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Archive for October, 2009

Pain is a teacher unlike the rest
Mastery through continual test
Speaks loud and clear the nerves to molest
Difficult friend and unwelcomed guest

 

Told to rejoice through various trials
How so when all comfort it defiles
Raises high fears deep emotions riles
Makes a few steps seem as many miles

 

The answer comes through what is induced
Frivolous pursuits greatly reduced
Priorities from limits deduced
Perseverance and faith both loosed

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The young man was serious. “We can’t know what is true.” He was asked if there is any objective truth, that is, things that are always true regardless of your opinion or mine? “No, I don’t think so.” Furthermore, “all religion is just man-made ideas about who God is,” and “logic may not be right”, that is, may not lead us to the right conclusions in evaluating whether an idea is true. Do you agree even in part with the statements above? Probably many of you do because these ideas are taught in various forms of media, schools, conversation, and even from pulpits. But is it really true that we cannot know anything, and is there nothing that is always true in every situation?

It is very hard to discuss worldviews or beliefs if the other party is not willing to admit reason as a trusted way to evaluate truth. I suspect that such a disbelief in reason does not really exist. First of all, people act on what they believe. I don’t know of anyone who refuses reason consistently to run traffic lights, or jump off of high places unprotected, or ignore all social norms, or break the law totally unrestrained. It is simply too difficult to consistently ignore all reason, and one who does ignore it probably does not live long. Secondly, I think the fact that people operate on reason otherwise but refuse it on issues of worldview suggests they don’t want answers. Reason is necessary for survival and well proven by experience and practice in such areas as science and law to work well in evaluating truth claims.

Logically, then, “we can’t know what is true” is a self-defeating argument because it says there is one thing we do know, namely, “we can’t know what is true.” An even more self-defeating argument states that there is not anything that is always true, that is, absolute. If you say there are no absolutes then that is an absolute statement. If you think there may not be absolutes, or we can’t know for sure, then there is the possibility of absolutes about which you are ignorant and which may be found. And saying all things are true breaks the law of non-contradiction, which states that two contradictory statements cannot at the same time and in the same sense be true. For instance, stating that ‘God exists’ and ‘God does not exist’ cannot both be true.

So then, does God exist? In a recent talk at a local church entitled “God and Science”, Prem Isaac showed the reasonableness of God’s existence. One way he did this was by applying the Law of Causality: If an object had a beginning it must have had a cause. A corollary law states that the cause cannot be the same as the effect. Now people as diverse as Big Bang theorists, ancient cultures, all of the major religions, and primitive cultures all say that the universe had a beginning. Therefore, according to the Law of Causality, the universe had a cause. And because the universe has space, time, matter, and energy, the cause of it cannot have any of these. If you say that the cause does have these characteristics it is a mere secondary cause and not the ultimate cause itself. Unless you simply give up on the law and declare an endless chain of causes, there must be an un-caused Cause which is eternal (outside of time), immutable (not made of matter), without size or shape (doesn’t occupy space), immutable (does not change as the universe does), powerful (to create all), and intelligent (since there are laws, information, and design). This infinite cause is what we call God.

There are many more logical steps from there to the God of the Bible, based on the reliability of Scripture. Perhaps we can develop a few of these, but here is what God declares in Isaiah 45:5 about Himself, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.” And Peter says of “the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene”, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10,12) He is the eternal, transcendent Cause who also showed up personally in time to save those who would receive His gift. The mind (reason), the universe, and the Scripture testify to Him for those who will listen.

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