The host of the Christian Worldview Project, bro. Jordan Ravanes had a debate on the existence of the Triune God. You can watch the entire debate here entitled “Does the Christian God Exist?” He approached it presuppositionally as he gave an account for the hope that is in him. I call this presuppositionalism in action. Here is his opening statement


Greetings!

Good evening everyone. Let me start by saying, “The Christian God exists”, and I thank Him for allowing this debate tonight to take place. I also thank God for sustaining the universe by the word of His power, for giving this universe a fixed order (which makes this debate possible by the way).

Genesis 8:22.

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

My opponent will assume this tonight and he is doing it right now while continuing to suppress the truth about the God he knows exists.

God Definition

To prevent my opponent from wasting time in strawman argumentations let me define “what is God?”. The Christian God according to our Reformed Baptist Catechism [Question 8]:: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. You cannot just accept one attribute over the other or you will misrepresent the God of Christianity. To say that God is only all-powerful and all-loving without recognizing his justice and holiness is not the God of Christianity.

Here are a few clarifications before we start the debate proper:

My opponent tonight is not neutral neither am I. There will be a clash of worldviews this evening. 

The debate is not about a generic form of theism, in fact I will be joining my opponent refuting other belief systems. I am arguing particularly in favor of Christian theism and in a stricter sense, the only true theistic worldview is the Christian worldview. The Bible says there is only one and true God in three divine persons (that is why we can account for the one and the many, or the unity and diversity, or universals and particulars) and without this God, we cannot account for everything, and when I say everything, I mean everything. Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.

The debate is not about whether or not, my opponent likes the Christian God. Therefore, if what we are going to hear tonight is just a bunch of his personal opinions about God and misrepresentations of what Christianity is then my opponent is not really in the debate yet.

The debate is not about the lack of evidence for God’s existence. Of course, there is sufficient evidence for God, in fact, all evidence points to Him. The problem is that “evidence” is subject to every person’s pre-belief and they take that “pre-belief” to the evidence. We call that presuppositions. So every time I will try to tell my opponent that this is the evidence for God’s existence, my opponent tonight will continue to deny that because of his atheistic presuppositions. Therefore the lack of evidence for the existence of God is not the issue for tonight’s debate. Again let me clarify once more, there is no lacking of evidence for God’s existence.

The debate is not about persuasion. What I mean is, my opponent will never be persuaded with my arguments so as I. My opponent must recognize that there are two worldviews clashing tonight and both of us must present our worldviews coherently. The audience must demand coherence for both of us.

The debate is also not about “Oh there is evil in the world, and God is not doing anything to stop it, He is missing in action, therefore He really isn’t there, because if he’s there then he would have stopped evil in the world.” I would just like to remind my opponent tonight that an appeal to evil to disprove God is an invalid appeal because evil presupposes God’s existence. Meaning if he is going to appeal to evil in the world to disprove God is to prove my point for me and make my case stronger.

The issue is also not about the alleged contradictions of the Bible. It is expected that my opponent will validate the scriptures in the light of his atheistic principles which is a complete antithesis to the Christian standard of interpretation.

Now my opponent may try to complain, “hey you are quoting bible verses” – well, SO WHAT? The Bible is the word of God, this is where my worldview is founded, grounded, and my ultimate starting point. Or should I also ask my opponent tonight to not use his senses and reasoning since that is his ultimate starting point?

What the debate is about?

The debate is about the existence of God, and because He exists we have preconditions necessary in order to make sense of all human experience, which includes how we validate every evidence.

I will challenge my opponent tonight in an internal worldview critique. Let’s see if his worldview can stand scrutiny given his atheistic presuppositions (that I will soon find out). Let’s see if his worldview comports for laws of logic, truth, science, and ethics. Let’s see if his worldview can account for the necessary preconditions of intelligibility.

Basically, accounting means satisfying the question – what must the be case in order for something to be the case? That is if we grant the truth of my opponent’s worldview, can he make sense of the preconditions necessary for human experience.

The Transcendental Argument of God’s Existence

 For tonight’s debate, I will be arguing from the impossibility of the contrary. The transcendental argument for the existence of God is that without Him we cannot prove anything. To be more specific, – The proof of the truth of the Christian worldview is that if the Christian worldview is false you cannot prove anything at all. Deny it, and it will lead someone’s worldview into absurdity. And I will prove that tonight that my opponent cannot account for truth, the uniformity of nature which makes science possible, laws of logic, and ethics.

What is the evidence for God’s existence? 

My opponent must understand that I will not be presenting this evidence neutrally as if this evidence will convince him that God exists. (I present this evidence to avoid any accusations from my opponent that I did not present any evidence for God’s existence. Well here they are:

  • Uniformity of Nature/Induction (which is the foundation of science)
  • Laws of Logic (which makes reasoning meaningful)
  • Ethics (which makes us treat each other with value and dignity)

The Uniformity of Nature

All human experience depends upon the uniformity of nature or the inductive principles, that the future will be like the past. Whether we are talking about the scientific method, laws of logic, the laws of mathematics, sleeping, cooking, or even walking our pets outside our house. All human experience is dependent upon the principle of induction.

Like I have said earlier, my opponent will assume this tonight, tomorrow, and in the future but will fail to account for it.

Bertrand Russel’s Problem of Induction

It has been argued that we have reason to know that the future will resemble the past because what was the future has constantly become the past, and has always been found to resemble the past so that we have experience of the future, namely of times which were formerly future, which we may call past futures.

But such an argument begs the very question at issue. We have experience of past futures, but not of future futures, and the question is: Will future futures resemble past futures? This question is not to be answered by an argument that starts from past futures alone. We have therefore still to seek for some principle which shall enable us to know that the future will follow the same laws as the past.

Now, does my opponent have an answer to the problem of induction? I say he doesn’t have because his belief system cannot justify the inductive principle. In the Christian Worldview, we have a solution to this. God as the creator sustains the universe’s order – Genesis 8:22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

The laws of logic

 How in an atheistic worldview do logical absolutes exist? What are these laws?

  • The Law of non-contradiction – A and not-A cannot be both true at the same time and in the same sense.
  • The law of the excluded middle – Either A is true or not-A is true.
  • The law of identity – If A is true then A is true.

These Laws have certain characteristics:

  • Immaterial – not made of matter or physical things and not bound by space and time.
  • Universal, – it is true regardless of place, time, and human preferences.
  • Invariant – it is unchangeable, and is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Now, without the Christian God who is immaterial, spaceless, timeless, unchanging, and universally sovereign then laws of logic are impossible.

I’m not saying that the laws of logic and God are the same. But instead, these laws are the reflections of God’s thinking. The reason why we can have a reality like laws of logic that transcends space, time, and matter and does not change is that God exists. These laws are the presuppositions of every image-bearer of God.

If all that exists are matter and motion and laws of logic are not made of matter, then how can they account for immaterial, universal, and invariant laws. If they say that laws of logic are mere conventions, then we have a bigger problem at hand. Each community can have a set of conventions of the laws of logic where contradictions are allowed.

Ethics

 Is there an absolute morality? If there is no God, objective morality doesn’t make sense. If morality is based upon human stipulations then we cannot judge whether someone is doing good or bad according to his own preference.

However, my opponent will assume that ethics is necessarily true and objective. He is expecting “OBJECTIVELY” that I will treat him accordingly tonight. If morality is just mere preferences then my opponent must not have any problem if I prefer to be rude this evening.

Wrapping up

This debate presupposes induction, laws of logic, and ethics, these are called the preconditions of intelligibility. They are necessarily true in order for us to make sense of everything in the world that we are studying.

 We should ask ourselves a question this evening. Who among the two participants presented their worldview coherently? Let’s find out.

SOLI DEO GLORIA!

6 thoughts on “Presuppositionalism in Action 1 by Jordan Ravanes

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