I believe in God. Some people do not, but I do. In this paper I will explain just some of the reasons why I believe in God. The number one reason being that without God human experience as we know is completely unintelligible, and makes no sense. My other reasons follow that basic premise, demonstrating by specific examples how it is that certain human experiences cannot be possible, or do not work properly unless God is the pattern by which we model ourselves. Any thought about reality that does not begin with the presupposition that God is the source of all things, will be necessarily self contradictory, and thus false. In order for anything to make sense, in order for us to have the ability to make sense of the anything, God must exist. This is the sum of my argument.
As I was thinking about the structure of this paper it occurred to me that my direct appeal to Scripture as the Word of God would be met with hostility, as would my appeal to evidences that “prove” that the Bible is the Word of God. It is necessary therefore to establish in the beginning of this paper my most basic presupposition, my starting point and foundation for all of my thinking. Everyone has a presupposition which serves as the grid by which they determine something to be true or false, right or wrong, good or bad, possible or impossible. Most people are not aware of their presuppositions, and falsely believe that facts are neutral, and can therefore speak for themselves. But a brief glance into the Creation/Evolution debate for example quickly reveals that though both sides appeal to the same “facts”, both sides interpret the “facts” in two very different ways. The evolutionist who has been schooled in uniformitarian geology for example, might look at the Grand Canyon and think that what he is looking at is the result of millions of years of erosion carved out by the Colorado River. The Bible believing creationist on the other hand looks at the same Grand Canyon and thinks that what he sees is the result of the flood in the days of Noah, which took place in a very short amount of time. Who is correct?
This brief example speaks volumes to us. Facts are not neutral nor do they speak for themselves. Facts need to be interpreted. The question is not one of “interpretation versus no interpretation” but rather, “whose interpretation?” People often object to a persons’ argument when they find out that the person is interpreting the facts according to a bias. It is then thought of as some sort of virtue to be able to interpret facts with a clean slate, void of any biases. But this is simply an impossibility. Everyone has biases. Everyone has presuppositions.
The problem that exists though, concerns the issue of how a person knows whether or not their presupposition is the correct one. It is easy to state what a persons’ presupposition is. It is much more difficult to defend that presupposition. Since all presuppositions are ultimately an appeal to a final authority, to appeal to anything else to prove that a presupposition is valid, other than the presupposition itself, is to call into question the veracity and authority of their presupposition, thus making it not their foremost presupposition and final authority. Therefore it is a truth that all presuppositions are defended by circularity. Whether it is the Bible believing Christian who appeals to Scripture as their ultimate authority, or the atheist who appeals to reason, each person in order to prove the veracity and legitimacy of their presupposition – the Bible or autonomous reason – will appeal to the Bible or to reason to defend their belief in the Bible or reason.
What then are we to do? Are we in an eternal grid lock of “ultimate authorities” that will war forever with no winner? God forbid! For I maintain that not only is the Christian position true, but it is impossible for any other theory to be true. This is what Cornelius Van Til meant when he sought to prove Christianity by appealing to “the impossibility of the contrary.” It is impossible for any other theory of life and origins and reality to be true, since universal experience necessitates and demands Christianity to be true in order to give itself meaning and logical consistency. In other words, only Biblical Christianity provides the necessary preconditions that must exist in order for life as we know it on this planet to make sense and to be intelligible. Therefore, though the atheist appeals to logic and reason, his belief in the non-existence of God excludes the possibility of logic and reason to exist at all, thus proving that the atheists’ ultimate authority and presupposition is in fact one that only makes sense in the context of a Christian universe, thus negating the atheists’ axiom that God does not exist. The atheist needs God to exist in order to argue against His existence. Atheism therefore presupposes Theism.
So then what are we to do with these facts that we previously spoke of? Facts are not pieces of information floating around the ethereal world waiting for someone to come along and slap meaning on to them like a postage stamp. All facts are first and foremost God created facts. Therefore, since God created all facts, God knows all facts. And since God creates all things for a purpose, He knows the purposes behind each and every fact that He creates. Though the Bible does not specifically mention everything there is to know, the truth remains that everything there is to know is eventually involved in the plan of God, and therefore cannot be known as a fact until it ties in with the plan of God. Knowledge of anything is by way of understanding the connection it has with the plan of God. Thus, God knows all facts and interprets all facts. As Cornelius Van Til taught, “there must be comprehensive knowledge somewhere if there is to be any true knowledge anywhere.” This comprehensive knowledge of course is therefore found alone in God. God’s knowledge of facts precedes their existence both logically and temporally. Thus all facts were created with an already built in interpretation, which is why Van Til can assert that “God knows or interprets all facts before they are facts.” Since this is the case, it must therefore be asserted that no fact exists apart from its God given interpretation. There are no facts outside of the comprehensive plan of God, and it is only the Scriptures that this plan is outlined for us.
“Therefore we go to the Bible to get our philosophy of fact and to get the details of the plan of God he has pleased to disclose to us. Intelligent, meaningful predication is not possible unless we do so under the conditions and truths set forth in Scripture. The Scripture “offers itself as the sun by which alone men can see their experience in its true setting.” Therefore, in the spirit of Augustine, Van Til claims that the mind of man is completely dependent on revelation. A dependent creature can only think correctly by thinking after God, and to know what God thinks is only possible by revelation. This revelation for us is in Holy Scripture. We may investigate biological data, archaeological data, and geological data but all must be referred back to the Bible. The very investigation of such matters is dependent upon an antecedent doctrine of fact. If we do not have the correct doctrine of fact the investigation will be conducted under pagan principles under which no favorable decision to Christianity can be logically expected.”
Why is this my methodology? Because it is an indisputable fact that Infallibility is an inescapable concept. Infallibility is always placed somewhere, most of the time mis-placed. Infallibility is either given to self, science, the state, the Church, the Pope, the masses, evolution, or someone or something else. “The doctrine of the infallibility of Scripture can be denied, but the concept of infallibility as such cannot be logically denied. Infallibility is an inescapable concept. If men refuse to ascribe infallibility to Scripture, it is because the concept has been transferred to something else…[like] concepts, things, men, and institutions.”
In the rest of this paper I will lay out my beliefs and provide reasons for my beliefs according the presupposition that the Bible is the inspired word of the Triune God to mankind. This is my foundation. All things therefore will flow forth from this truth, for the Psalmist says, “In Thy light shall we see light” (Ps. 36:9). In order for all things to be ‘illumined’ it is necessary that we view all things through the light of God’s word (Ps. 119:105). Or as C.S. Lewis has said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. Let us then make a beginning.
I believe in Jesus Christ. He is my Lord, my Savior, my God, my Friend, my Provider, my Creator, my Shepherd, my Soul’s Lover. By faith in Him I have been forgiven of my sins, and He has sent the Holy Spirit to abide in me so that I might abide in Jesus, who abides in the Father. This is Life.
Now indeed while all of what I just said is true, it does not explain much about who Jesus Christ is. I suppose that if I were to enter into a discussion of who Christ is it would take me beyond the bounds and scope of this paper. Suffice it say that the whole Bible speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ, even the Old Testament, whether in types, shadows, precepts, or antithesis; in themes, stories, poems, proverbs and law; in persons, places and things. The New Testament obviously speaks of the Lord Jesus more specifically, since the gospels tell us of when the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, came to dwell among men in the fullness of time, and to give His life as a ransom for many, and to rise again from the dead and ascend to the right hand of the Father, sending the Holy Spirit to His Church to empower her to complete the work that He had begun on earth. The end result will be that all the nations of the earth will be baptized in the Triune Name, discipled and taught to obey all that the Lord has commanded. In short, His kingdom will come and His will will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. He will come at the end of history to Judge the living and the dead. Therefore I stand comforted by the fact that history itself is governed by the Lord Christ, which accordingly is why the B.C. / A.D. designations were appended to the calendar, because our fathers in the faith knew this truth that Jesus Christ was Lord of all and that He reigns over all the kings of the Earth because He is in fact the Creator, Redeemer, and Judge of all men.
The question remains though, why do I believe in Jesus, since this is the subject of this paper. Those who grew up with me know that I did not grow up in a religious home, so belief in God was not something that was instilled in me from my youth. I am not the product of my social surroundings in this regard. On the contrary, secular humanism and pluralism is the predominant mind set and philosophical worldview that is encouraged and pushed from almost every corner of almost every government school and program. If anyone thinks that I am a Christian because of my society, they are indeed wrong, for I grew up in a very secular and pluralistic environment. Therefore, if their contentions were true, I would not be a Christian, but rather, I would be a liberal secular pluralist whose worldview is saturated with relativism. But that I did not become a liberal secular pluralist relativist like my friends is where the inquiry needs to begin. Why? Why am I a Christian and not a secular humanist with relativistic philosophical underpinnings? The answer is, of course Jesus Christ.
Paul the Apostle writes in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter one, that God chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, and that He had predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His (God the Father) will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved (Christ). Therefore, though there was a definite time in history when I began to believe in Jesus and trust in his life, death, and resurrection and ascension on my behalf, the true beginnings and source of that faith is from eternity past, decreed by God in His eternal and infinite wisdom and goodness. Which is why Paul later says in chapter two of the same letter to the Ephesians that God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace we have been saved – through faith, which is not of our own doing, it is the gift of God, so that no one may boast before God. The gift that Paul speaks of is not just salvation, but the faith that was required to believe unto salvation. This seems evident to me for I had to be made alive (spiritually) in order to believe. That I was once dead in trespasses is evidence that I did not possess the faith in and of myself. It had to be gift, it had to come from outside of myself. This is why Jesus Christ Himself said in John’s gospel that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). Therefore, the only reason I believe is because the Father chose me to believe, sent His Son to purchase my redemption on the cross, and then sent the Spirit to draw me to Himself. Salvation is of the Lord, and I had nothing to do with it. In fact, if I were to continue to have my way, I would not believe. But God is gracious and shows mercy to those whom He chooses to show mercy. I praise God that He chose me, for it was nothing I did to merit His choosing.
On the contrary, if God’s election were by virtue of the person, then no one would be saved, for we all have sin, and never would we ever come to God (remember, we were dead in trespasses and sins, dead people don’t usually do too much). This is why Jesus preached on the necessity of the Heavenly Birth, or being “born again.” I was indeed born again, born from above by the Spirit of God according to the grace of God. This is ultimately why I believe in Jesus Christ. God gave me the faith to believe in Jesus. But this faith did not descend fiat from Heaven, but it came from the Holy Spirit through the word of God. As Peter says, “…you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).
Happiness and Relationships
If my belief in God is true, than we would expect the implications of such a belief to comport with reality and everyday experience, would we not? And one of the most important experiences that I have inside of myself, and not only myself but all people everywhere, is the feeling of happiness. I am happy. I feel happiness. People are happy and we love to be happy. Why? I ask this question to the atheistic evolutionary biologist. Why are we happy? What is happiness? Is it simply a chemical reaction that occurs in the human brain? Is it merely a word that we use to describe the effects of this chemical reaction? What are those things that trigger happiness? What is the source of our happiness? What is it about the human species that we are so wired to not only experience happiness, joy, and pleasure, but that we yearn to feel these emotions? To this last question I have to answer “God.” God is the source of our happiness and pleasure. We were created in the image of God and therefore humanity was designed to reflect those emotions and feelings that God possesses within Himself. God is indeed happy because He takes infinite pleasure in Himself above all things. God is eternally happy.
At the Baptism of Jesus we hear God say of His Son, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Paul in his epistle to Titus speaks of the gospel of the happy God (Tit. 1:11). The eighteenth century preacher of the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, once noted that “Part of God’s fullness which He communicates, is His happiness. This happiness consists in enjoying and rejoicing in Himself; so does also the creatures happiness.” Jesus spoke to His disciples in such wonderful and beautiful words for the express purpose that the joy of Christ Himself would be in them, so that their joy would be full (John 15:11). Interestingly enough, according to Jesus in order to enter into full joy, that is, the joy that Christ has in His intimate and eternal inseparable union with the Father, one must have come in contact with His word (thus the necessity of regeneration via the word of God in order to experience true happiness).
That kind of joy and happiness is communicated to us via relationship. To experience joy and happiness it is required for man to have something to be happy about. He might be happy about a new car, or a new electronic device, or with billions of dollars. But even the most materially wealthy person will tell you that relationship with persons is much fuller and lasting and more satisfying a joy and happiness than any material object could ever give. And we would expect it to be so, for the personal relationship is one of back and forth communication and affection. It is a give and take investment, one that is much more satisfying to the nature of the human soul. The warmth of joy that one experiences from another person is like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day while snuggling under a fleece blanket next to a warm hearth. While the materialistic joy that one has with his money and cars and clothes is as satisfying as eating snow. Indeed, I enjoy eating snow (no not the yellow snow, my mother taught me better than that), but it is never as satisfying nor as enjoyable as drinking hot chocolate. That is not to say that eating snow is not enjoyable, it is. But it is not as enjoyable as hot chocolate on a winter day.
I believe the reason for this is because humanity was created for relationships. We are specifically designed to take more pleasure in each other than we are supposed to with stuff. This is because God Himself takes infinitely more pleasure in Himself that He does in His creation. God does indeed take pleasure in His creation, for the Psalmist says that the Lord rejoices in His works (Ps. 104:31). But the joy and pleasure God has for His own Son is not to be compared. We can understand this, for we all know that it is wrong for a father to be devoted more to his car and his job and his money than he is in cultivating strong relationships with his family. This is because humans are reflecting their innate sense of the Imago Dei, a reflection of the life of the Triune God in mankind.
And yet, if evolution were true, it wouldn’t matter. For if all we are is the result of some random chemical chance reaction over millions of years, then why would it matter how one clump of matter acted towards or felt about another clump of matter? If all we are is matter in motion than why should it be so deplorable to us humans that another human had more chemical reactions in his random chance brain than he had for some other material object, for example a material object he might call ‘wife’ or ‘car’ or ‘cell phone’? If all she is is a clump of matter, and all a car is is a clump of matter, as is also a cell phone, then why is it so unsettling to us if the chemicals in his brain give him more affection toward a car or a phone than for his wife? The atheist has no answer to this. In an atheistic universe there is no reason for why there is joy and happiness, or why there are varying degrees of happiness, or why there are personal relationships at all, especially relationships that are bonded together out of love and pleasure and joy.
But the answer is obvious if we have a Christian worldview. Mankind was created to be like God and therefore we take pleasure in other images of God more than we do in those things which were not created in the image of God, just like God the Father takes pleasure in His Son Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ take pleasure in God His Father. And that bond of love that exists between the two is held together by the Holy Spirit, the Divine Match Maker. The Triune God is the source of all happiness, and all true happiness is to be found in relationships, first with God, through the Son, in the bonds of love by the Spirit, and then with each other. Everything else is to be understood as secondary or tertiary, but it is still to be enjoyed. Not as an end, but as a means to take more pleasure and give more thanks and glory to God, to whom all glory and thanks, and honor, and love belong.
Society and Communication
Not only are human relational beings but we are also societal beings. We have an intimate desire, yea, even need, to be with other people. Communication is not only intrinsic to society but good clear communication makes for a healthy society. In contrast then, poor communication provides the foundation for social decadence. As Eugene Rosenstock-Huessy has noted,
The processes of heredity and decadence, today, are widely discussed in medicine and eugenics. However, decadence is a mental and psychological phenomenon as well. Healthy children of healthy parents may suffer from the impotence of the parents to convey their convictions to their children. Whole generations may prove decadent because they behave as though posterity did not depend on their intellectual severity with their progeny. This is decadence, social decadence.
Why would Huessey conclude that that social decadence will occur as a result of a lack of communication? Perhaps because he believes that,
Whoever speaks believes in the unity of mankind. And he believes that the unity of mankind is not produced by physical or political or economic or racial reasons but by our faith in speech. We all believe in the Holy Ghost, the Oneness above and around our particular way of looking at the world. The individual’s greatest freedom has as its corollary the spirit’s greatest necessity. If all men are bound by one truth, then my-truth makes sense. If it does not, I go mad with my freedom.
Jesus, in John 12:49-50 tells of the communication that exists between Him and the Father. The Father speaks to the Son and the Son in turn communicates that truth to His people. He does this by way of the Spirit, whom He asks the Father to send to His Church (John 14:16).The end result is eternal life and the glory of God. Therefore, for any society to function effectively and in a healthy manner it is of utmost importance that the communication that exists between people is a reflection of the communication that exists in the Godhead. Hence St. Paul says,
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
The society that speaks to one another truthfully in love will grow up to be like Christ. Accordingly this passage is speaking of the Church, which is the true society and which is to be the model of all societies, reflecting the Trinitarian love within itself, as does God. Any society that wants to prosper and not be consumed by decadence must be able to communicate clearly, in truth, with love, for the glory of God, and for mutual edification. Hence Paul says,
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
This is not to say that the Church has indeed arrived at this. Not at all, for we need to continue to repent and live according to the Name in which we were baptized. My point in bringing this point up is simply to call attention to the fact that a society’s cohesion and relational union is dependent upon clear and adequate and godly communication. The Tower of Babel had clear and adequate communication, but it was not godly nor did it have godly intentions. Therefore God struck it down.
1Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. 
Again my purposes in raising the issue of language and society is to show that the necessary precondition that must exist for societal communication is the existence of a Triune God who is Himself a Divine society who communicates with Himself – inter-Trinitarian communication.
But what of the atheistic or even the Islamic society? If all speech and society have their source in God, then the question must be, to whom does Allah speak? In the Christian God, the Father speaks to the Son, the Son speaks to the Father, the Spirit speaks the Father and the Son, and the Son and the Father speak to the Spirit. The source of all language and society finds its source in God. But in Islam, Allah has no one to speak to, nor anyone to be in communion with. In order for Allah to communicate he needs to create beings to which he can speak. Allah then, it would seem, is dependent upon his creation in order make societal communication possible. But any “god” who needs his creation to do anything or to be able to account for any universal experience ceases to be “god.” Therefore, this is just one of the many experiences that a Muslim experiences which presuppose the existence of a Triune God.
Or let us ask the evolutionist: to whom does matter speak? How could a non-speaking, non-comprehending, non-communicative piece of protoplasmic slime develop the incredible mind to be able to speak, comprehend, and communicate? Or perhaps a related question must be asked: is matter personal? Does matter have the capability of having deep intimate personal relationships and is it able to construct itself into a society of laws? Does matter have a mind? This then brings us to our next point concerning logic and rationality.
The Logic of Faith
If you were to put an atheist and a Christian in a room together, most likely both would think the other were complete fools. But of the two, who is correct? Who is the more rational of the two? The atheist obviously thinks he is, and that the faith of the Christian is a direct affront to rationality. But is faith a complete departure from any rational thought? Are the two mutually exclusive? Some might have us believe as much, setting up false antithesis between the two. But this simply is not true. To say that faith is non-rational is to say that faith violates one of the three acts of the minds. That is, 1.) the terms are clear, or 2.) the propositions are true, or 3.) the arguments are valid. So in order to not violate the first act of the mind, let us make clear something about faith.
There is the act of faith, and there is the object of faith. The act of faith is not simply an act of mental belief not based on any evidence whatsoever, neither is it an emotional feeling. The object of faith is God as He has revealed Himself in His Word. Therefore the Biblical act of faith is trusting the reliable testimony of God. God speaks, makes promises, and the Christian believes. His belief and trust in God’s promises is based on the character of God Himself. God created all things and therefore knows all things perfectly. He cannot lie or change, and has preordained all things whatsoever comes to pass. And since He is omnipotent He has the power to bring to pass whatsoever He decrees. These few attributes alone give us enough reason to believe that whatever God says, is true, right, and good. It would therefore be an act of complete irrationality, yea even insanity to NOT believe God. He is the most trustworthy source of information there is, ever was, or ever will be. Why would the Christian not believe and have faith in God and His Word?
Perhaps a case could be made if God were not clear, His propositions were not true, and are the arguments for this faith were invalid. But I believe that the previous statement concerning God’s attributes answers this question.
God is the one who created language and the human mouth and is the one who speaks in the Scriptures clearly, and gives men understanding and faith to believe that message. The arguments for this faith do not contradict anything known in the real world. This includes miracles. I mention miracles because atheists are quick to say that miracles are illogical and impossible because they break the laws of science and nature. But God is the creator and He has created the world to include what we would call “miracles.” As Vern Poythress has noted,
If law is omnipotent and universal, there are truly no exceptions. Do we, then, conclude that miracles are impossible because they are violations of law? In fact, miracles are in harmony with God’s character. They take place in accordance with his predictive and decretive word. Through Moses, God verbally predicted the plagues that came to Egypt, and then brought them about. Through God’s word spoken by the prophet Elisha, a spring of water was made healthy:
“Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke (2 Kings 2:21-22).
The real law, the word of God, brings forth miracles. Miracles may be unusual and striking, but they do not violate God’s law. They violate only some human expectations and guesses. But that is our problem, not God’s. Just as Newton’s laws are limited to low velocity approximations, so the principle that axe heads do not float is limited by the qualification, “except when God in response to a special need and a prophet’s word does otherwise” (e.g., 2 Kings 6:5-6).
Therefore it is not illogical or irrational to believe in miracles, or to believe in God, if faith and reason are understood correctly.
But the atheist has a much more difficult problem, and that is, how he can even account for his use of logic and reason. In a Christian universe we can be logical because God Himself is logical and He has created the world and people in such a way that we would exhibit these truths in our lives. Failure to do so would constitute a failure to conform to the correct way things are. Engaging in contradiction is a form of lying. The atheist, though he uses logic, cannot account for the existence of these laws of logic. As Greg Bahnsen so aptly pointed out to atheist Gordon Stein, laws of logic are not mere constructions created by men, but rather, the laws of logic have certain qualities about them that make them incapable of being mere constructions promulgated by men. Rather, the laws of logic in fact, presuppose the existence of God, which is why they “work” in the first place, and why they even exist.
The laws of logic are not conventional or sociological. I would say the laws of logic have a transcendental necessity about them. They are universal; they are invariant, and they are not material in nature. And if they are not that, then I’d like to know, in an atheist universe, how it is possible to have laws in the first place. And secondly, how it is possible to justify those laws?
The laws of logic, you see, are abstract. As abstract entities, which is the appropriate philosophical term, not spiritual – entities that Dr. Stein is speaking of – abstract entities – that is to say, not individual (or universal in character). They are not materialistic. As universal, they are not experienced to be true. There may be experiences where the laws of logic are used, but no one has universal experience. No one has tried every possible instance of the laws of logic.
As invariant, they don’t fit into what most materialists would tell us about the constantly changing nature of the world. And so, you see, we have a real problem on our hands. Dr. Stein wants to use the laws of logic tonight. I maintain that by so doing he’s borrowing my world view. For you see, in the theistic world view the laws of logic makes sense, because in the theistic world view there can be abstract, universal, invariant entities such as the laws of logic. Within the theistic world view you cannot contradict yourself, because to do so you’re engaging in the nature of lying, and that’s contrary to the character of God as we perceive it. And so, the laws of logic are something Dr. Stein is going to have to explain as an atheist or else relinquish using them.
And that’s just the thing. Atheists want to argue against Christianity and the existence of God on the basis of logic and reason, but without God there would not be laws of logic, nor anything else for that matter. In an atheistic universe where everything is material, laws of logic are not really “law” like at all. In fact they are just as Dr. Stein said they are, mental constructions made up by men. Dr. Bahnsen makes this point clear –
The transcendental argument for the existence of God, then, which Dr. Stein has yet to touch, and which I don’t believe he can surmount, is that without the existence of God it is impossible to prove anything. And that’s because in the atheistic world you cannot justify, you cannot account for, laws in general: the laws of thought in particular, laws of nature, cannot account for human life, from the fact that it’s more than electrochemical complexes in depth, and the fact that it’s more than an accident. That is to say, in the atheist conception of the world, there’s really no reason to debate; because in the end, as Dr. Stein has said, all these laws are conventional. All these laws are not really law-like in their nature, they’re just, well, if you’re an atheist and materialist, you’d have to say they’re just something that happens inside the brain.
But you see, what happens inside your brain is not what happens inside my brain. Therefore, what happens inside your brain is not a law. It doesn’t necessarily correspond to what happens in mine. In fact, it can’t be identical with what is inside my mind or brain, because we don’t have the same brain.
As the laws of logic come down to being materialistic entities, then they no longer have their law-like character. If they are only social conventions, then, of course, what we might do to limit debate is just define a new set of laws, and ask for all who want the convention that says, “Atheism must be true or theism must be true, and we have the following laws that we conventionally adopt to prove it,” and see who’d be satisfied. But no one can be satisfied without a rational procedure to follow. The laws of logic cannot be avoided, the laws of logic cannot be accounted for in a Materialist universe. Therefore, the laws of logic are one of the many evidences that without God you can’t prove anything at all.
And so, I object to the atheist’s assertion that faith is irrational and illogical. In fact, it is atheism that is indeed illogical, for they use the laws of logic, but then by their assertion that God does not exist, they cast away the only ground and source that makes it possible for the laws of logic to exist. Van Til makes the case using an interesting analogy,
I propose to argue that unless God is back of everything, you cannot find meaning in anything. I cannot even argue for belief in Him, without already having taken Him for granted. And similarly I contend that you cannot argue against belief in Him unless you also first take Him for granted. Arguing about God’s existence, I hold, is like arguing about air. You may affirm that air exists, and I that it does not. But as we debate the point, we are both breathing air all the time. Or to use another illustration, God is like the emplacement on which must stand the very guns that are supposed to shoot Him out of existence.
Sam Harris, has recently wrote a new book titled The Moral Landscape . In it he argues:
Human well being entirely depends on events in the world and on states of the human brain. Consequently, there must be scientific truths to be known about it. A more detailed understanding of these truths will force us to draw distinctions between different ways of living in society with one another, judging some to be better or worse, more or less true to the facts, and more or less ethical. Clearly, such insights could help us to improve the quality of human life.
Harris argues that morality is all about human well being, and that morality is to be used to advance human well being. Human well being then is a function of the state of the brain and of events in the world. In other words, what happens in the brain and how events in the world trigger certain responses in the brain all result in something that conscious beings would consider to be “good” or “bad” for them.
There are facts to be understood about how thoughts and intentions arise in the human brain; there are facts to be learned about how these mental states translate into behavior; there are further facts to be known about how these behaviors influence the world and other conscious beings. We will see that facts of this sort will exhaust what we can reasonably mean by terms like, “good” and “evil.” They will also increasingly fall within the purview of science and run deeper than a person’s religious affiliation….I will argue that morality should be considered an undeveloped branch of science.
Since Harris denies any notion of “free will” and is a determinist, believing that all we are is the outcome of chance chemical reactions in the brain, how we think, act, and feel is not about any real free choice on our own part, but it is simply how our brains react to events in the world.
The strange thing is, that while one would think that it would be logically deduced that Harris is a moral relativist, he indeed is not. He very much believes in objective morality. “It seems abundantly clear that many people are simply wrong about morality-just as many people are wrong about physics, biology, and oncology.” But at the same time Harris attributes the ability to make moral choices to the evolution of the human brain, saying “Genetic changes in the brain gave rise to social emotions, moral intuitions, and language.” If our ability to make moral decisions has to do with the evolution of the brain then how can Harris objectively and authoritatively say whether something is really objectively good or bad? If evolution is all about change, then how could he on the one hand say that we have evolved to our understanding of what is good and bad, and then on the other hand insist that people must, by compulsory force, think and act a certain way because it is objectively good? Has evolution stopped? Has the human species stopped evolving morally? Harris indicates as much. He would have to believe so, for in order to say that people “ought” or “should” act or behave in a certain way is to impose on people an objective moral standard that is unchanging. But how does that comport with evolution?
Not only that, but how does his view of objectively morality comport with his view that all our thinking is simply a bunch of chance chemical reactions in the mind? He says, “Meaning, values, morality, and the good life must relate to facts about the well-being of conscious creatures – and, in our case, must lawfully depend upon events in the world and upon states of the human brain.” How can morality that depends upon events in the world and states of the brain, be made fit to meet the “lawful” standard of what Harris determines to be “the well being of conscious creatures”? This whole thing is one big jumbled mess.
Harris believes that there are facts, objective facts that the people living in the universe need to conform to. He says, “We have already begun to see that morality, like rationality, implies the existence of certain norms – that is, it does not merely describe how we think and behave; it tells us how we should think and behave.” Now this is very interesting. Harris’ argument sounds very similar to my argument in the beginning of this paper. But there is one problem, and this one problem defeats his whole position. Man is not God. Man does not know everything, nor does he know even one thing objectively, totally, and infallibly. Therefore man cannot ever possibly know anything truly, given the presupposition that God does not exist and evolution is true. For if all we are as conscious creatures is victims of a bunch of chance chemical reactions in our brains that respond to the surrounding stimuli in our environments, than how could any scientist, or group of scientists, come together, and all have the same chemical reactions in their brains to the same exact stimuli, and then all think the same exact way about the thing that their brains are responding to? Experiences are not universal, nor are chance chemical reactions in the brain. How could anyone know for sure how things ought to be in the universe, especially given the “truth of evolution”, in which everyone is constantly changing, and everyone’s brain is constantly changing? It would seem to logically necessitate that there can be no human certainty about anything given these presuppositions and conditions. It would seem that there can be no such thing as “ought” or “should”, only what “is.” And yet, Harris wants to “build our better selves into our laws, tax codes, and institutions. Knowing that we are generally incapable of valuing two children more than either child alone, we must build a structure that reflects and enforces our deeper understanding of human well-being.”
The implications of such a position that Harris espouses – that human well being and happiness is the greatest end for conscious creatures, and that science can help achieve that for everyone – is the very real threat of a of forced drugging of billions of people so that we would all “be happy.” This sounds exactly like what Aldous Huxley was describing in his classic Brave New World.
But how is this “good”? What is good about this in anyway? It is an assumption that in some way shape or form pain and suffering and sadness is not good for the human being. But God experiences sadness, and the Son of God suffered n the cross. Paul also says we ought to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Peter tells us to “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” So not all suffering is bad. Suffering is one of the things that make us human. Any attempt to remove suffering is an attempt to dehumanize us.
I cannot see how Sam Harris’ position is good for humanity at all. He certainly does believe in transcendental morality, but given his atheistic presupposition of perpetual human mutability, how could he ever know what those transcendental norms are? And how could he ever, given that every human mind reacts differently to different stimuli in the world, propose to have the answer himself since he too is an ever changing product of chance random chemical reactions in the brain? On what authority does he know anything to be true? How does he know that what he perceives to be reality isn’t really just an illusion as a result of some chance chemical reactions in his brain?
Harris claims to know what the objective truth about morality is, but his evolutionary thinking makes it impossible for him to objectively know. But God on the other hand, He is Infinitely Wise, All Knowing, Immutable, and Truthful. He is the Creator and the Consummator. He has a plan from the beginning to the end and He is working all things according to the purpose of His will. He does all things for the good of His people, and simultaneously for His own glory. The Triune God is the standard of morality since He alone meets the necessary qualifications that must exist in order for humans to live in a world in which there are objective moral standards, and in order for humanity to know what they are, via the Imago Dei and special revelation. Harris is correct in one regard, and that there is a connection with morality and happiness, or, the well being of society. But it does not come about the way God determines.
The only way in which happiness could be obtained by man was through self-realization. A realized self is a happy self. On the other hand, it is equally true to say that only a happy self is a completely realized self. God created man in order that he might become more happy. We may say, in all reverence, that God Himself is happy. God’s blessedness is the overtone of His righteousness. So also, if righteousness prevails among His Creatures they are happy, and if unrighteousness, they are unhappy. We may perhaps compare the relation of happiness and righteousness to that of exercise and health in the case of the human body. If we exercise, health comes to us. So if man seeks righteousness, happiness is added unto him.
Originally there could not possibly be any contrast between seeking happiness and seeking righteousness in the kingdom of God. A man could not possibly wish for happiness unless he also wished for righteousness. It is only after the entrance of sin that these idea have been separated. The members of the kingdom would not think of the one without also thinking of the other.
I am having a hard time believing that the morality evolving, unbelieving, God hating, intolerant, child limiting, scientific neuro-tyrant Sam Harris has my well-being in mind. I don’t think he has anyone’s well being in mind, except his own, and the atheists who are like him.
God is the source of all goodness. He is eternally and unchangeably good. His goodness never “evolves.” God has complete, total and objective knowledge of all that is, all that was, all that ever will be. His righteousness is the standard of all goodness, and therefore for anything to be objective “good” “right” or “moral” it must agree with God’s nature. The very nature of “good” necessitates this, as does our knowledge of the “good.” For us to know truly what is good, we must have all knowledge, or have access to the one who has all knowledge. The latter we have, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, in Scripture.
To conclude, I believe that I have sufficiently demonstrated that some of the very things we as humans experience everyday necessitate the existence of God. It is impossible to be a consistent atheist. Human happiness finds its greatest fulfillment in relationship with other humans. This is because God is eternally happy in Himself. Only a society that has a rich language and good and edifying communication will result flourish and prosper, because it does acts in the manner in which God does. It is only logical to have faith in God. Atheism is illogical, irrational, and insane. This can be demonstrated by listening to the meanderings of Sam Harris in his convoluted attempt to make science the ever determining moral agent.
Every experience of humanity necessitates the existence of God. This is why I believe. For if I did not believe, I would not only deny God, but I would deny myself, and my own experiences. I would be knocking the legs out from underneath my existential, philosophical, theological, ethical stool. God exists. Reality demands it, your experiences demand it. To not believe in God is utter insanity, for that would be a denial of reality.
Bahnsen, Greg and Gordon Stein. The Great Debate: Does God Exist [Transcript] http://graspingthecross.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/apol_bahnsen_stein_debate_transcript.pdf, (accessed November 13, 2010).
Bahnsen, Greg L. Bahnsen. Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis, Phillipsburg: P&R, 1998.
Big Think, “Should We Add Lithium to Drinking Water?” http://bigthink.com/ideas/22835 (accessed November 22, 2010).
Harris, Sam Harris. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. New York: Free Press, 2010.
Kreeft, Peter and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Downers Grove: IVP, 1994.
Lewis, C.S. The Weight of Glory. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1980.
Piper, John. The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah, 2000.
Poythress, Vern. In the Beginning was the Word: Language – A God-Centered Approach. Wheaton: Crossway, 2009.
Poythress, Vern. Redeeming Science: A God Centered Approach. Wheaton: Crossway, 2006.
Ramm, Bernard Ramm, Types of Apologetic Systems. Wheaton: Van Kampen Press, 1953.
Rosenstock-Huessey, Eugene, Speech and Reality. USA: Argo Books, 1969.
Rushdoony, Rousas John, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1. Vallecito: Ross House, 1994.
Van Til, Cornelius. Christian Theistic Ethics. Nutley N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1977.
 Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1998), 4-7.
 Bernard Ramm, Types of Apologetic Systems, (Wheaton: Van Kampen Press, 1953), 193-194.
 Ramm, Types of Apologetic Systems, 195.
 Rousas John Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Vallecito: Ross House, 1994), 2. Italics in original.
 C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1980), 140.
 Ephesians 2:4-5,8-9.
 Quoted in John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God, (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah, 2000), 26.
 Eugene Rosenstock-Huessey, Speech and Reality, (USA: Argo Books, 1969), 115.
 Rosenstock-Huessey, Speech and Reality, 125.
 Ephesians 4:15-16.
 Ephesians 4:13.
 Genesis 11:1-9.
 See Vern Poythress, In the Beginning was the Word: Language – A God-Centered Approach (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009), 17-22.
 See Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Downers Grove: IVP, 1994), 29-44 for a fuller discussion on faith and reason.
 Vern Poythress, Redeeming Science: A God Centered Approach (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 18-19 (italics mine).
 The Great Debate: Does God Exist – Greg Bahnsen vs. Gordon Stein, http://graspingthecross.files.wordpress.com/ 2008/09/apol_bahnsen_stein_debate_transcript.pdf, (accessed November 13, 2010).
 The Great Debate, Bahnsen vs. Stein.
 Cornelius Van Til, Why I Believe in God in Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis, (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1998), 122.
 Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, (New York: Free Press, 2010), 2-3.
 Harris, The Moral Landscape, 6.
 Ibid., 4. Italics mine.
 Ibid., 102-112.
 Ibid., 87.
 Ibid., 59.
 Ibid., 6.
 Ibid., 80-81.
 Harris addresses this issue in footnote 13 on page 196, in which he quotes Dennet, saying “If “ought” cannot be derived from “is”, just what can it be derived from?… ethics must somehow based on an appreciation of human nature – on a sense of what a human being is or might be, and on what a human being might want to have or want to be. If that is naturalism, then naturalism is no fallacy.” But if that is true, and all we have is “is” from which “ought” is thus derived, then how can Harris speak of transcendental norms, unless the transcendental norm is change, given evolution? And if evolutionary change is the norm in the universe, then not only do we change in our understanding of it, but it changes as well. And if we are just chance chemical reactions of the brain, how can we be sure that the change that occurs in our brains corresponds to the changing reality of the universe? It seems that there would need to be a universal constant to which we could measure and gage the change and to know how we “ought” to be thinking during certain changing periods. But since God doesn’t exist to Sam Harris, Logically he can never know anything. But here again demonstrates the impossibility of Harris’ position because he does believe that the norms are static and not constantly changing, for he believes and uses the laws of logic. Logic never changes, and so there is a correct way of thinking. But as Greg Bahnsen proved (see pages 12-13 above) the laws of logic necessitate the existence of God. Once again proving that it is impossible to prove anything unless God existed.
 Ibid., 125. Now how does Harris know that? How does Harris know that humans are incapable of valuing two children more than either child alone? It sounds like Harris is advocating the one child only policy of China. But God tells His people to be fruitful and multiply, for blessed is the man who has many children (Ps. 127:3-5). Now according to God it is in our well being to have lots of children. I will believe God before I ever believe Sam Harris, and I have the chemical reactions in my brain to thank for that!
 See this video that proposes that Lithium should be added to the drinking water to help people be happier – Big Think, “Should We Add Lithium to Drinking Water?” http://bigthink.com/ideas/22835 (accessed November 22, 2010).
 Rom. 5:3-5.
 1 Pet. 4:13.
 Cornelius Van Til, Christian Theistic Ethics (Nutley N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1977), 55. Italics in original.