Today we will be preparing for our discussion with an atheist in class next week.
Mark 16:15-20, “15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
I. THE ARGUMENT FROM THE MINIMAL FACTS OF THE GOSPEL
Argument from Mere Christianity: Even if all we knew was what most scholars agreed upon, Jesus is Lord.
- Premise 1: All major historians agree Jesus lived, died and was believed to have given resurrection apprearances.
- Premise 2: Jesus rising from the dead is the only rational claim that supports all the agreed upon evidence.
- Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus rose from the dead.
Dr. Gary Habermas’ minimal facts video
II. THE TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT FOR GOD (TAG)
Helpful definitions when using TAG:
1-Metaphysics: The theory of the fundamental nature of reality.
2-Epistemology: The theory of knowledge.
3-Transcendental: Things relating to the spiritual or non-physical.
4-Three Components of a TAG: (1) Logic & Rationality, (2) Morality & Value and (3) Science & Uniformity of Nature are all grounded (best explained and accounted for) in God.
1. FOUR EXAMPLES OF TAG
- TAG from Grounding: You can only exist because of God.
- Premise 1: If God is the transcendental ground of X, he exists.
- Premise 2: God is the transcendental ground of X.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists. (p. 77, loc. 2343).
- TAG from Intelligibility: You can only know things because of God.
- Premise 1: If anything is intelligible (coherent, meaningful), God exists.
- Premise 2: Something (causality, motion, banana peels, Augustine) is intelligible (coherent, meaningful).
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists. (p. 78, loc. 2363).
- TAG from the Trinity: Only the Triune God of the Bible can be the one true God.
- Premise 1: If Jesus rose from the dead, God is Triune and known only through the Bible.
- Premise 2: Jesus did rise from the dead.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God is Triune and known only through the Bible.
- The Impossibility of the Contrary: In logic, reductio ad absurdum(Latin for “reduction to absurdity”; or argumentum ad absurdum, “argument to absurdity”) is a form of argument which attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible. (wiki).
- If one were to deny a well-formed TAG, they would be essentially denying logic, morality and science; and thus casting the debate and their existence into meaninglessness.
- It’s important to let people know that without the Triune God from Scripture, they couldn’t even have an argument about His existence.
2. MORE EXAMPLES OF TAG
- Frame’s TAG from Personhood: God is source of all personality.
- Premise 1: The universe is either ultimately personal or ultimately impersonal.
- Premise 2: If it is ultimately impersonal, it cannot justify rational discourse, including whatever you may be saying to me.
- Premise 3: Therefore, if you want to carry on rational discourse, you must presuppose that the universe is ultimately personal.
- Premise 4: Only the Bible, and views derived from the Bible, contains a consistently personalistic account of the world.
- Conclusion: Therefore, we should give careful consideration to the Bible and assess its truth on the assumption that a personal God may have inspired it.
- Application: Pray that God’s Spirit would open blind eyes to that truth. (p. 91, loc. 2624).
- Joe’s TAG from Mind: Your mind is needed for everything you do.
- Premise 1: To deny your non-material mind with your non-material mind is absurd.
- Premise 2: To understand absurdity is evidence of your non-material mind.
- Conclusion: Therefore, your non-material mind exists (Gen. 2:7).
- Joe’s TAG from Warrant: God is the reason for warrant (justification) for proper function and true beliefs.
- Premise 1: Warrant entails proper function.
- Premise 2: God is the ground for proper function.
- Conclusion: Therefore, without God there can be no proper function (Col. 1:2-3).
- Conclusion 2: Therefore, if you have warrant for any belief because of proper function, God exists.
- Joe’s TAG from Preconditions: God is the precondition for everything.
- Premise 1: God is the precondition for “X.”
- Premise 2: “X” exists.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists (Rom. 11:36).
3. FRAME’S FOUR MAIN PARTS OF PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGETICS
The presuppositionalism that we are talking about is:
- A clearheaded understanding of where our loyalties lie and how those loyalties affect our epistemology.
- A determination above all to present the full teaching of Scripture in our apologetic without compromise, in its full winsomeness and its full offensiveness.
- Especially a determination to present God as fully sovereign, as the source of all meaning, intelligibility, and rationality, as the ultimate authority for all human thought.
- An understanding of the unbeliever’s knowledge of God and rebellion against God, particularly (though not exclusively) as it affects his thinking.
And if some apologists maintain these understandings and attitudes without wanting to be called Van Tillians or presuppositionalists, I am happy to join hands with them. (p. 93, loc. 2683).
III. FOUR THEISTIC ARGUMENTS FOR GOD
(1) The Moral Argument: The argument for God from objective moral truths.
- Premise 1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
- Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
(2) The Epistemological Argument: The argument against naturalism.
- Premise 1: If naturalism is true, there is no warrant for knowing anything to be true.
- Premise 2: We do know things to be true.
- Conclusion 1: Therefore, naturalism is false.
- Conclusion 2: Therefore, God exists.
(3) The Teleological Argument: The argument from design in creation.
- Premise 1: Design comes from purpose and purpose comes from mind.
- Premise 2: The universe is designed.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
(4) The Cosmological Argument: The argument from the first cause.
- Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
- Conclusion 1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
- Conclusion 2: Therefore, God exists.
IV. The “Problem of Evil”
- Premise 1: If God were all-powerful, he would be able to prevent evil.
- Premise 2: If God were all-good, he would desire to prevent evil.
- Conclusion 1: So if God were both all-powerful and all-good, there would be no evil.
- Premise 3: But there is evil.
- Conclusion 2: Therefore, there is no all-powerful, all-good God. (p. 155, loc. 3909)
Made famous by Epicurus in 3rd century B.C.:
- If anomnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then evil does not.
- There is evil in the world.
- Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god does not exist.
1. The Problem with the “Problem” of Evil and Its Solution
- Non-Theist Worldview: Evil doesn’t exist nor can be defined: “What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them.” Rosenberg, Alex. The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions (p. 3).
- Christian Worldview: Evil serves the good purpose in God’s plan: Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Craig’s video
- Jesus on the cross solves the problem of evil.
2. The Freewill Defense by Dr. Plantinga
- Premise 1: God gave man the choice between good and evil.
- Premise 2: Man chose evil.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God has allowed evil for His greater purpose.