His idea was very well thought out and many people read his work, and for as many followers of his philosophy that there has been over the centuries no one that has decided to start a movement based on his concepts. On the other hand half of the world submitted to the communistic/utopian ideals of philosopher Karl Marx even with great criticism. Was Karl Marx a superior philosopher to Plato? Was his idea simply better? First of all it is hard to say since Plato’s ideas were never used. And although Karl Marx was a decent Philosopher the Majority of people have a tendency to rank Plato’s works higher than those of Marx. In fact without the communist system Karl Marx is not very well known in the world. (Although I would never want to place a specific rank.) It is my belief that there is a need for a spiritual movement ( secular philosopher Hegel would refer to a “spirit of the age”) in order to start these types of movements good or bad. This is especially seen in evil movements however. Since they are movements against the established Moral Law.
We see many times in a society, that a society can be moved in an irrational movement as well. Sometimes moved in insane directions which lead to violent riots. Many of these riots have been caught on film and start from very simple gatherings. Like the Chicago citizens celebrating the Chicago bulls winning the national basket ball championship. But then sudden the crowds become uncontrolled and before you know it vandalism occurs. Stores are trashed, cars are set on fire and women are raped. And for what purpose; because their favorite team won a basket ball game? There is no positive motivation for that kind of activity. The riot must therefore, be driven by an unseen force. So now we have immoral spiritual activity. Since these forces drive the masses in immoral directions. What about positive spirits do they exist? We already have reason for one definite good spirit and that would be God, sense God is spirit and God is the most good. However we do see good movements that oppose bad movements but do not display the sovereign control upon the situation that God would have. Take for instance American fundamentalism of the early 20th century. Their generation did not overcome the progressive liberal movement of American culture. They lost on political, education and intellectual ground thanks for the most part to the Scopes Monkey Trial. They obviously were at a loss in the area of popularity sense they had banned sensuality in all it’s forms. Plus the economic elite seemed not to favor them as well. And yet, they were a force that was extremely influential. They had briefly established prohibition, they had extremely powerful tent revivals, and they effected the walk and talk of the culture. So there are secondary God spirits in our world that start good movements what about these? These would be considered angels. There have been many sightings of angels of demons over the last several hundred years. In fact, in modern times there are millions of sightings of UFO’s. Would it be a stretch that some of these UFO sightings may indeed be visions of demons or angels? After all weren’t our reaction to these millions of sightings negative only because we do not believe in the supernatural? Granted that many of them are based off of hallucinations, but could not some of them be true? Some may say that these are only discussing aliens but which sounds more reasonable. Beings millions of light years away constantly hanging out above the earth with no desire to actually talk to us only to observe us? Or beings that are actually here on earth but invisible manifesting themselves and capable of interacting with humanity? Now of course both are out of the ordinary, however aliens would have to travel millions of light years and then return to and fro without much detection or interaction with humanity. On the other hand spirits have more motive for being invisible (their natural state being that they are not material). They do not have to travel millions of light years, just simply manifest themselves. But this is only speculation.
The great philosopher Plato made a good point in his discussions on the forms of reality. When we look at reality what make’s it real? What makes it have identity? For instance let’s consider a dog, now if we look at the dog when it is a puppy is it still a dog? Of course it is! If the dog were old would it still be a dog? Most would say yes. What if the dog had been missing a leg or an eye? The dog would still remain a dog. Now think about this, as the dog grows it eats food and then releases it in feces, the dogs body is constantly changing, old cells are dying and new cells are reproducing. The material of the dog is still changing however. So the dogs identity is based not off the material within it. Then what makes the identity of that creature? Plato would argue the form. In other words the ultimate idea that creates identity of the creature. Another term would be definition. However a living creature is more than just an idea however. You see the idea of something is only the shell of that actual creature. The idea of a creature is caused upon the observation of it. However this is the effect of the reality of the creature. So the identity of a creature like a dog is not only immaterial but is beyond a mere idea that we place upon it. The creature then has it’s own independent spirit which sets forth it’s idea and gives it it’s form. The spiritual realm now delivers a backbone to reality and how we are capable of viewing it.
Now that we have established the spiritual realm we must acknowledge that we have given greater argument for the concept of God. Since the spiritual world is essential to the material world, we should have no problem comprehending a spiritual God. If the material world has an intelligent design then this holds doubly true with the spiritual world. If the spiritual world was at heart a chaotic reality (as many from a pagan worldview would claim) then there would be no structure to the universe since the spiritual world is the backbone of what makes what we know as reality. Since the spiritual world must have a design then there is an intelligent designer who we know as God. Besides this it has already been evident that there is a moral standard in the spiritual realm. Although there are spiritual entities that do not live up to this standard it is still apparent that they are judged by this standard. Making all spiritual things subject to this standard and as we argue earlier God is the ultimate moral standard.
Many from more mystical or pantheistic world views often have confused the spiritual real with the subjective realm or the world of imagination. The realm of imagination consist of our fantasies and subconscious. Now it is apparent that our personal world of fantasy would be effected by the spiritual world. However they very distinct. The fantasy world is based upon our own imaginations and fantasy and it is entirely based upon our own mind. It is a world that is subjective to our own personalities. As oppose to a world that is objective and the same for everybody. The spiritual realm as I have argued is not only objective but it is ordered. The fantasy world can live in contradiction. The spiritual realm is not only ordered but it is the highest order. Therefore there is a definite distinction between the two. However as I noted earlier our spiritual states or the conditions of spirits can definitely affect our imaginations.
Vrs. Christianity as one of many
Now when we look at the world (especially the human world) we can notice that it is tainted and imperfect. Most people admit to this and even Buddhists recognize the poor state of the world as fundamental to their belief systems. Evil has tainted to some degree everything on earth. I believe that the best way of illustrating this is through a passage in the song “Life is a lemon” by the Jim Steinmen performed by Meatloaf.
“What about Love? It’s defective! It’s always breaking it in half!
What about Sex? It’s defective! It’s never built to really last!
What about your Family? It’s defective! All the batteries are shot!
What about your Friends? They’re defective! All the parts are out of stock.
What about Hope? It’s defective! It’s corroded and decayed
What about Faith? It’s defective! It’s tattered and it frayed
What about your gods? They’re defective! They forgot the warranty
What about your Town? It’s defective! It’s a dead end street to me.
What about your School? It’s defective! It’s a pack of useless lies!
What about your Work? It’s defective! It’s a crock and then you die!
What about your Childhood? It’s defective! It’s dead and buried in the past!
What about your Future? It’s defective! You can shove it up your *&@#!”
If I may I would like to comment on this argument by Meatloaf and Steinmen. From what I can tell neither has publicly claimed to be Christian. But I believe there is a good argument that they display. Love does not make life worth living since it is not guaranteed forever no matter what people intend and worse when it dies it destroys people inside. Sex is defective as an answer since it is a temporary high. Family is defective since they need a source of strength to stay together. Friends are defective in that they are not reliable in the long run. Hope is defective since there isn’t a specific hope set before us to attain. Faith is defective because it has been ripped apart with out the basis of hope. The religious god’s are defective since they are really based on imagination and not realty therefore they have no assurance to offer. Your town is simply a geographical location and ethnicity’s come and go. In the end patriotism is empty. School systems offer answers that are constantly changing and sometimes defective by the time you make it in the real world. Work and occupations can not satisfy this since all they really want is to you your abilities and time and then you are near death when you retire. Our upbringing and childhood doesn’t offer a great deal either since it is past and what we were doesn’t count for anything. Our future is now an abomination since we have no hope or purpose in who we are and where we go.
Basically there is nothing pure in the world. So if everything is evil and corrupted then how do we know what is right and true? We could say the easy answer through God and yet that leaves two extra arguments in front of us. The first is how do we know we can trust a God who is ultimately responsible for evil and the second is how do we know What God’s message is in a world that is entirely distorted. The first question I have dealt with in my argument from morality. This second question then is what we will deal with. How can we know what is ultimately true in a distorted reality? First of all. it is good to point out that in order to come to this question we do realize that there is a principle of morality already in place since the world is evil or corrupted. The second thing is we look at the world-view systems. These systems are obviously flawed and they must be uniformly imperfect after all if humanity is distraught then obviously they must be flawed being that they are at the core of what motivates people. Also if a world-view is false it is obviously man-made since God is perfect. Some may object and bring up spiritual or demonic entities as the origin for teachings however man is ultimately responsible for his beliefs and demons are imperfect. Therefore these beliefs are ultimately evil and go away from the truth.
Therefore all beliefs except for the true belief as given by God are false. So how do we tell which belief is the truth and which beliefs are false? The first thing that we know is that the truth must be rare since all other worldviews are in some way, shape or form false. Therefore the truth must be unique to all other worldviews. The truth has to be separate from all other worldviews. Finally all other worldviews must be in opposition in some way or another to the truth.
Christianity fits this description from the outset. The concept of God is unique in Christianity because of the trinity. Three in one, no other concept like this exist in religion. Some think this is a contradiction but it is not. ( see trinity) It is however a paradox which makes it unique. The fact that it is a complex paradox and hard to imagine testifies to how transcendent and majestic God is. Sense common sense is agreeably flawed Confusion about God’s nature gives this argument proof. God should be beyond our imagination. The Lord Jesus is equally as complex a paradox being 100% Man and 100% God without being less of any and not part of one or the other. He is born Miraculously of a virgin. He is the only God that Dies and raises from the dead. In fact God’s creation is unique to the usual thought processes as well. Biblical creation took place at God’s very commands with out a hint of evolutionary process as opposed to some form of infinite regression. Salvation goes against traditions of all other religions and basis salvation on God’s grace as opposed to our works. Christianity also breaks against them in that it predicts the future and the end of the world. If Christianity were an imaginary concept then why can’t anyone find someone else who imagined the same concept? Not only is Christianity unique in these claims they are traditionally rigid. Biblical Christianity is exclusive in it’s claims and exclusive in it’s invitation. Most religions are inclusive of other religions if not pluralistic. Most religions have political agendas and yet Biblical Christians believe in religious liberty. All these difference set people up against Christianity. Yet if the world is corrupted and our worldviews are corrupted then maybe the animosity from false worldviews are a good thing. After all the regular religious systems fail. They are often legalistic and hypocritical since their rules cannot be followed by it’s followers. Religions that are more freedom based end up so liberal that they let there adherents slip into evil addictions. They do not answer very much in the area of morality. In the areas of assurance they offer even less. Faith for them is using the imagination that their beliefs are true as opposed excepting truths that are too complex to be understood.
Faith for the Christian is putting trust in an actual truth that is beyond (or more advanced than) our understanding. The truth is too complex for us but it is shown to us and we must trust it. Most other religions either try to make life incredibly simplistic. (Islam comes to mind) Or the just give up at understanding being to hard for us to grasp ( for instance Post-Modernism). The fact is that the truth is out there we live in a world with truth. But we can not exhaustively comprehend what is ultimately true. This is where Christians bring up two concepts: faith and revelation. This argument obviously entails faith. In that Christianity is so unique in that it must be true and we need to put our faith in it as truth since it is unique in it’s essence. Since Christianity is unique and the rest of the world systems oppose it and are inherently flawed then Christianity has to be the truth.
A. Man can’t reach God, but God can reach man.
When we look at the relationship between man and God we must consider how they relate to one another. First of all the question is can man reach God? Many people have assumed this so in different mystery religions. In ancient pagan religions they attempted to do this. They would find blessings by deities by committing massive amounts of sex. They would sacrifice and murder their own children. They would chant phrases and dances. They would cut themselves and wail and scream. In order to make a god come and communicate with them. Now would these exercises and (in my opinion grotesque) acts make God communicate with them? If we are talking about the real God, then no. Why? Because God is sustained by himself and therefore he can not be compelled to do anything. Besides God is moral so immorality does not influence him. So what about moral acts? God is good, so he would definitely approve. However, humanity is tainted with evil and so God would not have anything to do with humanity based on there own moral behavior. Besides if God is the ultimate good he doesn’t need anything else to make him better.
Others claim to have supernatural psychic abilities to reach the great beyond. But unless God wants to be involved in communication it is purposeless. Besides if they were born with these abilities than their abilities are dependent on whether God gave this to them at birth. And there is no absolute measure of proving that they really have the abilities or are lying.
Therefore man of his own ability is incapable of reaching and starting communication with God.
B. Revelation is the most highest standard of information possible.
God having absolute foreknowledge, is the highest form of knowledge. He knows absolutely everything. There is no perspective that is greater than His is. His knowledge exceeds the space-time-mass-continuum. (Reality as we know it) Us on the other hand, are very limited in our understanding. Many times our logic carries false premises. Our empirical knowledge is limited by what we can learn from the outside world, Our experiences are swayed by our emotions and personal feelings.Our ability to compared is swayed by our own stereotypes of every view but our own. And so man can not fully affirm any truth. In fact man can not even be sure of positively affirming even this truth.
C. It is only natural for God’s form of communication is inerrant.
God is the ultimate being and more importantly the ultimate person. God is limitless in his knowledge since he is the ultimate. Therefore he knows of knowledge without error. God is also ultimate in his morality. If God were not the ultimate in his morality then he would be imperfect and therefore not be God. After all there would be a standard at which God has failed Making God not ultimate and therefore not the God. Truth is one piece of ultimate morality since it does not respect other people and is done out of insecure motives. Since God is ultimate He has no motivation to lie.
D. God is the kind of God who would reveal himself because he has made other minds capable of receiving as well as creation capable of revealing information.
If there were a God, it would be obvious that he would reveal himself for several reasons. Number one God has made other minds (human) capable of communication. Therefore God has already created the possibility. Secondly, He has not hid his existence from reason. Otherwise none of my arguments would make sense. Now I am not saying that you have to believe every argument I make but I think it obvious that at least some of these arguments are very compelling. Being that they are compelling and if they are true then God has created a universe that gives these other minds clues to his existence and would show that God does have an interest in establishing communication. Thirdly, God has created a universe of other minds where people have the desire to have direct communication with God. We see this so obviously in my argument from human experience.
Fourthly, God has made a universe where there are claims made that he has shown his revelation. I will continue this argument more in the chapter on evidence. However the Testimony that He may communicated speaks volumes in favor for His existence and the possibility that he has indeed revealed Himself.
E. In order for God to communicate with man God uses man so that man will understand the words.
If God were to speak to humanity what language would he use? After all humanity have thousands of languages. What is God’s language? How could God who knows everything carry on a conversation of any type with mankind. Since God is miraculous and transcends space and time it is obvious that humanity does not understand Him. So how on earth could we understand His message if He gave it to us?
I think it is important to note that according to Genesis all people had one language and that God made communication, even with Him. Once again we must remember that revelation is possible by the effort of God and not the work of man. It is God’s moral principle to reach out to all people and not to push them to break his laws but to lead them to the truth. And so God decides to reach Humanity. There are barriers in language today, yet only because of man’s rebellion in the tower of Babel. However, the God of the bible breaks down those barriers through the supernatural use of the prophets. Then He carries out his message providentially through scribes, translators, and missionaries. And so the message of God’s word is carried out throughout the world. Even skeptics end up popularizing God’s Word because they have to explain it to complain about it.
One of the more controversial topics for the modernistic worldview to grasp is the concept of miracles. If a miracle happens then the law of cause and effect is somehow tampered with. If we can not trust the laws of cause and effect then we are unable to grasp anything. And the universe must therefore be chaotic.
However there are problems with this type of reasoning. First of all we are unable to fully trust the reliability of cause and effect even if the system is not tampered with anyhow. Why you might ask? Because we can only study so much material within our life times and since there is always something outside of what we know there is always a left over mystery. This mystery places an x-factor that could totally effect our entire understanding of the universe. Therefore we can not fully rely on our information that we gain from the universe based off of cause and effect theory. It is worth listening to no doubt, however it brings no assurance.
Therefore miracles can not be down played because they put the cause and effect system less reliable since this system is not perfectly reliable anyhow. However, with a theistic worldview the cause and effect system is sustained and upheld by God. While miracles may go against the normal cause and effect system of science it does not destroy the system since God upholds both. God is free to create as many miracles as he wants, however since creating the cause and effect system He respects it enough not to damage it. So with a God capable of creating miracles we also have the same God of order who respects creation since it was based on His own good purpose. With a God of order we have more confidence in reality than a universe with a closed system with out a God.
One thing we must note however is that there is no positive evidence for a closed system. Most of the evidence is through experience. However even if we could prove that there are no miracles happening anywhere in our universe right now. We can never prove that miracles have never existed. One reason this is especially tough is that when we construct science and historical scientific test we always seek it within a closed system and our expecting only answers within a closed system where there are no possible miracles. So how can we discover a miracle that we can’t search for? The only way that we can verify a miracle is through personal experience or divine revelation. Because no record would be trust. Therefore if miracles happen today we are intellectually blinded from them.
One Doctrine that has been universally held by Christians and universally condemned by non-Christian rationalist is the concept of the Trinity. Even people with a high view of scripture have a habit of rejecting it. In this doctrine God is three individual persons as well as one individual being. However wouldn’t this interfere with the law of non-contradiction? (A can not =non A) After all how can something be 3 individual things and one individual thing at the same time? It is not like all three are pieces of a pie because each piece is equal to all three pieces of the pie together. So what is going on?
The key issue with misunderstanding the doctrine of the trinity is the fact that the trinity is not the description of a thing but it is a description of God. God is Transcendent, which means that he goes beyond the boundaries of space and time. There were no scientific laws before God made them and therefore God is not subject to them. God does not have to go by the rules of created things because his existence is not based on nature. God is eternal meaning that He was never created. God is self-sufficient, meaning that God does not depend on anything else. With these two attributes in mind we realize that God does not have to follow the rules of human logic. When I say this I do not mean to say that God is illogical. What I mean to say is that since God is the ultimate being his logic is far beyond us and is not dependent on our poor and limited understanding of things.
One major misunderstanding is that "three in one" are used as the same. The 3 are not the same concept as the one. The "one" is the godhead, or substance of God. There is one God substance. The three are persons (Father, Word, Holy Spirit) They are willful intelligent persons but not a substance. Which means that the paradox of "3 in 1" is in truth logical.
Another issue that some non-Christian theist may bring up is that the word trinity is not in the bible. Therefore, this must be a philosophical distortion. Actually the bible refers to the trinity as the God head and leaves it mysterious because of the complexity of the subject. Problems arise however when different teachers would teach the Godhead in ways that were un-biblical such as the Father being a superior deity to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Or Jesus being a created being etc. The Bible is very specific that idols that portray God as a created thing is idolatry and the New Testament affirms that there is only one Lord in particular that we serve and doing other wise is sinful and destructive to God’s Word. Therefore they’re needed to be a definitive term in explaining the Godhead. And the term Trinity was the most accurate.
There are certain Facets of the Godhead, which may help an individual in understanding. First of all there can not be a true reality with 3 full-fledged different Gods. The reason is that each one of them is all-powerful and there fore they cancel each other out. After all what if they clash on an each issue? Neither one is limited in power, nor each is unstoppable. They wouldn’t even slow each down. Which is particularly hard to contradict each other they would no longer be God. So if there were two persons with the same God qualities they would have to be the same in being. Because they fill each other up.
Let us suppose the opposite in stead of three persons with God’s attribute what about a God with three personalities. If the person of God is omnipotent then the person of God is omnipotent. If God had three personalities they would be fully developed persons. The reason being that each personality is omnipotent and therefore they are no longer personalities but fully developed persons. For instance if a person with multiple personalities had 2 personalities and each wanted to act they would be limited to the one body they inhabit. But since God is unlimited each personality is unlimited and so therefore each personality is a fully developed person.
The only X-factor in proving the trinity to be true from a rational standpoint is determining how many persons the Godhead has. After all we could assume anywhere from 1 to 4 to 40! This knowledge of 3 persons in the Godhead is due to the divine revelation that God has revealed to us in scripture. However we do see from the different ways that we have come to knowledge of God evidence that could support this conclusion of God having 3 persons. When we look at the ontological and teleological we see a God who is transcendent and removed from the universe who is creator of all both good and evil. A theology based off of only these would see God as mysterious and hard to pin down as far as righteousness and virtue, yet obviously this God is Intelligent since he designed the universe and cares enough about his creation to sustain it. When we look at the moral argument as well as the moral argument we see God more immanently involved as the moral Law-giver and as uniquely good to an evil world. A theology based off of only these arguments would see a God who is more immanent showing what is evil being rejected for His unique goodness and still guiding humanity toward goodness and truth. From the ontological argument and the arguments from experience and revelation we see a God who is entirely personal and relational. We see God as the ultimate person and ourselves as incomplete in need of the God who is ultimately for us. In this theology God is transcendent in ultimate and intimate in being personal. From these 3 strands we can see 3 persons in the God head develop.
Incarnation; The Virgin Birth
There are many who also in History who have raised objection to the doctrine of the Incarnation. The word Incarnation means “in the flesh” and it refers to Jesus Christ being God in human flesh. There are many objections and questions raised here. How could a man become God? How can a man be fully God and still be fully human. How could Jesus have grown-up and learned things and asked questions with out being dishonest about his deity? If Jesus was God then didn’t God die on the cross? How could God obey other authorities without losing his sovereignty? Why did Jesus need helpers? Etc. So let us focus on these.
The first question is “How could a man become God?” The answer to this is both simple and complex. A man did not become God, God became a man. The second person of the Trinity known either as the Son or the Word, manifested Himself in the flesh. This is why Jesus says “before Abraham was I AM” the phrase I AM is a reference to Yahweh and so Jesus was declaring Himself to be God. But he was not saying that he became God He was stating that He was the eternal God without a beginning or an end. The Gospel of John states “In the Beginning was the Word…” “…and the Word was God” “…and the Word became Flesh.” These indicate that the incarnation of Jesus Christ was an act of God manifesting Himself as a human being. Since God can do all things this should not be difficult.
Another question posed is how can the incarnation be reconciled with being completely human since to be God is not to be human, it is not the definition of humanity. The problem with this lies in the question and so I must ask what is the definition of humanity? In the secular world this definition is constantly changing. This is why we squabble over euthanasia and abortion because we have no concept of what it means to be human. This is also the cause of confusion when it comes to animal rights and sexual ethics and medical ethics. Since there is no consistent authority on the definition of humanity , we should look to the biblical view/definition of humanity; someone created in the image of God. Humans initially were not plagued with death and disease and handicaps they were Adam in Eve God’s perfect creations. Since they were “in the likeness/image of God” they reflected all of God’s Attributes. Now what is so hard to imagine about God manifesting Himself as a reflection of Himself?
The next question is how could Jesus have handled being God and knowing everything in His discussions with people? What is even more perplexing is the fact that the Bible mentions that as Jesus grew up he learned things. How could an all-knowing being learn things? The Bible does not delve into that topic so it is really up for debate. . Theologians have offered the following explanation. That Jesus did not partake of His all-knowing qualities while growing up in order to identify Himself with the experiences of mankind. This process is called “Kenosis”. Jesus only partook of his omniscient attributes when he decided it necessary to reveal Himself.
Another factor is that Christian Theologians have been careful to explain the incarnation in terms of the crucifixion. Jesus deity or the “The Logos” (Greek for “the Word”) has been with God the Father since the beginning of time. While Jesus as a human has only existed for 2000 years. When Jesus died only the human nature of Jesus actually died although he was still one with his Deity. Because since God is present everywhere God is present in the realm of death. Therefore the Logos was still unified with the human nature of Jesus (the human nature) even though Jesus as deity didn’t die Jesus as a human still died, but since the Logos is Omni-present (everywhere) He did not separate from his human nature, He was still unified. Therefore God the Son experienced death and experienced the grave even though God the Son did not cease to exist. That may sound confusing at first read but it is totally consistent logic so just read it again to make sure you understand.
When Jesus lived on the earth the bible says “He humbled himself” meaning that it was not his goal to project his deity and make everyone but to play the part of a servant as an ultimate example to humanity. This can be seen in John 13 the story where Jesus washed the disciples feet. For Jesus to serve humans is an example of the fact that God does not need humans and since he doesn’t need people to serve Him Jesus has no problem being a servant to people in order to express and teach his message. For God to actually “humbles himself” shows that God is the ultimate good which fits the standard definition of God.
From there we get to the question of the virgin birth. How is it possible for Jesus to be fully human without a father? How could Mary give birth without sexual intercourse? Why is this even in the Bible?
First of all let us address the incarnation question about Jesus humanity. Jesus is fully human, but how could he get that just from a mother? Scientifically, people have just learned how to simulate that possibility through genetic cloning. In genetic cloning we can take the raw DNA of a cell to fertilize a female egg even them females own cell can be used in this process. Now before I go on I would like to say that the virgin birth was a miracles and it is impossible to fathom Jesus birth as some sort of cloning process. However my point in bringing this up is that it is scientifically possible for an infant to only have the genes for it’s mother. I am not saying that this is the process that God used however it does show that this is not a contradictory proposition for a person to capable of only one genetic relative. While some Christians have no answer to why God would use a virgin birth specifically, I believe that this was to affirm himself as different as those who are born of Adam. Also to make sure that it was clear that he was not under the spiritual headship of Adam and therefore inherit original sin. Another reason for the virgin birth is to show the uniqueness of the person of Jesus and the entry of the Messiah. As a sign that He was the Messiah.