Are my reflections on the cosmological argument ‘circular logic at its finest’?
‘So we know the Bible is true because Jesus believed the Bible is true. How do we know Jesus believed the Bible is true? It says so in the Bible.
Awesome. What a riveting original argument.’
Unfortunately this comment misses the point of my post, which a number of other commenters also proceeded to miss:
It’s sad how Christians recycle this debunked argument over and over.
I wasn’t entirely clear how my argument was ‘debunked’ as no reasons were offered. And another commenter:
Ignoring the validity of the premises for a moment, the argument basically boils down to this:
“If we define ‘X’ as ‘something that is able to do anything,’ then we can plug ‘X’ in anytime we don’t understand something.”
Again, this comment misses my point.
My post was not one depending on the perceived circularity of the authority of Scripture nor on plugging X into something we don’t understand, but on ‘revelation’. The basis of my argument is where natural theology fails, revelation succeeds.
My illustration with the silver ball demonstrated this, i.e. we can make speculations about the nature of the origins of the silver ball which point us in the right path, but we can only make a clear choice if a suitable and properly credible person tells us.
Hence my argument wasn’t that we can trust the Bible because the Bible tells us. I could be making that argument if I were simply quoting the Old Testament. My point is more significant. I am saying we can trust the Old Testament (and the claim of a specific creation) because God has visited us and confirmed this claim (and hence we can trust him). Thus the key question in my formulation is, ‘was Jesus god?’
If there are reasonable grounds to believe he is god, then my argument ‘works’. I proposed (albeit briefly) several reasons to believe that Jesus really was god incarnate. Hence if he really is god then he might have something to say about the origin of the universe. My proposal was that Jesus confirms one of the options presented for the origin of the universe, and incidentally the option which seems most reasonable from philosophical and scientific reasoning (I recognise this is disputed, but more on that another time).
It’s true that the claims of Jesus are based on biblical evidence. But a prior question must be, ‘why are the New Testament writings regarded as Scripture in the first place?’ My contention is that something remarkable happened in and through the appearance of Jesus that must have stimulated these writings and also for them to be considered authoritative. The revelation of Jesus was so remarkable that monotheistic Jews ended up with an incarnate Christ! The best explanation for the nature of the writings we have about Jesus (which point to him being God) was that he really was God incarnate.
If there are not reasonable reasons to accept Jesus as God, then my argument fails. Hence my argument is falsifiable. If it can be reasonably demonstrated that Jesus wasn’t God, or that the universe was eternal, ie negating the need for a creator, then my argument would fail. Moreover if it were demonstrated that the universe were eternal, this would also challenge my premise that Jesus was god and knew what he was talking about.
So I dispute that my argument is ‘circular’. I propose that my argument is one of ‘revelation’ which augments and completes scientific and philosophical reasoning.