Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Last time, I wrote in our series on presuppositionalism of how I do believe that God is necessary to explain reality, but the knowledge of God is not necessary for someone to claim knowledge of reality. The question then becomes which God will it be. Will it be the “generic” god of natural theology?
We are often told that only the true God can explain reality. That is correct. Only a God who exists can bring about reality. Using reason alone, what is the God that exists?
The first quality is that this God must exist. By this standard, faiths like Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all claim that their God exists. What else do they have to say about their God? Well God is omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent in each one. In fact, using just natural theology, there really isn’t a way to tell the concepts apart.
Note this. A Muslim, Christian, and Jew can each use the same theistic proofs in order to make their case. Maimonides and Avicenna both would have been fine with using the five ways of Thomas Aquinas for instance. A Muslim or a Jew today could use the Kalam Cosmological argument that William Lane Craig uses.
At this point then, the philosopher simply lists some attributes of God using reason alone and all three faiths can claim that their religion fits with that. Of course, there are other systems that could fit just as well. A deistic concept could explain the existence of the universe and objective morality. So how is it then that we can determine which concept is the true one?
If all we have is philosophy, we cannot. All our philosophy can do is tell us which concept is not true. It is not capable of showing which one is true. While we would affirm that the triune God is the one that explains reality, the question is if we can simply use reason and get to the truth of the gospel from that.
In no way. Philosophy cannot prove Christianity. Many a Christian can study philosophy thinking that he will prove Christianity. He cannot. Does that mean it is useless? Far from it! Philosophy can support Christianity and prove false arguments that are used against Christianity as well as increasing our understanding of Christian doctrines. It is quite important to a Christian.
However, to say that reason could deduce the gospel is really to lower the gospel. It is to say that we do not need God to reveal the gospel or His nature for us to understand them. We can figure them out on our own. The traditional views of apologetics have it that we need God to reveal Himself to know these things. One cannot reason to the God of Christianity, although they can reason to a God who has many attributes of the God of Christianity.
Consistency is necessary for truth, but it is not sufficient to prove something is true. A detective needs more than a consistent theory to prove that X did the crime. He needs evidence. So how are we going to get the evidence of which worldview is true? Will we have to examine the writings themselves and see what they say?
Interesting thought that.
And that is something to discuss another time.