Thursday, November 8, 2007

To be or not to be, that is the question

I recently discussed this elsewhere and remembered I wanted to do it for this blog, so here it is.

Who feels like some good old fashioned philosophy?1

I have not studied philosophy or theology, these are just some ideas that I have come up with while talking to both groups, as well as my studies in AI.

Basically, as far as my feeble understanding goes, there are three categories under which proof for God may be examined:
1. Internal gestation
2. External examination
3. Proof by negation

So lets look at number 1: Internal gestation. In this area I have seen only one argument so far, with not so many spin-offs. The ontological argument for God (SEP - "Ontological arguments") - are "arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world — e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists."

That sounds great - determining the existence of God by reason alone! I'm so clever because I knew God was there without anything other than myself! This is an un-Christian attitude because Romans 3:11 clearly says

"no one understands; no one seeks for God."
-Romans 3:11

Also the foundation of this argument is that belief itself creates the being. Rene Descartes tried this one "I think, therefore I am" to give himself assurance of his own existence. However it was actually a lesson in unfaithfulness. It stems from "Since I know that I doubt my existence, I must exist."

Also, what is the focal point of the argument? What a shock... it's man centered: "I know God exists because I can reason and I can doubt and I can..." - hmmmm, you'd think we wouldn't need a Saviour.

2. The external examination option.
The only way truth can be gathered is in this manner. As from the argument above, truth can not be determined from within us. The sad thing is that I wonder how many "Christians" get this. There is no truth in us. There is only truth in God. That is WHY He gave us the bible, that truth may be determined. 2 Cor 3:5 displays this well

"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God."
-2 Corinthians 3:5

We are sufficient ONLY in God. God must then be external (or a separated being) in relation to us. And praise Him that He is the ONLY being to which truth is INTERNAL.

"I am the way the truth and the life"
-John 14:6

This can make sense to any man. If there is a being to which truth is not internal, that being is NOT God. God can only be the being that knows everything, can do anything. Our question is not "is there a God?" Rather it is "which God?" On a side note - only God can reveal Himself to others. There is no need for strife or anger towards sinners. We would be so much worse if we were not so graciously saved.

So from Romans 1 we can see that he can be seen from the world around us. Arguments that follow these lines are the teleological argument (one is known to anti-evolutionists as "Payleys watch"). There are many others like this.

We have to look at the scientific method. We can only perceive what is in our immediate reality. We cannot "prove" God (specfically Christ) by our surroundings. In addition we cannot exit our realm without being absurd.

"But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong"
-1 Corinthians 1:27

So when the world laughs at us you know how we are to react? In humility! Isn't it amazing that God is so logical in His word?

3. The proof by negation or contradiction.
I think this argument can fit into both categories. We can shift the burden of proof by arguing that God's non-existence must be proved. This "Kent-Hovind" style of argument is unfortunately hurtful and unhelpful. You cannot prove the non-existence of anything. But as Christians we can rejoice. Non-existence CANNOT BE PROVEN. It took me so long to get that, that since God cannot be disproved, I am free to joyful in the Lord. So just as much as I say that God exists no man can logically tell me He does not!

But in all of this, can we "prove" Christ? My honest answer is no. There is no way to argue someone through the gates of heaven. Salvation is the work of Christ and Christ alone. But praise Him that it is, otherwise we would be lost.

Another point I'd like to make is that God is the source of truth. In this we know that we have the MOST right way of dealing with everything in life. No man should be able to disagree with us, if we are able to be perfect. Since God is truth, and if He is for us who can stand against us? Paul I answer a very obvious question: NO ONE!

Also, this may sound off, but my intention is to build you all up: We cannot 'prove' God. Does this cause us distress? Well, sometimes, it can. Since I cannot prove it why should I believe it? Well, what is the core attribute of salvation?

"because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(10) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."
-Romans 10:9-10

Seriously? Romans 10:9-10 is it? Look at this verse, belief is an essential aspect of Christianity.

We have FAITH. What is faith? "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1. Another part of faith is that it does not come from us, it is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Know that I believe that we are not saved BECAUSE we believe, but rather, we know we are saved because we believe.

So that is my thoughts on the existence of God. Proving is impossible, because then salvation can become by works. It also helps with my understanding of why we don't see miracles and other supernatural things. It is by faith!

Praise the Lord!

1 I are not a philo-fickle person, so I's quite stupid coming to terms wif the write fing to say

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