When thinking of the famous Greek scientist and great man of physics, Archimedes, (287 B.C.–212 B.C.) you might recall the historical account that has him running naked through the streets of Syracuse in Sicily crying “Eureka,” meaning, “I have found it.” Or, if you prefer, δá¿¶ς μοι πá¾¶ στá¿¶ καá½¶ τá½°ν γá¾¶ν κινÎ¬σω, for those who have heeded American Vision’s exhortation to study Greek. (I’m told that reading the Bible in the original languages is the difference between experiencing high definition color TV and the black and white versions of the 1950s.) For the purposes of today’s article please be aware of the equally famous insight by Archimedes: “Give me a fulcrum, a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world.”
You’ve all pried open the lid on a can of paint. You picked a place to stand, the lid is the object to be moved, and the fulcrum or rim of the can acts as the pivot point for your flat-blade screwdriver or lever arm. Yes, you supplied the force, but the lever and the fulcrum will be the focus of today’s article. (Skip the paint itself. It doesn’t figure in this analogy.) Recent articles on presuppostionalism and epistemology stated that the “only way” for Christians (or anyone) to account for a “starting place for logic and reason” (i.e., the “epistemological challenge”) is to presuppose or to assume the truth of the Bible; that the God of the Bible exists and that He is who He says He is. This is also true because of the impossibility of the contrary. We might also phrase that expression this way: The counter-alternative view of the evolutionist/humanist for why there is a universe and “why” life miraculously arose from non-life is contrary to all reason and logic. Their view depends totally on chance, pure guesswork, and a faith that has no foundation for belief. It’s scientifically and metaphysically indefensible leaving only the Christian claim left standing. And not just by simple default alone, but also because it’s the best.
As you think of these things, think of the Bible as being like the all-critical fulcrum point in a system designed to do work or, in our case, to advance the cause of biblical worldview clarification and, finally, to “move the world.” The fulcrum is the “center of action” which assists in lifting the “lid of knowledge and biblical worldview” upward so that true reality is discovered. As for the lever arm, let’s call it man’s age-old struggle to find “the way” no matter how erratically he pursues his search. Pessimistic philosopher Thomas Hobbes saw life as being solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short and then comes the end. But contrariwise, man instinctively insists on finding that the true reality of life really does bring significance, dignity, meaning, morality and a relationship with God. Only the Bible offers the strategic leverage point for discovering true truth and for moving the world. Using a “false fulcrum” means the lid stays closed, just as life’s true reality remains closed to humanistic man’s futile levers and false fulcrums.
An apparent problem with all this arises when skeptics accuse Christians of the logical fallacy of “circular reasoning” or “begging the question.” They say this mistake in logic comes with our claim that God exists because of the impossibility of the contrary,” or that “God exists and is self-verifying because the Bible says He exists and the Bible is inerrant.” That is, we’re accused of getting our proof disingenuously by restating the argument using different words. They say it’s similar to the following examples in which (a) the conclusion and (b) the premise/reason for the argument are basically identical: “Women have the right to abortions, therefore abortion should be allowed.” (That is, “to be allowed” something is the same as having a right to it. Purely circular.) “Atheists justify their commitment to community morality because everyone knows that logic, reason and common sense prove that some behaviors are better than others.” “We know that a particular fossil is five million years old because it was found in a five million year-old rock formation.” But there aren’t any non-negotiable objective standards for these arguments. They are guesses only, which makes them circular. In any case, skeptics accuse us of “assuming God” in order to prove Him, that our conclusion (God exists) is just a disguised version of our initial premise (God exists.) How are we to respond?
The truth is (and there’s no getting around it) that in the ultimate sense, proving either the Christian or the unbelieving worldview involves circularity. Take the example, “Marriage is an important institution because it helps bring societal stability.” At one level this is true and does not beg the question since it is a logical statement. But even man’s ability to think logically when speaking of immaterial concepts such as “stability” or even of “marriage” can’t be accounted for without opening up the ultimate arena of “who or what is the final authority for logic?” Circularity can’t help but arise when people argue at the level of the “ultimate.” We do it, they do it; there’s no other choice. When Christians say God exists and that He is the non-negotiable, objective standard for truth as well as the author of reality, we respond to the skeptic’s question-begging challenge in two ways.
First, by presenting the historically validated, “beyond-faith” evidences of Christ’s birth and being raised from the dead; the many OT prophecies about Him as fulfilled in the NT and as many of His witnessed miracles as our skeptics will hear. Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism Islam and all others have no claims for a creator-redeemer who has already appeared on earth. As for evolution-based atheists with their entirely faith-based and supernatural-denying assumptions, they have no reasonable evidence of any kind for anything. We say the Bible is God’s word and the Bible agrees. Atheists claim that there is no God. The second difference in our favor is our routine appeal to the realm of the metaphysical or the supernatural. As stressed, this thought province is not one that is measurable empirically by science and thus, by his own standards, is not available to an honest atheist to use in debate. As Gary DeMar has famously stated, "What does the rationalist use to prove that reason is the standard by which a person must discover the truth? Reason! But doesn’t he have to prove that reason is the standard before he can use it as the standard? By what does he use to prove reason is the standard? Reason! If he uses something else, he must prove why it is the ultimate standard, and so on and so forth." If the atheist can’t measure a concept using the five senses he doesn’t want to talk to you. And yet, for reasonable people, the metaphysical realm is the only possible realm where immaterial non-measurable concepts like logic and rationality can be “found,” discussed and accounted for. But the atheist, by indirectly denying the realm of metaphysics, throws out the baby with the bathwater.
The Christian’s introductory claim and the concluding “proof” are internally consistent and sensible. The unbeliever, however, in addition to scoffing at the idea of God, can only say that life and the universe are merely chance accidents. There is no designer, no creator and no purpose-containing reality. Their pessimistic introductory claim, “no God,” ends with the ultimate conclusion that all is meaningless chaos. Logic, reason, science, ethics, etc. have no non-negotiable, objective standard of truth.
In addition to these things, the believer can also appeal to general revelation and various Bible passages such as Romans 1:19–20 to speak the truth. He can also claim that being made in God’s image is the reason/proof for our ability to use logic and to be able to “reason” our way to God when the Holy Spirit has called. Luther makes the point for us: “Here I stand, I can do no other.”