/ Gentle Reformation

A Brief Reflection on Apologetics and Epistemology

(This is a follow-up to my post which can be found here)

When confronted with evidence supporting the notion of intelligent design, as demonstrated through the finely-tuned nature of the universe, atheist, Peter Millican**, **appealed chiefly to two different lines of thinking in order to escape the force of the argument: The possibility of a multiverse and the discovery of a new theory or law of nature that would resolve the tension through a more naturalistic explanation.

Allow me to bullet some thoughts:

  • While the discussion is interesting on one level, an underlying lesson can be observed. The shadowy corners of human ignorance can always function as a kind of fallback. The doubtful can say, “Maybe there is something I don't fully understand that will fundamentally alter the way I perceive fact X.”
  • In one very real sense, this is correct. We aren't omniscient. We're finite. As such, possibility ever looms large. There may very well be fact X, Y or Z that, if uncovered, would totally revolutionize our current body of knowledge.
  • This vividly illustrates our need for omniscience. Anything less falls into the lap of agnosticism.
  • In the case of those sitting in said lap of agnosticism, their viewpoints will collide in a kind of presuppositional standoff. Each holds to their viewpoint, in principle, on trust, or wish, or whatever. It's the inevitable outworking of ignorance. No omniscience = uncertainty.
  • This means that anyone can play the mystery card. In the present case, the atheist plays it with respect to the idea of a multiverse and/or an undiscovered law of science. That is his out.
  • But it's not much of an out. It's nothing more than mystery wrapped in agnosticism; it is as arbitrary as any other claim.
  • Now the atheist will be quick to point out that if this is true for the atheist, then it is true for the Christian.
  • Granted... kind of. Every finite point needs an infinite reference point in order to ground knowledge. Omniscience is critical. Without it agnosticism rules.
  • The difference is that for the Christian there is an infinite reference point for knowledge. That being is God.
  • Now the atheist will no doubt roll his eyes and ask how it is that the (admittedly) ignorant Christian can know with certainty such and such God exists. Merely asserting trust in an infinite reference point proves no different than an atheist asserting trust in scientism (or whatever other adopted philosophical flavor).
  • This must be granted. We are all locked in this presuppositional standoff... unless the Christian worldview is true.
  • For if it is true, then it means that God, the great I AM who is currently ruling over every molecule of reality, has not left Himself without witness.
  • God has fashioned us with a true sense of the divine, not only by virtue of His glory seen through creation, but by virtue of our being made in His image. He has left mankind without excuse. They know.  It's innate.
  • Now this knowledge has been marred by the noetic effects of sin. Men naturally suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Man looks for alternative explanations.
  • The answer to this problem is grace. God is capable of overcoming the stubbornness and ignorance of man.
  • Once the heart of the sinner is humbled, they listen to the omniscient One, and as such, obtain the correct lens and body of information with which to gain true knowledge. The finite point has an infinite reference point.
  • Now the atheist will scoff at all of this. But of course, if there is such a God, then what has just been outlined is perfectly reasonable. Jesus said, “My sheep will hear my voice.” They will hear and know; God's Word is self-attesting.
  • And from another angle, one would expect nothing less from the atheist, given the noetic effects of sin. Scoffing will prove to be the most natural thing for him. It will seem foolish.
  • Therefore, in the end, the only way to break this standoff is God's grace.  That is the solution to man's problem.