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The Case for God by Peter S. Williams (MA, MPhil). Introduction the Death of God?

The existence of God is either a fact or a fantasy. If it is fact, then it is th e greatest fact; indeed, it is the greatest possible fact. If it is fantasy, then it is the great est fantasy: The idea of God has guided or deluded more lives, changed more history, inspired mor e music and poetry and philosophy than anything else, real or imagined. 1 Neitzche notoriously proclaimed that God is dead ; but Martin Burber s alternative symbol of the eclipse of God 2 is more accurate. God has suffered a cul tural eclipse in which belief is no longer a live option for many; and as Philosopher Pe ter Kreeft writes, both death and eclipse produce similar effects in our experience: darkness. 3 Roger Scruton points out that The announcement of the death of God is l ess a statement about God, than a statement about us. 4 For ours is a culture in which secularism, subjectivism, relativism, materialism, and hedonism are the craters o n the moon that has risen up to eclipse the sun of God. 5 William J. Wainwright is surely right to note that Disbelief is less often the re sult of intellectual objections than of the clash between religious beliefs and attit udes and sensibilities that have been shaped by an environment that leaves little room fo r God or the sacred. 6 Those attitudes and sensibilities are often the result of intellectual objections; but these objections are, for the most part, uncritically accepted a s part of a media-generated climate of opinion that outlasts the demolition of its intellectua l roots. Neitzche s parable of the madman Where is God? . . . are his murderers. But wipe away the horizon? sun? . . .Is there any nothing? 7 has thus proved truly prophetic:

I shall tell you. We have killed him you and I. All of us how have we done this? . . .Who gave us the sponge to What did we do when we unchained this earth from its up or down left? Are we not straying through an infinite

The eclipse of God rends asunder the realms of fact and value: when God is dead , the objective world is reduced to matter and the spiritual world is reduced to subjectivity. 8 Such schism in the fabric of one s worldview leads to the nihilism o f postmodernity, either by the direct route of metaphysical naturalism, or by the scenic, double-think route of what Francis A. Schaeffer dubbed the two stories . At the foundation of modernity lies the fact/value division, but many make an attempt to have their cake and eat it by making an unsupported affirmation of valu e and

meaning that constitutes an

upper story

metaphysically incommensurate with the

1 Peter Kreeft, Does God Exist?, (Prometheus Books, 1993), Introduction. 2 Quoted by Peter Kreeft, C.S.Lewis for the Third Millennium, (Ignatius, 1994), p38. 3 ibid, p38. 4 Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person s Guide To Philosophy, p95. 5 Peter Kreeft, op cit. 6 William J. Wainwright, Skepticism, Romanticism & Faith , God and the Philosophers , op cit, p85. 7 Neitzche, Gay Science. 8 Peter Kreeft, Heaven, The Heart s Deepest Longing, (Ignatius, 1989), p23. 1

available naturalistic foundations.9 As R.C.Sproul argues, the existence of God i s the supreme proto-supposition for all theoretical thought. God s existence is the chie f element in constructing any worldview. To deny this chief premise is to set one s sails for the island of nihilism. . . the darkest continent of the darkened mind. . . 10 Postmodern nihilism is simply the honest recognition that a naturalistic foundation is not only incapable of justifying faith in meaning and value, but i s incompatible with such faith. For the theist, on the other hand, facts have obje ctive value (positive or negative) and value is an objective fact grounded in the necessary existence of a maximally and necessarily good being: God. Whether it is reached directly or indirectly, the darkness of the resulting postmodern condition is brilliantly illustrated by apologist Ravi Zacharias from the Wrexner Centre for the Performing Arts, which has been branded America s first deconstructionalist building : inside you encounter stairways that go nowhere, pillars that hang from the ceiling without purpose, and angled surfaces configured to create a sense of virtigo. The architect, we are informed, designed this building to reflect life itself senseless and incoherent. . . I had just one question: did he do the same with t he foundations? 11 Even in the depths of their despair the postmodernist must depend upon that whic h he or she denies. Western civilization is suffering from an eclipse of values (of truth, goodness and beauty) that has inevitably followed the eclipse of God; and now life is full of stairways going nowhere. As one cynic said, God is dead, Marx is dead, and I m not feeling to o well myself. 12 Neitzche himself admitted: My life now consists in the wish that it might be otherwise. . . and that somebody might make my truths appear incredible to me. 13 As Douglas Groothuis writes: A unified Christian vision for life incorporating th e good, the true and the beautiful is up for grabs in postmodernity. 14 The eclipse of God has resulted in a loss of objective meaning and purpose that should make us eager to explore with open minds the ultimate question: does God exist?15 As Theologian David Ford writes: No longer can it be seen as natural to dismiss the premodern as antiquated and irrelevant, or to assume that we have progressed beyond it. Instead. . . we can be free to engage with the resources of premodernity with some respect and even an expectation that they might have a good deal to teach us. . .

9 cf: Philosophia Christi, Series 2, Volume 1, Number 2, Paul Copan, Can Michael Martin be a Moral Realist? Sic et Non ; & Series 2, Volume 2, Number 1, Michael Martin, A Response to Paul Copan s Critique of Atheistic Objective Morality & Paul Copan, Atheistic Goodness Revisite d: A Personal Reply to Michael Martin . 10 R.C.Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas, (Crossway Books, 2000), p171. 11 Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God?, (Word). 12 Steve Kumar, Christianity for Sceptics, (John Hunt, 2000), p79. 13 Neitzche, The Portable Neitzche, Walter Kaufman ed., (Doubleday, 1954), p441. 14 Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay, (IVP, 2000), p243. 15 The greatest question of our time. . . is whether men can bear to live without God. Will Durrant. 2

Postmodern critiques have tended to be extreme and their suspicion has tended towards nihilism; but the benefit has been that a modern superiority complex is much harder to sustain, and so the religions, which have such deep roots in the premodern, can more plausibly be imagined as shapers of current lif e and thought. 16 To ignore the challenge of God s existence would be to engage in what C.S.Lewis called chronological snobbery : the uncritical assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find out why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so, buy whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or fal sehood. 17 Faith and Reason Why think that rational investigation can lead us either towards or away from Go d? Isn t religion all about faith? As C.S.Lewis defined it, faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. 18 Hence, the battl e is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other. 19 In other words, faith and reason are not mutually exclusive competitors: New Testament religion tells us to love God with the mind (Matt. 22:37), to have an answer in the form of good reasons for why we believe what we believe (1 Peter 3:15), and to accept that God wishes to reason together with his creatures (Isa. 1:18), and to believe that human reason, though fallen, is still part of t he image of God within us (Acts 17:27-28) and continues to be a gift we are to cultivate and exercise. Thus, the modern view of faith as something unrelated or even hostile to reason is a departure from traditional Christianity and not a genuine expression of it. 20 It is impossible to argue that reason cannot be applied to God ; after all, such an

assertion claims to apply to God!21 As William Lane Craig notes, no reason can ev er be given to justify denying the validity of logical principles for propositions abo ut God. For the very statement of such reasons. . . involves the affirmation of certain prop ositions about God, which are governed by the principles in question. 22 Rather than pre-ju dging the issue, we should take a look at the case for God and see whether or not it c onvinces. As Norman L. Geilser says: 16 17 18 19 David Ford, Theology A Very Short Introduction, (), p35. C.S.Lewis, Surprised by Joy, (Fount). C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, (Fount), p121-122. ibid, p120.

20 Michael J. Wilkins & J.P.Moreland, Jesus Under Fire, (Paternoster Press, 1995 ), p8. 21 At the very least it seems wrong-headed to conclude at the outset that human t hinking about God is worthless. . . it would appear that human thinking would have to have a certain competence even to recognize its incompetence. . . I see absolutely no reason to think that God wis hes human beings to suppress their critical faculties. After all, our ability to think is a gift fro m God, and it seems proper to assume that this gift, like others God has bestowed, is intended to be used prop erly. C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy of Religion, (IVP, 1984), p21. cf. Keith Ward, Religion & Creation, ( Oxford, 1996), p135. 22 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Crossway Books, 1994), p43. 3

There are not different Gods but only two different approaches to one and the same God: divine declaration and philosophical inference. It should not seem strange to those who believe in God s manifestation in His creation (Rom. 1:19,29; Ps. 19:1) that it is possible to arrive at knowledge of God by inferenc e from these manifestations. 23 Geisler & Corduan rightly conclude that: The relationship between an individual s total beliefs and the force of evidence [for God] is a complex one . There can be no doubt that we do hold many beliefs, even religious ones, apart from direct rational evidence. Thomas Aquinas himself pointed out that it is a good thing that we do not have to have rational proofs for belief in God. Otherwise very few people would believe that he exists, since mos t of us would be prevented from believing by limitations of intellect and disposition. . . Nonetheless, to say that rational proof does not play as maxima l a role as maybe Rene Descartes thought is far from allowing it no role at all. . . Theists have not usually come to believe that there is a God because they think this is the most unreasonable view they could hold. 24 Sound arguments for the existence of God are simply explicit, logical presentations of connections between the reality of God and the nature of realit y that can also be deeply felt and appreciated in an intuitive way. As the French Mathematician and Philosopher Blas Pascal described it, the search for religious truth is neither straightforward nor futile: Because men are in darkness and estranged from God the search isn t straightforward. Because negligenc e is the primary obstacle to obtaining the truth, the search isn t futile. 25 There is , as Pascal put it, enough light for those who earnestly seek God, and enough darkness for t hose who would rather ignore the whole issue: The evidence for God s existence and His gift is more than compelling, but those who insist that they have no need of Him or it w ill always find ways to discount the offer. 26 Fumbling in the Dark British Philosopher Anthony O Hear dismisses religious belief as intellectually unsustainable 27, while Canadian Professor of Philosophy Kai Nielsen has argued th at: for somebody living in the twentieth century with a good philosophical and a good scientific education, who thinks carefully about the matter. . . it is irrationa l to believe in God. 28 23 Norman L. Geisler, Philosophy of Religion, (Zondervan, 1974), p208. 24 Norman L. Geisler & Winfried Corduan, Philosophy of Religion, second edition,

(Baker, 1988), p86-87. 25 William A. Dembski, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p135. 26 Blase Pascal, Pensees, 430, trans. H.F.Stewart, (Random House). 27 Anthony O Hear, Beyond Evolution, (Oxford, 1997). 28 Kai Niesen, Does God Exist? The Debate Between Theists & Atheists, (Promethiu s, 1993), p48. Note the now out-of-date chronological snobbery that underlies Nielsen s use of in the twe ntieth century . 4

If belief in God is so irrational , then why is it that In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of intellectuals who embrace historic Christianity as a rational worldview ?29 How come there are several Christian scie ntific and philosophical societies, each with hundreds of members holding good scientif ic and philosophical qualifications? Why is it that: A significant and growing number of scientists, historians of science, and philosophers of science see more scientif ic evidence now for a personal creator and designer than was available fifty years ago ? Surel y we should agree that In the light of this evidence, it is false and naive to claim t hat modern science has made belief in the supernatural unreasonable. 30 Indeed, in the last fi fteen years, a growing number of scholars have come to believe their disciplines point to the existence of a personal God. 31 The well known atheist Antony Flew makes the somewhat more circumspect suggestion that: It might at first blush appear that the question of the existence of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was on all fours with the question of the existence of Loch Ness monsters, of unicorns, and of Abominable Snow persons. In all cases of this sort the difficulty, if there is a difficulty, is the shortage of eviden ce. 32 The first thing to be said in response is that there may well not be any difficu lty about rationally believing in God in the absence of evidence. Suppose one judged the reasons for and against belief in the existence of God to be equally balanced, o r suppose one was incapable of making an informed judgement on this matter (perhaps you ar e simply too young or, shall we say, more comfortable working with your hands ).33 As William James pointed out, since one must either act on the assumption that God exists or not, since reason is unable - in the circumstances - to adjudicate between these two options, and since one is going to take one of these options anyway, there can t b e anything irrational about simply following one s gut instinct to believe in God (o r not to believe in God, as the case may be). As Keith Ward suggests: it should make a great difference to one s life whether or not one believes in God. This is a matter of practical urgency. If theoretical certainty is unobtain able either way, one cannot refuse to commit oneself. You must either live as if God exists, or as if he does not. You must either pray or not, seek salvation or not , obey his commands or not. . . there is simply no alternative. 34 Christian Philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff, who

adhere to Reformed Epistemology , have argued that belief in God can be basic

in the

29 J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). 30 Michael J. Wilkins & J.P.Moreland, op cit, p10. 31 J.P.Moreland, Does God Exist?, (Prometheus Books, 1993), p34. 32 Antony Flew, Does God Exist? A Believer and an Atheist Debate, (Harper Collin s, 1991), p3. 33 It might be entirely proper for an uneducated person to refuse to consider com plicated, abstract arguments which would only confuse and bewilder him. C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy of Religion, (IVP, 1984), p28. 34 Keith Ward, Holding on to God, (SPCK, 1982), p85. 5

same way that trust in the general reliability of our memory and other cognitive systems is basic :35 Plantinga maintains, following John Calvin, [that] belief in God is properly basic. Man has an innate, natural capacity to apprehend God s existence even as he has a natural capacity to accept truths of perception. . . Given the appropri ate circumstances such as moments of guilt, gratitude, or a sense of God s handiwork in nature man naturally apprehends God s existence. . . God has so constructed us that we naturally form the belief in his existence under appropri ate circumstances. 36 Reformed Epistemology thus echoes William James argument for the right to believe in certain carefully defined circumstances. The general point, that belie f in God does not necessarily require evidential justification to count as rational, or a s knowledge, is certainly well made.37 I would argue that the possession of a true belief is sufficient for knowledge, and that anyone who believes in God can therefore quite rationally claim to know tha t God exists (indeed, this is just what they would claim, since they believe in God). One cannot object that true belief is insufficient for knowledge, but must be accompanied by some justification , for no justification is available for beliefs required by the very process of reason itself such as belief in the law of noncontradiction. If beliefs must be justified in order to count as knowledge, then we know nothing; but we do know at least some things, and so justification is unnecessary. Of course, once we move beyond those logically unjustifiable but undeniable beliefs required by reason, it is advisable for such fallible creatures as ourse lves to seek justification. Moreover, once we come across reason to doubt our belief we need some rational response, even if all we can muster is the thought that believers with better minds than our own have thought of replies we may not understand but which they think plausible. Still, I hold it to be a general rule that if you are intelligent eno ugh to entertain a reason for doubt you are also intelligent enough to entertain reason to doubt your reason to doubt. Nevertheless, the question, How do you know that God exists? , is distinc t from the question, What justification do you have for believing that God exists? T o the first question I would reply, By having a true belief. To the second, I would firs t call into question the universal necessity for justification, and then point to the t heistic arguments.38 The remaining response to Flew is thus that there simply isn t a shortage of

evidence for God. This is happily admitted by Reformed Epistemologists like Alvi n Plantinga: I ve been arguing that theistic belief does not (in general) need argume nt. . . But it doesn t follow, of course, that there aren t any good arguments. Are there so me? 35 cf. Alvin Plantinga & Nicholas Wolterstorff ed s., Faith and Rationality Reason and Belief in God, (Notre Dame, 1983); R.Douglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman ed s., Contemporary Persp ectives on Religious Epistemology, (Oxford, 1992); & James Kelly Clark, Return to Reason, ( Eerdmans, 1990). 36 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, p29. 37 cf. Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). 38 In summary. . . in answering the question How do I know Christianity is true? we must make a distinction between knowing it is true and showing it is true. William Lane Craig , Reasonable Faith, p48. 6

At least a couple of dozen or so. 39 Certainly, there is more evidence for God tha n there is for Nessie, Unicorns, or Snowpersons abominable or otherwise! For a start, fa r more people have claimed they have met God than have claimed to have met any legendar y creature! Extinguishing the Light? What objections do atheists raise to belief in God beyond the rhetoric of the li kes of O Hear and Nielson? What reasons are there to be an atheist, or, what amounts to t he same thing in this context, a metaphysical naturalist? There are surprisingly fe w atheological [anti-God] arguments. Peter Kreeft notes that Thomas Aquinas, in hi s Summa Theologica, could only think of two objections to the existence of God, alt hough he usually listed at least three objections to each of the hundreds of theses he tried to prove, and even though he always bent over backwards to present his opponent s cas e as thoroughly and fairly as possible. 40 Scott A. Shalkowski reckons that the present situation is little changed for the atheist: ics. . . is quite striking. 41 the absence of atheological apologet

Atheist Michael Scriven summarises the atheological options as he sees them: The atheist may believe there is no God because he thinks the concept is essentia lly selfcontradictory, or meaningless, or because he thinks it is factually false. 42 (Of course, if he thinks the concept of God is meaningless, he cannot also think of God s existen ce as self-contradictory or factually false.) Historically, the main atheological argument is undoubtedly 1) the problem of evil , which has traditionally attempted to prove a contradiction between the fact of evil and the existence of an all-good, all-powerful and all-knowing God. Another atte mpt to disprove the existence of God is 2) the attempt to show that some central charac teristic of God, such as omnipotence, is self-contradictory. 3) Atheists often point to the negative consequences of religious belief. The tactic used by most English-speaking philo sophers for atheism today is not in fact to try and prove that reality does not include God, but 4) to challenge the claim to know or understand or use the very concept of God . 5) Th en again, some atheists have attempted to explain away belief in God as the result of some naturalistic psychological cause. 6) Some naturalists argue that science can exp lain everything, so that God is a hypothesis we can do without . This is an appeal to

Occam s razor. Finally, 7) atheologians attempt to rebut each of the positive argu ments for God so that another appeal to Occam s razor can eliminate God as a complexity unwarranted by the evidence. This move is made in favour of the admittedly simpl er world-view of metaphysical naturalism. Unlike the theistic arguments, where each category of argument contains several variations on the basic theme (a fact that renders the seventh atheological argu ment difficult to sustain), there are very few variations on the argumentation within each of these atheistic apologies. 39 Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments . 40 Peter Kreeft, Does God Exist?, (Promethius, 1993), Introduction. 41 Scott A. Shalkowski, Atheological Apologetics in R.Douglas Geivett & Brendan Sw eetman ed s., Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology, (Oxford, 1992). 42 Michael Scriven, Primary Philosophy, (McGraw-Hill, 1966), p88. 7

I will mainly argue against the atheist by attempting to provide sound evidence for the conclusion that the existence of God is the only hypothesis adequate to the evidence, simple or not. However, allow me to make brief response to the atheolo gical arguments (further responses can be found in the recommended resources). Before I examine each of these arguments in turn, I will examine Alvin Plantinga s recent argument against an entire category of atheological arguments. Plantinga makes a distinction between de jure and de facto challenges to belief in God: The de jure challenge to Christian (or theistic) belief. . . is the claim that su ch belief is, irrational. . . or unjustifiable or in some other way properly subject to invidi ous epistemic criticism; it contrasts with the de facto challenge, according to which the beli ef in question is false. 43 Using Plantinga s distinction, arguments 1, 2 and 3 listed abo ve are de facto challenges, the rest (4, 5, 6, & 7) are de jure challenges: This complai nt is really the claim that Christian and other theistic belief is irrational in the sense th at it originates in cognitive malfunction. . . or in cognitive proper function that is aimed at s omething other than the truth (Freud) comfort, perhaps. . . [it is] the charge is that th eistic belief lacks warrant. 44 Plantinga notes that, What you properly take to be rational, at least in the sens e of warranted, depends on what sort of metaphysical and religious stance you adop t. It depends on what kind of beings you think human beings are, and what sort of beli efs you think their noetic faculties will produce when they are functioning properly. . . 45 In point of fact, Your views as to what sort of creature a human being is will determine o r at any rate heavily influence your views as to whether theistic belief is warranted or not warranted. . . This being so, the dispute as to whether theistic belief is. . . (w arranted) can t be settled just be attending to epistemological considerations. 46 Unfortunate ly for the atheologian, this is just what arguments 4, 5, 6 and 7 given above attempt t o do: Argument 4 suggests that the theist is unjustified in using the concept of God . Argument 5 tries to explain away belief in God as the result of cognitive facult ies not reliably aimed at the truth. Argument 6 says that the existence of God is a hypo thesis we have no warrant to employ. Argument 7 says that belief in God needs to be warran ted or justified but that it is not. Plantinga s argument against all such de jure objections goes as follows: You may think humankind is created by God in the image of God. . . with a

natural tendency to see God s hand in the world about us, and with a natural tendency to recognize that we have indeed been created. . . Then of course you will not think of belief in God as in the typical case a manifestation of any ki nd of intellectual defect. Nor will you think it is a manifestation of a belief-produc ing power or mechanism that is not aimed at truth. . . On the other hand, you may 43 Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Belief in God in Philosophy of Religion: The Big Que stions, (Blackwell, 1999), from Warranted Christian Belief. 44 ibid. According to Plantinga, warranted beliefs are formed by the proper func tioning of cognitive systems aimed at truth in an environment for which they were designed (by God or , for the atheist, by naturalistic evolution). Plantinga thinks that warrant is necessary for a true b elief to count as knowledge. I disagree with him (and the majority of philosophers) in that I consider that tru e belief is knowledge, however welcome warrant may be. 45 ibid. 46 ibid. 8

think we human beings are the product of blind evolutionary forces; you may think there is no God. . . Then perhaps you will be inclined to accept the sort of view according to which belief in God is an illusion of some sort, properly trac ed to wishful thinking or some other cognitive mechanism not aimed at truth. . . (Freud) or to a sort of disease or dysfunction on the part of the individual or society (Marx). And this dependence of the question falsehood of theism leads to a very ed by belief in God is related in this estion whether theistic belief has warrant whether theistic belief is true. 47 In other words, de jure objections to theism are guilty of begging-the-question. The upshot of all this is that a successful atheological objection will have to b e to the truth of theism, not to its rationality, or justification, or intellectual respe ctability. The atheologian who wishes to attach theistic belief will have to restrict herself t o the argument from evil, or the claim that theism is incoherent, or the idea that in some other way there is strong evidence against theistic belief. 48 Plantinga concludes that T his fact by itself invalidates an enormous amount of recent and contemporary atheology; f or much of that atheology is devoted to de jure complaints. . . 49 Thus Plantinga has apparently demonstrated the invalidity of an entire category of atheological arg uments. In what follows, I will respond in additional ways to the de jure objections, bu t Plantinga s global reply should be born in mind. 1) The de facto argument from evil is one of only two atheological argument that tries to show that God cannot exist (at least, given the contingent state of the universe ). In fact, it is now more likely to be deployed in an attempt to show that God s existence is un likely, for it is becoming widely accepted that philosophers of religion have cast seriou s doubt on whether there even is any inconsistency involving the appropriate proposition s regarding evil and God s alleged properties. 50 As Alvin Plantinga reports: Now, as opposed to twenty or twenty-five years ago, most atheologians have conceded that in fact there isn t any inconsistency between the existence of an omnipotent, omniscience and wholly good God and the existence of the evil the world contains. 51 The traditional free will defence certainly has a lot to recommend it, for A world containing creatures who are significantly free. . . is more valuable, all of warrant. . . on the truth or interesting conclusion. If the warrant enjoy way to the truth of that belief, then the qu is not after all independent of the question

else being equal, than a world containing no [significantly] free creatures at all. . . To create creatures capable of [significant] moral good. . . [God] must create creatures c apable of [significant] moral evil; and he can t give these creatures this freedom to perfor m evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so. 52 47 ibid. 48 ibid. 49 ibid. 50 Scott A. Shalkowski, op cit, p66. The failure of the problem of evil in both its categorical and probable forms is argued by agnostic Philosophers Cornman, Lehrer and Pappas in Philosoph ical Problems and Arguments An Introduction, fourth edition, (Hackett, 1992). 51 Alvin Plantinga, Tooley and Evil: A reply , Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 60 (1981): 74. 52 Alvin Plantinga, The Free Will Defence in Basil Mitchell ed., The Philosophy of Religion, (Oxford, 9

I also think there is much to be said for a soul making response to the problem of evil, tying the existence of significant free will and consequent moral evil to the temporary existence of a universe containing natural evil , all of which is seen to be a pre-condition for the creation of heaven.53 Moreover, the argument from evil backfires on the atheist. If the atheologian means by evil some subjectively defined moral opinion, decision, feeling or attitu de, such that what is right for me is not necessarily right for you (a classic dogma of postmodernity), then this subjective concept of morality needn t be right for God; in which case the atheological argument collapses. On the other hand, if the atheol ogian admits that moral value is not subjective but objective (or merely posits the pr oblem as one internal to theism ), they have thereby granted (or granted the theist) the fir st premise of the moral argument for God. I will defend the moral argument later, b ut the basic point should be clear enough: to disprove God via evil one must assume the equivalent of God by way of an ultimate standard of justice beyond the world. 54 Terry Miethe has a good point when he calls attention to the atheists use of evil : The atheist is constantly raising the problem of evil but never gives a solution. It is high time the theist called: Foul! I defy the atheist to give an answer to the problem of evil. 55 As Dr. Steve Kumar notes, The reality of evil confronts every philosophy o f life, and the burden of explaining its origin and existence lies equally upon all. 56 2) De facto arguments against the coherence of divine attributes are the only ar guments that seek to prove that God s existence is logically impossible: If it is impossible for any being to possess all of the attributes in the set, th en surely there is no being that exemplifies all of these attributes. . . an atheis t must generate an argument to the effect that there is a unique set. . . of attributes that must be exemplified by any being that is any decent sort of God. . . Theological divergence over the nature of God gives us pause regarding the feasibility of providing such a proof. 57 As we will see, the Ontological argument provides a compelling general definition of divinity, from which the divine attributes can be deduced. However , this process of deduction involves intuitions about the exact nature of great-making properties , properties that a being is greater, all things being equal, for posse ssing. For example, some theists have considered atemporality (timelessness) to be a greatm aking property and so suggest that God must be atemporal. However, it would not suffic

e for 1971). Although He is necessarily good, God can freely choose to love in the sen se that He can choose whether or not to create creatures to love, whereas creatures cannot choose to l ove unless they contain some evil (selfishness, pride) that they must choose to overcome in order to fre ely love God. It is impossible for there to be creatures who would freely love of necessity. On this aspect of the problem of evil cf: Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999); & Richard Swinbur ne, Providence and the Problem of Evil, (Oxford, 1998). 53 cf. Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). 54 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1976), p233. 55 Terry Miethe, Does God Exist?, p192. 56 Steve Kumar, op cit, (John Hunt, 2000), p41. 57 Scott A. Shalkowski, op cit, p66. 10

the atheologian to successfully attack the concept of an atemporal person (for e xample) as incoherent; for many theists would agree about the incoherence of an atempora l concept of God. They would hold instead that God is eternal.58 The greatest possi ble being need only possess the greatest possible set of possible attributes, so one can see why it has proved difficult to establish the impossibility of any essential divi ne attribute. Critiques of omnipotence assume that omnipotence must be the ability to do literally anything, so that if God cannot create a rock He is incapable of lifti ng there is something He cannot do, whereas if He can create such a rock there is also somet hing He cannot do, namely, lift the rock! However, the concept of a creation that cannot be controlled by its creator is itself a contradiction in terms, unless one specifie s that the creator willingly relinquishes total control as many theists would say with rega rd to human free-will in which case God s lack of power is self-imposed and in no way a contradiction of omnipotence.59 In fact, most theists (besides Descartes) have repudiated the notion of so-calle d absolute omnipotence , arguing that even God cannot do the logically impossible suc h as creating square circles - or what would contradict his other attributes, such as his total goodness. As C.S.Lewis put it, it remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities. 60 Rather, God should be thought of as being Almighty , having the maximal logically possible degree of power availa ble to the greatest possible being.61 Philosopher P. F. Strawson argues in his book Individuals that for any concept o f a thing to be coherent we must be able to uniquely identify or refer to that thi ng; That is, we must be able to pick it out among all other existing or even possible things so that there is no confusion about which thing we are referring too. 62 This is easily en ough done with material things (even non-existent ones), says Strawson, since referen ce can be made to physical properties; e.g. for a Unicorn: A white horse-like creature with a golden horn growing out of its forehead . When it comes to immaterial things, such reference is clearly unavailable to us. Hence, it is alleged, the concept of God is in trouble. However, as Christian Philosopher Stephen T. Davies points out, the number six is an immaterial thing and can be quite happily and coherently talked about so w

hy not God? The number six, says Davies, 58 The eternality of God can be construed in several ways. For example, William Lane Craig thinks of God as atemporal sans creation and temporal with creation, while I tend to think that God has a finite past and a potentially infinite future, but that since God exists without temporally prior cause, it remains true to say that God is eternal in the sense that He has always existed and always will exist. cf. Philosophia Christi, Series 2, Volume 2, Number 1, 2000: Theme Issue -God and Time; Gregory A. Boyd, God of the Possible, (Baker, 2000); Richard Swinburne, The Coherence of Theism, (Oxford, 19 77) & The Christian God, (Oxford, 1994). See also: Antony Flew & Terry L. Miethe: Does God Exist?, A Believer and an Atheist Debate, (Harper Collins, 1991). 59 On God and Free Will cf: David Basinger & Randall Basinger ed s., Predestinatio n & Free Will Four Views of Divine Sovereignty & Human Freedom, by John Feinberg, Norman Geisler, B ruce Reichenbach & Clark Pinnock, (IVP, 1986). 60 C.S.Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (Fount), p16. 61 God s omnipotence must then be understood as the power to do whatever is logical ly possible and consistent with God s own essential characteristics. C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy o f Religion, (IVP, 1984), p34. cf. Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999), p59-61. 62 Stephen T. Davies, In Defence of Miracles, p166-167. 11

is surely an immaterial object the number six does not weigh anything or reside anywhere or take up space. But whether you think the number six is a separately existing thing or just an idea in our minds, the concept of it is obviously a coherent concept and can be uniquely referred to. Take the words the only composite number between four and eight. Won t that description refer uniquely to the number six? 63 Besides, there are plenty of ways to uniquely identify God: by describing His na ture ( God is the greatest possible being , God is the all-good ultimate source of objecti ve moral obligation ), through His actions (e.g. God is the creator of the universe , God is the being who raised Jesus from the dead. ), and through experience (e.g. God is th e object of genuine religious experience ). The description of God as a personal, incorporeal substance, certainly seems to refer to a unique class of possible being, in that nothing here is obviously con tradictory as is the case with square circle . As Philosopher Mortimer J. Adler says, An incorpore al substance is a possible mode of being. . . The self-evident truth of the foregoi ng statement lies in the absence of self-contradiction in the conjunction of substa nce with incorporeal. 64 The term substance does not mean a material thing, but simply a thin g that is not a property: A substance is an entity like an apple, an acorn, a carbon atom, a dog, or an angel. . . substances are particular, individual things. . . a substance is a continuent it can change by gaining new properties and losing old ones, yet it remains the same thing throughout the change. . . substances are basic, fundamental existents. They are not in other things or had by other things [as a re properties]. 65 A more general response to this objection arguments in favour of immaterial things, ! To the extent that these arguments are found d doubt their own scepticism about the cogency of eed, I will present several arguments for belief ater on.) is simply to point the sceptic to the such as the human mind, angels, or God to be convincing, so the sceptic shoul the concept of immaterial things. (Ind in both incorporeal minds and angels l

If the concept of an immaterial thing is coherent, what about the concept of an immaterial agent? Some have argued that the notion of immaterial agents is incoh erent because what we can dub agent words (such as loving, cruel, aggressive, forgiving and so on) lose their meaning in the absence of a body: what would it be like to be, say, just without a body? To be a person, to act justly he has to behave in certain ways. . . But how is it possible to perform these acts, to behave in the required ways without a

body? 66 However, as Davies replies, se

It is simply not true that agent words must lo

63 ibid. For more on this with reference to the existence of God, see J.P.Morela nd & Kai Nielson, Does God Exist? The Debate between Theists & Atheists, (Prometheus, 1993). 64 ibid. 65 Gary R. Habermas & J.P.Moreland, Beyond Death, (Crossway Books, 1998), p41. 66 Paul Edwards, quoted by Stephen T. Davies, op cit. 12

their meaning in the absence of a body. . . there is no reason why a disembodied thing cannot behave kindly or cruelly. . . 67 With Davies: I suspect that most atheists understand the sentence God spoke to Moses, even though they think it is false. Using one s vocal cords is of course the normal way that one [human] person speaks to another, but those who insist that what can legitimately be called speaking cannot happen in any other way and that sentence s like God [an immaterial being] spoke to Moses are meaningless are caught in an overly rigid view of language. 68 What if the critic proposes that the problem is not with the concept of an immaterial thing, or even with the concept of an immaterial agent as such, but w ith the concept of an immaterial agent who produces effects in the material world? How can there be a problem with the idea that the omnipotent creator of the cosmos can cause effects within the cosmos? Furthermore, one can argue that the human mind cannot be reduced to nothing but the human brain, and that the immaterial asp ect of the human mind is clearly capable of causing physical effects. We may not kno w how this is possible, but it seems intuitively obvious that it is possible. Thinkers such as Plato, Aquinas and Descartes agree on this point together with contemporary Philosopher s such as Norman L. Geisler, Gary R. Habermas, J.P.Moreland, Karl Popper and Richard Swinburne. After all, as C.S.Lewis argued, the human mind is capable of followin g the logical relationship between rational grounds and a rational consequent of those grounds, whereas a merely material mind that is nothing but a brain should only be capable of obeying the laws of physical cause and effect.69 Then again, the mind can have beliefs about things that are either true or false ; but it seems nonsense to think that one bit of matter can be about another, or that matter possess the properties of being true or false.70 Finally, the belief that the mind is nothing but the brain would seem to entail the denial of free-will (because a material brain uninformed by an immaterial mind c annot but follow in the tracks of physical case and effect) and moral responsibility ( because if we are not free to decide what we believe, how can anyone say that we ought to b elieve something due to the evidence provided by this or that argument?). If all this is so, then the metaphysical naturalist (who says the mind just is t he brain) is being inconsistent when they ask us to rationally consider whether or not we ought to believe that physicalism is true on the basis of the arguments they pre

sent us with. On the other hand, if the human mind is an immaterial cause of material ch anges in the world, then there is nothing incoherent about the concept of an immaterial a gent similarly acting on matter. In summary, C. Stephen Evans seems to hit the nail on the head: Although many of the concepts used to characterize God must be carefully defined and qualified, no one has convincingly shown that theism as an overall 67 68 69 70 13 Stephen T. Davies, op cit. ibid. cf. C.S.Lewis, Miracles, second edition, (Fount). cf. Peter Kreeft, The Journey, chapter five, The Materialist , (IVP, 1996).

view is inconsistent. A system of belief which has been accepted by millions of people for centuries is not necessarily true, but it would seem reasonable to cl aim that the burden of proof rests on anyone who asserts that such a system is selfcontradictory. No one has been able to show that theism is self-contradictory. 71 3) Arguments against Christian theism from the consequences of belief note some morally bad behaviour on the part of believers, posit that if Christianity were true then it would not have such morally bad consequences, and conclude that Christianity is not true. As with the moral argument, the theist will want to ask the atheologian wh at they mean by morally bad here, and whether this argument doesn t in fact boomerang on the atheist by leading them into the moral argument for God as the standard of goodn ess against which one judges the believer s behaviour to be bad in the first place. If the supposed negative consequences of religious belief count against its trut h, then surely the positive consequences of belief must count in its favour, and su rely the negative consequences of atheism must count against atheism. Bertrand Russell wa s prepared to acknowledge that religion contributed to fixing the calendar and obs erving the heavens: These two services I am prepared to admit, but I do not know of any others. 72 One wonders whether Russell was simply ignorant or disingenuous. Had he not heard about hospitals, orphanages, the abolition of slavery and child labour , or Christian charities of many and varied kinds? Then again, the world dominated by secular humanism has hardly faired better than Christendom: An age which has seen

more than 80 million people killed in wars, which has polluted its environment, which starves two thirds of its population in order to make the remainder obese, and i s daily destroying numerous species of plants and animals, seems less the embodiment of progress than it once did. 73 Of course Christians have contributed to the ills of our world, but it is debateable whether they have done more harm than humanists. As Social Scientist Philip J. Sampson argues, Modern myths constantly reinvent a superstiti ous image of religion in order to brush it aside, and with it the story of modernity s role in oppression. 74 Christians should always acknowledge and condemn the perpetration of evil in the name of God; but this particular atheological stick isn t as big as the atheis t might believe. Indeed, the negative consequences line of attack is often based on an oversimplified, even mythological view of history such is the case, for example, with the whole notion of warfare between science and religion .75

Some atheists display ignorance of what Christians actually believe, or of the existence of more than one Christian approaches to a subject. For example, athei sts may equate Christianity with strict Calvinistic views of God s sovereignty, the meanin g of predestination, the nature of Hell, etc., and consider that an attack on such do ctrines is 71 C.Stephen Evans, Philosophy of Religion, (IVP, 1984), p37. 72 Bertrand Russell, Has religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization? in Wh y I Am Not A Christian, (Routledge, 1996). 73 Philip J. Sampson, Six Modern Myths, (IVP, 2000), p21. 74 ibid, p155. 75 Some common misconceptions about Christian ethical belief and practice can be cleared up by reading Brian J. Dodd, The Problem with Paul, (IVP, 1996) & Philip J. Sampson, Six Moder n Myths Challenging Christian Faith, (IVP, 2000). 14

sufficient to discredit Christianity as a whole. Even granting that such attacks may be succesful, one can hardly claim thereby to have demolished Christian Theology!76 Finally, in the ethical sphere we must be careful to distinguish behavior that d oes not cohere with a person s world-view and behavior that does cohere with a person s world-view. The theist can say that those who carry out evil in the name of God are being inconsistent; can the atheist really say that the inquisition or the crusa des are incompatible with their atheistic world-view of a purposeless, amoral universe? Obviously not, because no action can fail to cohere with an amoral metaphysical framework. In a speech before a group of students at Harvard University, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Russian Nobel prize winner for literature, asserted that: If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolu tion that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not have put it more accurat ely than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that is why all this has happened . 77 Auschwitz survivor Victor Frankl writes how The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment or, as the Nazis liked to say, of blood and soil . I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz. . . were ultimately pre pared. . . in lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers. 78 Once again we see the importance of asking the atheist to consider their metaphysical account of good and evil. The failure of de facto arguments from evil, incoherence and the consequences of belief means that William C. Davies can simply note that Critics of theism (at le ast among philosophers) have all but given up thinking that God s existence can be disproved. 79 Admitting this state of affairs in combination with an acceptance of Plantinga s anti de jure argument has obvious consequences. The remaining arguments try only to argue that belief in God is unwarranted, or is logically meaningless or confused. The following critique is in addition to Plan tinga s global challenge to such arguments. 4) The attempt to argue that the very notion of God is so confused as to be mean ingless or useless precludes the possibility of arguing that no such being exists, since on e would have to know what one meant by God and to be able to employ the term God in order to construct any argument against His existence. Thus an atheist who presses thi s objection cannot also employ arguments from evil or incoherence.

Two basic arguments have been advanced for this position. The first was that a statement was only meaningful if it was a) true by definition (such as a square h as four corners ), or b) open to empirical verification, at least in principle (such as The re is life 76 cf. Terry Miethe & Antony Flew, Does God Exist?, (Harper Collins, 1991); Clar k H. Pinnock & Robert C. Brow, Unbounded Love A Good News Theology for the 21st Century, (Paternoster, 1994); Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls, C.S.Lewis & Francis Schaeffer, Lessons for a New Centur y form the Most Influential Apologists of Our Time, (IVP, 1998); & Roger T. Forster & V Paul Mar ston, God s Strategy in Human History God s Sovereignty and Man s Responsibility, (Highland Books, 1989). 77 Quoted by Steve Kumar, op cit, p81. 78 Victor Frankl, quoted by Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God?, (Word). 79 William C. Davies, Reason for the Hope Within, (Eerdmans, 1999), p44. 15

on other planets ). This stipulation was called the Verification Principle . Phrases such as God exists (together with assertions such as that is objectively good/beautiful ) are thereby counted as literally meaningless.80 Unfortunately for the principle of verification, it was soon pointed out that th e principle was self-defeating. By its own standards the principle is meaningless, since it is neither true by definition nor open to empirical verification, even in principle . The second atheistic argument is the reverse of verification. It is suggested th at talk about God should be counted as meaningless, or at least confused, if the th eist cannot specify what empirical evidence would falsify the existence of God. The theist w ho believes God to be a metaphysically necessary being upon whom any and all univer ses depend for existence is apt to claim that by the very nature of the case no such evidence is possible, and that the atheist is here imposing an arbitrarily restrictive crite rion of meaning which seems to be just as anti-metaphysical as the failed principle of verification. Moreover, one might ask whether this principle of falsification is itself open, even in principle, to empirical falsification?!81 In this vein of argumentation, Antony Flew makes the common assertion that: It should certainly be seen as at least very far from obvious that talk of a person without a body (i.e., a spirit ) is coherent and intelligible. 82 I have already dealt with th e charge that immateriality is incoherent above, but what of intelligibility? The respons e of Christian Philosopher Terry Miethe seems apt: is it really any more obvious to ta lk as if a person is reducible to flesh and blood, to a psychological machine, as if this w ere obviously coherent and intelligible. I think not! 83 Dallas Willard provides what I take to be a very intelligible description of spi rit as: non-physical energy (it does work and so has power) with the capacity to thin k, value and will (three properties that seem impossible to account for in merely physica l terms) : spirit is unbodily personal power. It is primarily a substance. . . To understand spirit as substance is of the utmost importance in our current world, which is so largely devoted to the ultimacy of matter. It means that spirit is something tha t exists in its own right. . . Thoughts, feelings, willings and their developments are so many dimensions of this spiritual substance, which exercises a power that is outside the physical. 84

One may disagree that spirit is a possible or actual mode of existence, but it i s hardly plausible to claim not to understand what spirit means. I suspect that the only really adequate response to the atheologian on this poin t is to meet the challenge head-on by providing a clear description of what the theis t means by God through detailed philosophical discussion of the divine nature, which is th e task of philosophical theology . 80 cf. A.J.Ayer, Language, Truth & Logic. 81 cf. Basil Mitchell ed., The Philosophy of Religion, (Oxford, 1971); & the deb ate between Antony Flew, who first put forward this falsification challenge, and Terry L. Miethe: Does Go d Exist?, A Believer and an Atheist Debate, (Harper Collins, 1991). 82 Antony Flew, Does God Exist?, p55. 83 Terry Miethe, Does God Exist?, p55. 84 Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, (Fount, 1998), p93-94. 16

5) Is belief in God a matter of wish-fulfillment, a day-dream that has become a delusion? The first thing to note is (as Plantinga s rebuttal of all de jure arguments point s out) that such a charge assumes that God does not exist. Freud, who popularised this view, thought that there were no good reasons to believe that God exists. This is an a ssumption challenged by arguments like those that I will present. If God exists, then what ever cognitive system results in belief in God is aimed at truth, which is just what this argument assumes is not the case. The explaining away approach to religion is wittily countered by C.S.Lewis in his first Christian book, The Prilgrim s Regress: what is argument? . . . Argument, said Mastor Parot, is the attempted rationalisation of the arguer s desires. Very good, replied the jailor. . . Now: what is the proper answer to an argument proving the existence of the Landlord [God]? The proper answer is, You say that because you are a Steward [believer] . . . Good. Now just one more. What is the answer to an argument turning on the belief that two and two make four? The answer is, You say that because you are a mathematician . 85 Lewis later argues that to allow argument 86: The Spirit of the Age wishes to allow argument and not

If anyone argues with them they say that he is rationalizing his own desires, and therefore need not be answered. But if anyone listens to them they will argue themselves to show that their own doctrines are true. . . You must ask them whether any reasoning is valid or not. If they say no, then their own doctrines, being reached by reasoning, fall to the ground. If they say yes, then they will have to examine your arguments and refute them on their merits: for if some reasoning is valid, for all they know, your bit of reasoning may be one of the v alid bits. 87 The charge that People believe in God because they want God to exist , can just as well cut the other way. Perhaps Atheists don t believe in God because they don t want Him to exist! Many atheists admit that they don t want God to exist.88 Consider th e frank admission of American Philosopher Thomas Nagel: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn t just that I don t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I m right in my belief. It s 85 86 87 88 C.S.Lewis, The Prilgrim s Regress, (Fount), p80. ibid, p93. C.S.Lewis, The Prilgrim s Regress, (Fount), p93. In the context of discussion his rejection of God, Aldous Huxley wrote:

I had

motives [primarily erotic motives] for not wanting the world to have meaning, consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. (Ends and Means, [Chatto and Windus, 1969], p270). 17

that I hope there is no God! I don t want there to be a God; I don t want the universe to be like that. 89 Psychologist Paul Vitz has investigated the psychology of atheism.90 After listi ng several psychological factors (such as personal convenience) which may contribut e to a rejection of belief in God, Vitz argues that in the Freudian framework, atheism i s an illusion caused by the Oedipal desire to kill the father and replace him with on eself. 91 Noting that many prominent atheists had poor opinions of their fathers, Vitz pro poses a Theory of Defective Father , whereby a defective father in a patriarchal society ma y contribute to a person s rejection of God the Heavenly Father . Defective fathers may be weak, cowardly, and unworthy of respect , physically, sexually or psychologically abusive , or absent through death or by abandoning or leaving the family. 92 For example, Freud lacked respect for his father who failed to stand up for himself against anti-Semitic abuse. Karl Marx did not respect his father, who converted to Christianity out of a desire to make life easier for himself, and w as the first in his family not to become a rabbi. When Feuerbach was thirteen, his father aba ndoned the family to live with another woman. One of America s best known Atheists is Madalyn Murray O Hear. For some as yet unknown reason, she reportedly attempted to murder her father with a 10-inch butchers knife, screaming, et you yet. I ll walk on your grave! 93 I ll see you dead. I ll g

Vitz writes that Many children. . . interpret the death of their father as a kind of betrayal or an act of desertion. In this respect it is remarkable that the patte rn of a dead father is so common in the lives of many prominent atheists. 94 Bertrand Russell s f ather died when Russell was four years old. Nietzche was the same age when his father died. Camus lost his father as a one year old. Satre lost his father before he was bor n. I don t doubt that some people do create gods in their own image. The gods of ancient Greece, for example, are just the sort of gods you d expect people to inve nt: immortal, powerful, larger-than-life, and immoral! Modern man makes gods out of everything from sex to science. The holy and demanding God of Christian belief, on the other hand, isn t at all the sort of god you d expect people to invent . As J.P.Moreland says, If one is going to give an account of religious belief or antibelief in terms of some theory of projection, then it would seem that atheism is a more likely candidate for projection than theism. . . If one were going to project a god to meet one s needs, a being much tamer, much more human, much more manageable

would be a better candidate. 95 All of this aside, it s a mistake (called the genetic fallacy ) to confuse the origin of an idea with its truth. I d be the first to admit that believing in God because your 89 Thomas Nagel, The Last Word, (Thomas Nelson). 90 cf. Paul C. Vitz, The Psychology of Atheism @ th12.html 91 Paul C. Vitz, The Psychology of Atheism , Truth Journal, truth/1truth12.html 92 ibid. 93 ibid. 94 ibid. 95 J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). 18

parents did is not the best reason for believing in Him; but it was where my bel ief originally came from. However, that doesn t mean that my belief must be wrong any more that it means my belief must be right! I don t believe in God because my pare nts do, but because I think He really does exist, and I can provide what seem to me to be good reasons for this belief. So, even if every case of belief in God could be e xplained in terms of psychological projection (which seems unlikely), that would not exclude a positive answer to the question Does God exist?

To explain-away belief in God like this does not show that there is no God. Explaining away the existence of a belief is something which should be done afte r, not before, the belief in question is shown to be false. Indeed, even if belief in G od is the result of psychological factors people who believe in God may nevertheless be ri ght, even if by luck rather than judgment. Even madmen can be right! Of course it s true that nothing outside of our own thoughts exist just because we want them to, but it would be daft to argue that something doesn t exist because w e want it to exist! If I m thirsty and want a drink, that doesn t mean liquid doesn t exist! Likewise, if I feel a desire for God, that doesn t mean He doesn t exist! In fact, j ust as it would be very odd if I were thirsty in a universe without liquid, wouldn t it be s trange if I felt a need for God in a universe without a God? (I will re-examine this argumen t from desire later on). Those who argue that man has created God in his own image should be open to the possibility that man is made in God s image, and be willing to examine the evi dence. 6) The atheistic resort to scientism, a natural collolary of metaphysical natura lism, is widespread, and often includes the myth of the superstitious, uninformed and unintelligent Christian. Lewis characterture of Mr Enlightenment is brilliantly subversive: They are a shrewd lot, those Stewards [religious leaders]. They know which side their bread is buttered on, all right. Clever fellows. . . But do you mean that the Stewards don t believe it themselves? I dare say they do. It is just the sort of cock and bull story they would believe . They are simple old souls most of them just like children. They have no knowledge of modern science and they would believe anything they were told. John went silent for a few minutes. Then he began again: But how do you know there is no Landlord [God]? Christopher Columbus, Galileo, the earth is round, invention of printing, gunpowder!! exclaimed Mr Enlightenment. . . I don t quite understand, said John. . . Your people in Puritania believe in the Landlord because they have not had the benefits of a scientific training. For example, now, I dare say it would be news

to you to hear that the earth was round. . . 96 96 C.S.Lewis, The Pilgrims Regress, (Fount), p48. 19

Can science explain everything?97 It certainly can t provide every sort of explanation. As Aristotle pointed out, there are several different types of expl anation. For example, if we are to give a comprehensive explanation for the existence of a house we must appeal to the existence of the stuff the house is made out of (its mater ial cause), explain the arrangement of that stuff (its formal cause), explain how that stuff came to be in that form (its efficient cause) and finally, we must provide the reason why t he house exists, the goal (or telos) that this arrangement of matter serves (its final or teleological cause to provide shelter). Now, natural science explains the universe in terms o f contingent material, formal and natural efficient causes. It cannot explain why there is any matter, or why the universe ultimately takes the form it does, let alone why there is a universe in the first place. Nor can science say whether or not the universe has a nonnatural efficient cause beyond itself, or whether or not the universe has a fina l cause. Theists say that the universe is caused and purposeful, atheists disagree, but n atural science is incapable of supporting one side or the other in this disagreement. R ather, this is a philosophical disagreement to which science may proffer relevant data, but not answers. As A.E.Taylor said in response to that claim that science has killed God: it should be obvious that such an assertion cannot be strictly true, since the very nature of the methods of modern natural science precludes them from dealing with the issue at all. 98 To limit knowledge or existence to that which falls within the competency of the natural sciences is an unjustified and self-defeating leap of faith. The asserti on that science is the only valid path to knowledge, or that only the scientifically kno wable is real, is itself neither the conclusion of scientific reasoning, nor a propositio n within the purview of science. Then again, The thesis that matter is all there is extends to all events, and determining whether all of them are explainable after the fashion [of science] i s not straightforward. Even armed with a correct physical theory, the extrapolation go es well beyond the experimental data and in the face of some data miracle reports. To av oid question begging, one must show that all of these reports are false. 99 Moreover, such scientism is inadequate when it comes to giving an account of reality. Can truth, goodness and beauty be accounted for in purely scientific te rms? Can the human mind and personality really be described without remainder by physics,

chemistry and biology? Several arguments that we will examine suggest otherwise. It might be useful at this juncture to say something about the god-of-the-gaps accusation that is sometimes levelled at certain arguments for God. The god-of-th egaps is God proposed as a non-teleological explanation for non-inherent gaps in the current scientific account of creation. The phrase is often used as a caution ag ainst the fragility of belief in God based merely on the provision of explanations in comp etition with science. For example, rather than positing God to explain why there are rel iable laws of physics in the first place, or why those laws are fine-tuned (matters scie nce is inherently incapable of explaining), Newton posited a god-of-the-gaps to explain w hy planets don t fall into the sun (i.e. because God keeps adjusting their orbits ). If science 97 For a readable introduction to the Philosophy of Science cf. Dal Ratzsch, Sci ence & Its Limits, (Apollos, 2000). Scientism is satirized brilliantly by C.S.Lewis in The Pilgrim s Regress, ( Fount), p35-36. 98 A.E.Taylor, Does God Exist?, (Fontana, 1961), p17. 99 Scott A. Shalkowski, op cit, p67. 20

progresses and provides a scientific (efficient, formal or material causal) expl anation for the phenomena in question (in this case it did), this god-of-the-gaps is thereby a pt to appear an unnecessary hypothesis. There are two important points to note here. First, scientific explanations do n ot rule out the existence or activity of God, because teleological explanations are compatible with non-teleological explanations (e.g. the kettle is boiling because of the la ws of thermodynamics and because I want a mug of coffee) and because God could act wit hout our knowledge due to Heizenberg s Uncertainty Principle. Secondly, a god-of-the-gap s explanation is not necessarily false. The gap in question might be a genuine gap in the explanatory abilities of science that will therefore never be filled-in with a sci entific explanation. Experience gives us good reason to suppose that the reliable God often works through reliable, scientifically describable, natural processes; and so it is re asonable to seek scientific explanations where these are the simplest adequate hypothesis. H owever, the Christian has good reason to believe that God can and does - on occasion and for good reasons - perform miracles. Therefore, given the repeated failure to discov er a scientific account of some phenomena, and given the reasonable assumption that G od may have reason in the case in point not to work through a natural process (for example, a natural process may be an impossible means to this end, as would be the case i n raising Jesus from death), it may therefore be rational to refer the gap to the omnipote nce of God. In explaining the universe our rule should not be what is the best scientific explanation? , but what is the best explanation? 7) Atheist Antony Flew reports that he asked several Christian friends to refer m e to the work or works they saw as presenting the most formidable intellectual challenge to my unbelief, 100 but that they all admitted to great difficulty in thinking of anythin g they could recommend as adequate. . . 101 So what material would I recommend? I d recommend the resources listed in the resources library after my conclusion. Atheists sometimes proceed as if by casting doubt on the ability of individual theistic arguments to prove the existence of God they could thereby justifiably wr ite off the evidential case for theism. However, this divide and conquer approach is unreasonable, in that several arguments which individually fail to prove the exist ence of God may do exactly that when taken together, just as several clues which are ind ividually

insufficient to warrant conviction in a court of law may nevertheless be jointly sufficient to that end. As atheist J.L.Mackie advised: Where several arguments bear upon the same issue, they may have a cumulative effect. It will not be sufficient to criticize each argument on its own by sayin g that it does not prove the intended conclusion, that is, does not put it beyond all doubt. . . For a set of arguments of each of which, on its own, this adverse comment is true may together make the conclusion more likely than not. 102 100 Antony Flew, Does God Exist?, p19. 101 ibid, p19. 102 J.L.Mackie, The Miracle of Theism, (Oxford), p7. 21

For such a divide and conquer approach to succeed, one must show that each argumen t one deconstructs provides no warrant for its conclusion at all. The real task is therefore to show that, of two opposing sets of arguments, the position you are criticizin g has less (or at least, no more) to be said in its favour, all things considered, than the position you are defending. The allegation that no theistic arguments work is ultimately one that can only b e challenged by producing theistic arguments that do work. However, we must be var y careful about what we mean by an argument that works . An argument that works must be a logically valid argument, and to be sound its premises must be true. H owever, neither the validity nor the soundness of an argument will necessarily be eviden t to everyone who considers it. Of course, the more obvious the validity and soundnes s of an argument are, the better for the apologist. However, the fact that not everyone may get a particular argument is insufficient to justify ignoring it if we get it. It is t he job of objections, not aspersions, to convince us that an argument is unsound.103 As C. Stephen Evans notes: Many different versions of each of these [theistic] arguments have been proposed, and some differ radically from others in the same category. For this reason alone one should be wary of claims to have given a final refutation of on e of these types of arguments. 104 Atheism posited on the basis that there is insufficient evidence stands before t he constant possibility that new evidence, or a better formulation and appreciation of old evidence, just might turn up. Moreover, it should be remembered that evidence is not always necessary for rational belief (there is no justification for belief in th e law of noncontradiction that does not beg-the-question. With the law of noncontradictio n disbelief is self-contradictory, but proof is question-begging). The lack of evidence objection is sometimes framed by arguing that if God existed He would likely make His existence obvious, but since God s existence is n ot obvious (at least, not to everyone), God probably doesn t exist. Aside from calling upon the concept of sinful wish-fulfilment to explain why people may be expected to hide from what they perceive of God, the theist can qu estion the premise that God is not sufficiently obvious for His purposes: if God were to make the truths of the faith evident to us in too forceful a way, it would be tantamo unt to the

coercion one experiences when threatened by a mugger. 105 On the other hand, God cannot leave the truths of the faith entirely hidden from us either. 106 Thus, the epistemic forcefulness of the truth of Christianity must fall somewhere short of what cons titutes coercion, leaving creatures free to determine their own course in a morally sign ificant way, but somewhere beyond total absence of evidence, in order to ensure that the creatures can make a decision responsibly. 107 I would say that there is sufficien t 103 On what makes for a good theistic argument, cf. Stephen T. Davies, God, Reas on & Theistic Proof, (Edinburgh University Press). 104 C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy of Religion, (IVP, 1984), p45. 105 Michael J. Murray, Seek and You will Find , God and the Philosophers, ed. Thoma s V. Morris, (Oxford, 1994), p69. 106 ibid, p69. 107 ibid, p70. 22

evidence for anyone who is 1) willing to look for it and 2) willing, having foun d the evidence, to follow where it leads. Etienne Gilson concludes: Atheists like to denounce the shortcomings of the proofs of God s existence, and many of the proofs are inadequate, but some of them appear convincing to trained metaphysical minds, while there has never been a convincing metaphysical proof that there is no God. 108 In my judgement, the above examples of atheological apologetics are unconvincing. Norman L. Geisler seems to me to be correct when he writes of athe ism that: First, its arguments are invalid and often self-defeating. Second, many ath eistic arguments are really reversible into reasons for believing in God. Finally, athe ism provides no solution to basic metaphysical questions regarding the existence of the universe or the origin of personality. . . 109 All in all I agree with Scott Shalk owski that: if one takes up the task of providing sound arguments for atheism, formidable difficulties arise. . . It appears that an atheist has a systematically difficul t time in showing that it is not possible for God to exist or that it is not possible for God to exist in a world that is much like ours. . . 110 It is thus small wonder that Even opponents of religious faith are coming to resp ect its rational integrity. 111 Hence it is time to turn towards a discussion of the theis tic evidence. Light at the End of the Tunnel Most people (and that includes most Christians, let alone most agnostics or athe ists) fail to appreciate the strength and breadth of the available evidence for the existen ce of God. For example, in my experience most introductory philosophy texts (and popular sc ience books that touch upon belief in God) tend to treat only the weakest versions of the traditional theistic arguments. However, contemporary thinkers of the first rank (such as William P. Alston, Alvin Plantinga, John Polkinghorne and Richard Swinburne) can be found defending each and every one of the traditional arguments with at least as m uch acumen as arguments advanced for any other conclusion in any other field of mode rn Philosophy or Science: Nor is it sufficient to examine just one form of a particu lar argument, for in the history of ideas many different forms of one basic type of argument have been given, some of which hold more promise than others. 112

For example, Stephen C. Meyer notes that: During the last thirty years the idea of design has undergone a renaissance in some scientific and philosophical circl es. 113 As J.P.Moreland explains: 108 Etienne Gilson, The Idea of God and the Difficulties of Atheism , Philosophy To day 13 (Fall): 174205, (1969), reprinted from Great Ideas Today 1969 by Encyclopaedia Britannica. 109 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1976), p234-235. 110 Scott A. Shalkowski, op cit, p65. 111 Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach & David Basinger, Philos ophy of Religion Selected Readings, (Oxford, 1996), Introduction. 112 Terry L. Miethe, Does God Exist? A Believer and an Atheist Debate, (Harper C ollins, 1991), p128. 113 Stephen C. Meyer, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p67. 23

It may be easy to dismiss the abstract statement Living organisms have an order that point to a designer. It is another thing altogether to look at the details o f the cell, a DNA molecule, the eye or the development of a monarch butterfly, and to dismiss them as irrelevant as evidence for theism. In other words, the design argument does not merely appeal to the fact of different kinds of design to make its case. The real case comes from the degree, intensity, delicacy and texture o f the details of those examples of design. . . the fact that there are so many dif ferent kinds of design gives the argument greater strength by providing a broader range of data for the argument to utilize. 114 Moreover, as William Lane Craig writes: In addition to these traditional arguments, new arguments often very creative, like [Robert] Adam s argument from colors and flavors are being put forward. [Alvin] Plantinga has presented a paper Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments, and complains that philosophers have too often been preoccupied with traditional arguments and have not availed themselves of the wider resources that support a theistic world view. 115 This is my attempt to make available to a more general readership not only a contemporary defence of the traditional arguments for God, but those fascinating wider resources as well. For example, few have paid attention to how the aesthetic nature of the Creator explains the strong aesthetic components of life. 116 I will pay attention to a range of aesthetic arguments for God. In fact, I have sought to b ring together every argument that I consider a useful contribution to the overall evi dence for theism. Some of these arguments are undoubtedly more useful than others, but all , I believe, posses merit. I suspect that someone reading the weaker arguments given here (for example, the argument from angels I kid you not) may be apt to think that I am a desperate ma n clutching at straws; but it would be a mistake to allow this impression to dissu ade one of their force, let alone the force of the overall case for God. If arguments for G od are a luxury, some are more frivolous a luxury than others; but they should not on thi s score be ignored. Besides, just as many weak strands may together be woven into a strong rope, so many weak arguments for God may add up to a formidable apologetic. I consider each and every one of these arguments to be intrinsically interesting , however little they may contribute to the rationality of theistic belief, becaus e (leaving aside the ontological argument) each piece of evidence demonstrates, to one degr ee or another, a connection between God and His creation. In this way, reading these

arguments can bring us to a greater appreciation of God. Indeed, it is important to note that since the arguments demonstrate links between different aspects of reality and the reality of God, they lead us to different divine attributes. Thus a weak theisti c argument 114 J.P.Moreland, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p25. 115 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Belief, (Crossway, 1994), p91. Cf. Alvin Plan tinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments 116 Kurt P. Wise, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p233. 24

that requires support from other arguments to make such a link plausible may sti ll be of vital importance in demonstrating something about the nature of God. There are arguments for the existence of God that I have not included because I do not think they work. Nevertheless, several of these other arguments are defen ded with considerable erudition by respectable scholars, and since my low opinion of thes e arguments may be mistaken, I would encourage you to examine them for yourself.11 7 There may also be arguments for God that I simply haven t come across or thought to include. If anyone thinks they have such an argument, I d be delighted to hear from them. I should also note that some of the following is taken or adapted fro m my first book, The Case for God (Monarch, 1999) which took a more detailed look at the problem of evil, at a narrower range of arguments for God (arguments from moral value, dependency, design, consent, authority, experience and the absurdity of life in a Godless universe), and at non-evidential reasons to believe in God (William James The Will to Believe and Pascal s Wager arguments). The arguments for God could be categorized in any number of ways, but I will present them under the following headings: 1) 2) 3) 4) Ontological & Conceptual arguments Cosmological arguments (from Dependency and Contingency) Axiological arguments (arguments from moral and aesthetic value) Design arguments (including arguments from analogy, teleology, mathematics,

proper function, evolution, DNA and from Sex) 5) Arguments from the Human Mind 6) Experiential Arguments (arguments from religious experience of various kinds) 7) The argument from Meaning 8) Arguments from Belief (Consent and Authority), and 9) Arguments from the Supernatural (arguments from Angels, Miracles fulfilled prophecy and the resurrection - and the identity of Jesus). From this list alone it will be seen that there is a vast range and array of pur ported evidence for the existence of God. This fact chimes with the perceptive comments of G.K.Chesterton: If I am asked, as a purely intellectual question, why I believe in Christianity, I can only answer [that] I believe in it quite rationally upon the evidence. But t he evidence in my case. . . is not really in this or that alleged demonstration; it is in an enormous accumulation of small but unanimous facts. 118


Theism (let alone Christian theism) does not merely provide one more entity to b elieve in, but an entire worldview; and this entails seeing reality in a way radically different to 117 The Kalam Cosmological argument immediately comes to mind: cf. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Crossway Books); William Lane Craig & Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism & B ig Bang Cosmology, (Oxford, 1995); &J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). See also arguments not defended here that can be found in the following: Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995); J.P.Moreland ed., The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994); & Alvin Plantinga Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments . 118 G.K.Chesterton, Orthodoxy, (London: John Lane, 1909), p264-265 25

the way it is perceived by the atheist or agnostic. Looking at a flower, the ath eist may see a purposeless arrangement of matter that subjectively stirs their emotions, the existence of which tracks back through an unintended natural process to an impersonal brut e fact or an infinite regress of contingent facts. I see an objectively beautiful product which meaningfully contributes to an intended natural process the existence of which t racks back to the existence of a personal creator. However, this is not a matter of different forms of life or language games hermetically sealed against the judgement of reason. Our common commitment to re ason (in practice even if not in theory) and experience (even differently interpreted experience is experience of the same reality interpreted differently we both see a flower and is open to revision in the light of further experience and rational reflection) for ms common ground upon which rational debate can take place. Few if any of the theistic arguments are capable of carrying the case for God s existence on their own; but it is also to be noted that they constitute an embar rassment of riches. For example, to justify belief in God conceived as the all-good, all-pow erful and intelligent creator of the cosmos, a combination of arguments drawn from the cat egories of cosmological, moral and design arguments would seem to be more than sufficien t, given only that each argument was sound.119 You may like to study the arguments with a pencil in hand to mark each argument as to its force. You could award marks out of five (with a 0 denoting that an ar gument completely fails to provide any support for theism and 5 denoting that an argume nt is completely convincing within the limits it sets itself). When you have finished you could then work out an average score for the theistic case (you could also carry out t his exercise with respect to the atheological apologetics considered earlier and compare your scores). With this in mind, it may be useful here to provide what Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli call a mini-lesson in logic: The inherent structure of human reason manifests itself in three acts of the mind : 1) understanding, 2) judging and 3) reasoning. These three acts of the mind are expressed in 1) terms, 2) propositions and 3) arguments. Terms are either clear or unclear. Propositions are either true or untrue. Arguments are either logically valid or invalid. A term is clear if it is intelligible and unambiguous. A proposition is true if it corresponds to reality, if it says what is. An argumen t is valid if the conclusion follows necessarily from the premise. If all the terms i

n an argument are clear, and if all the premises are true, and if the argument is fre e from logical fallacy, then the conclusion must be true. There are the essential rules of reason. . . They are not rules of a game we invented and can change. They are rules of reality. . . To disagree with the conclusion of any argument, it must be shown that either an ambiguous term or false premise or logical fallacy exists in the argument. 120 119 This combination of arguments is commonly employed in shorter defences of th e existence of God: cf. W. David Beck, God s Existence , in In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 1997), & Steve Kumar, Christianity for Sceptics, (John Hunt, 2000). 120 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995). 26

To reject the conclusion of a valid argument (one containing no logical fallacy and no terminological ambiguity) one must reject the truth of at least one premi se of that argument. Valid arguments act like balance scales, asking you which, on balance, you are going to reject, the conclusion or a premise? A valid argument will convince anyone who finds it harder to reject any of its premises than it is to accept the concl usion. As Alvin Plantinga has pointed out, a sound argument can actually reduce someone fr om knowledge to ignorance by using true premises they previously believed for a con clusion they dislike enough to reject a premise to avoid. The more plausible the data on e must deny in order to avoid a conclusion, the less plausible one s denial becomes. As we have already noted, individual clues (such as finger-prints on the murder weapon, opportunity, or motive) may not warrant conviction in a court of law; bu t it would be wrong to dismiss the case for the prosecution by arguing that each of t heir clues taken individually failed to make their case. The right approach is to consider what judgement all the clues warrant when they are taken together. The moral argument may not prove the existence of an intelligent designer, the design argument may not prove the existence of an all-good God, and the cosmological argument may not on its own w arrant belief in a God who is either good or intelligent. However, each of these argume nts contributes a piece of the evidence in favour of an intelligent and all-good cre ator. J.P.Moreland asks what it means to say that belief in God is rational: Two senses of rationality are relevant to this question. A belief P can be ration al in the sense that it is a rationally permissible belief. A belief P is permissib le in case believing P is just as warranted as believing not-P or suspending judgement regarding P in light of the evidence. A belief P can also be rational in the sen se that it is a rationally obligatory belief. A belief P is obligatory if believing P has greater warrant than believing not-P or suspending judgement regarding P in ligh t of the evidence. 121 Taken together, I believe the following arguments for God constitute a powerful case that at least makes belief rationally permissible, and which, moreover, mak es belief in God rationally obligatory. In other words, I think that anyone who truly appr eciates the inherent and combined weight of these arguments, but rejects the conclusion that God exists, is being unreasonable. Of course, there are many possible intellectual a

nd personal factors that might obscure the worth of these arguments from someone; s o I wouldn t expect these arguments to convince everyone who examines them, even if my assessment of their worth is correct. As Geisler and Corduan observe: In order for a proof to be persuasive there must be a cooperation of the will wit h the mind. If one is unwilling to look at a proof, unwilling to accept any proof, unwilling to accept the validity of a proof as applied to God, or unwilling to accept the God the proof concludes, then one will not be persuaded by theistic arguments. On the other hand, persons of good will who are seeking the truth wil l be persuaded by good reasoning [just as long as they are able to grasp that reasoning]. 122 121 J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). 122 Norman L. Geisler & Winfried Corduan, Philosophy of Religion, p88. 27

This is the task to which we must now apply ourselves. Resources: Books are graded for accessibility and sophistication as follows: (1) introducto ry, (2) intermediate, and (3) advanced. Faith, Reason and Apologetics: J.P.Moreland, Philosophical Apologetics, the Church, and Contemporary Culture (2) Alvin Plantinga, Christian Philosophy At The End Of The 20th Century @ (2) @

Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls, C.S.Lewis & Francis Schaeffer, Lessons for a N ew Century form the Most Influential Apologists of Our Time, (IVP, 1998). (2) Steven B Cavan ed., Five Views on Apologetics, (Zondervan). (2) Stephen T. Davies, God, Reason & Theistic Proof, (Edinburgh University Press). ( 2) Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1976). (2) Norman L. Geisler & Paul D. Feinberg, Introduction to Philosophy, (Baker). (1) Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism, (IVP, 2000). (2) Peter Kreeft, Fundamentals of the Faith Essays in Christian Apologetics, (Ignati us). (1) Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995 ). (1) Alister McGrath, Bridge-Building Communicating Christianity Effectively, (IVP, 1 992). (1) Atheological arguments -expository: A.J.Ayer, Language, Truth & Logic, (Penguin, 1990). (1) Antony Flew & Terry Miethe, Does God Exist?, (Harper & Collins, 1991). (3) J.L.Mackie, The Miracle of Theism, (Oxford, 1982). (3) Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, (Temple University Press , 1990). (2) Kai Nielsen & J.P.Moreland, Does God Exist?, (Promethius, 1993). (2) Robin Le Poidevin, Arguing for Atheism, (Routledge, 1996). (2) Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian, (Routledge). (1) -critical: Paul C. Vitz, The Psychology of Atheism @ ml (1) 28

Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1976). (2) C.S.Lewis, The Pilgrim s Regress, (Fount). (1) Terry Miethe & Antony Flew, Does God Exist?, (Harper Collins, 1991). (3) J.P.Moreland & Kai Nielsen, Does God Exist?, (Promethius, 1993). (2) Michael J. Murray ed., Reason for the Hope Within, (Eerdmans, 1999), esp. John O Leary-Hawthorn, Arguments for Atheism . (2) Philip J. Sampson, Six Modern Myths Challenging Christian Faith, (IVP, 2000). (1 ) Scott A. Shalkowski, Atheological Apologetics , in Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology, ed. R. Douglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman, (Oxford, 1992 ). (2) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999), Chapter One, Evil . (2) Philosophical Theology The Nature of God

The Problem of

Dr. William Lane Craig has an excellent Home Page brimming with articles, includ ing articles on divine eternity and omniscience @ (2-3) Gregory Boyd, God of the Possible, (Baker, 2000). (1) C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy of Religion Thinking about Faith, (IVP, 1984). (1) Terry Miethe & Antony Flew, Does God Exist?, (Harper Collins, 1991). (2) Thomas V. Morris, Our Idea of God An Introduction to Philosophical Theology, (No tre Dame, 1991). (2) Clark Pinnock et al, The Openness of God, (IVP). (1) W.A.Pratney, The Nature and Character of God The Magnificent Doctrine of God in Understandable Language, (Bethany House, 1988). (1) Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro, A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, (Blackwell, 1999). (2) Richard Swinburne, The Christian God, (Oxford, 1994). (3) Keith Ward, Religion & Creation, (Oxford, 1996). (3) A Wider Case for God 1) Ontological & Conceptual Arguments The following arguments take as their starting point the very idea of God ; arguing from the nature of the idea of divinity that God cannot be merely a concept in our mind s, but must refer to an objectively existent being. The ontological argument (OA) was first conceived by Anselm of Canterbury (AD 10 331109). The OA starts with a conceptual definition of God from which a conclusion in favour of God s existence is reached a priori; that is, without using claims that can be 29

confirmed or falsified by empirical investigation (as is the case with a posteri ori arguments such as the design arguments). An OA claims to provide an intuitively obvious definition of divinity acceptable to theist and atheist alike but which, in conjunction with other equally obvious assertions, demands (on pain of selfcontradiction) the conclusion that God objectively exists. An OA is thus the philosophical equivalent of doing the whole thing in one in a game of charades. Anselm distinguished between in intellectu (in the mind) and in re (in actuality ) existence; existence within the mind, and existence outside the mind. This disti nction corresponds to the distinction between subjective and objective facts. A subject ive fact is a fact in intellectu, and is relative to the individual mind or to a collection of minds (in which case it is an inter-subjective fact). An objective fact is a fact in re, a fact that does not depend upon the mental states of an individual mind or minds. That is, an ob jective fact does not require an in intellectu existence for the assertion that it is a fact to be true. Indeed, objective facts cannot have in intellectu existence, just as subjective facts cannot have in re existence. (This is an observation that will prove crucial when consi dering the first form of the OA.) The basic assertion of the OA s is that God is not merely a concept with an in intellectu, wholly subjective or inter-subjective existence, but must have an in re, objective existence. In prayer at the start of Proslogion II Anselm writes: And so, Lord, do thou. . . give me. . . to understand that thou art as we believe; and that thou art that w hich we believe. 123 What, asks Philosopher Stephen T. Davies, is it that we believe? It is, surely, that God signifies: a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. 124 This term, says Davies, surely either has no referent at all or else has as its r eferent God or a God-like being .125 Davies suggests that by a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. 126 Anselm meant, the greatest being that it is logically possible for any conceiver to conceive of. 127 He dubs such a being the Greatest Conceivable Being, or GCB for s hort. Davies proceeds to distinguish the GCB from the greatest possible being (GPB) and asks, Are the limits of conceivability equal to the limits of possibility? 128 By po ssible Davies means logically possible .129 It seems to me that whether or not the limits of the conceivable equal the limits of the possible depends upon the rationality of the conceivers involved. After all, on Anselm s own account at least one logical impossibility can be conceived ,130 i.e., the non-existence of God!

For Anselm, conceiving of God as nothing but a uninstantiated concept (that is, a subjective, in intellectu fact) results from a failure to conceive of God with s ufficient clarity. In other words, people who believe in the impossibility of time-travel view people who claim to be able to accurately conceive of time-travel in the same wa y Anselm viewed people who claim to be able to accurately conceive of God without Hi s 123 Anselm, quoted by Stephen T. Davies, God, Reason & Theistic Proof, (Edinburg h University Press, 1997), p16-17. 124 ibid, p17. 125 ibid. 126 ibid, p17. 127 ibid. 128 ibid. 129 ibid, p18. 130 ibid, p19. 30

existing. In both cases, one side would say to the other something like: You just haven t thought your position through carefully enough; the very concept of time-travel/ God s non-existence is self-contradictory/incoherent. An accurate conception of something is: a conception that does not contain or entail any logical incoherence. It is not possible to accurately conceive the lo gically impossible. However, it is possible to suppose that one has accurately conceived of something which is in fact logically impossible, and which one cannot therefore have conceived at all (let alone accurately). In other words, one s supposedly accurate conception can be inaccurate in a way crucial to one s having missed the incoheren ce and hence impossibility of that which one believes one has conceived. Given that time-travel is logically impossible, it must be impossible to accurat ely conceive of time-travel, because there is no such thing to be accurately conceiv ed. Likewise, if it is logically impossible that God does not exist in re, then it i s logically impossible for anyone to accurately conceive of God not existing in re. If any O A is sound, anyone who claims to accurately conceive of God , while at the same time believing that God is not instantiated in re, is simply inaccurately conceiving God . This seems to be the basic claim that underlies the OA. It appears then that the term conceive is ambiguous, meaning either: 1) Having a supposedly accurate (but inaccurate) conception of X , or 2) Having an accurate conception of X . The first sense involves attempted acts of conception which fail in a manner that leads to the mistaken belief that the concept involved is coherent. The second sense involves acts of conceptualisation which are accurate, in the sense that they do not mistakenly take the logically impossible to be logically possible. An exhaustive conceptualisation is a conceptualisation of some thing that accurately encompasses every knowable fact about that thing. Accurate concepts n eed not be exhaustive. A concept may fall short of exhaustiveness in a manner that d oes not lead to the mistaken belief that the subject of conception is a logically possib le fact. This is a good thing, because it is doubtful that many human acts of conceptualisatio n are exhaustive. Davies stipulates that conceivability equals possibility , and so feels no compunction in using the term GCB in my discussion of the OA. 131 In the terminolo gy developed above, Davies stipulates that conceivability equals accurately conceivabl e (but not necessarily exhaustively so). Thus the GCB equals the greatest accurately

conceivable (i.e. logically possible) being , and so reveals itself to be identica l with the GPB. As this definition stands, it does not stipulate that the GCB is actually accura tely conceived by anyone. However, the GCB must be defined as the greatest conceived being, because a being that does not accurately conceive of its own being would not qualify as the GCB, since a being that did conceive of itself would surely be gr eater than one that did not. The GCB is therefore automatically the greatest conceived bein g, because it must accurately conceive of itself. Even if the GCB is The greatest ac curately conceivable and conceived being , the OA requires not only that the GCB is the gre atest conceivable being and the greatest conceived being (even if only by itself), but also that we actually and accurately conceive it (although not exhaustively). 131 ibid. 31

If our conception of GCB is merely a supposedly accurate conception, then it is an inaccurate conception and represents a logical impossibility. Of course, our having an inaccurate concept of GCB does not prevent the existence of the GCB if there is an accurate concept of it to be had by any conceiver capable of possessing it. All that the definition GCB demands is that the GCB accurately conceives itself if it exists. However, what the OA demands as an argument is that we possess an accurate (thou ght not necessarily exhaustive) conception of the GCB. Thus Leibniz was correct to p oint out that the OA requires as a necessary condition of its soundness the coherence of the concept GCB : it is tacitly assumed wrote Leibniz, that this idea of the all-great or all-perfect being is possible, and implies no contradiction. 132 This was, however , Leibniz s only criticism of the OA, for he noted that: it is already something that by this remark it is proved that, assuming that God is possible, he exists, which is the privilege of deity alone. 133 This last remark points towards the second form of the OA that I will investigate. If God does exist in re then clearly some conceptions of His being will be more accurate than others; and clearly the intended subject of any supposed conceptio n of God is the actual God (those who worshiped Zeus did not think they were worshippin g anything very much like God at all, nor do they intend to do so). Hence, as Richar d M. Gale writes: there is considerable room for conceptual manoeuvring when a given theory of God s nature runs afoul of an atheological [anti-God] argument, just as there is when a scientific theory faces anomalous facts. 134 Differing human definitions of God have sufficient overlap to enable them to refer to the same being even if they a re all inexhaustive, or even incoherent (for incoherent concepts can still contain some truth even if they are false when taken as a whole). I admit that it is possible that my concept of God is incoherent. I nevertheless affirm that there exists a coherent concept of God (at least within the mind of God!) because I affirm that God exists (although not perhaps in exactly the manner in which I conceive of His being). Defining God as The personal ultimate reality or The creator of the cosmos is sufficient to allow accurate reference to God. These concepts are necessary to t he concept God , but not sufficient even to the extent of fullness available to human understanding. Any being that is not personal, or ultimate, or the creator of th e cosmos is not God , whatever it is. Although some of these conditions are not sufficient to p

ick out the concept of God (I am a personal being), they are all necessary (no non-p ersonal being could qualify as God). As Gale notes, the idea that God is a powerful, bene volent being that is eminently worthy of worship and obedience [is an essential] hard co re 135 within the concept of God . It has already been noted that accurate conceptions need not be exhaustive, but only conceptions which do not fail to notice any logical impossibility that atta ches to the concept in question precisely because there is no logical impossibility attached to the concept in question. This means that while humans cannot possess an exhaustive c oncept 132 Leibniz, from The New Essays Concerning Human Understanding , in Alvin Planting a ed: The Ontological Argument, p55. 133 ibid. 134 Richard Gale, On the Nature and Existence of God, p4. 135 ibid, p6. 32

of God, we can possess a sufficient definition and conception of God to allow ac curate reference and conceptualisation, whether of the concept or the actuality (given God s actuality) of the divine being. As Thomas V. Morris says, We should never expect to arrive at a complete or comprehensive knowledge concerning God. But ultimate incompleteness of information is compatible here, as it often is elsewhere, with much correctness of belief. 136 We do not face any insurmountable problem in using the concept GCB . Davies helpfully discusses the nature of the great-making or [that is] God-like making property. 137 A great-making property (which Davies designates as G-propert ies) is one which, all other things being equal, makes the thing that possesses it nec essarily greater than a thing that lacks that property.138 For example, Davies argues that being red-headed is not a G-property because a red-headed being is not (other things be ing equal) necessarily greater or more Godlike than a non-red-headed being. 139 Howeve r, some properties clearly are relevant to the greatness or God-likeness of the bein gs that have them. 140 For example, The property of being all-powerful is a G-property because an all-powerful being is (other things being equal) necessarily greater o r more Godlike than a being that is not all-powerful. 141 Davies proceeds to distinguish between properties that admit of degrees and properties that do not.142 Of properties that admit of different degrees, we can further distinguish properties that admit of a maximal degree, and properties that do no t. Properties that do not admit of different degrees necessarily admit only one deg ree, which is necessarily the maximal degree (as well as the minimal degree) in which that property can be instantiated; i.e. it is that degree of the property in question which is the only possible degree of that property (e.g. being a prime number ). Being a prime number is not a property that admits of different degrees, since a being either possesses t his property or it does not. 143 The property of being tall admits of degrees because on e person can be taller than another tall person. The property of being tall admits o f degrees in that there is no logically maximum degree of tallness: no mater how ta ll we imagine a tall person to be we can always imagine a taller person. 144 On the othe r hand, the property of being powerful 145, both admits of different degrees (A is more pow erful than B) and admits a maximal case, the case of being all-powerful: A being who is . . . omnipotent at a given time is roughly a being who can bring about any state of a ffairs

that it is not logically impossible for that being to bring about at that time. This is a degree of power that cannot be bested. 146 Omnipotence is therefore a G-property. All the G-properties attributed to God must be of a variety that admits of a maximal case 147, whether or not they are of the variety that admits of different degrees. 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 33 Thomas V. Morris, Our Idea of God, (Cornell University Press), p26. Stephen T. Davies, op cit, p18. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid, p18. ibid, p20.

We can therefore say that the GCB is that being which possesses the greatest logi cally compossible set of G-properties , properties (such as being morally-good , being powerful and being knowledgeable ) that admit of maximal cases. As Thomas V. Morris writes, God is a being with the greatest possible array of compossible gre atmaking properties. , where An array or collection of properties is compossible just in case it is possible that they all be had by the same individual at the same time . . . 148 Taking the concept of the greatest possible being and conjoining it with the distinction between in intellectu and in re facts, Anselm basically argues as fo llows: 1) God means the greatest possible being [GPB]. 2) God [GPB] exists in my mind [in intellectu]. 3) It is greater to exist in reality [in re] than in the mind alone [in intellec tu]. 4) Therefore God [GPB] must exist in reality [in re]. Some Unsuccessful Objections Kant famously objected that existence is not a property, but rather the necessary requirement for anything exhibiting any properties in the first place: Being he wr ote, is obviously not a real predicate; that is, it is not a concept of something whic h could be added to the concept of a thing. 149 David Hume had already made a similar point, although not in connection with OA s: The idea of existence , he said, when conjoined with the idea of any object, makes no addition to it. 150 However, once we have distinguished various types of existence as Anselm does (e.g. in intellectu/in r e, objective/subjective, contingent/necessary, dependent/independent, caused/uncaus ed, etc.) it clearly is something which could be added to the concept of a thing to pr edicate of that thing one or other of these types of existence. As Aquinas said: So adding something to what exists means expressing some way in which what exists exists not expressed in the word existing . . . the way expressed can be a special way of existing. For existing can have different levels which correspond to different ways of existing and define different categories of thing. 151 For example, there is a clear difference between subjective and objective moral values. Likewise, there is a vast difference between a subjective and an objective God! Therefore, attributing a particular type of existence to a fact is a genuine cas e of predication, and Kant s objection to Anselm s OA fails. 148 Thomas V. Morris, op cit, p35 & 37. 149 Kant, from The Critique of Pure Reason , in Alvin Plantinga ed: The Ontological Argument,

Macmillan, 1968, p61. 150 David Hume, I ii 6; quoted by Nicholas Everitt, Ontological Arguments . 151 Thomas Aquinas, Quaesiones Disputate de Veritate, Question 1: Aquinas Select ed Philosophical Writings, p53. Peter van Inwagen agrees that: necessary existence is a property, in just the sense that mere existence is not (if Kant is right) a property. . . necessary existence cannot b e said not to be a property at all. . . it seems clear that whatever may be the case with mere existence, necessary existence can be an ingredient in a concept. - Necessary being: The Ontological Argument in Philosophy of Religion - The Big Questions, p72. 34

A Successful Objection The central problem with the first OA is its treatment of subjective mental (in in tellectu) and objective (in re) existence as two modes in which one and the same fact may exist, when it is clear that they should be treated as two different types of existence in which different types of fact, and only different types of fact, may exist. This mista ke enters the argument in premise 2, which says that: God [GPB] exists in my mind [in intellect u]. This is a false premise, because it is not God [GPB] that exists in the mind, bu t the concept God [GPB]. To move from the GPB existing in the mind as premise 2 asserts, to its existing in reality as the conclusion asserts, one and the same fa ct must be represented by the term GPB across the board, which patently is not (and cannot be ) the case. I therefore conclude that the first Anselmian OA is unsound. It might be thought odd that I would begin a discussion of the evidence for God with an unsound argument. I have done so because it is nevertheless an argument that gives us our best definition of what we mean by God , and our discussion of it lays the groundwork for a much more interesting ontological argument. The Second Ontological Argument Along with several other twentieth century commentators on Anselm (such as Theol ogian Karl Barth and Philosopher Norman Malcolm), Stephen T. Davies believes that Anse lm s Proslogion actually contains two distinct versions of the OA, despite there bein g no evidence that Anselm himself saw the two arguments as logically distinct. 152 Anselm carries forward the definition of God as that than which nothing greater can be conceived 153 (Or the GPB as I prefer.) Anselm then says: Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. But this is an irreconcilable contradiction. There is, then, so truly a being than which nothin g greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even be conceived not to exist ; and this being thou art, O Lord, our God. 154 This argument can be formulated thus: 1. Either the GPB exists or the GPB does not exist. 2. If the GPB exists, its existence is necessary. 3. If the GPB does not exist, its existence is impossible. 4. The GPB is not an impossible thing. 5. Therefore, the GPB s existence is necessary. 6. Therefore, the GPB exists. 152 Stephen T. Davies, op cit, p139.

153 ibid. 154 Anselm, quoted by Stephen T. Davies, p139-140. 35

The first premise, as Davies notes seems beyond reproach 155 since it is simply substitution-instance of. . . the Law of the Excluded Middle. . . 156 Premise two assumes that facts can be divided into those that are necessary and those that are not necessary (and are therefore contingent), and that necessary existence is greater than unnecessary (contingent) existence. The assumption that facts are e ither necessary or not necessary is once again a substitution-instance of the law of t he excluded middle. A fact is a necessary fact if it is a fact that cannot not be a fact. If a fact is not a necessary fact, then it is an unnecessary, which is to say contingent , fact. Is necessary facthood greater than contingent facthood per se? Davies asserts th at no [GPB] can be a contingently existing thing like you or me or the trees outside . 157 His justification for this assertion runs as follows: Since no contingently exist ing being can be the [GPB] (all contingent beings depend for their existence on some other being or beings), it follows that if the [GPB] exists the [GPB] is a necessary being.). 158 The thought is that a being that does not depend on anything for its existence is su rely greater than a being that does depend on other things for its existence. Premise three is true because there are only two sorts of non-existing things: contingently non-existing things and impossible things. 159 Anselm, says Davies: cleverly recognised that no [GPB] can be a contingently non-existing thing like a unicorn because then it could be brought into existence by something else and if it were to be brought into existence, it would be dependent for its existence on that thing [or those things] and so would not be the [GPB]. Thus if the [GPB] fails to exist, it must be an impossible thing rather than a contingently nonexi sting thing. 160

Davies argues that premise four is true, because there seems to be no contradiction or other sort of incoherence in the notion or concept of the [GPB] or in the words that than which nothing greater can be conceived . 161 He admits: It might be difficult to prove that these concepts are coherent, but they surely seem to be so. 162 So he goes on: Assuming that the [GPB] is a possible being, which follows from its not being an impossible being, it follows from premises (1), (2) and (3) tha t the [GPB] is a necessary being (5) and thus that the [GPB] exists (6). 163 This argument red uces to a simple and obviously logically valid syllogism: 1) If it is possible for God [GPB] to exist, He does exist. 2) It is possible for God [GPB] to exist. 3) Therefore, God [GPB] exists.

155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 36

ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid, p140. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid, p140-141.

By calling this argument logically valid I mean that the conclusion inescapably follows from the premises, in that if the greatest possible being is a possible ex istent, and if such a being must exist if it is possible for Him to exist, then He must exist. Suppose this argument is not only logically valid, but sound (i.e. if the premis es are both true); how far does it get the theist? We have already seen that the GPB is a being with the greatest possible set of great making properties: properties which admit of maximal cases and which a bei ng is the greater for having than not for having, all other things being equal. Power certainly seems to be just such a property, and so we must attribute to the GPB maximal po wer and say that God is omnipotent. Goodness would also seem to be a great-making property. A being that is morally superior to another being is, all other things being equal, greater than that ot her being. Does moral goodness admit of a maximal degree? All things being equal, a being t hat never does wrong is surely superior to a being that does wrong, and so the GPB m ust be a being that does no wrong. A being cannot do less wrong than doing no wrong, and so the property of being such as to never do wrong clearly does admit of a maximal case. Therefore, the GPB must be totally good, at least in the sense of being such so as never to do wrong. A being that never does wrong is necessarily a being that only does go od, and a being that only does good must be a being that does anything that it is morall y obligatory that it do. Therefore, the GPB never does wrong, only and always does good, and unfailingly fulfils any and all moral obligations it has. We must, then, att ribute maximal moral goodness to the GPB.164 I have doubts about the possibility of literal omniscience as some theologians a nd philosophers spell it out, but there are at least certain areas of knowledge whi ch admit of maximal degrees - for example, knowing about the past and present (including the number of hairs on my head at this moment in time!) - and in so far as knowledge admits of maximal degrees, the GPB must be thought of as possessing such maximal knowle dge. The conclusion of this second OA is therefore that there exists a necessary, independent being which possesses maximal degrees of power, goodness and knowled ge; and as Aquinas said at the end of his proofs for the existence of God, this all c all God . At a first glance then, this second OA succeeds where the first failed. An objection

In a notorious paper entitled Can God s Existence be Disproved? , Philosopher J.N.Findlay attempted to reverse the OA into a disproof of God s existence, which he claimed was either senseless or impossible. 165 Findlay wrote that: It was indeed an ill day for Anselm when he hit upon his famous proof. For on that day he not only la id bare something that is of the essence of an adequate religious object [i.e. it must e xist necessarily], but also something that entails its necessary non-existence. 166 Fin dlay argued that, since God must exist necessarily if He exists at all, and since no statement 164 It should be noted, however, that this definition does not rule out the logi cal possibility that God may have to choose the lesser of two evils given the right context. For example, it has often been argued that the great good that is free will justifies God in creating beings with free will and allowing them to exercise that free will, even when they choose to do evil. 165 Can God s Existence be Disproved? , In Alvin Plantinga ed. The Ontological Argume nt, p119. 166 ibid, p120, my italics. 37

about existence can be necessary, then the only way in which God could exist is impossible, and God therefore necessarily fails to exist: In short, if there is a God then he must necessarily exist, for to exist continge ntly would mean that he is not really God. But nothing can exist necessarily, since necessity does not apply to existence; necessity is a characteristic of proposit ions but never of reality. Hence, the only way God could exist - if there were one is the very way he cannot exist. The existence of a necessary Being (God) is therefore impossible. 167 One of the premises of this purported ontological disproof is that No statements about existence are necessary. Following Kant, Findlay held that necessity is a characteristic of propositions but not of reality (a premise that contradicts th e cosmological argument). However, if this statement is true, then it also applies to itself. Either the statement that No statements about existence are necessary is itself necessary, or not. If it is meant to be necessary, then it is self-defeating: for in that case it is a necessary statement about existence claiming that no necessary statement s about existence can be made. 168 On the other hand, if the statement that No statements a bout existence are necessary is not itself a necessary statement about existence, then it is possible that some necessary statements about existence can be made. 169 But this is just what the OA claims, that God exists : is a necessary statement about what exists 170. Findlay s challenge to the OA therefore fails: The atheist cannot rule out. . . in advance the possibility of making necessary statements about existence without making a necessary statement about existence, which would be self-defeating. The alleged ontological disproof backfires by eliminating its own ground for asserting what it purports to be the case, namely , a proof about existence that no proofs about existence can be made. If necessary negative statements can be made about existence such as God cannot exist , then why cannot necessary positive statements about existence be made such as God does exist ? 171 At the close of his paper Findlay admitted that: my argument permits a ready inversion. . . one can very well argue that if God s existence is in any way possi ble, then it is also certain and necessary that God exists. . . 172 This is precisely the se cond form of OA. Given the failure of Findlay s attempt to prove that God necessarily fails to exist, and given that it is indeed possible that God exist, then it follows that God ex ists. The validity of this argument is accepted by theists and by atheists. The real point of disagreement is not over the argument s logical validity, or over the premise that God s existence is necessary if possible, but over the truth of the crucial premise th at God s

existence is possible . 167 168 169 170 171 172 nt, 38 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker), p217. ibid, p225. ibid. ibid. ibid. Can God s Existence be Disproved? , In Alvin Plantinga ed. The Ontological Argume p121.

Every theist who agrees that this second OA is logically valid will also agree t hat it is sound, since they believe that God exists and therefore that His existence is possible. Every atheist will, of course, believe that the argument is unsound, even if the y accept that it is valid. The real issue in considering the second OA is therefore whether we can prove, o r at least make it more reasonable to believe than to disbelieve or to suspend jud gement, that it is possible for God to exist. This is a tall order. Since the concept of God can never be known exhaustively by humans, the atheist may always hold as a matter o f blind faith if not philosophical proof that the concept of God of the greatest logical ly possible objective fact - is in some way self-contradictory and thus cannot possibly refe r to anything objective. The second OA shows that to think of God as a being that log ically could exist but contingently does not exist is not an option. Every atheist who accepts the validity of the second OA must deny the second premise by holding that the exist ence of God is impossible. On the other hand, it does seem reasonable to give concepts t he benefit of the doubt, and if this courtesy is extended to the concept of God the n it follows that the benefit of the doubt must be extended to God s existence. Peter van Inwagen agrees that in many areas of thought and inquiry one is entitled to assume that a certain concept is possible - not self-contradictory, not intrinsically impossible - in the absence of any specific argument for its impos sibility, rather as, under Common Law, a person is to be presumed innocent of a charge til l proven guilty. 173 However, he argues that: this cannot be the presumption in any a rea of inquiry in which modal reasoning like that which we have been considering [in th e second ontological argument] is employed. 174 This is because we can imagine the concept of a being that knows there is no Greatest Possible Being, a knowno : If a knowno is not intrinsically impossible, then there is a knowno in some possible world. But then there is a possible world in which there is no perfect being, since, if someone knows something, then what that person knows is true. And, as we have seen, if a perfect being is possible, then there exists a perfec t being in every possible world. It follows that if a knowno is possible, then a perfect being is impossible - and it also follows that if a perfect being is pos sible, then a knowno is impossible. 175 What we have here is a pair of concepts such that if either is possible then the other is impossible. If we applied the general rule, A concept is to be assumed t

o be possible in the absence of a specific argument for its impossibility ,176 we would have to believe that both these concepts were possible, when we know that this is imposs ible. One of these concepts, and only one of these concepts, must be possible. Therefo re: If we wish to evaluate the [second] modal ontological argument. . . there is no alt ernative to attempting to find some specific argument for the conclusion that the concept of a perfect 173 174 175 176 39 Peter van Inwagen, ibid. ibid. ibid. Necessary Being: The Ontological Argument , op cit.

being is possible or else some specific argument for the conclusion that a perfe ct being is impossible. 177 Inwagen s difficulty gets around the seemingly intractable problem that any greatest possible being must by definition be possible, and if possible existent, by pointing out that one can hold that it is impossible for there to be a greatest p ossible being in the first place. What the objector to the second OA must hold then, is t hat the idea of the greatest logically possible objective fact is ultimately incoherent, e ven if we cannot see where that incoherence lies. One might suggest that if there is no greatest logically possible objective fact this must either be because there is no greatest compossible set of G-properties (pro perties that admit of maximal degrees), or else because there simply are no G-properties . Both claims appear to me to be implausible (especially the second claim) but necessar y to the affirmation that the second OA is unsound. Whether one judges the second OA to b e sound or unsound might thus be thought to depend upon differing basic intuitions about the plausibility of the concept of G-properties or the possibility of there bein g a greatest compossible set of such properties. The obvious way for the atheist to argue for these conclusions is to deny (what many atheists deny anyway) that one property can be objectively better than anot her, for the concept of comparative, objective value is essential to the notion of many G properties upon which OA s rely (G-properties being properties a being is the great er or better for having, all other things being equal). Hence we see that ideas of objec tive value (such as ontological and moral goodness) are central to the project of perf ect being theology 178, and so to the concept of divinity. Of course, if no properties are o bjectively better than any others, the atheist cannot say that it is objectively better to believe that God s existence is impossible than it is to believe that it is possible! Inwagen considers and rejects Findlay s objection to the existence of a necessary being: I know of no argument that purports to show that there could not be a nece ssarily existent individual thing. . . and I can see no way of constructing even a plaus ible candidate for such an argument. 179 But this rejection is not in his opinion enoug h to carry the day for the ontological argument. Inwagen s conclusion is that Every vers ion of the [ontological] argument either contains some logical error or other [like the first

Anselmian version] or else depends upon a premise whose claim to truth we are un able to adjudicate [like the second OA]. 180 Unable to adjudicate that is, on home ground , so to speak. Every argument against the actual existence of God (such as the argument from evil) is an argum ent against the actuality of a perfect being, and hence an argument against the poss ibility of such a being, and so an argument for the impossibility of such a being. Likewise , every argument for God s existence is an argument for the existence, and hence the possi bility, and so the necessary existence of, a perfect being. For example, if there is a sound cosmological argument of the sort that deduces the existence of a necessary being from the division of facts into necessary or contingent, the premise that contingent facts require at least one necessary fact to depend upon, and 177 178 179 180 40 ibid. Thomas V. Morris, Our Idea of God, p35. ibid. ibid.

the observation that something exists, this would support the belief that the ex istence of a perfect being (which would by definition be necessary if possible) is possible, and thus necessary. As Inwagen writes: It has often been suggested that if there were no necessary being there could not be any beings at all. If this if statement could b e shown to be true, we could combine it with the obvious truth that there is somet hing to show that there is a necessary being. 181 While it does not follow from the existe nce of a necessary being that it must be a perfect being, such a being would fit the bill . In as much as one both accepts the logical validity of the second ontological argument and judges atheistic arguments to disconfirm the existence of God, one must judge God s existence to be impossible. In as much as one both accepts the logical validity of the second ontological argument and judges theistic arguments to war rant belief in the existence of God, one must judge God s existence to be necessary, an d to conform to the requirements of perfect being theology . Finally, it should be pointed out that the application of Occam s Razor to the OA indicates that, since on its own terms the assertion and denial of the crucial s econd premise are equally adequate, and since it is simpler to deny the existence of G od than to affirm it, we should begin with the assumption that this OA is unsound. This pla ces the burden of proof on the theist. To justify the belief that the second OA is a sou nd argument, the theist needs to show on other grounds that despite being more comp lex, the existence of God is a more adequate hypothesis than the hypothesis of His non-ex istence. Resources: C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy of Religion, (IVP, 1984). (1) Stephen T. Davies, God, Reason & Theistic Proof, (Edinburgh University Press, 19 97). (3) John Hick ed., The Existence of God, (Macmillan, 1964). (2) Thomas V. Morris, Our Idea of God, (Notre Dame, 1991). (2) Elinore Stump & Michael J. Murray ed., Philosophy of Religion The Big Questions, (Blackwell, 1999). (3) 1b) The Conceptual Argument This argument was made famous by Rene Descartes. Like the Ontological argument, it uses the very idea of God, but it works not from the idea of God as such, but fr om the fact that we have such an idea in the first place. How is it that finite, imperfect b eings possess the concept of an infinite, perfect being?

It might be suggested that our idea of God, like the idea of a unicorn, is produ ced by human imagination. If God is a bit like a human father, only perfect, then Go d is an imaginative projection of fatherhood with the imperfections removed. This de jur e attempt to explain away our idea of God sounds well enough, until we ask how it is that we recognize imperfections as imperfections unworthy of God ? As Descartes said: Now all these characteristics are such that the more diligently I attend to them, the less 181 Peter van Inwagen, op cit. 41

do they appear capable of proceeding from me alone; hence. . . we must conclude that God necessarily exists. 182 It will not do to say that God is an imaginary perfect being extrapolated from real imperfect beings without explaining how imperfect humans came to recognize imperfection as such: the idea of infinite perfection is already presupposed in o ur thinking about all these things and judging them imperfect. 183 The idea of perfec tion cannot be the result of a process which presupposes it! So from where do we get this idea of perfection? True, we recognize degrees of relative perfection - this man is a better father than that - but this implies that we possess a standard of perfection to employ in making such evaluations. Therefore, it would seem that the concept of a perfect being is innate to the human mind: I should not have the idea of an infinite substance since I am finite if it had not proceeded from some substance which was veritably infinite. . . For how would it be possible that I should know. . . that I am not quite perfect, unless I had within me some idea of a Being more perfect than myself, in comparison with which I should recognize the deficiencies of my nature? 184 What better explanation for the existence of this innate idea than that God Himself put it there? As Descartes said: it is not to be thought strange that God , in creating me, should have put in me this idea to serve. . . as the mark that the workman imprints on his work. 185 Indeed, if no effect can be greater than its cause, the idea of a perfect being must have been put in us by a perfect being, for nothing else woul d be great enough to cause such an idea. Resources: Rene Descartes, Meditations, (Penguin), Third Meditation. (2) The relevant passa ge can also be found in Paul Helm ed., Faith & Reason, (Oxford, 1999). Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995 ). (1) 2) Cosmological Arguments Cosmological arguments are causal arguments, arguments that the cosmos must have a cause. Put into the simplest terms, cosmological arguments press the observation that since it is impossible for everything to have been made or caused or sustained i n existence there being nothing outside of everything to do the making, causing or sustaining ined. This there must exist at least one thing that is not made, caused or susta

un-made, un-caused, unsustained being is then identified with God. This last ste p of identification is the weakest in the argument, which probably works best in comb ination with axiological and design arguments. 182 Rene Descartes, Meditations, (Cambridge, 1931). 183 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995), p69. 184 Rene Descartes, op cit. 185 Rene Descartes, Third Meditation. 42

2a) The Argument from Dependency If anything exists, then it must either be Dependent upon some thing outside of itself for its existence, or not. If not, it is an Independent thing. A Dependent thing can not exist unless that which it depends upon exists. A Dependent thing may exist in depende nce upon another Dependent thing, but somewhere along the chain of dependency there must exist an Independent thing, since it is impossible for everything that exists to be Dependent, because there is nothing outside of everything to depend upon! Theref ore, if anything exists, there must be at least one Independent thing that any and all D ependent things depend upon. However, it is certain that something exists ( I think, theref ore I am ), and it is therefore certain that something Independent exists. Thus, (by Occ am's razor) there is something Independent upon which many Dependent things (such as myself) depend.. The number of Dependent things is immaterial to this argument; even an infinite chain of Dependent things if such a thing were possible would be unable to accou nt for the existence of even one thing: Adding pineapples to pineapples does not yie ld an avocado; adding dependent beings to other such beings does not yield a cause or ground for their dependent existence. 186 No member of a chain of Dependent things can exist without something actual to depend upon, and no member of such a chain can be actual without the existence o f something actual to depend upon. After all, only actually existing things can be depended upon! If something exists and nothing Dependent exists then, by elimina tion, the existing thing must be an Independent thing. If one or more Dependent things exist (even if an infinite number of Dependent things exist), they require the existen ce of some actual and Independent thing to depend upon. Either way, something Independent m ust exist. 2b) The Argument from Contingency A similar cosmological argument to that from dependency points out that if anyth ing exists then it must exist either Contingently or Necessarily. Something is conti ngent if it owes its existence to some state of affairs outside itself: The point here is tha t everyone can see that certain things owe their existence to other things. 187 Patterson Bro wn describes the causal relation of transitivity where A is caused by B, but only a s B is

caused by C: Every physical object we know of possesses this sort of contingency: it exists and functions only as it is caused by other objects in the chain. . . 188 N ow, this causal chain cannot be infinite in extension. Consider a train boxcar, why is it moving? Because it is being pulled by a boxcar in front of it. And how does that boxcar move? It is pulled by another boxcar, and so on: It is tempting to settle the problem of ultimate causal explanation by noting tha t each boxcar is being pulled by the one in front of it. But this is where transiv ity 186 Terry Miethe, Does God Exist?, p136. 187 W. David Beck, God s Existence . 188 ibid. 43

becomes crucial. It may well be true that boxcar A is pulled by Boxcar B. But B can pull A only because B is, in turn, pulled by C. . . and so on. . . But now something important becomes obvious. An infinity of boxcars will still leave unsolved the problem of explaining why the first boxcar is moving and hence why any are. The problem is not with the arrangement of box cars, nor is it a matter of the number of boxcars. The problem is that no boxcar in the chain has the capacity to generate or initiate its own motion. It can pass on the pulling, but it does not initiate it. 189 To imagine the boxcars linked up in a circle (whether finite or infinite) does nothing to explain why they are moving. As with boxcars, so with contingent thin gs. Contingent things can receive existence and they can pass on existence, but they cannot generate existence, thus they require the existence of something that can genera te existence. This is simply the definition of contingent thing . The problem with explaining the existence of contingent things (like the problem of explaining th e movement of boxcars) is not solved by positing different arrangements or numbers of such things. Whether finite or infinite in number, and in whatever causal connec tion with each other, contingent things require the existence of something that is not con tingent. But if something is not contingent, then it must be necessary. In the terms of o ur analogy with the boxcars, there must be a train engine to account for the movement of th e cars. There must, therefore, be a necessary thing; something that has existence withou t receiving it, but which can pass on existence to contingent things. As Dallas Willard argues, However concrete physical reality is sectioned, the result will be a state of affairs which owes its being to something other than i tself. . . the dependent character of physical states, together with the completeness of the se ries of dependencies underlying the existence of any given physical state, logically imp lies at least one self-existent, and therefore nonphysical, state of being. 190 Of course, the atheist may try to argue that the independent or necessary being is simply the material cosmos itself. The disagreement between theist and atheist w ould then not be about the existence of an independent or necessary being, but about its nature, whether it was personal or impersonal, transcendent or wholly immanent. Still, a s part of a cumulative case for God, the cosmological argument at least demonstrates the s ense in holding that God is an independent and necessary being. Nevertheless, it would seem less plausible to hold that the universe itself - wh ich appears to be composed of dependent and contingent things is independent and

necessary, than it is to say that God is independent and necessary, especially i n the light of the second ontological argument; for No physical object we know of. . . explai ns its own existence. 191 Resources: 189 ibid. 190 Dallas Willard, The Three Stage Argument for the Existence of God in R. Doulgl as Geivett & Brendan Sweetman ed s., Contemporary Perspectives in Religious Epistemology, (Oxfo rd, 1992), p213 214. 191 W. David Beck, God s Existence . 44

David W. Beck, God s Existence in R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas ed s., In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos). (1) Samuel Clark, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God and other writi ngs, (Cambridge, 1998). (3) Norman L. Geisler & Paul D. Feinberg, Introduction to Philosophy, (Baker). (1) Michael Peterson et al., Reason & Religious Belief, (Oxford, 1991). (2) Bruce Reichenbach, The Cosmological Argument a reassessment. (3) Dallas Willard, The Three Stage Argument for the Existence of God in R. Doulglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman ed s., Contemporary Perspectives in Religious Epistemology, (Oxford, 1992). (1) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) 3) Axiological Arguments Axiology is the study of moral and aesthetic value. The following arguments seek to establish a link between the existence of moral and aesthetic value and the exis tence of God. 3a) The Argument from Objective Moral Value Suppose you agree with philosophical tradition that there is an objective moral law, that the distinction between good and evil is independent of what any individual or s ociety might believe, decide, desire, think or feel.192 Such a state of affairs would s eem to be impossible on the naturalistic worldview but entirely natural in the case of a t heistic worldview. We will examine three arguments to this effect. If an objective moral law exists, and if this moral law cannot be accounted for in terms of an ultimately impersonal reality, then it must be accounted for in terms of an ultimately personal realit y, namely God. Simply put, the argument is this: 1) Objective moral values exist, 2) Objec tive moral values depend upon the existence of God, 3) therefore God exists. Before I provide a positive defence of the second premise, allow me to defuse tw o objections to the proposal that objective right and wrong depend upon God. Bertrand Russell argued as follows: if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, you are then in this situation: is that difference due to God s fiat or is it not? If it is due to God s fiat, then for God Himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God s fiat, because God s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that He made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God

192 cf. C.S.Lewis, The Abolition of Man, (Fount); Colin McGinn, Ethics, Evil and Fiction, (Oxford, 1999); & Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). 45

that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logical ly anterior to God. 193 However, his dilemma is a false one. The theist may claim that the moral law is neither outside and superior to God, nor arbitrary and unworthy of God. Rather than flow ing from God s will, the Moral Law may be rooted in God s unchangeable nature. There is no ultimate beyond God to which He is subject; He is subject only to the ultimac y of the good within Himself. And it cannot be said that God is arbitrary, for He cannot will contrary to His nature. God cannot decide to be unloving, nor can he desire that cruelty and injustice be performed for their own sake. God s will must perform in accordan ce with His necessarily good nature. Things like rape, or child abuse, are intrinsi cally wrong; and their wrongness is grounded in God s unalterable character: God s commands could not be arbitrary and capricious in the way the critic envisions. God, for instance, could not command us to kill innocent children just

for the fun of it , since this would be inconsistent with God s nature. . . Thus, th e criticism in question simply fails to apply, and, accordingly, it remains perfec tly reasonable to maintain that God s nature is the ultimate origin of the ethical principles we believe to be true. 194 Kai Nielsen has advanced an argument which runs as follows: we can claim that God is good. . . only if we already have in mind a standard of goodness by which [God] can be judged. But if this is true. . . then it can, of course, no longer be claimed that the ethical principles that originate in God provide the ultimate ethical standard. Rather, our own ethical intuitions must b e acknowledged to be the ultimate standard. 195 instead of morality requiring religion, the very possibility of even understanding the concept of God and in making a religious response presupposes some minimal moral understanding. 196 If we cannot call God good then the second premise of the argument from morality i s in serious trouble. The answer to this apparently common-sense realisation is that, while we assess God s goodness with reference to the Moral Law that we find within ourselve s, this Law originates in the being of God. Suppose someone inherits a copy of the key to a certain lock. Suppose they then discover the original key, and that by comparing their key with the original the y concluded that this other key fits the same lock as does their key. Suppose they argue that, since they judged the key they found with reference to the key they alread y had, the

key they already had must be the original! Wouldn t that be silly? But isn t that li ke Nielsen arguing that, if we judge God by an ethical standard we find within ours elves, 193 194 195 196 46 Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian, (Routledge, 1996). Michael Peterson, et al, op cit, p283. ibid. Kai Nielsen, Does God Exist?, (Promethius, 1993), p99.

then it is this standard that must be the original, and that God therefore has n o role to play in morality?: believers need not grant. . . that they judge God by an ethical sta ndard that is separate from, and more ultimate than, God. They can claim, rather, that they judge God by a standard that God has brought it about that they possess. 197 Our knowled ge of good does not require an explicit knowledge of the criteria, only an implicit (we might say innate) knowledge - a true belief about what good is. J.P.Moreland s response to Nielsen s argument is spot on: I might have to look at a road map of Chicago before I can know where Chicago is, so the road map might be first in the order of epistemology, but Chicago had to exist prior to the fact of the road map. Similarly, God s goodness would exist prior to the fact of finite, derived goodness, though conceptually or epistemologically, I might have to understand what goodness means before I would be able to make a judgement that God is good. 198 Having defended the possibility of Objective Moral Values depending upon God, it is time to recapitulate an expanded version of the argument with which we beg an: Premise 1) There are Objective moral values. All this premise requires is that the distinction between good and evil is an Objective distinction. We Objectively ought to do good and to avoid evil. Premise 2) Objective moral values either require the existence of a personal grou nd , or not. These options are exhaustive. The Moral Law either is, or is not, ultimately grounded in a personal ground beyond the actual or possible mental states of fin ite individuals or any collection of finite individuals. 2i) If Objective moral values do not require the existence of a personal ground, then they must be explicable in non-personal terms. Again, these options are exhaustive. A Moral Law grounded in finite individuals would be a Subjective Law, and we are looking for the ground of an Objective Mor al Law. If there is nothing personal behind the Moral Law, then that Law must be ex plained without reference to something impersonal. The only alternative to an explanatio n that posits a transcendent personal ground of Objective moral values, is an explanati on that posits a non-personal explanation. 2ii) Objective moral values are not explicable in non-personal terms. W.David Beck writes that, This point is not especially controversial. Most naturalists concede it. 199 Any hypothesis that seeks to ground Objective moral va

lues in the existence of finite personal beings thrown up by an impersonal, purposeless process of chance, is doomed. An a-moral, non-personal, and purposeless natural process can no more account for the existence of objective moral values than nothing can produc e 197 Michael Peterson, et al, op cit, p240. 198 J.P.Moreland, Does God Exist?, p131. 199 W. David Beck, op cit. 47

something. There are three arguments that show why objective moral values cannot be explained in non-personal terms: The first argument is based upon the observation that in the Moral Law we meet objective prescriptions. Only personal beings can issue prescriptions; when did you last hear an article of cutlery order anything? Pointing out that a computer, which i s not a personal being, could make a demand doesn t weaken this argument, since computers must be built and programmed by personal beings who can and do make demands. Dog s and Cats can make demanding requests, but they don t issue moral prescriptions. Therefore, there must be a Moral Law Prescriber beyond individual or collective humanity: There can t be an absolute moral law without an absolute Moral Law Giver, and that s God. 200 In her influential paper Modern Moral Philosophy , G.E.M.Anscombe argued that the notions of moral obligation and duty only made sense within a theistic framework. She argued that since secularism has left the theistic framework behi nd, Philosophy needed to recognise the redundancy of traditional morality and ditch the notions of moral right and wrong: concepts of obligation, and duty moral obligation and moral duty, that is to say

and of what is morally right and wrong, and of the moral sense of ought , ought to be jettisoned [what does she mean by ought to be jettisoned?!] if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of ethics which no longer generally surviv es, and are only harmful without it . . . 201 Anscombe asserted that the emotive effect of moral language is the survival of a concept outside the framework of thought which made it a really intelligible one . 202 Of the idea of an Objective Moral Law Anscombe said, Naturally it is not possible to have such a conception unless you believe in God as a law-giver; like Jews, Stoics, a nd Christians. 203 Therefore, if there is an Objective Moral Law, telling and obligin g us to do good and avoid evil, then there must be a Divine law-giver . The second argument starts with the fact of moral obligation. In the case of things that I ought or ought not to do, I have a duty to do or to refrain from d oing something. But how could something impersonal morally obligate me? The law of gravity is an impersonal force that it operates on me such that without any oppo sing force, I fall down. When I trip up, falling to the ground is something I am caus ed to do (so long as the law of gravity holds); but is it something I ought to do? Moral laws, on the other hand, prescribe things I objectively ought (or ought not) to do, but w hich I am not forced to do against my will. In matters of the Moral Law, I have a freedom that I

lack in matters of Physical Law. A Moral Law, unlike a Physical Law, is not some thing which simply is the case, but something which ought to be the case. To attempt to get from what has to be to what ought to be is to commit the naturalistic fallacy: If all there is is matter and what it does [the non-persona l], then all 200 Norman L. Geisler & Josh McDowell, Love is Always Right, p27. 201 G.E.M.Anscombe, Modern Moral Philosophy , Virtue Ethics, ed., Roger Crisp & Mic hael Slote. 202 ibid. 203 ibid. 48

there is is [what has to be]. There can be no ought. How can these actions actuall y be right or wrong? Only if there is a difference between is and ought. But how can there be a difference between is and ought in a world that just is? 204 Since I cannot be morally obligated to something non-personal, I must be obligated to something personal. After all, I cannot break a promise made to a f ish-bowl, because one cannot make promises to fish-bowls, only to other personal beings: Responsibility is possible if there is a person to be responsible to. We are all bound by the law of gravity , but we are not responsible to it. 205 However, although I can be obligated to other people, an Objective moral obligation cannot be grounded in e ither other people or myself. As Richard Taylor put it, the idea of a moral obligation more important and binding than those imposed upon us by other individuals or by the state is only intelligible if we make reference to some lawmaker higher. . . that those of the state .206 Such obligations can. . . be understood as those that are imposed by God . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? . . .the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. 207 Therefore, objective moral obligation must be grounded in a transcendent personal reality to whom we are objectively obligated. Our obligations to other people must be derivative of our obligation to a transcendent personal reality to whom our primary obligation is owed. The third argument is that, since objective moral value judgements require an objective moral standard, and as no moral standard could exist in matter, and no objective moral standard could exist in finite minds, there must be an objective moral sta ndard in an infinite mind. Hastings Rashdall used this argument: Only if we believe in the existence of a Mind . . which is the source of whatever is true in our own moral judgements, can we rationally think of the moral ideal as no less real than the world itself. . . A moral ideal can exist no-where and nohow but in a mind; an absolute moral ideal can exist only in a Mind from which all reality is derived. Our moral ideal can only claim objective validity in so far as it can rationally be regarded as the revelation of a moral ideal eternally existing in the mind of God. 208 2iii) Objective Moral values therefore require explanation in terms of a personal ground .

Given that 1) the Objective Moral Law must be explained either as the result of non-personal forces, or in terms of a transcendent personal ground (whether or n ot that agent operates through intermediary impersonal causes); and that 2) the action o f nonpersonal forces (alone) cannot explain either the existence of objective moral prescription, obligation, or the mere existence of an objective moral standard; it follows 204 205 206 207 208 49 James W. Sire, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?, (IVP, 1994). ibid. Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith & Reason, (Prentice Hall, 1985), p83-84. ibid. Hastings Rasdall, The Theory of Good and Evil.

that 3) the transcendent personal explanation, being the only explanation left, must be correct. As W. David Beck argues: Only persons can be a source of values, yet no finite and socially conditioned person is in a position to determine authoritatively th e values appropriate for other persons. So, if there really are objective values, there m ust be some ultimate person who has the moral authority to set the standards of right and wron g. 209 A.E.Taylor agrees: were there no will in existence except the wills of human beings, who are so often ignorant of the law of right and so often defy it, it is not apparent what the validity of the law could mean. Recognition of the validity of the law thus seem s to carry with it a reference to an intelligence which has not, like our own, to make acquaintance with it piecemeal, slowly and with difficulty, but has always been in full and clear possession of it, and a will which does not, like our own, often set it at naught, but is guided by it in all its operations. 210 2iv) This personal ground of objective moral values must be the Independent Crea tor who has always existed and is ultimate goodness personified. Since something non-personal cannot morally obligate us, or make moral prescriptions, or have an idea, the Moral Law must be based in something persona l. Atheist Robin Le Poidevin acknowledges the coherence of this conclusion: God s goodness in part consists in the fact that he is the basis of ethics. Since i t is not trivial that God plays such a role, it cannot be trivial that God is good ; in fact it is highly morally significant, because it points to the source of moral obligation. . . The theist can, surely, hold that God is good is morally significa nt because it identifies the source of moral obligation, which implies that moral goodness is not independent of God. 211 Personhood implies rationality, which implies self-reflexion and selfdetermination. Self-refelxion requires thought, and thinking involves reason. Se lfdetermination requires the possession of goals and formulated ways of achieving those goals, which also requires reason. This personal origin of objective values must Himself be good. Indeed, He must be goodness personified. In order to say it was not good, we would have to make a judgement by reference to a personal source of moral obligation that was good: Yo u must trust the universe in one respect even in order to condemn it in every othe r. . . unless

we allow ultimate reality to be moral, we cannot morally condemn it. . . condemn ation of reality carries in its heart an unconscious act of allegiance to the same realit y as the source of our moral standards. 212 209 W. David Beck, op cit, p161. 210A.E.Taylor, op cit, p93. 211 Robin Le Poidevin, Arguing for Atheism, Routledge, (Routledge, 1996), p79. 212 C.S.Lewis, De Futilitate , Christian Reflections, (Fount). 50

The Moral Law is not something that could have been invented out of thin air. One cannot just make up objective moral values. Upon what would the judgement be based? If we had no reason for our choice of what is right and wrong, then there would be no reason to believe that the things we said were right were right, or that the things we said were wrong were wrong. Morality would be relative. On the other hand, if o ur judgement of what things are good and bad is a rational one, there must be some standard of right and wrong that exists before we use it in making our judgement, else we would be begging-the-question. The Moral Law (like the laws of reason) is not somethin g that can come into being, it must be something that has always existed, which has nev er not existed. Since the Moral Law depends upon its source, that source must always ha ve existed. 2v) Such a being can appropriately be called God .

A personal, rational, independent source of moral standards who has always existed, and who is goodness personified, can surely be appropriately called God . The attributes of the being who lies at the conclusion of the argument from Objectiv e morality are obviously consistent with things traditionally taught about the nature of Go d. God is Personal: . . .God our Father, who loved us (2 Thessalonians 2:16); Rational, In th e beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1); and Totally-Good, Good and upright is the Lord (Psalm 25:8). Conclusion) Therefore God exists. God and Evil Revisited If there is no objective standard of right and wrong, a standard that is out ther e and independent of our preferences, then we have no objective ground for any judgeme nt between our condemnation of the Holocaust and Hitler s approval. Nietzche was righ t when he wrote that, When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole. It stands or falls wi th faith in God. 213 To make objective moral judgements we must recognise the existence of an objective moral standard: All injustice presupposes a standard of justice by whic h it is judged to be not-just. 214 There is, on the subjective view of morality, no contra diction

involved in saying Torture is good , because, as Bertrand Russell said, there is no outside standard to show that our valuation is wrong. 215 Such a statement is fact ually correct or incorrect depending upon the feelings of the majority - feelings that can be manipulated by the minority, which means that, in the end, might is right . Only on the 213 Quoted by Ravi Zacharias, (1990), p49. 214 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1976). 215 Bertrand Russell, What I Believe . 51

belief that there exists an independent standard can saying, Torture is good , be l ogically contradictory. If it is not contradictory to deny that torture is wrong, then to rture is not necessarily wrong. I find that worrying. If we admit no standard by which to make objective moral judgements - reducing every moral ought and ought not to a personally I like/don t like - then we cannot u se the argument against the existence of God from the existence of evil. The argume nt from evil presupposes the existence of objective moral values in the light of which s ome things are not merely wrong for me/my culture , but wrong for everyone, everywhere, and at all times. The admission that the Holocaust was objectively wrong leads to the admis sion that there must be some standard beyond ourselves in the light of which we know this to be so. The attempt to use the argument from evil to disprove the existence of Go d thus comes up against the moral argument for the existence of God. Conclusion The logical form of the Moral argument is plainly valid: There either are or are not objective moral values. If there are objective moral values, their existence eit her depends, or does not depend, upon the existence of something beyond individual o r collective humanity. If it depends upon a transcendent cause, that cause is eith er personal, or not. If impersonal explanations do not suffice, then the personal e xplanation must be true. It is a simple matter to prove that this person must be all-good, et ernal, and connected in some way with our existence. If the name God is an acceptable ter m for this being (and it surely is), then we may say that God exists. Neither argument advanced against the second premise, that objective moral values are grounded in the existence of God, withstood examination. The supposed dilemma that moral values are either arbitrary (if based on God s will), or indepe ndent of God (if not based on His will), is broken by seeing moral value as inherent with in God s character. That we must recognise goodness before being able to say that God is good is no more disturbing to the grounding of moral value in God than is the fact that we must be able to read a map to find our destination. The map, although before our destin ation in the order of knowing , is still after our destination in the order of being , as it i s dependant upon the geography it models. The most plausible explanation of the existence of objective moral values, and o

ur knowledge (however imperfect) of these values (most fundamentally of the objecti ve distinction between right and wrong) is that there exists an all-good, personal, rational and eternal being who has made humans in His image. Being made in God s image means that introspection provides a familiar and unproblematic mode of knowledge by which we know right from wrong. It would therefore seem reasonable, for the sake of economy, to hold that God created everything other than Himself, and is in all l ikelihood the all-powerful Creator. Which conclusion is harder to swallow: that morality i s subjective, or that God exists? Resources: William Lane Craig, The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality @ (1) 52

David W. Beck, God s Existence in R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas ed s., In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos). (1) Paul Chamberlain, Can we be Good without God?, (IVP, 1996). (1) Paul Copan, Can Michael Martin be a Moral Realist? Sic et Non. , Philosophia Christ i, Series 2, Volume 1, Number 2, 1999. (2) C.S.Lewis, The Abolition of Man, (Fount). (2) C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, (Fount). (1) Hastings Rashdall, The Theory of Good and Evil. (3) W.R.Sorely, Moral Values and the Idea of God, (Cambridge, 1921). (3) A.E.Taylor, Does God Exist?, (Fontana Books, 1961). (2) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1995). (2) 3b) The Argument from Conscience We treat our conscience as authoritative, but from where does it get this author ity? There are only four options: from something with less authority than ourselves, from s omething with equal authority as ourselves, from ourselves, or from something with greate r authority than ourselves. How can something with less authority than ourselves, such as the laws of nature or the chance outcome of naturalistic evolution, have authority over us? How can something with equal authority as ourselves have authority over us? How can we h ave authority over ourselves? If we have the power to bind ourselves we have the pow er to loose ourselves. Thus the authority of conscience must derive from some source o f authority greater than ourselves. Could this source of authority be society? Wha t about moral conflict between human societies? If there is no authority higher than soc iety then there is no authoritative reason to oppose societies such as Nazi Germany. What can have a moral authority higher than the individual or society? God can. Resources: Peter Kreeft, Fundamentals of the Faith, (Ignatius). (1) Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995 ). (1) 3c) The Absurdity of Morality in a Naturalistic Universe Professor of Philosophy George I. Maverodes suggests that the morality of certai n actions entails the absurdity of the universe unless God exists.

Consider the naturalistic worldview as exemplified by the thought of Bertrand Russell: There is no creator God, all personal phenomena is the result of purely impersonal causes, there is no afterlife and humanity is doomed to eventual exti nction. Maverodes calls any benefit one can obtain in such a world (assuming for the sak e of argument that such a universe is possible216) a Russellian benefit. Things such as 216 I would argue that a Russellian, naturalistic universe is in fact not possib le because God exists necessarily and so there is no possible world in which God does not exist. 53

knowing God or having one s prayers answered are not Rusellian benefits, being impossible in a Russellian universe. The pleasure of eating, or of lying in bed on a Sunday morning, is a Rusellian benefit. Assuming the existence of moral value, Maverodes makes the obvious point that in the actual world we acknowledge the moral value of actions that confer on us no Russellian benefits. Indeed, carrying out some highly moral actions, such as sac rificing one s own life to save another, seems to entail that we suffer a net loss of Rusel lian benefits. After all, in a Rusellian universe, there is no possibility of moral r edress after death, for in such a universe there is no after death . If the real world is as the naturalists say it is, Russellian benefits and losse s are the only sort of benefit or loss there is. However, if there exist morally good acti ons which confer no Russellian benefit but rather entail undergoing Russellian losses, wou ldn t that be rather odd in a Russellian universe? A Rusellian universe appears to reward ( with Rusellian benefits) those who are moral only when being moral doesn t entail suffe ring any Rusellian losses, and to punish being moral where being moral entails suffer ing such losses. A Russellian universe is thus not intent on playing fair, it doesn t seem to play by the rules it lays down on us, so why play along? The ultimate reality of a Russe llian universe cannot be said to be worthy of our obedience, being the impersonal sour ce of an apparently unfair system of morality. (One could ask Where, then, do we get this notion of fairness from? , but that takes us back to the moral arguments given above.) Th e impersonal ultimate reality of a Russellian universe cannot even threaten or caj ole our submission. Aside from the vexed question of how such selfless actions can be moral within a Russellian universe, the very fact that there are some moral actions that a Russ ellian universe would thus punish indicates that either the universe is both Rusellian and absurd, or that the actual universe is not Rusellian. Maverodes argument is similar in form to one advanced by Kant, that there would be a contradiction between a final end [goal] within, that is set before [m an] as a duty, and a nature without that has no final end [goal], though in it the former end is to be actualized. 217 In other words, in a Russellian universe, ultimate reality is both the ultimate source of the moral system and the inevitable destroyer of all that mor ality

strives towards. To engage in moral struggle in such a universe would be farcica l at best. If we accept that the moral nature of a Rusellian universe is in this sense absu rd, we are forced to choose between believing that morality is absurd or that God ex ists. If we are not prepared to believe that the universe is morally absurd then we shoul d believe that God exists. If we are not prepared to believe that God exists, then we must believe that the universe is morally absurd. We can t have our cake and eat it. Resources: George I. Maverodes, Religion and the Queerness of Morality in Robert Audi & William J. Wainwright ed. s, Rationality, Religious Belief, and Moral Commitment, (Cornell University Press, 1986). (2) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) 217 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement. 54

3d) Deductive Aesthetic Arguments Aesthetic reality can be divided between our subjective awareness of beauty and the objective beauty (intrinsic aesthetic admirability) of which we are aware. As C. S.Lewis explains: Until quite modern times all. . . men believed the universe to be such that certa in emotional reactions on our part could be congruous or incongruous to it believed, in fact, that objects did not merely receive, but could merit, our app roval or disapproval. . . 218 In his account of beauty, Lewis draws upon St. Augustine s definition of virtue as ordo amoris or appropriate love: the ordinate condition of the affections in whic h every object is accorded that kind and degree of love which is appropriate to it. 219 Th e appropriateness of our emotional reactions depends, at least in part, upon the n ature of the object of our appreciation. As Alvin Plantinga says, To grasp the beauty of a Moz art D Minor piano concerto is to grasp something that is objectively there; it is to a ppreciate what is objectively worthy of appreciation. 220 Our aesthetic reactions can be dec ent, or can fail to be decent, in the old sense, decens, fitting .221 As G.E.Moore put it: he beautiful should be defined as that of which the admiring contemplation is good in itself.

On this view, beauty is not constituted by the existence of any finite mental st ate or states; it is not a sentimental gilding of reality which can never be wrong. Th e beauty of a thing does not depend in any way upon the perceiver; it is not somet hing over which we have control. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder , it is not a matter of taste . Aesthetic arguments may focus either upon our ability to know beauty, or upon the existence of beauty itself. Aesthetic arguments that focus upon our knowledg e of beauty are epistemological arguments; those that focus upon the existence of beaut y per se are ontological arguments. Aesthetic arguments may further be divided between inductive and deductive arguments. In the City of God, Augustine provides the following deductive ontological aesthetic argument: beauty. . . can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this idea of beauty were not found in the mind in a more perfect form. . . But even here, if this idea of beauty were not subject to change, one person would not be a better judge of sensible beauty than another; the more intelligent woul

d not be better than the slower, nor the experienced and skilled than the novice a nd the untrained; and the same person could not make progress towards better judgement than before. And it is obvious that anything which admits of increase or decrease is changeable. 218 C.S.Lewis, The Abolition of Man, (Fount), p14. 219 ibid. Plato in the Symposium wrote of the lover being more divine and more wo rthy of worship. (Plato, Symposium and Phaedrus, p8.) 220 Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments . 221 C.S.Lewis, The Cosmic Trilogy, (That Hideous Strength), (Pan), p746. 55

This consideration has readily persuaded men of ability and learning. . . that the original idea is not to be found in this sphere, where it is shown to be subject to change. . . And so they saw that there must be some being in which th e original form resides, unchangeable, and therefore incomparable. And they rightly believed that it is there that the origin of things is to be found, in t he uncreated, which is the source of all creation. 222 Augustine s general line of argument seems to be this: Given that beauty is objective, then our judgements about beauty must be measured against some object ive standard which the human mind apprehends and employs. This standard of beauty cannot be constituted by any individual finite mental state, or collection there of, or else it would of necessity be a subjective standard; and objective aesthetic judgements cannot depend upon a subjective aesthetic standard. Therefore, there must exist an obje ctive standard of beauty that is independent of finite minds. However, an aesthetic st andard or ideal is not the sort of thing that could possibly exist in the physical world. Therefore the standard of beauty must exist neither in finite minds, nor in the physical world , but in an infinite Mind. This argument depends upon an objective definition of beauty as t hat which has intrinsic aesthetic admirability and which is thus objectively good to appreciate aesthetically. Augustine s argument can be seen as an ancestor of Aquinas Fourth Way argument from degrees of perfection: [a] Among beings there are some more and some less good. . . and the like [including, more or less beautiful]. But more and less are predicated of differe nt things according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something bes t, something noblest [and something most beautiful]. . . [b] Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus, as fire, which is the maximum of he at, is the cause of all hot things. . . Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection [including beauty]; and this we call God. 223 F.C.Copleston comments on the two argumentative threads [a & b] woven into the fourth way : Aquinas argues that. . . Different kinds of finite things possess different perfections in diverse limited degrees. He then argues not only that [a] if ther e are different degrees of perfection like goodness there is a supreme good to which other things approximate but also that [b] all limited degrees of goodness are caused by the supreme good. . . The Platonic doctrine of participation seems to

be involved. . . Indeed, some of those theists who reject or doubt the validity of the cosmological arguments seem to feel a marked attraction for some variety of the fourth way, arguing [As Copleston himself argued] that in the recognition of 222 Augustine, City of God, Bk VIII, chapter 8, p308, my italics. 223 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica. 56

objective values we implicitly recognize God as the supreme value. But if the line of thought represented by the fourth way [b] is to mean anything to the average modern reader, it has to be presented in a rather different manner from that in which it is expressed by Aquinas who was able to assume in his readers ideas and points of view which can no longer be presupposed. 224 Thomist Etienne Gilson writes that, St. Thomas s example of the more and less hot should cause no illusions. It is simply a comparison. . . to help us underst and the principle thesis. 225 After all, Aquinas surely does not intend his argument to le ad to the conclusion that God embodies maximal hotness! Rather, the argument works with gre at making properties , objectively good properties that admit of maximal degrees, suc h as goodness, beauty, power and knowledge. The best I can make of the thought that the objective goodness in facts other th an the supreme good is caused by the supreme good (other than by appeal to cosmologic al argument), is that there could be no non-supreme objective goodness if there wer e no supreme objective good by which derivative goods could be judged as such. In other words, the second line of thought within the fourth way the first [argument a]. [argument b] boils down to

Augustine s argument can also be seen in Christian apologist and evangelist Francis A. Schaeffer s suggestion (against Plato s impersonal theory of Forms) that only by beginning with a personal ultimate reality can we reasonably aspire to the us e of the universal categories of value necessary to a meaningful existence: if you begin w ith the impersonal. . . there is no place for morals as morals [or beauty as beauty]. Th ere is no standard in the universe which gives final meaning to such words as right and wr ong [or beautiful and ugly]. If you begin with the impersonal, the universe is totally s ilent concerning any such words. 226 This must be right, for if non-human reality is impersonal the only home for val ue is the finite, subjective individual: The Greeks understood that if we were reall y to know what was right and what was wrong [beautiful or ugly], we must have a universal to cover all the particulars. 227 However, while the Greek gods were personal gods in contrast to the Eastern gods, who include everything and are impersonal they wer e not big enough. Consequently, because their gods were not big enough, the problem [o f universal categories] remained unsolved for the Greeks. 228 This is where God prov ides what the Greeks lacked, an objective (though particular) instantiation of maxima l, perfect

goodness and beauty by which worldly particulars can be judged; for as Gregory o f Nyssa wrote: The Deity is in very substance Beautiful. 229 Art and The Line of Despair Schaeffer analysed modern culture in terms of the dichotomy it has set up betwee n the rational realm of (objective, empirical) facts and the non-rational realm of (su bjective, 224 225 226 227 228 229 57 F.C.Copleston, Aquinas. ibid, p73. Francis A. Schaeffer, He Is There And He Is Not Silent, (Crossway Books). ibid. ibid. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection.

opinion relative) values. Schaeffer called the historical crossing-point after w hich this dichotomy arose the line of despair . Schaeffer observed that a secular world-view that cuts a transcendent God out of its account of ultimate reality leads to the depersonalization of humanity in th e realm of fact and the restriction of values (including moral goodness, beauty, and even t ruth) to the realm of subjective, relative, opinion. As a secular world-view grows, value is increasingly placed in what Schaeffer dubbed the upper story , where a leap of blin d faith was required to avoid the obvious naturalistic conclusion that the death of God leads to the death of value . While Schaeffer wrote in the 1970 s, post-modernism was in its infancy, and culture as a whole still clung, though a non-rational leap of faith, to the exis tence of value. Today, the implications of the death of God , foreseen by Neiztche, has fina lly caught up with us. It is as if society has become exhausted with the attempt to hold on to objective value in the face of a world-view that provides no basis for their exi stence. Postmodern society is the result of the realisation that without the transcenden t reference point provided by God, the upper story of value has become nothing but an incohere nt miscellany of subjective, relative opinions, governed more by fashion than commo n sense. Consider the similarities between the prophetic words of Neitzche (quoted in the introduction) and Roger Scruton s view of post-modern culture: To understand the depth of the. . . as if is to understand the condition of the modern soul. We know that we are animals, parts of the natural order, bound by laws which tie us to the material forces which govern everything. We believe tha t the gods are our invention, and that death is exactly what it seems. Our world h as been disenchanted and our illusions destroyed. At the same time we cannot live as though that were the whole truth of our condition. Even modern people are compelled to praise and blame, love and hate, reward and punish. Even modern people. . . are aware of self, as the centre of their being; and even modern peo ple try to connect to other selves around them. We therefore see others as if they were free beings, animated by a self or soul, and with more than a worldly destiny. If we abandon that perception, then human relations dwindle into a machine-like parody. . . the world is voided of love, [moral] duty and [aestheti c] desire, and only the body remains. . . 230 Briefly put, Postmodernism necessitates an inconsistent life. In the realm of fa ct we know that people are the unintended products of material necessity, plus time, plus chance. We know that God is a figment of our imagination. We know that there is

therefore no objective value in truth, goodness, or beauty. However, we cannot l ive as if all this were true (but then again, perhaps it isn t true!). Therefore, we must be inconsistent and live the lie of as if .

Schaeffer noted how some naturalists (such as Julian Huxley) admit that man functions better if he acts as through God is there , and he points out in a somewh at understated manner that: This is not an optimistic, happy, reasonable or brillian t answer. It is darkness and death. 231 230 Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person s Guide To Modern Culture, p68. 231 Francis A. Schaeffer, op cit. 58

Although he is an atheist, Scruton s contention is that Culture. . . has a religiou s root and a religious meaning [such that] the point of being cultivated cannot, i n the end, be explained without reference to the nature and value of religion. 232 Scruton th inks that aesthetic objects invite us to place ourselves in relation to the thing considere d , a search for a meaning that is not for practical benefit but for the insight which religion also provides: insight into the why and wither of our being here. 233 With the ris e of naturalism and secularism in the (so-called) Enlightenment, art unsurprisingly c ame to the fore as a substitute religious experience: art became a redeeming enterprise, and the artist stepped into the place vacated by the prophet and the priest. 234 Modernist culture rejected the Medieval recognition of the face of God in nature and art, but contin ued to seek the religious experience that it craved in an art devoid of transcendent refe rence point: The high culture of the Enlightenment. . . involved a noble and energetic attempt to rescue the ethical view of human life. . . which flourished spontaneously in the old religious culture. . . The rescue was a work of the imagination, in which th e aesthetic attitude took over from religious worship as the source of intrinsic values. 235 From the theistic point of view, one could say that the spiritual feelings of modernism were better than its philosophy. However, the rescue attempt (however noble in intent) was doomed from the start, and the theist has an explanation for this failure: God is the source of aesthetic value as well as ethical value. Cut off from its source, aesthetic value no less than ethical value was bound to wither and die. After th e death of God it would not be long before people realised this was so; but instead of prese rving the meaning of spiritual experience by reacknowledging its transcendent source, post modernism held on to naturalism and accepted the objective meaninglessness of all value. As Scruton says, When religion dies. . . the vision of man s higher nature is conse rved by art. But art cannot be a substitute for religion, nor does it fill the void t hat is left by faith. 236 Walking through a Cambridge museum I apparent in the historically ordered gs had a religious theme, paintings of nature the general impression produced by these was struck by the changing themes art collection. Many of the earlier paintin became more prominent as time went on, but art-works was one of artistic beauty and me

aning. I could sense that the artists were saying Look, this person or event is importan t (often theologically so) , or Look, this is beautiful. As we reached the Enlightenment, det ailed still-life studies and portraits of wealthy people who had paid to be immortalis ed on canvas dominated the collection. Art had begun to serve man. Finally, we reached galleries of twentieth century art. The change of mood was even more pronounced and all the more disturbing, for this art clearly expressed a disturbed mindset. Ima ges of pain and depression filled me with a sense of tragic compassion in stark contrast wit h the 232 233 234 235 236 59 Roger ibid, ibid, ibid, ibid, Scruton, op cit, Preface. p36. p37. p49. p61.

beauty and hope we had just seen filling the art of so many preceding centuries: Art has now become the expression of man s estrangement, his isolation in the world, of th e ultimate futility of human life and the history of humanity. 237 I think that the decline of beauty in art and the decline of faith in God are linked; it s just too much of a coincidence otherwise. If God exists, then to worship the beauty of art in the Enlightenment manner is to make art into an idol, to mistake the sign for the subject, the face for the per son. As Peter Kreeft warns: Since an idol is not God, no matter how sincere or passionately it is treated as God, it is bound to break the heart of its worshipper, sooner or late r. Good motives for idolatry cannot remove the objective fact that the idol is an unreal ity. . . You can t get blood out of a stone or divine joy from nondivine things. 238 If art begins to reveal our broken cultural heart, then this is some confirmatio n of the suggestion that art as idol has failed (as all idols must); but the pain of artistic mis-use should re-direct us towards art s healthy, religious use (and by religious use I do not mean art with a liturgical function or an explicitly religious subject matter; b ut rather art produced within a religious world view). If, as Scruton claims, healthy art is inseparable from healthy religion, then ei ther God exists and explains this connection, or God does not exist, and the world is absurd. Why absurd? Because a world in which aesthetic value depends upon the retention of belief in a non-existent God is a world that asks us to hypocritically predicate true value on a falsehood. Therefore, if the world is not thus absurd, God both exists and grounds aesthetic value. The hypothesis that God is the only sufficient condition of the objectivity and meaningfulness of aesthetic value explains (what otherwise seems inexplicable) w hy the flower of artistic high culture that flourished under the world-view of Christen dom turned to rancour in a secular society: if you consider the high culture of modern times , writes Scruton, you will be struck by the theme of alienation which runs through so many of its products. . . the high culture of our society, having ceased to be a meditation on the common religion, has become instead a meditation on the lack of it. 239 What is it that people miss so much that they devote a large proportion of our culture s artistic output to

mourning its loss? The answer is simple: God. Schaeffer also pointed out how a naturalistic world-view leads to the denial of those aspects of personhood which is essential to the existence of meaningful ae sthetic experience. The denial of any objective reality besides matter is the denial of what Schaeffer called the mannishness of man (and which, in these more politically corre ct times, we might call the humanness of humans ): Those aspects of man, such as significance, love, relationship, rationality and the fear of nonbeing, which ma rk him off from animals and machines and give evidence of his being created in the image of a personal God. 240 In denying that any reality, let alone ultimate reality, is personal, the natura list has no room for the mannishness of man . For example, atheist Francis Crick writes that , You. . . your sense of personal identity and free-will, are in fact no more than the 237 238 239 240 60 Hans Kung, Art and the Question of Meaning, Peter Kreeft, C.S.Lewis for the Third Millennium, p61. Roger Scruton, op cit, p17. Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There, Glossary.

behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. 241 As Schaeffer put it: if man has been kicked up by chance out of what is only imperso nal, then those things that make him man hope of purpose and significance, love, moti ons of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication are ultimately unfulfi llable and are thus meaningless. 242 Naturalism therefore leads to Nihilism, of which pos tmodernism is really an expression243: The existential vacuum which is the mass neurosis of the present time can be described as a private and personal form of nihilism w rote psychiatrist Victor E. Frankl, for nihilism can be defined as the contention that being has no meaning. 244 No one, says Schaeffer, has ever worked out how to obtain the personal from the impersonal (a feat that would involve getting the greater from the lesser). Thir ty years of thought since Schaeffer produced his cultural apologetic has not improved matters for the naturalists. According to Jerry Fodor, Nobody has the slightest idea how anyt hing material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious. 245 Ned Block concu rs: We have no conception of our physical or functional nature that allows us to unde rstand how it could explain our subjective experience. . . we have nothing zilch worthy of being called a research programme, nor are there any substantive proposals about how to go about starting one. . . Researchers are stumped. 246 Christian philosopher William Hasker concludes that naturalism experiences severe difficulties in its attempt to explain the phenomena of humanness. . . [w hereas] in the universe as conceived by theism, the existence of these distinctive attribut es of humanness is far less surprising. 247 Theism, in which ultimate reality is persona l, constitutes an eminently reasonable alternative to naturalism; in Schaeffer s word s: Our generation longs for the reality of personality, but it cannot find it. But Chri stianity says personality is valid because personality has not just appeared in the universe, but rather is rooted in the personal God who has always been. 248 The relevancy of this line of argument to the validity of aesthetic experience i s straight forward enough: only persons can mean things, or impart meaning to thin gs, and so only through persons can art have any meaning; but naturalism denies the mannishness of man and thus the validity of artistic creation. Naturalism also fai ls to account for the existence of human experience, including aesthetic experience. T

he death of God has led to the death of man and hence the death of art . Aesthetic value is an objective reality that cannot be reduced to nothing but atoms in the void . Therefore naturalism should not look like a good candidate for a world-view to a nyone who wants to retain a reasonable belief in aesthetic value, and this gives one r eason to 241 Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis, (). 242 Francis A. Schaeffer, op cit. 243 cf. James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door, third edition, (IVP). 244 Victor E. Frankl, Man s Search for Meaning. 245 Jerry Fodor, The Big Idea: Can There be a Science of Mind? , Times Literary Sup liment, July 3rd, 1992. 246 Ned Block, Consciousness , A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind, ed., S. Gutte nplan, (Oxford, 1994), p211. 247 William Hasker, Humanness as the Mirror of God , Philosophia Christi, Series 2, Volume 1, Number 1, 1999, p108. 248 Francis A. Schaeffer, op cit. 61

prefer theism. If one accepts that naturalism involves a denial of the mannishnes s of man then one ought to look favourably upon theism as a world-view capable of givi ng art, and aesthetic appreciation in general, a welcoming home. Beauty and Goodness The objective definition of beauty as that which it is objectively good to apprec iate lends itself to deductive argument for the existence of God. Since this definiti on of beauty is connected to the existence of objective moral values, the moral argume nt for God s existence can easily be converted into an aesthetic argument, simply by addi ng an additional premise at its beginning; i.e.: Objective beauty, being that which is objectively good to appreciate, exists. The link this argument forges between div inity and objective beauty is the same as the link proposed by the Moral argument betw een objective goodness and divinity: namely, that without divinity - which necessari ly exemplifies, as an intrinsic constituent of the divine nature and character, tot al objective goodness (and hence total objective beauty, because goodness is beautiful) - the re would be no objective good, and without objective good, no objective beauty, because n othing can be objectively beautiful that it is not objectively good to appreciate. If objective moral goodness depends upon and is primarily instantiated by the character of God, then the connection between beauty and goodness entails that s ince contemplating beauty means being put into contact with objective moral goodness, it also means being put into contact with one aspect of God.249 As St. Hildegard thought , Art and all beauty touch the senses and, thence, the spirit. . . art can influence s pirituality because a work that is formed by the spirit actually communicates the spirit. 250 Hence Iris Murdoch is right when she writes that: The appreciation of beauty in art or nature is. . . the easiest available spiritual exercise; [because] it is also. . . the chec king of selfishness in the interest of seeing the real. . . Beauty is that which attract s this particular unselfish attention. 251 The Maximal Beauty of God The book of Isaiah promises that: the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. (Isaiah 28:5) The book of Psalms frequently ascribe beauty to God: This is what I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27v4, my italics.) 249 The Beautiful, says Hegel, is the spiritual making itself known sensuously. I t represents, then, a direct message from the heart of Reality; ministers to us of more abundant life. - Evelyn Underhill, The Essentials of Mysticism, (J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd., 1920), p113. 250 Durka, op cit, p83 & 85. 251 Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good, On God and Good , p65. 62

Psalms extol us to pray May the beauty of the Lord our God rest upon us (Psalm 90v17) and to Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name (Psalm 29:2 & 96:8). Keit h Ward informs us that the idea of the glory and majesty of God is the idea of beau ty, power and wisdom which is complete. . . 252 God s moral holiness is one component of His beauty: Then Moses said, Now show me your glory. And the Lord said, I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you. . . . (Exodus 33:19, my italics.) As Richard Harries explains, When goodness, truth and beauty are combined we have glory. When boundless goodness, total truth and sublime beauty are combined in supreme degree, we have divine glory. 253 Someone accurately conceiving of God may quite legitimately describe the object of their contemplation as beautiful, and sublimely so; for as the medieval theol ogian Peter Lombard wrote: The most exalted philosophers. . . understood the beauty of a body to be sensible and the beauty of the soul to be intelligible, and they preferred intellectual t o sensible beauty. We call sensible such things as can be seen or touched and intelligible such as can be perceived by mental vision. Once they perceived various degrees of beauty in mind and body, they realized there was something which produced these beautiful things, something in which beauty was ultimate and immutable, and therefore beyond compare. And they believed, with every right, that this was the source of all things, that source which itself was neve r made but is that by which all else was made. 254 God is beautiful in that His attributes form a coherent and elegant whole the contemplation of which may produce an ordinate pleasure. Then again, it seems reasonable to ascribe beauty to the mind of a great artist or craftsman upon perceiving a beautiful artefact they have created. By analogy we may be led to ascribe beauty to the Mind that created the cosmos (ordered beauty). As S imone Weil wrote: In everything which gives us the pure authentic feeling of beauty the re really is the presence of God. 255 Patrick Sherry notes that Beauty is probably today the most neglected of the divine attributes. 256, despite the fact that many of the early Christian Fathers a nd the medievals regarded it as central in their discussions of the divine nature. . . 25 7 Although God s beauty is infrequently mentioned in modern discussions of divinity, believer s continue to attribute beauty to God. For example, Peter Kreeft says that: God is infinite Beauty and the inventor of all beauty in creatures. 258 I think we miss out on a v aluable 252 Keith Ward, Religion & Creation, op cit, p267-268. The Hebrew hadar means be auty, comliness,

excellency, glorious, honour and majesty (see W.A.Pratney, op cit, p108-110). 253 Richard Harries, Art and the Beauty of God, (Mowbray, 1993), p54. 254 Peter Lombard, The Sentences i. 3. I. The Sentences were a standard medieval university textbook, upon which is was common to make commentaries. 255 Gravity and Grace, p137. 256 Patrick Sherry, Beauty in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, op cit. 257 ibid. 258 Peter Kreeft, Angels (and Demons), p72. 63

insight into the nature of God if we set aside belief in objective beauty and an understanding of God as the maximally beautiful being .

Whatever one makes of the ontological argument, it provides a powerfully compelling definition of God which I think can be encompassed and surpassed by defining God as the maximally beautiful being . Indeed: To say that God is objectiv ely, maximally beautiful is, implicitly, to say everything that can be said about the nature of God. To say that God is maximally beautiful is to say that He is maximally good (since only the good is beautiful); that is, that God consists of the greatest compossi ble set of goods good qualities that can exist together in one being. This set of unified g ood qualities includes maximal goodness of every possible type: maximal ontological goodness (and therefore necessary and independent existence); maximal moral good ness; and maximal knowledge (since truth is good). Most appropriately (and to the maxi mal degree), as the best of all possible personal beings (which God must be since th e personal is a higher good than the impersonal, knowledge a facet of mind and moral goodne ss a quality of persons), God is love (1 John 4:8). Hence we may well recall the words of Plato: What may we suppose to be the felicity of the man who sees absolute beauty in its essence, pure and unalloyed, who. . . is able to apprehend the divine beauty? 259 Showing that God is the maximally beautiful being should provide the nonbeliever with greater motivation to seek God, for if we would go out of our way to see a beautiful painting or to hear some beautiful music, consider how much more effor t we ought to expend in our search for the maximally beautiful being. Consider how mu ch more attractive God truly is when conceived of as maximally beautiful, rather th an as merely omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and so on. God is supremely worth ou r efforts to seek Him and to be open to Him in religious experience. Resources: Jaques Maritain, Art & Scholasticism @ (3) Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay, (IVP, 2000). (2) Richard Harries, Art and the Beauty of God, (Mowbray, 1993). (2) C.S.Lewis, The Abolition of Man, (Fount). (1) Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person s Guide to Modern Culture, (Duckworth, 1998). (2) 4) Design Arguments Recent years have seen an explosive renaissance in design arguments. This turn up

for the books has been led by eminent Christian scientists and philosophers such as M ichael Behe, William Lane Craig, William Dembski, J.P.Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, John Polkinghorne, Richard Swinburne and Keith Ward. However, even non-Christian scientists, like Paul Davies and Michael Denton, have come to defend the notion of cosmic design on the basis of modern scientific knowledge. These luminaries of d esign have refined and extended the work of men like Aquinas, William Paley, A.E.Taylo r and 259 Plato, Symposium. 64

F.R.Tennant; but they have also discovered powerful new arguments that rely upon recent scientific and philosophical advances. 4a) The Intuitive Design Argument What could be more clear or obvious when we look up to the sky and contemplate th e heavens, than that there is some divinity of superior intelligence? So wrote Cice ro,260 and perhaps the majority of humanity echo this insight at one time or another. F or example, Isaac Newton concluded that: This most beautiful system of the sun, plan ets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent a nd powerful being. 261 Bishop Butler proposed that: There is no need of abstruse reasonings and distinctions, to convince an unprejudiced understanding, that the re is a God who made and governs the world. . . to an unprejudiced mind ten thousand tho usand instances of design cannot but prove a designer. 262 The most intuitively obvious conclusion from an examination of nature, the conclusion that is reached by the majority of humanity, is in favour of design: t he beauty, order and structure of the universe and the structure of its parts stron gly suggests that it was designed; it seems absurd to think that such a universe should have just been there, that it wasn t designed and created but just happened. 263 As David Hume note d: A purpose, an intention, or design strikes everywhere the most careless, the most stupid thinker; and no man can be so hardened in absurd systems, as at all times to rej ect it. 264 Given that this is indeed the most natural conclusion, the rationality of holdin g to it is bolstered by the principle of credulity, and will be interpreted by the theist a s the intended result of properly functioning cognitive faculties aimed at truth and designed ( whether directly or indirectly) by God. The obvious objection to this argument is to say that a naturalistic theory of evolution by natural selection provides a simpler adequate explanation for the a pparent design in nature which should thus be preferred to theism (this is a simple appl ication of Occam s Razor). If the natural intuitive inference that the cosmos is the product of design is to stand, the theist needs to deal with the proposed defeater of natur alistic evolution. This could be done in several ways. First, the theist could point out that it is only naturalistic evolution that contradicts the intuitive inference to design and that, in their opinion, the ad mittedly simpler naturalistic evolutionary explanation for the appearance of design in na

ture is not adequate in itself to overturn the overwhealming intuitive impression that the u niverse is an artifact. After all, if God exists, one could reasonably expect the intuition of design to be the result of a cognitive system designed by God to elicit just this natural response; in which case objections to the design intuition must concentrate on de facto chall enges to the existence of God, not on de jure aspersions about the unwarranted nature of belief grounded in an intuition. 260 Cicero, De Natura Deorum. 261 Isaac Newton, Principia. 262 Butler, 1896, volume 1, p371. 263 Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments . 264 David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merr ill, 1946), p214. 65

Besides, there are several aspects of reality that cannot be explained by evolut ion because they are necessary to the process of evolution itself, and these aspects of nature give the impression of design no less than does the whole of which they are such important parts. The evolutionary challenge therefore fails to contradict the in tuitive design argument. Second, the theist could challenge not only the adequacy of naturalistic evoluti on, but of evolution per se as an adequate global explanation for the appearance of design in nature. Recent years have seen a coming-of-age in sophisticated and intellectually rigorous challenges to evolutionary theory produced by members of the Intelligent Design community. Supporters of Intelligent Design include reputable Scientists a nd Philosophers such as Michael Behe, William A. Dembski, J.P.Moreland, and Alvin Plantinga. Advocates of Intelligent Design oppose the concept of methodological naturalism in science and argue in favour of the limited inference to intelligent design from science: To say intelligent causes are empirically detectable is to say there exist welldefined methods that, on the basis of observational features of the world, are capable of reliably distinguishing intelligent causes from undirected natural causes. Many special sciences have already developed such methods for drawing this distinction notably forensic science. . . cryptography, archeology and the search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. . . The world contains events, objects and structures that exhaust the explanatory resources of undirected natural causes and that can be adequately explained only by recourse to intelligent causes. This is not an argument from ignorance. Precisely because of what we know about undirected natural causes and their limitations, science is now in a position to demonstrate design rigorously. . . Intelligent design is logically compatible with everything from utterly discontinuous creation (e.g. God intervening at every point to create new specie s) to the most far-ranging evolution (e.g. God seamlessly melding all organisms together into one great tree of life). For intelligent design the first question is not how organisms came to be. . . but whether organisms demonstrate clear, empirically detectable marks of being intelligently caused. In principle an evolutionary process can exhibit such marks of intelligence as much as any act o f special creation. 265 In my judgement the Intelligent Design movement is more persuasive when arguing against naturalistic evolution than against theistic evolution. Theistic evolution proposes at a minimum that God created life by creating and sustaining a finelytuned universe in which sentient life would evolve through the interplay of chance and

physical necessity, and at a maximum that God may also have exerted a causal influence on the evolutionary process within the bounds of the statistical laws of quantum mechan ics. A maximal theistic evolutionary account (like that given by Keith Ward266) is very close (if 265 William A. Dembski, Mere Creation, (IVP, 1998), Introduction. 266 Cf. Keith Ward, God Chance & Necessity, (OneWorld). 66

not identical) to a minimal Intelligent Design hypothesis, and the debate as to exactly what method/s the designer used to bring about the cosmos as we see it today ini tiating and sustaining fine tuned natural processes, immanent providential influence wit hin the statistical limits of physical uncertainty, and physical-law-transcending miracl es - is an intellectually rich and fruitful one. Resources: The Virtual Office of William A. Dembski @ i/index.html (2-3) The Access Research Network @ (2-3) Origins @ (2-3) Discovery Institute Centre for the Renewal of Science and Culture @ Reasons To Believe - (1) Michael Behe, Darwin s Black Box the Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, (Free Press, 1996). (3) William A. Dembski ed., Mere Creation Science, Faith & Intelligent Design, (IVP, 1998). (2) William A. Dembski, The Design Inference, (Cambridge, 1998). (3) William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design, (IVP, 1999). (2) Paul Davies, The Mind of God, (Penguin). (2) Michael Denton, Nature s Destiny, (Free Press). (2) Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1999). ( 2) Norman L. Geisler & Winfried Corduan, Philosophy of Religion, (Baker). (2) Phillip E. Johnson, Testing Darwinism An Easy To Understand Guide, (IVP, 1997). (1) David L. Hull & Michael Ruse, The Philosophy of Biology, (Oxford, 1998), Part X, a debate between Alvin Plantinga & Eran McMullin. (2) J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). (2) J.P.Moreland ed., The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP). (2) J.P.Moreland & John Mark Reynolds ed s., Three Views on Creation & Evolution, (Zondervan, 1999). (1) Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments. (1) Alvin Plantinga, Warrant & Proper Function, (Oxford, 1993). (3) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) 4b) The Analogical Design Argument The analogical design argument is the most popular attempt to formalize the intu itive design argument, and one that Kant said always deserves to be mentioned with respect. 267 Look at a watch, suggested the Eighteenth-Century Theologian William Paley, and observe, that its several parts are framed and put together for a purp ose. . . 268

267 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N.K.Smith, (New York: St. Mar tin s, 1965), A. 623, B. 651. 268 William Paley, from (Macmillan, 1964), p100. 67 Natural Theology , in John Hick, ed., The Existence of God,

According to Paley, even if we had never seen a watch before, an inspection woul d lead us to conclude that it was designed and made for a purpose. Observe the world an d its objects and we see once again an intricate interplay of parts and physical laws arranged together and achieving a collective end (the evolution of intelligent life forms ). The world is analogous to the watch. The watch had a designer, so it is reasonable t o think that the world had a designer. Modern knowledge has only increased the strength of this analogy: Solar-powered machines capture the energy of photons and store it in chemicals. Electrical machines allow current to flow through nerves. Manufacturing machines build other molecular machines, as well as themselves. Cells swim using machines, copy themselves with machinery, ingest food with machinery. In short, highly sophisticated molecular machines control every cellular process. 269 It is popularly thought that the theory of evolution by natural selection decima ted the analogical design argument. The universe, or objects within the universe, ma y indeed resemble a watch; but the watch (which stands for any complex object of inter-rela ted parts), we now know (it is claimed), was made by a natural process without teleo logical direction. Pre-Darwinian apologists may be forgiven for mistaking eyes and suchlike for the products of intelligent design, but now science has stepped into the explana tory gap, and swept away the God-of-the-gaps . So the critic might argue. But against this: As we have already seen, the theist needn t deny that a natural process made objects such as the eye (although this is one response that deserve s consideration), but they can easily deny that this process was non-teleological. Besides, evolution is incapable of explaining all examples of order. As Dallas Willard re minds us, evolution: presupposes the existence of certain entities with specific potential behaviours and an environment of some specific kind that operates upon those entities in so me specifically ordered fashion. 270 That is, any sort of evolution of order of any ki nd will always presuppose pre-existing order and pre-existing entities governed by it. 271 As J.P.Moreland puts it: Science cannot explain away all examples of order (or other design-bearing features e.g. beauty, information) as being the result of merely natural processes, because scientific explanations presuppose and must start with ordere d entities and laws. 272 If the universe produces watches through a natural process then it seems

eminently reasonable to construe that process itself as the product of design. A fter all, humans can build automated watch-making factories, so perhaps God has built an automated life-making factory. Evolution may account for complex arrangements of matter such as eye-balls; but evolution is itself a complicated process involvin g raw materials being worked upon by the laws of natural selection (the mutation of ge nes, a changing environment, the survival of the fittest, etc.). Thus as J.P.Moreland w rites: 269 Michael Behe, Darwin s Black Box, (Free Press, 1996), p4-5. 270 Dallas Willard, The Three Stage Argument for the Existence of God , Contemporar y Perspectives in Religious Epistemology, p217. 271 ibid. 272 J.P.Moreland, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p23. 68

theists can grant. . . that the general theory of evolution is true, and go on to build a design argument based on broader features of order and purpose, even on the existence of the mechanisms of evolution. It can be claimed that evolution merely explains how God designed the living world; it does not remove the need for a Designer. This response grows stronger the more we discover that living things are even more complicated than was believed to be the case during the tim e of Darwin. As the intricacy of organisms becomes more apparent, it becomes less plausible to believe that the process of evolution could mindlessly produce life , and it becomes more plausible to believe that they were guided by an Intelligenc e in such a way as to overcome the improbabilities of life arising in the first place. 273 Evolution, then, does not destroy the analogical design argument, it merely push es it back a step, from the objects that make up the world, to the substances and p rocesses that make the objects that make up the world. As Richard Swinburne says, Nature. . . is a machine-making machine. . . men make not only machines, but machine making machines. They may therefore naturally infer form nature which produces animals and plants, to a creator of nature similar to men who make machine-making machines. 27 4 A.E.Taylor concludes: Nature is not exactly like a large establishment for the ma ssproduction of Ingersoll watches, but when all is said, is it not more like that than it is like an unending harlequinade with no point in particular? 275 A Humean objection and the aesthetic dimension A major charge levelled against the analogical design argument is that it does n ot provide unique warrant for the existence of a single designer. As David Hume put the obj ection, A great number of men join in building a house or a ship, in rearing a city, in f raming a commonwealth, why may not several deities combine in framing a world? 276 (Note th at even is this objection is granted, metaphysical naturalism is out of the window. ) Occam s razor compels us to postulate the least number of entities necessary to explain the available data, and in this instance that number is one. Second, thi s is a cosmos, a coherent structure of ordered beauty . This is a universe, a unified whol e. As J.P.Moreland writes, One God is a simpler explanation that the polytheistic one a nd it makes more intelligible the fact that we live in a universe and not a plurality of universes. 277 Most Cathedrals (let alone cities) are a conglomeration of architec tural styles, renovations, innovations, and re-building. The cosmos, on the other hand ,

possesses a unity in both its physical

engineering , and in its artistic facets.

Here we begin to see an aesthetic design argument taking part in a mutually supportive wider teleology . As Richard Swinburne argues, If there were more than one deity responsible for the order [and, we might add, the beauty] of the unive rse, we should expect to see characteristic marks of the handiwork of different deities in different 273 274 275 276 277 69 ibid, p31. Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, (Oxford, 1991). A.E.Taylor, op cit, p89. David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, p39. J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987), p65.

parts of the universe, just as we see different workmanship in the different hou ses of a city. 278 An aesthetic analogical design argument may have an advantage over the common analogical design argument in that while machines and buildings generally do have, in our experience, several builders (although they also generally have onl y one designer or architect), the artistic creation of worlds is usually the work of o ne artist, both in its inception and in its execution. A Middle-Earth, a Narnia, a Discworld, ar e the product of a Tolkein, a Lewis, a Pratchett. Our cosmos is perhaps more like a Mi ddleEarth, a Narnia, or a Discworld than it is a watch, or even an automated watch-m aking factory. Consequently, the aesthetic, artistic analogy is perhaps stronger than the industrial, engineering analogy; and points more clearly to a single Creator. Resources: J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). (2) Richard Swinburne, The Argument from Design in R. Douglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman ed s., Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology, (Oxford, 1992 ). (2) 4c) The Argument from Evolution Keith Ward is Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University. In God, Chance & Necessity (One World, 1996), he does a masterful job of showing how the atheisti c arguments of scientists like Stephen Hawkins, Peter Atkins, and Richard Dawkins, are flawed. Ward says that it is no harder to suppose that God brought life into existence through a long process of evolution than to think that creation happened over a short period of time. Indeed, the evolutionary path might be seen as the more impressi ve. According to Ward, there is every reason to regard the evolutionary account and belief in God as mutually reinforcing, for evolution from a state where no values are appre hended to states in which values can be both created and enjoyed gives an overwhelming impression of purpose or design. 279 Ward goes on to note the inadequacy of current biological orthodoxy when it comes to the question of origins. Complex molecule chains have appeared with the amazing ability to make copies of themselves. According to the orthodoxy of biol ogists like Richard Dawkin s, the existence of self-replicating life forms is highly impr obable;

yet they exist. Ward sees the long odds against the formation of self-replicatin g systems, not as evidence for naturalism, but as a sign of the paucity of the naturalist s a ccount which thereby lends credence to the alternative offered by design. He admits tha t theists can t deny that DNA could (logically speaking) have come about by chance, but argu es that if this is the best explanation naturalism can provide, it is inferior to a ny hypothesis 278 Richard Swinburne, The Argument from Design in Contemporary Perspectives on Re ligions Epistemology, (Oxford, 1992). 279 Keith Ward, God, Chance & Necessity, (OneWorld, 1996), p62. 70

that makes the occurrence of self-replicators more probable. One hypothesis that makes the existence of self-replicators more probable (indeed, certain) is that God ex ists and exerts an influence upon the outworkings of the natural systems in question. Ward argues that God selects the laws of nature with a view to the emergence of sentient beings. He also goes a step beyond this by introducing the concept of top-down causation - whereby God influences the course of nature within the framework of the laws He established. Ward s is thus a maximal form of theistic evolution. The theory of natural selection, says Ward, asserts that random mutations occur, in such a way that some mutated organisms will be more efficient at reproducing a nd will thus tend to survive 280, passing on their genes to the next generation. Afte r generations of mutation and selection, the resulting life-forms will by definiti on be the best survivors and reproducers. How does this explain the emergence of such comp lex, conscious beings as ourselves? There are so many things that, naturally speaking , might go wrong with the process. The mutations might be too large, or too small. Environmental catastrophes might wipe out whole life forms. Natural selection do es not make the development of sentient life inevitable: there is nothing in the princip le to guarantee that the right type of progressive mutations will ever occur, that the environment will favour them, or that in a struggle for life, the more complex o rganisms will be favoured. 281 All the theory of evolution can predict (whether it is taken naturalistically or in a minimal theistic way) is that organisms with a certain degree of complexity are likely to be selected if all the relevant causal and environmental conditions are right 282, which means the right mutations occurring in the right environment. 283 This, in turn, necessary condition of the existence of consciousness, which is likely to be sel ected if it ever occurs. 284 Hence, even in Ward s assessment of evolution by natural selection, we meet a weak indication of a conspiracy favouring the evolution of sentience. In Ward s judgement, the same problem that attends the supposed chance coming together of chemicals to form the first self-replicating system upon whic h natural selection could work, also applies to the mechanism natural selection itself. In both cases that problem is the gargantuan odds against the process in question having such fruitful results as were in fact achieved. While some might see the apparent chanciness of our existence as counting against God s existence, Ward turns the tables by pointing o ut that making the occurrence of what actually happens improbable is rather an odd thing

is a

for a scientific theory to do. It is precisely because (as he believes) the theory of natural selection does not make the appearance of sentient life probable that Ward think s we should favour the maximal theistic explanation. Ward admits that it is possible for the theist to argue that the laws of nature make the development of sentient life forms probable. We would then see natural selec tion as the way God works, without interfering in the laws of nature, to realise His pur pose in creation (minimal theistic evolution). But Ward does not take this view himself. He 280 281 282 283 284 71 ibid, ibid, ibid, ibid, ibid, p65. p65. p65. p65. p65.

believes that God is more intimately involved in the evolutionary process. The i dea of top-down causation, developed by Priest and former Biochemist Arthur Peacocke, provides Ward with a way to view this involvement. Top-Down causation happens when the nature of a complex whole affects the behaviour of its parts. For the theist, the ultimate complex whole consists of th e universe and God. 285 God sustains the universe at every moment of its existence, making every moment a moment of creation wherein God s transcendent being may have an immanent effect not excluded by the preceding state of the universe. This is the contrast between the naturalist s view of the universe as a closed system of cause and effe ct, and the theist s view of the universe as an open system amenable to God s transcendent ou tside influence. Ward s suggestion is that a full-bloodied concept of a personal God means that He not only transcendently initiates and sustains natural laws with certain ends in mind, but exerts an imminent influence upon the outworking of those laws. This Divine causal influence is not a constant breaking of His own laws (although this is possible) . Rather, it preserves God s hiddenness , from all but the eyes of trusting or seeking faith, by working within the self-imposed limitations of those laws. The possibility of such Divine influence requires that a wholly deterministic account of physical causat ion is impossible to give; but as Ward says, Such an account cannot be given anyway. . . 2 86 We cannot specify initial conditions in physical systems with absolute precision because we run up against Heisenberg s Uncertainty Principle, which says that we c annot have simultaneous knowledge of all the relevant physical variables. If we know a particle s velocity we can t know its exact position, and vice versa. This uncertain ty has a knock-on effect in the large-scale world in chaotic regimes where small changes at the micro-level can lead to large changes at the macroscopic level. This is the so-calle d butterfly effect , because one illustration of the theory is that a butterfly flapp ing its wings can begin a cascade of efficient causes that result in a big storm. It is this sort of consideration that limits the accuracy of long range weather-forecasting. As far as physics is concerned then, God can influence events in the large scale physical world (within certain limits) by altering the events in the small scale world in ways we could never detect. Christianity can not only accommodate evolution by natural selection, it can

assimilate it into a richer explanatory context which provides a far better expl anation of the facts than can be offered by any purely scientific account. As Ward says els ewhere: This is a universe which generates out of itself its own creatively emergent future. . . the direction is built into the structure of things from the first; and, for the theist, things are drawn towards new creative actualisations by the attracti on of the ideal, the supreme perfection of God. To use an old analogy, God is like the sun, drawing out plants from the earth to flower and blossom in its light. 287 God desires the creation of finite personal beings capable of entering into free ly chosen relationships with Him and each other. This means our existence is meanin gful, 285 ibid, p65. 286 ibid, p65. 287 Keith Ward, Holding Fast To God, (SPCK, 1983), p110. 72

because it has a purpose. The universe exists as a necessary condition for the e xistence of certain values, primarily the value of chosen love. In this sense, love reall y does make the world go round . To this end, God sustains a universe in a manner normally described by the laws of science. God can exert His influence by working within the self-imposed limits of the laws of nature. In so doing He veils His activity - ret aining maximum natural consistency, and preserving our freedom to ignore Him if we wish under our inability to specify initial conditions with absolute precision. As Jo hn Polkinghorne writes, God s immanent action. . . will always lie hidden in those complexities whose precarious balance makes them unsusceptible to prediction. 288 It remains a possibility that God may act in a way contrary to that described by scientific laws, providing that He has sufficient reason so to act. If the origi n and evolution of life towards sentient beings can be adequately explained in (theist ically interpreted) scientific terms, and if God is unlikely to over-rule His laws for na ture if lawful means will suffice, we need not appeal to a miracle in order to account for t he facts. Whether the evolution of sentient beings is probable given the laws of na ture or not, a theistic interpretation of the process improves upon the naturalistic acc ount, and the theory of evolution therefore supports belief in the existence of God. Resources: Keith Ward, God, Chance & Necessity, (OneWorld, 1996). (2) 4d) Aesthetic Design Arguments Aesthetic arguments are traditionally subsumed under the category of design argu ments. Some of the epistemological aesthetic arguments work from the nature of our subj ective aesthetic experience, seeking to interpret this experience as revelatory of divi nity. This argument has already been examined under arguments from experience. Other epistemological arguments begin with the mere fact that we have aesthetic awaren ess, seeking to show that theism gains credibility in providing the best understandin g of this capacity. As William C. Davis writes, Humans have numerous features that are more easily explained by theism than by metaphysical naturalism, if only because metaphysical naturalism currently explains all human capacities in terms of their ability to enhance survival. Amo ng these features are the possession of reliable faculties aimed at truth, the appreciation of beauty, and a sense of humor. 289

Epistemological aesthetic arguments reveal a God who values the appreciation of beauty as a good thing that provides some reason for the creation of an objectiv ely beautiful cosmos and creatures capable of enjoying that beauty. Some ontological aesthetic arguments ask how likely it is that non-teleological natural laws should produce the objective beauty that we find all around us. Oth er 288 John Polkinghorne, Science & Providence, p32. 289 William C. Davies, Theistic Arguments , in Reason for the Hope Within, ed. Mich ael J, Murray, (Eerdmans, 1999), p37, my italics. 73

ontological aesthetic arguments propose the existence of God as the source and s tandard of objective aesthetic value. This latter type of ontological aesthetic argument takes a deductive form, and has already been treated above under the heading of axiologi cal arguments. Clark H. Pinnock is one of the few writers of a popular apologetic to mention beauty as a clue to the existence of God. There are two epistemological aesthetic arguments given by Pinnock in his apologetic: Reason Enough, (Paternoster, 1980) . The first (analogical) argument can be formalised as follows: 1) In our appreciation of works of human art we are familiar with the existence of beauty that has not been produced by accident or pure chance. Rather, we experience a fo rm of communication through which we perceive intelligence, thought, and feeling . 2) We often have the same (or at least a similar) experience when we encounter t he physical universe; we often find ourselves experiencing the universe as a work of art that draws from us gratitude to the unseen Artist 3) Like causes (at least generally speaking) produce like effects. 4) Therefore, our experience of the physical universe as artistic beauty, being at least similar to our experience of human art, is reason to infer the existence of a hu man-like Artist with intelligence, thought, and feeling behind the universe. Pinnock s second (epistemological evolutionary) argument takes the following form: 1) From a secular standpoint, our capacity to appreciate beauty: must seem an unaccounted-for extra thrown in by chance. . . lacking as it does any survival val ue in terms of our evolution. 2) It would therefore be reasonable to accept any explanation of our capacity to appreciate beauty that made the existence of this capacity more likely than the secular explanation. 3) If our capacity to appreciate beauty derives from the creative activity of an un-evolved being with a capacity to appreciate beauty, then our possession of that capacity would be more likely than it is on the secular explanation. 4) Therefore, it is reasonable to think that our capacity to appreciate beauty d erives from the creative (and therefore intelligent and purposive) activity of an un-evolved being with a capacity to appreciate beauty. Professor H.E.Huntley in The Divine Proportion - A Study In Mathematical Beauty, pursues this evolutionary angle on the aesthetic argument. Huntley poses the evolutionary puzzle of our aesthetic sense thus:

we might begin by asking whether the universal human thirst for beauty serves a useful purpose. Physical hunger and thirst ensure our bodily survival. The sex drive takes care of the survival of the race. Fear has survival value. But - to put the question crudely - what is beauty for? What personal or evolutionary end is 74

met by the appreciation of a rainbow, a flower or a symphony? At first sight, none. 290 Huntley s suggests that: a part of the answer is that [beauty] serves as a lure to induce the mind to emba rk on creative activity. Beauty is a bait. This view seems to require the existence of absolute beauty, to demand that specimens of beauty antedate the human perception of them, although beauty in its subjective sense is called into exist ence only at the moment of its appreciation. 291 Of course, if our appreciation of beauty does have an evolutionary (efficient) e xplanation, this does not exclude the possibility that our appreciation is also the result o f divine (teleological) intention. W.S.Rhodes agrees with Pinnock, although he is a little more circumspect: The sense of beauty in human beings. . . has no obvious survival value. Human sensitivity to beauty cannot be accounted for on materialist lines and the beaut y of the world only partly so. Unless there is an intelligence sensitive to beauty in some way directing the course of things the facts must remain without full explanation. 292 Even Anthony O Hear concurs with Pinnock et al that: from a Darwinian perspective, truth, goodness, and beauty and our care for them are very hard to explain. 293 He goes on to say that, For some, speculation about the origin of our nonDarwinian concerns would take a religious direction. 294 O Hear does not take this direction himself, but gives no reason for his refusal. William C. Davies follow s the trail to its theistic conclusion: consider the data of useless (nonutilitarian) beauty. Is God a better explanation of that feature of the world than metaphysical naturalism? To decide, you must ask whether useless beauty is more likely to exist if God exists or if metaphysi cal naturalism is true. This is by no means a simple or obvious estimate; but I m convinced that an honest evaluation leads to the conclusion that God s existence explains this and other features of the world far more successfully. . . Value, both moral and aesthetic, appears to be an objective feature of the world. . . a fact much more likely to have been the case if God exists than if the universe is a grand accident. 295 We have turned here from Pinnock s epistemological evolutionary argument, to an ontological evolutionary argument. 290 H.E.Huntley, The Divine Proportion - A Study In Mathematical Beauty, p12. 291 ibid, p153. 292 W.S.Rhodes, The Christian God, (ISPCK), p80-81.

293 Antony O Hear, Beyond Evolution, p214. 294 ibid. 295 William C. Davies, op cit, p36-37. 75

J.P.Moreland affirms that features of the world such as a sun-set, fall in Vermont, the human body, the Rocky Mountains [and] the singing of birds. . . all exhibit real, objective beauty. 296 He also says that if one denies the objectivity of beau ty, then this sort of design will not be of use in arguing for a designer. 297 I do not see why Moreland concludes that only objective beauty is of use to the apologist. For instance, F.R.Tennant, in his discussion of the aesthetic design argument contradicts Moreland: Whether it be subjectively constituted. . . whether beauty be wholly Objective and literally intrinsic to Nature: these controversial questions are here immate rial. . . If we minimize phenomenal Nature s gift by denying that her beauty is intrinsic. . . we must allow to ontal Nature an intrinsic constitution such that minds can make beauty. . . out of it. And the more we magnify man s part in this making. . . the more motivation have we to believe that Nature comes to herself in man, has a significance for man that exists not for herself, and without man is a broken circle. Theologically expressed, this is the belief that Nature is meaningless and valueless without God behind it and man in front. . . 298 If beauty is not objective, then clearly it is either subjective or non-existent . Since beauty patently exists, the only choice is to give it objective or subjective characterisation. I myself favour an objective theory of beauty.299 However, Ten nant seems to me to demonstrate that inductive forms of aesthetic argument operate independently of questions about the objectivity or subjectivity of beauty. Moreland argues that: the beauty in the examples cannot be accounted for in terms of survival value, natural selection, and the like. 300 For this conclusion he gives the following reasons: some of the examples (the Rocky Mountains) are not biological organisms. Further, even when one considers biological organisms (the human body) it is not clear that the beauty of those organisms is related to their survival. Since sci ence does not deal with value qualities (aesthetic or moral) in its descriptions of t he world, then beauty as an aesthetic property is not a part of evolutionary theory . 301 The thought underlying these comments, which Moreland leaves undeveloped, is this: Since naturalistic explanations of the world give no a priori reason to ex pect beauty to arise in either the biological or non-biological realm, a theistic explanatio n, which can invoke teleology to explain this fact, gains a measure of credibility. As W.S.Rh odes 296 J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). 297 ibid, p48-49.

298 F.R.Tennant, Philosophical Theology, 89, my italics. 299 An objective account of beauty is favoured by the likes of William C. Davies , Norman L. Geisler, Douglas Groothuis, Richard Harries, C.S.Lewis, C.E.M.Joad, G.E.Moore, J.P.Morela nd, Alvin Plantinga and Keith Ward. 300 J.P.Moreland, op cit, p49. 301 ibid. 76

says, It is difficult to believe that so many beautiful things came into being wi thout any kind of direction by a power sensitive to beauty. 302 Attributing biological beauty to a naturalistic evolutionary process hardly accounts for the overwhelming amount and degree of beauty produced, since it doe sn t explain why there should be a connection between beauty and survival value. W.S.Rhodes argues from the beauty of flowers: pollination by insects may be the means by which beautiful forms and colours are selected. We have then to suppose that the remarkable beauty of form and colour has developed because insects are attracted to these characteristics. The y can be shown to be attracted to bright colours. But the point here is not the brightness of the colour, but its delicacy as compared. . . with the crudity of artificial ones. If insects are responsible for the exquisite beauty of form and colour in so many flowers they must have great sensitivity to these qualities. 303 It can hardly be imagined that insects appreciate beauty in the flowers whose ev olution they have helped to shape. I doubt that bees, for instance, are conscious; let a lone selfconscious as humans are. Rather, these insects are attracted to certain waveleng ths of light, beyond those visible to the human eye, which are reflected by flowers. Th e naturalistic evolutionary explanation does not explain why the evolutionary pres sure of insects unconcerned with beauty should lead to the existence of flowers which, p urely as a side-effect of their insect-attracting ultra-violet colouring (as the naturali stic evolutionary story would have it) possess objectively beautiful colours in the v ery spectrum of light visible to the very creatures capable of appreciating that bea uty; creatures who played no role in the evolution of the beauty they appreciate. As Norman L. Geisler notes: all or most things in nature. . . move towards an end, be it staying alive or reproducing, and they move toward secondary purposes that have nothing to do with themselves. In the big picture their existence and actio ns make the world. . . beautiful , and that implies a designer, because, as Aquinas argued , These agents act in predictable. . . ways that seem to work towards the best results [ and] whatever lacks knowledge must be directed toward an end. 304 The form of this argument is simply that God provides a more adequate explanation of nature s propensity to produce beauty than does the simpler but les s adequate explanation of chance , and is therefore to be preferred. As Kurt P. Wise argues, One striking characteristic of life unexplained by evolution is its aesth etic nature. . . This magnificent beauty, observed across a variety of levels among l

iving organisms, cannot be explained by macroevolutionary theory. It is, however, cons istent with an intelligent cause for life a Designer whose tastes and predilections hum an beings may share. 305 It is probably this suspicion that lies behind Darwin s commen t that consideration of a peacock s feather makes me sick. 306 302 W.S.Rhodes, The Christian God, (ISPCK), p77. 303 ibid, p80. 304 Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1999 ), p715, my italics. 305 Kurt P. Wise, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP), p230-231. 306 Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, (New York, Appleton, 1887), 2:296. 77

It may be possible that the interplay of chance gene mutation and environmental pressure should produce such fortuitous aesthetic side-effects as beautiful flower s and peacock tails, but it does not seem a very likely, elegant, or neat explanation of the facts, and this is all that is needed to proffer a measure of support for theism. It might be argued that though humans had no effect on the evolution of flowers, the flowers had some effect upon the evolution of humans such that humans natura lly appreciate flowers because of some association with fertility, for example. Such an explanation does not exclude God working within evolution to obtain this effect. Then again, such a response fails to take seriously the fact that the flowers are obj ectively beautiful. The beauty of flowers, like the beauty of a work of art, can be the o bject of a disinterested aesthetic pleasure, pleasure that is unrelated to self-interest bu t which delights in an object as an end in itself which is worthy of praise. This means that its beauty cannot be dependent upon what we can gain, pragmatically speaking, from noticing it. Moreover, as Moreland says, evolution can hardly account for the be auty of objects, like the Rocky Mountains or Rainbows, which did not evolve. As Aristotl e noted: it is unlikely that fire, earth, or any such element [i.e. that any materi al cause or the efficient causes thereof] should be why things manifest goodness and beauty. 3 07 Augustine s remarks on this subject have lost none of their relevance to the discovery of evolution: And even if we take out of account the necessary functions of the parts, there is a harmonious congruence between them, a beauty in their equality and correspondence, so much so that one would be at a loss to say whether utility or beauty is the major consideration in their creation. . . There is no visible par t of the body which is merely adapted to its function without being also of aesthetic value. . . Hence it can, I think, readily be inferred that in the design of the human body dignity was a more important consideration than utility. 308 This is not a matter of arguing for a God-of-the-gaps , because the explanatory gap being referred to is one inherent to the structure of scientific explanation . As physicist John Polkinghorne testifies, Beauty slips through the scientist s net. 309 The metaphysical explanation for beauty available to the theist does not rule out sc ientific explanation, but rather subsumes it within a wider explanatory teleology which s eems capable of providing a more adequate (though more complex) account of the place

of beauty in the cosmos. The theistic hypothesis, as Keith Ward argues, makes sense of the fact that: scientists often do appeal to teleological reasons, to a sense of beau ty and elegance, in choosing ultimate theories. 310 Moreland adduces aesthetic arguments from two orders of beauty that he delineates, the beauty of the world, and the beauty of the theories that describ e that world. The first of these arguments is that, like Pinnock: some would argue that the bea uty of the world and many of its aspects points to the existence of a grand Artist. 311 T he second 307 308 309 310 311 78 Aristotle, quoted by John Leslie, Value & Existence. Augustine, City of God, Book XXII, chapter 24, p1073-1074, my italics. John Polkinghorne, The Way The World Is, p17. Keith Ward, God, Chance & Necessity, p22. Moreland, op cit, p49.

argument is that: Beautiful theories or systems of thought which are mere inventi ons get their beauty from the superior human intellect which formed them. Similarly, bea utiful theories, which are discovered and which accurately reflect the way the world is , get their beauty from the Mind which formed them. 312 In support of this contention Moreland notes that Philosophers of science have often pointed out that one of the criteria for a true (or rational) scientific t heory is its elegance or beauty 313 For example, Stanley L. Jaki points out that Albert Einstein and Erwin Shrodinger were guided by the conviction, borne out by previous scientific discoveries, that a good scientific theory would safeguard the beauty of nature and would itself be formally or mathematically beautiful. 314 Physicist Paul Davies notes th at: It is widely believed among scientists that beauty is a reliable guide to truth, and m any advances in theoretical physics have been made by the theorist demanding mathema tical elegance of a new theory. 315 Sometimes , says Davies, when laboratory tests are difficult, these aesthetic criteria are considered even more important than expe riment. 316 Responding to the proposal that our capacity to know beauty can be accounted for by natural selection, Davies seems to be on to something when he responds thus: If beauty is entirely biologically programmed, selected for its survival value alone, it is all the more surprising to see it re-emerge in the esoteric world o f fundamental physics, which has no direct connection with biology. On the other hand, if beauty is more than mere biology at work, if our aesthetic appreciation stems from contact with something firmer and more pervasive, then it is surely a fact of major significance that the fundamental laws of the universe seem to reflect this something . 317 Either way, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics , as Eugene Wigner called

this conundrum, lends itself to theistic interpretation. Moreland s arguments boil down to the same general suggestion: that the analogy between examples of beauty produced by humans and the beauty discovered by human s both in the cosmos itself and in accurate descriptions thereof, may reasonably l ead us to infer the existence of a human-like grand artist or mind behind that cosmos. After a ll, cosmos is a Greek word meaning ordered beauty . Aesthetic arguments seek to suggest that this term is applicable in its most literal sense. John Polkinghorne, one time Cambridge Professor of mathematical physics turned theologian, has written extensively about the place of beauty in the mathematics

employed by physicists, and the implications of this fact for natural theology. In Science & Theology he writes that: science discerns a world which in its rational beauty and rational transparency is shot through with signs of mind, and the theist can und erstand this because it is indeed the Mind of God that is partially disclosed in this wa y. 318 Elsewhere he argues that: There is no a priori reason why beautiful equations sho uld 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 79 ibid. ibid. ibid. Paul Davies, The Mind of God, (Penguin). ibid. ibid. John Polkinghorne, Science & Theology, p73.

prove to be the clue to understanding nature. . . It is a contingent fact that t his is true. . . but it does not seem sufficient simply to regard it as a happy accident. 319 Polki nghorne s most accessible book, quarks, chaos & christianity, summarises his thoughts on mathematical beauty and natural theology: the existence of the Creator would expl ain why the world is so profoundly intelligible, and I can t see any other explanation that works half as well. 320 F.R.Tennant discusses the apologetic value of beauty in his classic chapter on Cosmic Teleology in volume two of his classic Philosophical Theology, first publis hed in 1930. Tennant begins by criticising the analogical aesthetic argument: The wea k spot in what purports to be a special proof of theism lies , says Tennant, in the assump tion that, since in human art a beautiful or sublime production is the outcome of hum an design, similar effects must everywhere be due to design. 321 He suggests that thi s generalization is all too precarious 322, since it can hardly be maintained that arrangements of matter, accounted beautiful, humanly caused but not contrived or selectively constructed with a view to exciting aesthetic admiration, never occu r. 323 He admits that we may deem such explanation to be natural and reasonable; but it is hardly necessitated by the considerations on which this would-be coercive argument reli es. 324 Tennant s criticism of aesthetic argument of the type employed by Moreland and Pinnock seems to me to be overplayed. This type of argument has no pretense of b eing coercive . The fact that Moreland s presentation of the aesthetic argument is so brie f indicates that he puts little store by it, even as part of a multi-strand design argument. Pinnock only claims that his argument provides a clue to the existence of God. As W.S.Rhodes says, the argument from beauty. . . is not in itself compelling but contributes to the cumulative argument for the reality of the Divine. 325 This is an approach to theistic arguments endorsed by Philosophers like Brian Davies and Ri chard Swinburne. While Tennant is right that it can hardly be maintained that arrangeme nts of matter, accounted beautiful, humanly caused but not contrived or selectively con structed with a view to exciting aesthetic admiration, never occur. 326, such accidental arrangements are at least rare, which is all the argument requires. Such arrange ments do at least speak of the beauty of the parts involved and/or (at the very least) th eir suitability for the production of beauty; a suitability that we might attribute to design as we attribute the suitability of Lego for building diverse objects to design. Moreover, all Tennant s supposed counter-example shows is that uncontrived

beauty may occur without the intentional involvement of an agent; for how can a h appy accident occur without a background of intentional action? As Kreeft & Tacelli ar gue: we can understand chance only against a background of order. . . If you take away order and speak of chance alone as a kind of ultimate source, you have taken away the only background that allows us to speak meaningfully of chance at all. 327 That is, it does 319 John Polkinghorne, Belief in God in an Age of Science, (Yale), p2. 320 John Polkinghorne, quarks, chaos & christianity, (SPCK), p23-25. 321 F.R.Tennant, op cit, p90. 322 ibid. 323 ibid. 324 ibid. 325W.S.Rhodes, op cit, p81. 326 F.R.Tennant, op cit, p90-91. 327 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit. 80

nothing to rule out the suggestion that the unintentional involvement of an agen t may be a precondition of beautiful objects coming into existence. I anticipate that this response will be accused of begging-the-question against the implicit suggestion that the beauty of nature does not necessitate the existence of divine artistic intention because it could be purely accidental. However, this accusati on itself begs-the-question by assuming that simply because the activity of an agent can p roduce unintended beauty, examples of beauty can be produced in the absence of any and all intentional agents. While we know that beauty can be the by-product of an agent s actions, this does not in itself show that beauty can occur without either being the product or by-product of an agent s actions. Even if beauty can occur without being either the product or by-product of agents, one could still argue that this was not very li kely, and that attributing beauty to an agent is therefore a better explanation than attri buting it to pot luck. Tennant says that The aesthetic argument for theism becomes more persuasive when it renounces all claim to proof and appeals to alogical probability. 328, but alogical probability is all the analogical aesthetic argument has ever claimed. In the en d, Tennant admits that We may deem such explanation [in terms of an artistic deity whose exi stence is inferred by analogy or as best explanation] to be natural and reasonable 329, a nd this is all that the argument claims. Tennant goes on to produce his own aesthetic arguments. He starts with the obvious assertion that Nature is sublime or beautiful, and the exceptions do but prove the rule. 330 Again, The universality of Nature s beauty. . . is a generalization rou ghly comparable with the uniformity of natural law. That natural objects evoke aesthe tic sentiment is as much a fact about them as that they obey the laws of motion. . . 3 31 Tennant s next premise is that: In general, man s productions (other than professed works of art), and almost only they, are aesthetically vile [ugly]. . . We might almost say the one [non-artistic human agency] never achieves, while the other [ nature] never misses, the beautiful. 332 This generalization applies, says Tennant, both to the products and productive processes of humanity and nature: Compare, e.g., the rattling looms and the hammer ing noise of human workshops with Nature s silent or musical constructiveness; or the devastating stinks of chemical works with Nature s fragrant distillations. 333 Richa rd

Swinburne agrees: one would be hard put to think of any part of the pre-human wor ld which is ugly; ugliness in this sense seems to arrive with the arrival of humans , who, knowingly or unknowingly, make something which could be beautiful ugly instead. 33 4 Then comes Tennant s conclusion: If made the town. . . we have a possible eism contained in this saying be rejected, g. 335 The beauty of nature, argues Tennant, 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 81 God made the country whereas man explanation of these things; but if the th explanation does not seem to be forthcomin cannot be co-extensive with either nature s

F.R.Tennant, op cit, p91. ibid. ibid. ibid, p92. ibid. ibid, p91. Richard Swuinburne, Providence and the Problem of Evil, p53. F.R.Tennant, op cit, p92.

mechanicalness , or its (supposed) lack of aesthetic design, as man s utilitarian productions shew. 336 Concrete car parks, for example, are very utilitarian, but u gly. Tennant is certainly on to something here, for as W.S.Rhodes writes: Beauty may be associated with fitness for function. . . Economy and precision in design gives one kind of aesthetic satisfaction. So it is with certain living th ings. . . Their form. . has been developed to meet functional needs and we judge it beautiful. Yet things exactly suited to their function are not necessarily beaut iful [overall]. . . It is only in certain cases that fitness for function is sufficie nt to account for the beauty of an object. And it is only in certain cases that the be auty of living things can be attributed to fitness for function. 337 Or as Tennant states: we may still ask why Nature s mechanism affects us in such wi se that we deem her sublime and beautiful, since mere mechanism, as such, is under no universal necessity to do so, and what we may call human mechanisms [produced on purely utilitarian lines] usually fail to do so. 338 Yet, this potency, describable as the Objective factor in beauty, belongs to Nature s very texture. 339 Tennant s second Aesthetic argument covers the same ground as Pinnock s second aesthetic argument, namely, our awareness of beauty in the light of evolu tionary theory: in so far as the mechanical stability and the analytic intelligibility of the inorganic world are concerned, beauty is a superfluity. Also that in the organic world aesthetic pleasingness of colour, etc., seems to possess survival-value on but a limited scale, and then is not to be identified with the complex and intellectualised aesthetic sentiments of humanity, which apparently have no survival value. From the point of view of science, beauty. . . is, in both its subjective and its objective factors. . . a biologically superfluous accompanime nt of the cosmic process. Once more then lucky accidents and coincidences bewilderingly accumulate until the idea of purposiveness, already lying to hand as indispensable within the sphere of human conduct, is applied to effect the substitution of reasonable, if alogical, probability for groundless contingency. If we do apply this category of design to the whole time-process, the beauty of Nature may not only be assigned a cause but also a meaning, or a revelational function. It may then be regarded as no mere by-product, like physical evil, in a teleologically ordered world whose raison d etre is the realisation of other value s - the moral and the religious. 340 This version of the evolutionary aesthetic argument is stronger than Pinnock s bec ause it takes into account some measure of survival value attributed to our appreciation

of beauty. 336 337 338 339 340 82 ibid. W.S.Rhodes, op cit, 79-80. F.R.Tennant, op cit, p92. ibid. ibid, p92-93.

Tennant produces a third aesthetic argument that picks up where the second left off: Indeed Nature s potency to evoke aesthetic sentiment. . . is efficient in the world s rapport with man. From its very origination religious experience seems to have b een conditioned by the impressiveness of the awesomeness of natural phenomena, sugge stive of an invisible and mysterious presence. 341 He goes on: Aesthetic values are closely associated, and often are inextricably interwoven, with ethico-religious values. God reveals Himself. . . in many ways; and some men enter His Temple by Gate Beautiful. Values alone can provide guidance as to the world s meaning, structure being unable to suggest more than intellectual power. And beauty may well be a meaning. That is the element of sense contained in the romanticist s paradox, beauty is truth, or truth is beauty. . . If Nature s beauty embody a purpose of God, it would seem to be a purpose for man, and to bespeak that God is mindful of him . Theistically regarded, Nature s beauty is of a piece with the world s intelligibility and with it s being a theatre for moral life; and thus far the case for theism is strengthened by aesthetic considerations. 342 Evolution, notes Keith Ward, has produced consciousness, which can appreciate, interpret, understand and shape the physical world so as to realise new forms of value [including beauty] which can be enjoyed and shared with other conscious beings. 34 3 For an extreme Darwinian , says Ward, this must always be an odd mischance, the incredible result of a million small errors in replication .344 How incredible tha t an outcome of such value should emerge from so many cosmic mistakes: How much more plausible it is to suppose that the whole emergent process is set up precisely s o that the universe could come to generate communities of beings capable of self-knowledge and self-control [and of appreciating and creating beauty]. 345 This argument combines wonder at the beauty of the world with wonder at our capacity for appreciating and contributing to that beauty. The crucial question to answer in this context is: Does the universe exhibit pitiless indifference to value, or is it essentially directed towards the free realisation of truth, beauty and goodness? 3 46 Ward picks up on the argument from aesthetic experience, saying that, religion is a positive response to intimations of purpose, of truth, beauty and goodness in the universe, and a pursuit of those things by a self-transforming acceptance of the ir magisterial authority. . . 347 Ward agrees with Tennant in seeing beauty as one factor which contributes to the rationality of believing the cosmos to have been created with a view to the inst antiation

of goodness by a divine being: If the universe is created by God, it clearly has a purpose, and I have briefly construed this purpose as the creation and contemplation of b eauty and 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 83 ibid, p93. ibid. Keith Ward, op cit, p60. ibid. ibid. ibid, p190-191. ibid.

various forms of goodness, both by God and by finite minds. 348 As W.R.Sorley put it, Without ideas of value, we may be able to answer the questions what? and How?, bu t only through them can we expect an answer to the question why? 349 Ward also suggests that, implicit within the work of scientists who appeal to teleological reasons and to their sense of beauty and elegance when picking ulti mate theories, is a commitment to saying that the universe exists because it is beauti ful, and that might be an ultimate reason for its existence. 350 He sees this as a natural progression beyond strictly scientific explanation, when facing questions such as Why are the re laws of nature? : At that point, the obvious sort of reason to offer is precisely a teleological reason, which would state how the initial state and the laws together are well formed to actualise states of value. As John Leslie says, the ultimate reason wh y things are as they are is likely to be: because they actualise great and distinc tive values. 351 Another contemporary philosopher who takes up Tennant s suggestion that beauty provides a motive, meaning, and purpose for creation, is Richard Swinburn e. Swinburne devoted two paragraphs in his noted book The Existence of God to an inductive aesthetic argument, and continued its defence in Is There A God? Swinb urne s inclusion of aesthetic argument under the heading of the design argument indicat es that he views it of apologetic value only when considered as one indicator of Gods ex istence among many (indeed, this is Swinburne s apologetic approach overall). Swinburne argues that, if God exists, then He has: apparently overriding reason, for making, not merely an orderly world. . . but a beautiful world - at any rate to the extent to which it lies outside the control of creatures. (And he has reason too, I would suggest, even in whatever respects th e world does lie within the control of creatures, to give them experience of beaut y to develop, and perhaps some ugliness to annihilate.) 352 In other worlds, the world looks much as we should expect it to look if it were created by God, because God has reason to make a basically beautiful world , and because he would seem to have overriding reason not to make a basically ugly world beyond t he powers of creatures to improve. 353 This remains true, says Swinburne, whether or n ot anyone ever observes [the beauty of the world], but certainly if only one person ever observes it. 354 Swinburne says that, it is also good that people admire what is be autiful;

but the beauty of the beautiful does not depend on being recognized. 355 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 84 ibid. Quoted by John Leslie, Value & Existence. Keith Ward, op cit. ibid. Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, p150. ibid, p150. Richard Swinburne, Is There a God?, (Oxford), p54. Richard Swinburne, Providence and the Problem of Evil, (Oxford), p52.

Even if this is not so, Swinburne argues that God has a very good making a beautiful Universe, namely that he himself will admire it t because he made it, of course; but because what he made is admirable.) 356 es, saying that if God is the imaginative creator, the cosmic artist, God will know and appreciate the whole cosmic process. 357

reason for (not admire i Keith Ward agre then of course

Moreover, the goodness of subjective, enjoyed beauty constitutes one reason for God to create creatures with an aesthetic sense. As Augustine wrote: Then there i s the beauty and utility of the natural creation, which the divine generosity has best owed on man, for him to behold. . . 358 So, there are two reasons why God might be expecte d to make a world such as ours: that He may appreciate its beauty, and that creatures such as ourselves may appreciate the beauty both of God and of God s Creation. God s reason for making a basically beautiful world is that beauty is a good thing. 359 The conc lusion Swinburne draws is that if there is a God there is more reason to expect a basica lly beautiful world than a basically ugly one. . . 360 The next step in Swinburne s argument is to assert that A priori. . . there is no particular reason for expecting a basically beautiful rather than a basically ug ly world. 361 The conclusion to be drawn from this observation is that, if the world is [basica lly] beautiful, that fact would be evidence for God s existence. 362 It only remains for Swinburne to point out that the world is indeed basically beautiful to complete his argument. While the judgement whether or not that the world is basically beautif ul is one that every individual must make for themselves, agreeing that it is rounds off a n apparently sound aesthetic argument for the existence of God. Swinburne s best defence - or perhaps persuasive exemplification would be a better description of his method - of the basic beauty of the world, and of the claim that the creation of beauty provides God with an overriding reason to make a world su ch as ours, comes in his Providence and the Problem of Evil: The existence of all concrete things. . . is good in itself. The more [things], t he better. And better that they be arranged in a beautiful way. Could anyone who has come to admire sculpture possibly deny that? But better still is a moving sculpture - a process whereby trillions of concrete things emerge from simple beginnings. Could anyone who has come to admire dance possibly deny that? And good that they should come in kinds with marvellous patterns of colour, new kinds emerging from old - a living painting. The goodness of the existence and beauty of the non-conscious world. . . is so obvious, and yet it needs a poet to bring it alive. . . But is it not obvious that a good God would seek to bring ab out such beauty? 363

356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 85

ibid. Keith Ward, God, Faith & The New Millennium, (OneWorld), p27. Augustine, City of God, op cit, p1075. Richard Swinburne, Is There a God?, op cit, p54. Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, p150. ibid. ibid. Richard Swinburne, Providence and the Problem of Evil, p51.

While this argument can only carry the strength appropriate to an argument to th e best explanation (as all Swinburne s theistic arguments are), I agree that The argument surely works. 364 Swinburne s argument from the fine tuning ly conceivable, but the iful rather than basically ugly. could be read as a special case of the anthropic argument of the universe. Various alternative realities are coherent one known to obtain is significant in being basically beaut Whereas the hypothesis that God exists provides a plausible

explanation of this state of affairs, the refusal to take up the creation hypothe sis leaves this feature of reality as a contingent, unexplained fact. One might suggest the existence of a myriad of universes of differing aesthetic value to increase the likelihood of ours existing; but to guarantee this universe existence one would have to imagine an actual infinity of different universes. Such a hypothesis carries the price-tag both of infinite complexity and questionable coherency. By comparison, the theory of intelligent, aesthetically aware design seems able to adequately explain the aesthetic nature of the cosmos with greater explanatory power, simplicity and cogency. The above arguments are inductive arguments making their appeal by analogy or by argument to the best explanation (which includes argument from the improbabil ity of certain facts given a naturalistic world-view). As such, these arguments only cl aim to provide probability for their conclusions, and are best seen in the context of t he wider teleology advanced by F.R.Tennant and Richard Swinburne, who undoubtedly provide the most sophisticated examples of inductive aesthetic arguments. The inductive epistemological and ontological versions of aesthetic arguments point to an instrumental relationship between the existence and appreciation of objective beauty as a good fact. Because it is good that beauty be known, God has created creatures capable of such knowledge, and a cosmos of such beauty to be known. Because beau ty is itself a good thing, God has created a beautiful cosmos. The existence of a cosm os that is beautiful, to the overwhelming extent that our cosmos displays this quality, is down to the existence of God. The existence of creatures capable of knowing and thus enjoyin g this beauty, is likewise down to God. Aesthetic arguments for the existence of God provide persuasive support for the theistic world-view, especially when combined with a cumulative, wider-teleology approach. Resources:

J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). (2) Clark H. Pinnock, Reason Enough, (Paternoster Press). (1) W.S.Rhodes, The Christian God, (ISPCK). (1) Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, (Oxford, 1991). (3) Richard Swinburne, Is There A God?, (Oxford, 1996). (2) Richard Swinburne, Providence and the Problem of Evil, (Oxford, 1998). (3) F.R.Tennant, Philosophical Theology, volume two. (2) Keith Ward, God, Chance, & Necessity, (OneWorld, 1996). (2) 4e) Mathematics and the Mind of God 364 Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, p151. 86

Paul Davies, like many other thinkers, is impressed by our ability to understand fundamental aspects of the universe through mathematics: It may be no surprise that human minds can deduce the laws of falling objects, because the brain has evolved to devise strategies for dodging them. But do we have any right to expect extensions of such reasoning to work when it comes to nuclear physics, or astrophysics, for example? The fact that it does work, and works unreasonably well, is one of the great mysteries of the universe. 365 Davies points out that evolution by natural selection has trouble accounting for this astounding ability. As the Oxford Mathematician Roger Penrose writes: It is hard for me to believe. . . that such SUPERB theories could have arisen merely by some random natural selection of ideas leaving only the good ones as survivors. The good ones are simply much too good to be the survivors of ideas that have arisen in a random way. There must, instead, be some deep underlying reason for the accord between mathematics and physics. 366 This deep match suggests that our ability to do abstract mathematics is no mere accident, no trivial detail, no insignificant by-product of evolution that is pi ggy-backing on some other mundane property. 367 Rather, it points to the existence of a really deep relationship between minds that can do mathematics and the underlying laws of na ture that produce them. 368 This leads us to wonder why the laws of nature lead to the emergence of minds capable of mathematics, who can encode the very laws which produced them: It s almost uncanny , writes Davies, it seems like a conspiracy. 369 It is reasonable to suppose that the process of evolution will have given humani ty an intellectual capacity proportionate to the needs of survival. However, astoun dingly, we posses an intellectual capacity which far outstrips the requirements of survi val. Mathematician Eugene Wigner talked about the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in uncovering the physical structure of reality. Why should beautiful equations be the clue to understanding nature? Why should our minds be able to a ccess the depths of cosmic order? As John Polkinghorne suggests, our surplus intellectu al capacity, enabling us to comprehend the microworld of quarks and gluons and the macroworld of big bang cosmology, is on such a scale that it beggars belief that this is simply a fortunate by-product of the struggle for life. 370 A better explanation of our intellectual ability would be that it is the intende d result of some un-evolved intellect behind the universe. Then it would be no sur prise that the human mind has the capacity for understanding nature that it has, for the hu man mind would be a reflection of the Mind behind nature. 365 Paul Davies, The Mind of God, (Penguin). 366 Roger Penrose, The Emperor s New Mind, (Vintage, 1991), p430.

367 368 369 370 87

Paul Davies, Are We Alone?, (Penguin). ibid. ibid. John Polkinghorne, Belief in God in an Age of Science, (Yale, 1998), p3-4.

4f) The Argument from the Existence of Reliable and Orderly Physical Laws The universe could so easily have been a chaotic place, yet it is jam-pack full of order. As Richard Swinburne says, That there is an orderly Universe is something very striking, yet beyond the capacity of science ever to explain. 371 Natural science explains with reference to natural laws, so it is in principle unable to explain why ther e should be orderly and reliable natural laws in the first place. To explain the existence o f orderly and reliable natural laws we must go beyond scientific explanation to give a met aphysical explanation. The sustaining will of a reliable and rational God is a good metaph ysical explanation for the existence of reliable and orderly physical laws. The existence of scientific laws is inexplicable unless we move beyond science into the realm of metaphysics, postulating the existence of a powerful personal agent who intends those laws for a reason. It is a presupposition of science that the regularities and processes discovered locally hold throughout time and space. Here we meet the problem of induction. J ust because we have always observed things to work in one way doesn t prove that thing s always do or always will work in that way. Consider a Turkey who reasons on the basis of experience that, since every morning so far the Farmer has fed it, the farmer will feed it every morning. One morning the Turkey will get its neck wrung for Christmas! We are in much the same position with the laws of Science. Science makes generalisations from our very small experience of a very large reality. Just because cannon balls have always fallen when dropped off the leani ng tower of Pizza, this is no proof that the next cannon ball won t simply hang in mid-air. Of course, if the law of gravity continues to apply then the ball will fall; but wh at reason is there to believe that the law of gravity must hold true in all places at all tim es? The laws produced by such generalisation are assumed to apply universally. This assumption is what makes the law useful in giving a scientific explanation or pr ediction. Assuming that Newton s law of gravity will hold I can accurately predict what will happen when an elephant sits on me if gravity applies. I ll be squashed. Newton s la w predicts that the elephant will squash me, but that it predicts does not explain my being squashed. The law of gravity can hardly explain why there is gravity in the firs t place! Nor can it explain why gravity applies in any particular instance (why didn t the elephant

float off into the sky like a pink balloon?). The law of gravity doesn t explain w hy I am squashed when an elephant sits on me. To explain why I am squashed we have to ad d that gravity applied to the elephant, and why. This is a question that cannot be given a scientific explanation: There is a mystery about the fact that the material stuff of the universe obeys general laws. If the whole thing was really random, a matter of pure chance, one would expect that the regularities which the laws of physics describe would change or simply cease to exist after a time. . . 372 Science moves from generalised experience to formulate theories that best explai n those generalisations. The ultimate goal of science is to explain all the low lev el 371 Richard Swinburne, The Justification of Theism . 372 Keith Ward, God, Chance & Necessity, op cit. 88

generalisations in terms of a single high level theory of everything, or T.O.E as scientists like to call it: Science. . . explains particular phenomena and low-le vel laws in terms partly of high-level laws. But from the very nature of science it cannot e xplain the highest-level laws of all; for they are that by which it explains all other phen omena. 373 Even if scientists arrive at a T.O.E, this theory will not explain itself; nor w ill it provide any reason to believe that the universe won t radically alter tomorrow in a manner that is not predictable from the T.O.E and is describable only by a whole new T.O.E. If the universe really is the product of purposeless chance, then why should nat ure obey elegant mathematical laws? If you think the universe has its origins in cha nce, doesn t it make sense to think that its existence and form of existence will be eq ually chancy? Atheistic scientists work on the assumption that the universe is rationa lly understandable because it runs on rational principles, but they have no justific ation for this belief. Our trust in the continued existence and applicability of the laws of nature can be likened to trust in a person. We are generally correct to assume that those who love us will give their time and attention to us. The belief that someone loves us justi fies us in such an assumption. If we take the laws of nature as expressing the will of a co nsistent supernatural personal agent, we will have a justification for assuming that thos e laws will apply in any given case. Although our assumption of natural consistency would be rendered rational by such a move, we could not rule out the Creator having good reason to do things differently now and again. Someone s love for us does not guarantee that they will give us time when we want it. They may have good reasons for being unable to talk wit h us on any given occasion. Similarly, it may be good that the law of gravity applies in most situations, and so the Creator would have reason to cause things to behave in th e manner described by Newton s law in most situations. But there might be situations in whi ch it would be good that the law of gravity did not apply; and so God would have reaso n to cause things to behave in a manner not describable that law. As C.S.Lewis put it , The philosophy which forbids you to make uniformity absolute is also the philosophy which offers you solid grounds for believing it to be general. . . 374 This view was hel d by Sir Isaac Newton, who saw the laws of nature as existing within God s mind, and believ ed

that God ensured physical particles obeyed the laws. Because God could change th e laws at any time given a good reason to do so, Newton accepted the occurrence of mira cles. This view is endorsed by Keith Ward: The continuing conformity of physical particles to precise mathematical relationships is something that is much more likely to exist if there is an orde ring cosmic mathematician who sets up the correlation in the requisite way. The existence of laws of physics. . . strongly implies that there is a God who formulates such laws and ensures that the physical realm conforms to them. 375 373 Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, op cit. 374 C.S.Lewis, Miracles, second edition, (Fount), p106. 375 Keith Ward, op cit. 89

Stephen Hawking says that one could always say that the laws of science are the expression of the will of God. 376 Indeed, it was just such a belief that under-pi nned the growth of the scientific project in the West. Belief in a single, rational Creat or meant that nature was a true cosmos, a structure of ordered beauty. Human beings made in th e image of God could hope to gain a measure of intellectual insight into the order of an artefact made by a Mind greater than, but still similar to, their own. Since nat ure was not Divine, but the Creation of the Divine, experimenting upon it was not sacrilege. In fact, experimenting with nature could fuel respect for the great architect of being. Viewing of the laws of nature as a reflection of intentions within the Mind of a Divine natural-law-giver is reinforced by a consideration of the status of those laws. The elegant mathematical equations that describe the normal workings of nature do ju st and only that; they describe. A law of physics never has caused, and never can cause , anything whatsoever: The laws are the pattern to which events conform: the source of events must be sought elsewhere. This may be put in the form that the laws of nature explain everything except the source of events. . . Science, when it becomes perfect, wi ll have explained the connection between each link in the chain [of events] and the link before it. But the actual existence of the chain will remain wholly unaccountable. 377 A law of nature can predict (within various parameters of accuracy) what will happen given that things continue to behave in the normal way; and it can explai n (within various parameters of accuracy) how some state of affairs has come about given t hat things behaved as they normally do. And that s all. It is inviting to see the mathematical laws discovered by physicists as describi ng intended means to ends within the Mind of God. Stephen Hawking was perhaps close r to the mark than he might have imagined when he wrote that: If we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosopher s, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be th e ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God. 378 Resources: Paul Davies, The Mind of God, (Penguin). (2)

Keith Ward, God, Chance & Necessity, (OneWorld). (2) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (1) 376 Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes, (Bantam Books). 377 C.S.Lewis, The Laws of Nature , God in the Dock, (Fount, 1979). 378 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, (Bantam Books). 90

4g) The Anthropic Argument or the argument from the finely tuned nature of the reliable and orderly physical laws necessary for the evolution of sentient being s . Evidence is mounting that suggests that the emergence of biological life is writt en into the laws of nature. Non-Christian scientists like Paul Davies and Michael J. Den ton have in recent years written books that relate how their scientific studies have conv inced them that the universe must be a put up job precisely because it seems fine tuned to prod uce sentient beings like ourselves. Moreover, the anthropic principle of Big Bang cosmology is descending from the stars and into the realm of biology, right down into the biochemistry of life. Faced with such fine tuning , we can make one of several responses. One is to say, How lucky for us that as a one-off fluke the only universe there is just hap pened to have those laws which led to the evolution of sentient beings. (Pointing out that only in a universe such as ours would there be anyone to ponder the anthropic principle does nothing to lessen the surprise that a universe such as ours should exist in the first place.) Such a scenario is perhaps logically possible, but it seems implausible. Another response is to say that there must be a great many different universes, all with different natural laws. This proposition is designed to lessen the implausi bility of our fruitful universe existing, since there are many unfruitful universes out the re . The problem with this is, What explains the differentiation of many universes all wi th slightly different physical laws? What stops all those other universes having identical, or very similar, physical laws? Good luck is again a possible but unlikely answer, while t he alternative is to say that there is some law which ensures universe law different iation . If so, that law itself seems to be fine tuned to lead to the existence of at least one universe fine tuned for the existence of sentient life. In response to that fine tu ning one cannot reply that perhaps it is only one such law among many, without enteri ng into an infinite regress of explanation. A plausible response then, in the face of the single fine tuned universe we know exists (or to a posited fine tuned law which ensures the existence of at least one fine tuned universe among many), is that the universe (or the law that ensured its exi stence) was tuned by an intelligent tuner ; God. As Keith Ward put it, How much more plausible it is to suppose that the whole emergent process is set up precisely s o that the universe could come to generate communities of beings capable of self-knowledge

and self-control [and of appreciating and creating Beauty]. 379 The fine tuning noted by the anthropic argument is just as necessary to the existence of a cosmos as beautiful as ours, and to the existence of sentient bei ngs capable of appreciating that beauty, as it is to the existence of sentient beings per se . This might suggest that one of God s purposes in creating a fine tuned universe was the product ion of beauty and beings able to enjoy it. Indeed, Swinburne writes that the beauty o f the evolution of the inanimate world from the Big Bang. . . would be quite enough of a reason for producing it, even if God were the only person to have observed it. 380 Resources: 379 Keith Ward, op cit. 380 Richard Swinburne, Is There a God?, p63. 91

The Virtual Office of William Lane Craig @ (2-3) Robert Collins, A Scientific Argument for the Existence of God The Fine-Tuning Design Argument , in Michael J. Murray ed., Reason for the Hope Within, (Eerdmans, 1999). (3) Paul Davies, The Mind of God, (Penguin). (1) Michael Denton, Nature s Destiny, (Free Press). (2) John Polkinghorne, Beyond Science, (Cambridge, 1996). (1) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) 4m) The Argument from DNA One of the toughest challenges facing the theory of evolution is the existence o f DNA. DNA is a crucial component of evolutionary theory. It both passes the form of cr eatures from one generation to the next, and provides the variation necessary for natura l selection when this copying is imperfect. The science journal Scientific American (Februar y 1991) summed up the conundrum of DNA in the following manner: Proteins cannot form without DNA, but neither can DNA form without proteins. To those pondering the o rigin of life, it is a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Which came first, proteins or DNA? What the problem comes down to is the question of how, from the material present before life, there arose the complex, information bearing and transmitti ng system which is a pre-requisite of evolution by natural selection. Evolution works upon systems that pass on information from one generation to the next, so the first such syst em could not have evolved: cumulative selection presupposes some form of replication possessed by the original and intervening living entities. They need to have some mechanism of reproduction. . . These powers cannot themselves be the product of cumulative selection. . somehow non-replicating entities just turned into reproducing species. 381 Natural selection cannot account for the origin of life capable of evolution. Ce lls contain molecules, essentially proteins and the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. Prote ins are like chains of beads (amino acids) strung together in a very particular orde r. This is not the repetitive order of a snowflake but what Biologists Lane Lester and Raym ond G. Bohlin call design as information . The genes that determine our form, passing on characteristics from our parents, are found in the chromosomes of the nucleus of every cell in our bodies. Genes are made of DNA, another chain molecule with four type s of

beads called nucleotides. The arrangement of the nucleotides can be copied into messenger RNA, another long molecule, and used by the protein-making machinery o f the cell to produce the exact sequence of amino acids in each protein. DNA conta ins the genetic code , a message written in a four-letter alphabet along the DNA chain: the problem of the origin of life comes down to the problem of arranging a DNA or pe rhaps 381 J.J.Haldane, Atheism & Theism, (Blackwells, 1996), p102. 92

RNA necklace of say, 10,000 beads in the correct order. In such a case there wou ld be 108,000 possible arrangements, a vast number! 382 How are we to account for the coming together of nucleotides and amino acids in the precise arrangement of proteins, DNA and RNA? Fred Hoyle notoriously argued that the emergence of life from the random shuffling of molecules is as ridiculous and improbable as the proposition that a tornado blowing through a junk yard may ass emble a Boeing 747. Hoyle calculated the likelihood of life beginning through the chance combination of twenty component amino acids into two thousand enzyme molecules a t one in ten to the power of forty thousand (1040,000). This calculation has been criticised by Christian Biologist R.J.Berry: The relevant chance is some far simpler self-replicating system, capable of development by natural selection, being formed at any place on earth, and at any time within a period of 100 million years. We cannot calculate this probability, since we know neither the nature of the hypothetical self-replicating system, no r the composition of the primeval soup in which it arose. The origin of life was obviously a rare event, but there is no reason to think that it is as extraordin ary or unlikely as Hoyle calculated. 383 What Berry is really saying is that, although life might have had a simpler beginning than that for which Hoyle calculates the odds, we have no idea about w hat biological system does stand at the starting line of evolution, or how that syst em came into being (or why). The sketchy nature of our knowledge in this area makes any calculation of the chances of life coming from non-life by the random shuffling of molecules a matt er of educated guesswork. Advocates of the chance formation theory take some comfort from the famous experiment devised by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey in 1953, wh ich showed that certain amino acids could be easily formed when electrical energy wa s passed through a simple mixture of gasses: These amino acids are building blocks of proteins, one of life s key components. . . Unfortunately, life is vastly more org anized than the prebiotic chemical mixtures formed in Miller-Urey-type experiments. 384 The formation of amino acids is an important step in the right direction from non-li fe to life, but it is a small step. Besides which, the conditions of this experiment, a gues s at conditions on the early earth, are a matter of controversy. Perhaps Hoyle s calculation is an exaggeration. Perhaps David Wilkinson s lowest estimate of one in 1030, or Tim Hawthorne s figure of one in 108,000, is cl

oser to the mark. But whether the chances of life forming through chance are on in 1040, 000 or 1030, the odds do not look good. As J.J.Haldane said in a written debate with at heist Jack Smart: The emergence of life and the start of speciation call for explanations an d what reductionism has to offer fails to provide these, giving at best a blank cheque to chance, which is to say offering no intelligible explanation at all. 385 382 383 384 385 93 ibid, p57. R.J.Berry, God & Evolution . ibid. J.J.Haldane, op cit.

In reply, Smart asked why self-replicating molecules couldn t come about through the coming together of a number of non-replicating molecules? Admitting that suc h an occurrence would be rare, he simply reminded Haldane that the universe is immense ly large and was in existence for a long time before the beginning of life. Of cour se such small proto-replicators would have to evolve by natural selection into the DNA m olecules of present-day life. But I see no implausibility in this. 386 This is, as Haldane noted, in effect a why not? reply: Standard evolutionary explanations posit replication as spontaneously arising some three or four billion years ago in a form more primitive than DNA. Needless to say there is no direct evidence of this. . . So the task is to show how DNA could have arisen from more primitive replication, say RNA, and how that could have resulted from non-replicating systems. 387 Does taking into consideration the size and age of the universe increase the likelihood of life emerging from non-life somewhere in space-time more likely, a s Smart suggests? If we assume that planets form when stars themselves form, then there are only between 1019 and 1024 planets in the universe. Comparing this with the chances of life appearing spontaneously, it is clear that life should only exist on one planet within the observable universe, this is the earth! 388 Faced with odds of 1040,000 to one, multiplying the trial rate by 1019 has littl e effect on the outcome. If the emergence of life was a freak of nature , an event th at happened by chance against all the odds, this would seem to cut against the view that the universe was set up by God for the purpose of producing people. This is just the sort of argument atheists like Dawkins seize upon; but in doing so they ignore or discou nt all the evidence for the existence of God, including the anthropic teleological argument from the laws of nature which strongly indicates that one of God s purposes in Creation was the Creation of people. It looks very much as if the universe was set up as a suitab le home for people. The universe is a place where people can evolve, and have evolved. W hy would God go to all the trouble of creating and sustaining just the sort of onein-a-billion universe where this is possible, and not even ensure that its emergence is proba ble? Well, perhaps God s insurance policy on this count was supernatural rather than ph ysical. The popular scientific explanation by chance is hardly an explanation at all. The chance theory says that the existence of life is very unlikely - and yet life exis ts. It

would not normally be considered the mark of a good theory to make the occurrenc e of what has occurred so very unlikely! We should prefer any theory that makes the emergence of life from non-life more probable than does the random shuffling theor y. Paul Davies lays out the options: 386 Smart, ibid. 387 Haldane, ibid. 388 David Wilkinson, Alone in the Universe? 94

The main reason why the origin of life is a puzzle is because the spontaneous appearance of such elaborate and organized complexity seems so improbable. . . i f I shuffle a pack of cards and then deal them to four players and find that each player has received an exact suit in correct numerical sequence, am I to suppose a miracle has occurred to interfere with the physical process of shuffling? It is certainly possible that ordinary natural shuffling will produce an exactly ordered sequence of cards, but because the odds are so small, the occurrence of such an event would arouse deep suspicion that something had happened to interfere with the randomness of the process. There are two ways in which such interference could arise. One is the actual violation of a law of physics. For example. . . a molecule could suddenly reverse direction for no reason of physics in order that it might combine with another nearby molecule as part of an essential step in the life-creating proces s. . . The second is the purposeful manipulation of matter within the laws of physics. We know that matter can be so manipulated because human beings do it all the time. We can contrive to produce highly non-random processes (such as unusual card sequences) without violating any laws of physics, so presumably a purposeful Deity could also do this. 389 We could say that the crucial step from chemistry to biochemistry was the result of a miracle. However, before we assert that the origin of life was a miracle God working in an extra-ordinary manner - we should search for an explanation that i s consistent with what we know of God s ordinary mode of operations (as described by the laws of science). There is plenty of evidence to suggest that there must be more to the origin of life than the chance combination of amino acids formed from the primeval soup. The universe was fine-tuned to produce conditions suitable for life. Elements appear ing from the initial conditions of the Big Bang formed amino acids necessary to the constru ction of proteins and DNA. Natural selection weeds out life forms ill adapted to their environment. Sentient beings evolve on at least one planet (that s us folks!). We have reason to believe that the universe is Created by a god, and we have good reason to think that He is interested in the emergence of sentient beings such as ourselves. The universe, and the god behind it, seem to have gone to so much trouble that I find it hard to believe that the origin of life was a fluke - a cosmic mistake. We should be looking for a view that is consistent with what we know about cosmic evolution and God. Atheists like Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins are happy to say that life is a cosmic mistake - but this cuts against the existence of meaning and purpose in l

ife. As J.J.Haldane rightly says, whatever other function it might serve, practical reaso ning is for successful action, and philosophical speculation is for the sake of attainin g and understanding truth. 390 Therefore, Descriptions and explanations in terms of purpo ses cannot be ignored. They can only be rejected in favour of [reductionistic] mecha nism or attributed to the agency of a designer. 391 389 Paul Davies, Are We Alone?, Penguin, 1995, p15. 390 Haldane, op cit. 391 ibid. 95

When we look at the fossil record, and compare it with the age of the earth, we find that life began pretty much just as soon as it possibly could: This is very encouraging. . . these results indicate that intelligent life can evolve in a ra ther short interval on the cosmic scale - a billion years or so. 392 Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Lawrence M. Krauss, stresses how significant it is that life exists: T he important fact to recognize is that life did form in the galaxy at least once. I cannot overemphasize how important this is. Based on all our experience in science, nat ure rarely produces a phenomenon just once. . . 393 Again, the evidence points to the emergence of life being more fundamental to the existence of this universe than can be accounted for by the chance hypothesis. Paul Davies is notable for the consideration he gives to the interface between science and religion. He is not a theist in the full sense of the word. However, he does seem to hold some sort of deism, which makes him more sympathetic towards theism than out-and-out atheists. Davies thinks that there e working within the limitations of the second law of hat the emergence of life from non-life is no accident, e fine tuning of the universe apparent from the anthropic is an optimistic arrow of tim thermodynamics which means t but something integral to th principle:

In recent years is has become clear that many physical and chemical systems can, in certain circumstances, leap spontaneously to states of greater organizational complexity. . . amplifying the probability that complex biochemical molecules will be synthesized. . . [Biochemist Stuart] Kauffman claims the innate tendencies of complex systems to exhibit order spontaneously provide nature with the raw materials on which selection can act. Natural selection, he claims, moulds an already existin g biological order. There are thus two forces for change rather than one, with self-organization the more powerful and sometimes proceeding despite selection. As these forces tangle and vie in co-evolving population s, so selection tends to drive the system towards the edge of chaos, where change and adaption are most efficient. . . Kauffman believes that, given the laws of physics, life will automatically emerge from an inert chemical soup under the right conditions. No miracles, no stupendously improbable molecular accidents need be involved. Chemical self-organization can do the trick: Life is an expected, collectively self-organi zed property of catalytic polymers. . . if this is true, then the routes to life are many and its origin is profound yet simple. 394 This optimistic view is not widely accepted by biologists:

Kauffman s ideas about self-organization effectively introduce into biology a sort of law of increasing complexity . . . While biologists hate this, non-biologists find it unremarkable. . . the universe began in a state of featur

eless 392 Lawrence M. Krauss, The Physics of Star Trek, (Harper Collins, 1996). 393 ibid. Of course, Krauss here assumes that unaided nature produced these resu lts, an assumption the theist need not accept. 394 Paul Davies, op cit, p52-53. 96

simplicity and has evolved over time, in a long and complicated sequence of self-organizing processes. . . Biological evolution is. . . just one more exampl e of this law-like progressive trend that pervades the cosmos. . . the general trend from simple to complex. . . seems to me to be built into the laws of nature in a basic way. 395 This theory is hotly debated. This might be because it indicates the existence o f a biological anthropic principle which lends itself to theistic interpretation. Howe ver, this new biological teleology does have some heavyweight apologists. Stanley Millar h as declared that the primeval soup of life-forming molecules could have produced li ving cells within 10,000 years. Millar believes, on the basis of his experiments, tha t given the right mix of chemicals and environment life would form on any planet. According to Frank Drake, Where life could appear, it would appear. 396 Nobel Prize-winning chem ist Melvin Calvin and Carl Sagan agree, believing that life is more likely to form t han not on a suitable planet. Carl Sagan suggests that, The available evidence strongly sugg ests that the origin of life should occur given the initial conditions and a billion years of evolutionary time. The origin of life on suitable planets seems built into the c hemistry of the universe. 397 The obvious question is Built in by whom? The obvious answer is, By God. There is other evidence that sentient life, is written into the Cosmic Blueprint , as Davies puts it. Biological convergence, where nature arrives at similar solution s to a problem from different starting points, smacks of a law-like trend. 398 For example , the eye has been invented independently several times during the Earth s history. Moreover: To say that consciousness is merely an accident sounds like the ultimate Just So story. It s awfully ad hoc . . . In fact, it s just as much a cop-out as saying: It s a miracle! Life was busily evolving. . . and then a miracle occurred and consciousness appeared! So I say: no miracles and no stupendously unlikely accidents. If we really want to understand consciousness, we ve got to fit it into the general picture of nature, into the laws of physics, in a manner that is fundamental and integral, and not appeal to some special accident along the way. . I conclude [that] consciousness, far from being a trivial accident, is a fundamental feature of the universe, a natural product of the outworkings of the laws of nature to which they are connected in a deep and still mysterious way. . . One of the depressing things about the last three hundred years of science is th

e way it has tended to marginalize, even trivialize, human beings and thus alienat e them from the universe in which they live. I think we do have a place in the universe - not a central place but a significant place nevertheless. No words better encapsulate this sentiment than those of Freeman Dyson: I do not feel like an alien in this universe. The more I examine the universe and 395 396 397 398 97 ibid. Frank Drake and Dava Sobel, Is Anyone Out There? Quoted in Michael White, The Science of the X-Files. Paul Davies, op cit.

study the details of its architecture the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming. . 399 DNA, Information and Analogy One of the most interesting of the new arguments takes as its starting point DNA : The crucial thing about DNA is that it has to exist before there are intelligent cre atures, and yet it has the character of encoded information which can only be produced by an intelligence. 400 We can distinguish several types of design. One is design as orde r . Such design involves the repetition of a simple structural unit, as found in cry stals and snowflakes. These structures have high order but little information content . They are like the repetition of NONONO. Structures with order like this can be explained as the result of the internal properties of their component parts. For example, the ord er in an ice crystal is due to the properties of hydrogen and oxygen. In contrast to design as order is design as information. The information content of a structure is defined as the minimum number of instructions required to specify it. For example, snowflakes and wrapping paper with Merry Christmas writte n all over it, are highly ordered, but have little information content. Both patte rns can be specified with only a few instructions, i.e.: 1) Write M-e-r-r-y C-h-r-i-s-t-m-as, and 2) Repeat. Structures with a high information content, on the other hand, take a lo t of instructions to specify. If you wanted a computer to reproduce the text of the B ible, you d have to feed it a long programme specifying each letter and punctuation mark in turn. This is exactly the kind of order in DNA. It would be impossible to produc e a simple set of instructions telling a biochemist how to make DNA for the smallest of bacterium. Instead, one must specify each particular letter one after another. DNA information must be described by making quite literal use of the linguistic terms, code, transcribe, and translate. 401 The genetic code in DNA is transcribed into RNA and RNA is translated into proteins. The genetic code has letters (nucleotides ), words (codons or triplets), sentences (genes), paragraphs (operons), chapters (chromosomes), and books (organisms): Such talk is not anthropomorphic, it is liter al. Living organisms do not contain only order but information as well. By contrast to the simple repetition of ME, the genetic code is like the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 40 2 Indeed, a single cell of the human body contains as much information as all thir ty

volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica s describes DNA in The Blind Watchmaker:

three or four times over! Richard Dawkin

It is raining DNA outside. On the bank of the Oxford canal at the bottom of my garden is a large willow tree, and it is pumping downy seeds into the air. . . N ot just any DNA, but DNA whose coded characters spell out specific instructions for building willow trees that will shed a new generation of downy seeds. Those fluffy specks are, literally, spreading instructions for making themselves. They 399 400 401 402 98 ibid, p71. W. David Beck, In Defence of Miracles, p157-158. J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, p51. ibid.

are there because their ancestors succeeded in doing the same. It is raining instructions out there; it s raining programs; it s raining tree-growing, fluffspreading algorithms. That is not a metaphor, it is the plain truth. It couldn t b e plainer if it were raining floppy discs. 403 If it was raining floppy discs, and those floppy discs, like DNA, carried a prog ram (for making other floppy discs), wouldn t everyone agree that this information mus t have originated in some mind or minds? Following Dawkin s usage, both the floppy disc a nd the willow seed are physical packets carrying complex encoded information. At th e very least then there is a strong analogy to be drawn between DNA and a computer prog ram on a floppy disc. We know that computer programs come from minds; should we not also conclude that the information encoded by DNA comes from a mind? The point here isn t how the information in DNA is currently produced (by natural processes), but how the information encoded in DNA arose in the first pl ace. Our floppy disc encoded program may have been copied from one self-building robot to another, passing through the generations like human DNA (we can even imagine the necessity for a combination of information from male and female robots). Still, the question remains, how did the program come to be in the first place, and how did it come to be encoded in a physical structure? In the case of a computer program we woul d say that it was the invention in the mind of a designer, who encoded it in a physica l system designed for the job. Why should we not conclude that the information encoded in present DNA is the adapted ancestor of information originally formulated within the mind of a designer, and that DNA is a physical encoding system invented to carry (and, in conjunction with other factors, adapt) that information? We can also argue by analogy with the search for ET-life via the scanning of radio signals. How would we recognise signs of alien life? Scientists look for c oded messages by scanning the sky at different radio frequencies in an attempt to pic k up alien signals. If we came across a signal with a non-random sequence that carried info rmation then we would recognise it as the product of intelligent life. Yet we look at th e simplest cell here on earth (the 468 gene M. genitalium), with its incredibly miniaturise d design and information, and wonder if it could have arisen by chance! Accepting the implications of this analogy requires a theistic interpretation of evolution, no t a rejection of evolution. DNA and Scientific Explanation

So far I ve argued on the basis of a strong analogy between DNA and physically enc oded computer programmes on a floppy disk. But the argument from DNA can be pushed to another level when we point out that there are no known natural phenomena that c an account for the arrangement of physical components into an information bearing structure. Physical forces have two characteristic effects. The first is the cre ation of random patterns, like a pile of leaves in the gutter or the debris of an explosi on. The second characteristic effect is ordered, repetitive structures like crystals or ripples on a pond. However, information theory tells us that neither random nor repetitive st ructures can carry high levels of information . 403 Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p111. 99

The complexity and information loaded order of DNA has led some scientists to abandon chance theories of life s origin in favour of some sort of spontaneous selforganization . So far, the best theories draw an analogy between DNA and spontaneo us ordering in nonliving structures like crystals. Chemist Graham Cairns-Smith has proposed that DNA came about by sticking to crystals in certain clays, with the crystals acting as a template for life s building blocks. However, if the forces that produ ced DNA were like those that produce crystals, then DNA, like a crystal, would consist o f no more than a few repeating patterns. DNA exhibits too much specified complexity to be the product of chance, yet no known physical laws can produce the right kind of orde red structure, one with high information content. This second stage argument from DNA may suggest that DNA (or some simpler but nevertheless complex information-bearing and self-replicating ancestor of DN A) had a supernatural origin. Since no known natural force can account for design work se en in DNA, it can only be accounted for by a miracle. This argument might be said t o repeat the old mistake of the God of the gaps . At the present time, the appeal to some as yet unknown physical process which will account for DNA is just as much an act of fa ith as the suggestion that God did it . The fact that science has sometimes managed to exp lain things that once seemed scientifically inexplicable does not mean that everythin g must be scientifically explicable. Perhaps the origin of DNA really is scientifically in explicable. At the very least, it is presently scientifically unexplained. Nevertheless, I a m inclined to look for a theistically interpreted scientific explanation whenever possible. It is important to remember that scientific explanations cannot exclude personal explanations. If the origin of DNA is one day be given a scientific explanation, that explanation will say nothing about whether or not God exists as the intender of the laws which produce DNA. The question of God s existence is not scientific, but metaphys ical. Nevertheless, science requires metaphysical interpretation, and the theist may a rgue that the existence of God provides the best metaphysical interpretation of science. Suppose that science discovers some physical mechanism which produces design as information . What would follow? What accounts for the existence of a physical mechanism that produces encoded information? My computer is a physical system th at encodes information. It was designed and built by sentient beings. Why then shou ld we not conclude that DNA was designed and built by at least one sentient being (a b eing who, as the creator of biological life, must be non-biological)? The discovery o

f a physical mechanism that produced encoded information would only add to the desig n argument. Even more perplexing for the atheist is the question, What accounts for the information encoded in this supposed mechanism? , for encoded messages are independent of the physical medium that store and transmit them. There is nothin g intrinsic to the chemicals themselves that explains the existence of particular sequences of DNA. Information is physical inexplicable. The physical marks on this page ar e not information, they exhibit and encode information. This information was previousl y exhibited and encoded by a different physical medium (a computer hard-drive), an d translated into this form by a physical system capable of reading that code (a pri nter). However, the information that was physically encoded, exhibited and translated i n this way did not originate in my computer, but in my mind. We know from our every-day experience that information comes from minds. The physical parts of DNA can be 100

explained scientifically (and the theist says that God explains the laws that ex plain those parts). What has not yet been explained scientifically is the arrangement of tho se parts into the information-bearing DNA code. What cannot be explained scientifically i s the origin of the information encoded in DNA. Even if we could trace back informatio n in DNA to some kind of information transmitting law of physics present in the Big B ang, one could still ask Why this law? Where did this information come from? We may draw an analogy between the information in this chapter transmitted through my computer s memory and resulting in a print out, and the information in DNA transmitted through DNA and resulting in an organism. The information in this ch apter originated in my mind (and in the minds of those I have read and quoted). The co mputer hardware involved is made of parts that can be explained scientifically (atoms, molecules, and so on). The arrangement of these parts can only be explained with reference to the intentions of a person or persons. The result is a structure with order and a hi gh information content (my computer s hard drive carrying this chapter in encoded for m). Likewise, the information in DNA cannot be explained without reference to at lea st one originating mind. Suggesting that the information in DNA could be the result of chance, like the drawing of a sentence out of a bag of scrabble pieces, doesn t help the Atheist mu ch. For a start, such a result indicates that the supposedly chance process which produc ed it mightn t be so chancy after all. The result may well be fixed in some way. Then agai n, the chance scrabble sentence wouldn t encode information at all unless minds had already produced information and a system for encoding it. Even if a chance proc ess throws up an information-bearing result, that does not and cannot explain the ex istence of information to be encoded in the first place. The primeval soup is like a bag of randomly shuffled scrabble pieces (nucleotides). To spell out words (codons or triplets), sentences (genes), parag raphs (operons), chapters (chromosomes), and books (living organisms), they must not m erely be drawn from the bag in a repetitive order (NONONO), but in an order which encode s information (AN ELEPHANT NEVER FORGETS); and this requires the existence of information which can be encoded. Information, although it can be encoded in mat ter, can only originate within a mind that has some connection with the system of symb ols which encodes it. The computer program tells the computer what to do, but only because it is the encoding of the programmer s intentions according to a system

established by the computer s designer. The physical and chemical hardware involved in DNA can be explained scientifically, but the arrangement of parts involved can be likened to the arra ngements of scrabble pieces or of magnetic fields on a computer disc to encode information, and the original information involved must come from Mind. Experience tells us that obje cts with high information content, such as books and musical scores, are products of intelligence. It is reasonable to conclude by analogy that DNA is also the produ ct of intelligence. This conclusion does not require us to assign a miraculous origin to DNA (although this is a possibility). All it demands it that we assign a supernatura l origin to the physical processes which resulted in the arrangement of material parts to fo rm DNA, and to the original information encoded in the first DNA molecule. 101

Thermodynamics and Directed Energy Dr. David Rosevear presents an argument from Thermodynamics which re-enforces th e conclusion that DNA requires a supernatural source of information. Rosevear note s that every day in open systems where directed energy is applied we see a temporary in crease in local order. He gives the example of a building site, where energy is expende d by builders following an architect s plans. While a building has more order than its constituent parts, the process of organization is not spontaneous by any stretch of the imagination. Both energy and information are invested in the materials. In Arist otle s terminology, both Efficient and Formal causes are invested in the building s Mater ial cause. Likewise, an acorn grows into an oak with a temporary increase in local organization. Nutrients, water, and sunlight all contribute to an open system in which the genetic information in the seed directs these to increase order. Having given these examples, Rosevear notes that the third law of thermodynamics says that order is at a maximum at absolute zero, so that adding undirected raw energy (by raising the temperature) reduces order. A bull in a ch ina factory will not produce tea-pots!: Our examples above, of the building site and the acorn, both show that what is needed is directed energy. . . primeval soup contains no information, so the thi rd law rules it out as the precursor of life. . . In order to increase organization , an open system requires an input, not simply of energy, but of directed energy; energy plus information. Creation involves an input of directed energy. 404 Rosevear says that primeval soup contains no information, so that, according to the third law, merely adding an input of raw energy would be about as constructi ve as putting a bull in a china factory. However, while Primeval soup contains no information, the laws of physics may well do just that, if those laws are our desc ription of the way God normally causes His creation to behave. This argument provides fu rther reason to think of the universe as the creation of a god; but it does not requir e us to reject evolution in either the first or second sense of the term. This argument merely says that evolution cannot happen without an input of directed information. Resources: William A. Dembski @ (2-3) The Access Research Network @ (2-3) Origins @ (2-3) Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1999). ( 1)

J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). (2) J.P.Moreland ed., The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994). (2) 4n) The Argument from Irriducible Complexity 404 Dr. David Rosevear, p26. 102

American biochemist Michael Behe, a Catholic with no theological objections to evolution, argues in Darwin s Black-Box that the biomolecular level of life is so full of irreducibly complex molecular machines that it could not have evolved by step by s tep Darwinian natural selection. Irreducible complex systems, such as the paddling c ilia cells, are composed of a number of mutually interdependent parts, each of which is functionally useless on its own (indeed, alone, individual components of irreduc ibly complex systems would be a drain on resources, therefore constituting an evoluti onary disadvantage). The chances of random mutations throwing up all the necessary par ts of an irreducibly complex system at the same time, and in the necessary co-ordinate d way, are astronomically high. (We might also note that biochemistry reveals a world o f literal machines, made primarily out of proteins, which strengthens the watchmaker analo gy; but this is not the main drift of Behe s argument.) Behe seems to draw the conclusion that the origin of life must have been the result of some special, miraculous act of creation (he is happy to accept evolut ion thereafter, an old earth, and the theory of a common ancestor), but his results seem to me to admit of another interpretation; namely that DNA was programmed with instruct ions to construct these irreducible complex systems. This programming might even have taken place through natural laws. My preferred response to Behe s argument is to see it as an extension of the anthropic principle into the realm of biochemistry. Resources: Michael Behe Homepage @ (2-3) The Access Research Network @ (2-3) Origins @ (2-3) Michael Behe, Darwin s Black Box, (Free Press). (3) Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1999). ( 1) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (1) 4h) The Argument from Simplicty There is an old Latin saying, simplex sigillum veri , The simple signifies the true. As Alvin Plantinga notes, we are inclined to think that simple explanations and hypo theses are more likely to be true than complicated epicyclic ones. Why should this be so ? Occam s famous metaphysical razor enjoins us to pick the simplest adequate hypothe sis

to explain any state of affairs we are trying to explain. However, it might be a rgued that this methodological principle is merely helping us to choose explanations that r equire the lest effort on our part in a universe where it is logically possible that the tr ue explanation is always a very complicated adequate explanation. Why shouldn t the true explanat ion more often than not be the complicated explanation? It is simply a matter of a p ostriori experience that simpler adequate explanations often turn out to be true, especia lly in the field of scientific explanation. Yet it does seem natural to us that, all things being equal, simple explanations are more likely to be true. Belief in an economical God woul d explain this puzzling facts of existence: If theism is true, then [there is] some reason to think the more simple has a better chance of being true than the less simple; fo r God has created both us and our theoretical preferences and the world; and it is reasona ble to think 103

that he would adapt the one to the other. . . If theism is not true, however, th ere would seem to be no reason to think that the simple is more likely to be true than the complex. 405 Resources: Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments @ (1) 4i) The Argument from Teleology The Greek word for end or goal is telos . For this reason, Design arguments are often called teleological arguments. In the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas offered t he view that natural bodies act as if they were guided towards an end, so as to obta in the best result 406 As J.P.Moreland writes, nature usually takes the simplest, most eff icient means to achieve an end. 407 The fitting of means to ends implies, argued Aquinas, an underlying intention. However, natural bodies lack consciousness, and so have no intentions of their own. Besides, how would all these natural bodies co-ordinate their actions in the way that we observe? Therefore some intelligent being exists who directs all natural things to their end: An orderliness of actions to an end is observed in all bodies obeying natural laws, even when they lack awareness. For their behaviour hardly ever varies, and will practically always turn out well; which shows that they truly tend to a goa l, and do not merely hit it by accident. Nothing however that lacks awareness tends to a goal, except under the direction of someone with awareness and with understanding. . . Everything in nature, therefore is directed to its goal by someone with understanding and this we call God . 408 Science reveals a universe that works according to simple, mathematically elegan t rules. The beauty of the equations that express the regularities of nature (and the fact that these equations can be discovered and understood by humans) implies the existenc e of a Mind behind the cosmos. Why should nature work in such an elegant way? Either we seek an explanation of this state of affairs or we don t. Not to do so would be to shrug our shoulders and accept nature s economy and elegance as a brute fact. If we do seek an explanation , it must be in terms of the creative will of a powerful immaterial agent with a sens e of elegance. Resources:

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica. (1) 405 406 407 408 104 Alvin Plantinga, Two Paul Davies, The Mind J.P.Moreland, Scaling Thomas Aquinas, Summa Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments . of God, p200. the Secular City, p47. Theologica.

J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). (1) 4j) Design and Proper Function Alvin Plantinga has produced a powerful re-casting of the analogical argument fr om Design. Take any human artefact, such as a watch, and it will have what Planting a calls a design plan . A design plan is the way in which an artefact s designer intends it to work. The designer of a watch wants it to tell the time; so the design plan of a w atch is, if you will, a blue-print in the watchmaker s mind according to which he makes the watch with the intended result that the watch tells the time. If the watchmaker is good at his job he conceives and implements a good watch design plan , and so long as the watch works according to its design plan, the design plan will cause the watch t o tell the time. When an artefact works as its designer intends (in line with the design plan ), then that artefact is said to be functioning properly. When a watch tells the ti me, then it is functioning properly; because this is what its designer intended it to do. Pl antinga summarises his argument using these concepts like so: suppose you believe that there really is such a thing as proper function. . . for any natural organs or systems, and suppose you further believe. . . that there is no naturalistic account, reduction, or analysis of the notion of proper function: t hen you have the materials for a powerful argument against metaphysical naturalism. 409 Having introduced the concepts of design , design plan , and proper function , Plantinga notes that these concepts are most at home in talk about things design ed and made by personal agents. However, as well as using terms like proper function to s peak of human artefacts, we also use them to speak about things that obviously were n ot designed by humans. It seems quite natural to talk about a heart working properly . We think that the purpose of the heart is to pump blood at a certain rate around our bodies, and we think that a heart that pumps only a few times a minute is not functioning properly . We assume that there is something wrong with it, just as we would assum e that a watch which said the date was February 31st was malfunctioning. The crunch point is this: if notions such as proper function (notions which - as applied to human artefacts - entail the existence of intelligent and purposeful design) apply to things (like hearts) which we know have no human designer, this entails the existence of intelligent, purposeful non-human design.

We needn t say that the heart was designed in exactly the same way that the watch was designed. We could take evolution into consideration. We would have to say that the process of evolution was designed to evolve organisms, and that in so f ar as an organ contributes to the existence of an organism, then it is fulfilling a role in that grander design of which it is a part. An evolved organ can have a function; that of contributing to the existence of an organism which has evolved according to the design plan of evolution itself (where this process is aimed at some goal, such as the production of sentient life forms). An evolved organ couldn t have a function if it is merely part of 409 Alvin Plantinga, Warrant & Proper Function, (Oxford, 1993), p216. 105

an unintended process, as evolution must be unless it is itself an artefact. Pla ntinga s argument only works against a naturalistic view of evolution, unguided and unorchestrated by God or anyone else. 410 The real question is whether or not a satisfactory naturalistic explanation of t he notion of proper function can be given. Let us pursue this question by reviewing some attempted naturalistic explanations. John Pollock admits there is no difficulty in saying what it is for a human arte fact to function properly: The obvious way to interpret such [talk] about machines is by appeal to the intentions of the designers. They work properly when they work as they were designed to work. 411 This sort of explanation is unavailable to the Atheist in considering natural organisms. With what can this straight forward sort of accou nt be replaced? Pollock suggests that, what is important. . . is that the disruptive ha ppenings [such as the heart beating too slowly] are unusual. 412 So, according to Pollock, the generalization hearts are for circulating blood is true given the existence of a s tructure hearts generally have, and that this structure circulates blood. However, it wil l not do to equate a thing s functioning properly with its functioning the way in which most t hings of its sort function, because you can obviously function properly even if you don t d o it in the way most of your contemporaries do: Most 60 year-old carpenters have lost a f inger or thumb; it is not the case that those who have not [lost a finger or thumb] ha ve hands that are not normal and not capable of proper manual function; and the same woul d hold even if we were all carpenters. . . 413 Ruth Millikan has proposed that, the functions of a thing are those of its powers or properties which account for its survival and proliferation. . . Hearts proli ferated because they pump blood, so pumping blood is the heart s function. 414 But surely it is obvious that a thing need not have ancestors to have a proper function: Whether o r not God did create Adam and Eve instantaneously out of the dust of the earth, he cou ld have; and if he had wouldn t Adam s heart have had a function . . ? 415 Then again, suppose an evil dictator introduced a mutation into the population whereby those born with the mutation are blind. The dictator arranges for everyo ne born without the mutation to be exterminated. The mutation therefore proliferates unt il the majority of the world population is blind. This situation can be said to prevail

for so long that the majority of all humankind past and present are blind. Consider some fut ure generation human being, Oedipus, who is blind. Oedipus is a member of a reproductively established family, and has a certain reproductively established characteristic; namely blindness. He has ancestors, among whom there is a causal connection between their being blind and their surviving to pass on this charact eristic to their offspring. Despite the fact that Oedipus blindness is a characteristic of h is which accounts for its own survival and proliferation , wouldn t it seem odd to say that hi s eyes are functioning properly? If so, there must be something wrong with Millikan s acc ount, and we have yet to find a plausible naturalistic account of proper function. 410 Alvin Plantinga, Warrant & Proper Function, (Oxford, 411 John Pollock, How to Build a Person. 412 John Pollock, How to Build a Person. 413 Alvin Plantinga, Warrant & Proper Function, (Oxford, 414 Peter-Godfrey Smith, review of Millikan s Language, l categories . 415 Alvin Plantinga, Warrant & Proper Function, (Oxford, 106 1993), p229. 1993), p201. Thought and other Biologica 1993), p203.

John Bigelow and Robert Pargetter propose a similar, but more sophisticated account whereby an organ. . . has a function if and only if it has a property. . . that confers a survival-enhancing propensity. . . upon its owner in the latter s natura l habitat. 416 This gets around the problem of Oedipus blindness by saying that a wor ld in which an evil dictator introduces a mutation and causes that mutation to be bene ficial to survival is not Oedipus natural environment. The problem is that Bigelow and Pargetter s analysis of function is circular. Their account depends upon the idea of an organ s natural habitat, but in defining what an organ s natural habitat is, Bigelow and Pargetter use concepts that involve the notion of proper function. They say that the natural habitat of an organ is a functioning, interconnected system usual for th e species in question. However, as Plantinga says, A functioning system of organs, one suppose s, is a properly functioning system. . . 417 Bigelow and Pargetter s account also overlook s those systems or organs whose proper function is damage control; for the natural habitat of such systems is an environment which is not functioning properly. None of the above proposed naturalistic explanations of function work. The only remaining alternative to giving such an analysis is to say that talk of hearts h aving a proper function is merely as if talk; that the notion doesn t really apply. This mov e would mean giving up any literal ascription of function to natural entities. Pro per function must instead be viewed as a useful fiction . To take the as if get-out involves going against the clear preference of the majority of humanity for taking talk of proper function as literal across the bo ard, whether the object of such talk is a watch or a heart. Moreover: The functionalis t stance is awkward: to accept it you are to think that George s heart isn t really malfuncti oning. . . but you are to treat it and think about it, somehow, as if it were malfunction ing. 418 Taking these conclusions, Plantinga advances the following argument. Suppose that we are convinced that there is no naturalistic way to make sense of the not ion of proper function and that we are unwilling to resort to the language of As if . If w e are also sure that naturalism is true, then we must give up the notion of proper fun ction in cases other than human artefacts. On the other hand, suppose we are convinced (a long with the majority) that for natural organisms there really are such things as pr oper function, and so on. In that case we have a strong argument against naturalism: G iven the plausible alternatives, what you have, more specifically, is a powerful thei

stic argument. . . 419 Resources: Alvin Plantinga, Warrant & Proper Function, (Oxford, 1993). 4k) The Evolutionary Anti-Naturalism Argument 416 417 418 419 107 Alvin ibid, ibid, ibid, Plantinga, op cit, p205. p195-206. p214. p205.

Most people, says Plantinga, think that a function of our cognitive faculties is to provide us with true beliefs. 420 Indeed, most of us think that our cognitive faculties do provide us with true beliefs. However, doesn t this present the naturalist, who believes that our cognitive abilities arrived on the scene through a blind process of natural sele ction, with a problem? If our cognitive faculties have originated as [the naturalist] thinks, then their ultimate purpose or function (if they have a purpose or function) will be something like survival. . . but then it seems initially doubtful that among the ir functions. . . would be the production of true beliefs. 421 Postmodern Philosopher Richard Rorty likewise argues that: The idea that one spec ies of organism is, unlike all the others, oriented not just towards its own increas ed propensity but toward Truth, is as un-Darwinian as the idea that every human bei ng has a built-in moral compass. . . 422 The nub of the problem is summed up somewhat colourfully by naturalist Patricia Churchland who writes that: Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F s: feeding, fleeing, fighting and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. . . Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost. 423 The trouble with Churchland s statement is that if truth takes the hindmost in the priorities of evolution, then we have cause to doubt the conclusion that this is the case, since this conclusion (on naturalistic assumptions) is based upon the workings o f just such a purposelessly evolved natural system. Plantinga dubs this sort of self-de feating assertion Darwin s Doubt , as it can be traced back to Charles Darwin. With me , wrote Darwin, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at al l trustworthy. 424 Plantinga interprets Darwin s Doubt as questioning the probability of human cognitive faculties being reliable truth-finding apparatus given the assum ption that they have been produced by an unintended evolutionary process. Patricia Churchland seems to think that this probability is fairly low. This conclusion undermines the platform on which it is built; but when the reliabilit y of our cognitive faculties is in question we cannot use this fact against a low estimat ion of reliability without begging the question. Here we reach the rock bottom fact tha t we

cannot argue in favour of the reasonableness of the laws of reason without assum ing what we set out to prove. As Plantinga notes: Once I come to doubt the reliability of my 420 ibid, p214. 421 ibid. 422 Richard Rorty, Untruth and Consequences in The New Republic, July 31, 1995, p3 6. 423 Patricia Churchland, Philosophy, 84, October 1987, p548. 424 Letter to William Graham, July 3, 1881, The Life and Letters of Charles Darw in Including an Autobiographical Chapter, ed. Francis Darwin. 108

cognitive faculties, I can t properly try to allay that doubt by producing an argu ment; for in so doing I rely on the very faculties I am doubting. . . 425 Still, digging ourselves into a pit of despair about the trustworthiness of our minds isn t going to get us very far. So, assuming that our cognitive faculties are gene rally reliable, we have something to weigh in the balance against naturalism (and in f avour of Theism), since it was naturalism that provided us with grounds to doubt the reli ability of the natural systems upon which we rely when arriving at any picture of the world , including naturalism itself: suppose you concur in Darwin s Doubt. . . But suppose you also think, as most of us do, that in fact our cognitive faculties are reliable. . . Then you have a straight forward probabilistic argument against naturalism and for traditional theism, if you think these two the significant alternatives. . . 426 The belief that our cognitive faculties are reliable gives us reason to reject naturalism. The person who believes in naturalistic evolution has reason to doub t any belief he or she holds, including belief in naturalistic evolution. This really is a case of heads I win, tails you lose . If you think that naturalistic evolution gives you ca use to doubt the reliability of human cognitive faculties, but you think those facultie s are reliable, then you have reason to reject naturalism. If you think naturalistic e volution gives you cause to doubt the reliability of human cognitive faculties, and you a gree that the reliability of these faculties is suspect, then you have reason to doubt you r conclusion that naturalism (or anything else for that matter) is true. Either way, naturali sm doesn t look too healthy. The central question here is clearly the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable given the truth of naturalistic evolution. Evolutionary theory in its p resent state, considered apart from the existence of God, certainly cannot offer sufficient re ason to judge the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable as high: if Darwi nian selection guarantees anything, it is only that the organism s behaviour is adaptiv e: there isn t anything in particular it needs to believe. 427 The ability to know the true from the false is not necessary to survival. All survival requires is that an organism interacts with its environment consistentl y. For example: if an organism always saw blue things as though they were red and vice v ersa, or large things as small and vice versa, that organism and its offspring would a

dapt to its environment. 428 We would hardly say that an amoeba understands the world, but it interacts consistently with it: It will react to heat in a consistent way regardl ess of whether or not it grasps the essence of heat. 429 Moreover, The mind grasps abstrac t truths which do not seem to have anything to do with the survival value they imp art to the organism. 430 425 426 427 428 429 430 109 Alvin Plantinga, op cit, 234 & 237. ibid, p228 & 231. ibid, p232. J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, p50. ibid. ibid.

We could have all sorts of beliefs which are not true but which pass the evolutionary test of survival; at least on the standard naturalistic picture of evolution. As Richard Purtill says: While practical cunning evidently has survival value, it is not so clear that theoretical reasoning of the kind used in philosophy or science has such value, especially in the primitive conditions in which the natural selection process ha s immediate and direct application. . . If our question is Can human intelligence give us a trustworthy picture of the universe? we do not answer that question by showing (if we can show) that intelligence has a survival value at a particular stage of the development of species. 431 There are several solutions one might propose to avoid this problem. One is to say that although evolution does not guarantee the reliability of our cognitive faculties, we just happen to be exceedingly lucky in that evolution, purely by chance, has given us reliable faculties. Perhaps it might be said that there are many other evolving eco-systems on far distant planets, or in alternative universes, which have not produced reliable c ognitive faculties; but that there was bound to be one such system that produced reliable faculties eventually. This is an application of the monkeys at type-writers eventually prod ucing Shakespeare s plays idea. Several responses can be made. First, isn t this just what some of those poor, cognitively challenged creatures in far distant galaxies mig ht be saying to themselves in the face of the odds? Moreover, it simply isn t true that enough monkeys at enough typewriters given enough time are bound to reproduce Shakespea re. The longer they go on typing the more likely it is that they will have done so, but there is no logical compulsion about the matter. They might re-produce, The cat sat on the mat , for all eternity! Likewise, if evolution really does work merely by blind chance , then there is no necessity that compels it to produce different results every time. W hether or not you take this route also depends upon your estimation of the likelihood of t here being other evolving systems in this or any other universe. Another solution is to say that God somehow worked within the evolution of our species to guarantee the general reliability that evolution alone could not guar antee. There are several problems with this option. First, it seems a little too much l ike the God of the Gaps . The advance of scientific understanding is likely, on past experi ence, to fill in the gap and make God appear redundant. One might also question why Go d couldn t make the artefact of evolution more efficient so that such intervention w as unnecessary. But perhaps there is some reason why it is impossible to construct

such a hands-off system, or greater value in creating a



A third option is to say that the current understanding of evolution is incomple te, and that there must be a closer link between the evolution of sentient beings wi th reliable cognitive faculties and the laws of the universe. This option does not exclude G od. Indeed, the analogy of proper function should lead us to posit the existence of a designer whose artefact evolution itself is. Indeed, if there is a closer link than the c urrent evolutionary picture posits between properly functioning, generally reliable cog nitive 431 Richard Purtill, Thinking about Religion, p10-11. 110

faculties in creatures and the scientific laws that have given them birth, then the question faces us as to why the universal laws are so finely tuned as to achieve this resul t. It is interesting to read the secular Philosopher Thomas Nagel grappling with th is question. Nagel writes that, If we can reason, it is because our thoughts can obe y the order of the logical relations amongst propositions so here again we depend on a Platonic harmony [between our thoughts and the cosmos]. 432 Nagel feels that this insight is alarming: it is hard to know what world picture to associate it with, and difficult to avoi d the suspicion that the picture will be religious, or quasi religious. . . Even w ithout God, the idea of a natural sympathy between the deepest truths of nature and the deepest layers of the human mind, which can be exploited to allow gradual development of a truer and truer conception of reality, makes us more at home in the universe than is secularly comfortable. . . I believe this is one manifestat ion of a fear of religion which has large and often pernicious consequences for modern intellectual life. 433 Nagel considers several possible explanations for this harmony between thought and reality: Probably the most popular. . . answer nowadays [to the question of why our thinking apparatus is generally reliable] is an evolutionary naturalism: We can reason in these ways because it is the consequence of a more primitive capacity of belief formation that had survival value during the period when the human brain was evolving. This explanation has always seemed to me laughably inadequate. 434 He sees the attraction of what he calls the religious answer to this conundrum: made for each contemporary of God well this is due to

The universe is intelligible to us because it and our minds were other. . . While I think such arguments are unjustly neglected in secular philosophy, I have never been able to understand the idea enough to see such a theory as truly explanatory. . . But perhaps my inadequate understanding of religious concepts. 435

I think that the idea of God is understandable enough that we can explain things with reference to His existence and actions. If naturalistic evolutionism is ina dequate for explaining our ability to know the history of evolution and the laws of quantum mechanics, then theistic evolution offers a serious alternative. Resources: 432 Thomas Nagel, The Last Word, p129.

433 ibid, p129-130. 434 ibid, p75. 435 ibid, p75-76. 111

Alvin Plantinga, An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism @ (2) Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments @ (1) Brandon Rickabaugh, Darwin, Rationality and Self-Refutation @ (3) Thomas Nagel, The Last Word, (Oxford). (2) Alvin Plantinga, Warrant & Proper Function, (Oxford, 1993). (3) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) 4l) The Welcome to Wales Argument This argument comes from Philosopher Richard Taylor: Suppose you are travelling by train and, glancing out of the window, you see some stones on a hill-side spelli ng out the words Welcome to Wales . On the basis of this observation you form the belief that you have entered into Wales (this belief may be true or false, it is immaterial to t he following argument). It would be unreasonable of you, says Taylor, to continue in this bel ief if you also came to believe that the stones had not been arranged on purpose to accurat ely convey information, but had ended up in this formation purely through the operat ion of natural laws: you would, in fact, be presupposing that they were arranged that way by an intelligent and purposeful being or beings for the purpose of conveying a certai n message having nothing to do with the stones themselves. 436 This is admittedly an unlikely occurrence, but it is logically possible. The win d and rain could have dislodged the stones so that they rolled down the hillside, coming to rest where the ground was pitted by natural erosion. The point is this: Supposing you did believe the sign to be the result (however unlikely) of purely natural forces, it would be unreasonable of you to base your belief that you were entering Wales on this stone formation: it would be irrational for you to regard the arrangement of the stones as evidenc e that you were entering Wales, and at the same time to suppose that they might have come to that arrangement accidentally, that is, as the result of the ordina ry interactions of natural or physical forces. 437 Taylor now develops the argument by analogy, suggesting that if you came to believe the workings of your own brain to be the result of purely natural forces it would

be similarly unreasonable of you to base your belief that this was so on the rea soning of that very brain itself: 436 Richard Taylor, Metaphysics, 2nd edition, (Prentice Hall, 1974). 437 ibid. 112

It would be irrational for one to say both that his sensory and cognitive faculti es had a natural, nonpurposeful origin and also that they reveal some truth with respect to something other than themselves. . . If, on the other hand, we do assume that they are guides to some truths having nothing to do with themselves, then it is difficult to see how we can, consistently with that supposition, beli eve them to have arisen by accident, or by the ordinary workings of purposeless forces, even over ages of time. 438 If the mind just is the brain as metaphysical naturalists must believe it is, an d if the brain, like the Welcome to Wales sign, is, again as naturalists believe, the r esult of a merely natural process of chance and non-purposeful necessity (in whatever combination), then anyone who trusts their brain while believing this is as unre asonable as someone who trusts the stone sign while believing it to be the result of pure ly natural forces. One could add that the stone sign fortuitously happened to be correct, and that the inhabitants of Wales did not remove it for this very reason. The continued exist ence of the sign would then have passed through a process of intentional selection. Howe ver, someone who didn t know this, but who believed the sign was the result of unintent ional natural processes, would be unreasonable to base their belief that they were ent ering Wales upon the sign. Likewise, evolution might be embedded in a wider, theistic context. Nevertheless, the person who believes their brain to be the outcome of a purely naturalistic evolution (as opposed to some form of theistic evolution) is as unr easonable as the person who believes a sign they think came about in a similarly natural m anner. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines itself. As Ronald H. Nash, who defends Taylor s argument, writes: Thus the naturalists seem to be caught in a trap. If they are consistent with the ir naturalistic presuppositions, they must assume that our human cognitive facultie s are a product of chance, purposeless forces. But if this is so, they appear gros sly inconsistent when they place so much trust in those faculties. But. . . if they assume that their cognitive faculties are trustworthy and do provide accurate information about the world, they seem compelled to abandon one of the cardinal presuppositions of metaphysical naturalism and to conclude that their cognitive faculties were formed as a result of the activity of some purposeful, intelligen t agent. 439 Resources: Richard Taylor, Metaphysics, 3rd edition, (Prentice Hall). (2)

Ronald H. Nash, Miracles & Conceptual Systems, in R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas ed s., In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 1997). (1) 438 ibid. 439 Ronald H. Nash, los, 1997), p129 130. 113

Miracles & Conceptual Systems in In Defence of Miracles, (Apol

Ronald H. Nash, Life s Ultimate Questions n, 1999). (2) 4o) The Argument from Play.

an introduction to philosophy, (Zonderva

If, as metaphysical naturalists say, ultimate reality is impersonal, our enjoyme nt of play is surely something rather odd and unexpected. By play I mean activities like our appreciation of humour and all activities undertaken for the sake of adventure or having fun . Schiller reasoned that An animal may be said to be at work, when the stimulus to activity is some lack; it may be said to be at play, when the stimulus is sheer plenitude of vitality, when superabundance of life is its own incentive to action. 440 In more prozaic language, the suggestion seems to be that play is a way to work off excess energy; but if this were so, why don t we just jog on the spot or do something more pragmatic? Th en again, are humans really nothing but animals? If they are, why are we the only spe cies that climes Mt. Everest, or walks to the North Pole, just because it s there ? Why ar e we the only species to have comedians? On a naturalistic evolutionary account, for example, play is explained as an adaptive means of preparing for adult life. 441 But surely there is more to play tha n this: the problem is not [so much] to explain how it would come about that human beings enjoyed [for example] mountaineering: no doubt evolution can do so. The problem is with its significance. 442 Is there no deeper significance to the enjoyment of mountaineering or jokes than such enjoyment being pragmatically useful to the su rvival of our ancestors under a certain set of environmental conditions? Play has historically been associated with joy or even ecstacy, wherein a kind of transcendence is experienced. Play may create an openness to a dimension of enjoyment outside the boundaries of the mundane. 443 If you agree that play and humour hold more significance than they could hold as the unintended result of an impersonal process of unthinking chance and necessit y, then this is reason to doubt the impersonal basis of that explanation. The only alter native to an impersonal explanation is a personal explanation. On a theistic account, our enj oyment of play is a result of the image of God in humanity. Resources: Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments @ (1)

Peter Berger, A Rumour of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural, second edition, (Doubleday, 1990), p65-68. (2) 440 441 442 443 114 Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man , twenty-seventh letter. Alvin Plantinga, Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments . ibid. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay, p169.

Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay, (IVP, 2000), chapter 7. (1) 4) Arguments from Sex Christian Philosopher Thomas V. Morris candidly testifies about his youth that: I was. . . a still chaste but erotically attuned young romantic, embracing the magnetic, electric wonders of male-female attraction. . . I found that animality . . . sensuality. . . could all be apertures to spirituality, openings in my life for that deep energy and insight I have come to recognize as the proper province of the spiritual. . . from the sparkling energy in a young woman s eyes, I could not help but feel a connection between eros and theos, between erotic and theological, se x and God. 444 Psychologist Abraham Maslow decided one day, instead of studying sick people, to study particularly healthy people the one in ten thousand who seemed to have g otten most of it together, who seemed to have fulfilled their potential, become most f ully human. 445 He discerned some thirteen things they had in common: And one of them was that they routinely experienced orgasm as a spiritual, even mystical event. 44 6 It was in the nineteenth century that the Scottish journalist Robert Roberts fir st used sex as the basis for a theistic argument. Roberts noted that in animals sex meets the need to reproduce the species, but that with humans the situation is very differ ent: having sex in private, often having sex for fun rather than procreation, and the expansion of women s breasts even before use in lactation. To the layperson, these features all seem almost too natural to require explanation. On reflection , though, they prove surprisingly difficult to account for. . . even the most fami liar and seemingly most transparent piece of human sexual equipment surprises us with unsolved evolutionary questions. 447 The biggest contrast between humans and other animals can be put like this: animals mate, but humans make love. The point is, If man is only an animal writ l arge, why this difference? Mating would ensure the survival of the species just as wel l as making love. 448 The strange fact of the matter is, as Dr. Ed Wheat says, If you do what comes naturally in lovemaking, almost every time you will be wrong. 449 For example, eac h natural or self-satisfying step in gaining sexual gratification for a man would pro bably be incompatible with his wife s needs. 450 This leads us to ask Why do both husband 444 Thomas V. Morris, Suspicions of Something More xford, 1994), p11 in God and the Philosophers, (O

& 14. 445 M. Scott Peck, Further Along the Road Less Travelled, (Simon & Schuster, 199 3), p221. 446 ibid. 447 Jared Diamond, Why is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality, (Phoenix, 1 997), Preface & p192. 448 Alvin Plantinga, op cit. 449 Quoted by Tim & Beverly LaHaye, The Act of Marriage, second edition, (Zonder van, 1998), p93. 450 Tim & Beverly LaHaye, The Act of Marriage, p93. 115

and wife only find their deepest joy when each seeks first and foremost to fulfi l the needs of the other a principle taught by the apostle Paul. . . For the wife does not ru le over her body but the husband does; likewise, the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. . ?451 The creation of humans in the image of God as male and female designed to become one flesh in the act of marriage would explain the distinctive higher calli ng of human sexuality: No animal falls in love, writes profound romantic poetry, or see s sex as a symbol of the ultimate meaning of life because no animal is made in the ima ge of God. 452 The strange repricosity of lovemaking is here explained by the hypothesis that male and female together constitute the image of God. Although God obviously has no biological gender, the Bible clearly indicates that God s fulness encompasses spir itual masculinity and femininity in a perfect union that is mirrored in the union of m asculine and feminine in marriage: The self has a built-in, God-imaging design of self-ful lfilment by self-forgetfulness, pleasure through unselfishness, ecstact by ekstasis, stand ingoutsidethe-self . This is not the self-conscious self-sacrifice of the do-gooder but the spontaneous unconscious generosity of the lover. 453 A media obsessed with sexual technique has all but buried the ancient concept of sex as something you are before it is an activity you engage in. As Peter Kreeft says through the mouthpiece of Socrates: You tend to see sex as you see everything else: through the bright but narrow sli t of science. . . we ancients saw sex, and marriage, and life itself as a sacred t hing. . . a holy and heavenly and high thing, with its head in the sky even as its feet touch the earth. But you use even the phrase head in the clouds disparagingly, as if resenting great stature of soul, or heavenly vision. For you, sex is simply eart hly. . . It is in you, not you in it. It is smaller than you, not greater. It is for you, not you for it. 454 According to the ancient wisdom, sex is something you are, not something you do. Nowadays, The words masculinity and femininity , meaning something more than merely biological maleness and femaleness, have been reduced from archetypes to stereotypes. 455 Given the original meaning of the term, it follows that God is a s exual being, the most sexual of all beings. 456 This revelation comes as a shock only to people who see sex as merely physical rather than as a spiritual reality: Sexuality is th

e image of God according to Scripture (see Genesis 1:27), and for B to be an image of A, A must in some way have all the qualities imaged by B. God therefore is a sexual being. 457 Basil Mitchell notes that: 451 Alan Hayward, 452 Peter Kreeft, med of asking!, (Ignatius, 1990), 453 Peter Kreeft, 454 Peter Kreeft, 455 Peter Kreeft, 90), p119. 456 ibid, p127. 457 ibid, p127. 116 op cit, p129. Everything you ever wanted to know about Heaven But never drea

p132. ibid, p128. The Best Things in Life, (IVP, 1984), p120. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven, (Ignatius, 19

The scientific humanist is inclined to argue that there is no need for any specifically sexual morality. . . Care should be taken that no unwanted children are born but, so long as that is done, the parties are morally free to decide th eir own behaviour subject only to the most general moral constraints upon exploitation and injury. . . Hence fidelity is not demanded except in so far as it can be shown to affect the stability of the home. . . 458 On the other hand, Romantic humanism. . . places considerable emphasis upon the quality of the personal relationship between the partners, and upon the sexual a ct itself as expressing and confirming their mutual love. 459 This personalist approach stresses the authenticity of erotic love so much that it induces a certain tension between the impulse to permanence, which follows from the seriousness with which the relationship is viewed, and the conviction that it should last only as long as spontaneous love itself l asts and no longer. Hence fidelity has a value which is more than merely instrumental, but i s nevertheless not unconditional. 460 Thus both scientific and romantic humanism demands that erotic fidelity be viewed as conditional to one degree or another: W hat is missing in both these views. . . is the conception of fidelity as an uncondition al demand, which belongs intrinsically to marriage and is neither the result simply of util itarian contrivence nor subject to the changing attitudes of those involved. . . 461 Why think that this consequence of humanism is a problem? Well, suppose one simply intuitively feels that fidelity is an unconditional demand; then one will have reason to reject humanism and accept the Christian theism that provides for this intuition. Can the intuition of unconditional fidelity be given rational defense? I think i t can, in that, as J.R.Lucas puts it, there is an inner logic in favour of perminance, since without it love must be kept partly in reserve. 462 Love, however, by its very nature desi res to give itself unconditionally; if it does not, then it is not unconditional love! As Mitchell concludes, perminance cannot be made to depend on the continuance and continuity of romantic love alone; eros requires to be reinforced by agape. It follows that th e secure love which children need does not. . . run counter to the logic of the relationshi p between the parents, but flows naturally from it 463 The experiential inner logic of erotic fidelity is illustrated by one of Peter Kreeft s dialogues: Felicia: We don t promise to stay together forever. Socrates: . . . Does the realization that your relationship will probably end so me time well before death does you part. . .cause you both any unhappiness?

Felicia: If we think about it. . . Socrates: Then marriage, with its promises, would increase your happiness, wouldn t it? Felicia: No. We don t believe in marriage. . . Socrates: You see the promise of lifelong fidelity as a threat to your happiness ? Felicia: Yes, if and when we fall out of love. We want to be free. 458 459 460 461 462 463 117 Basil ibid, ibid. ibid. ibid, ibid, Mitchel, Morality: Religious & Secular, (Oxford, 1980), p134. p135. p136. p136.

Socrates: Then you do not identify love with happiness. . . For you always want to be happy, but you do not always want to be in this love relationship. Do you identify happiness with freedom then? You always want to be free to stay or to leave? Felicia: . . .Sometimes I feel drawn to freedom, but sometimes I feel as if I wa nt to be bound. Sometimes I feel so in love with him that I want to get married, ev en though I don t believe in marriage. It s almost as if love itself wanted to make itself permanent. . . but then I think: what if I didn t feel this way ten years f rom now? Socrates: Is the only love you know a feeling? Something that comes into you and may leave you without your control? . . Felicia: We identify with the feeling. . . not the. . . promises. . . Socrates: Yet your love sometimes longs for marriage. . . Perhaps your heart see s what your ideology is blind to. . . Tell me, do you think marriage is a manmade institution. . . or do you think it is innate. . . a thing that is discovered ra ther than invented, made by. . . God rather than by man? . . If marriage is manmade, it ca n be man-unmade. . . But if it has its own inherent. . .laws. . . then we cannot change them. Felicia: Do you mean that when a couple declares a marriage ended, it isn t really ended? Socrates: Yes. Felicia: But that s nonsense! Socrates: Only if marriage is manmade. . . 464 Western society has made an idol of Sex. Lewis highlights our situation with an analogy: suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let ever y one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit o f bacon, would you not think that in that country something has gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally [odd] about the state of the sex instinc t among us? 465 We might be tempted to explain the interest aroused by a display of food by hypothesising a famine in that country, until we found that the people had all t he food they needed. Likewise, the hypothesis that we are obsessed with sex because peop le don t do it enough hardly fits the facts. As Lewis says, the glutton, no less than t he famished, are titilated by food. Ironically, our idolization of Venus has stripped her of the very value that tem pted us to set her above God in the first place. Lewis called this the principle of fi rst and last things : every preference of a small good to a great or partial good to a total goo

d, 464 Peter Kreeft, The Best Things in Life, (IVP), chapter 9. 465 C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, (Fount), p86-87. 118

involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made. . . You can t get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by p utting first things first. 466 As Peter Kreeft explains: In any area of life, putting seco nd things fist loses not only the first things but also the second things, and putting fir st things first gains not only the first things but the second things as well. So to treat sexua l pleasure as God is to miss not only God but sexual pleasure. 467 In fact, this principle has received impressive verification. The evidence stron gly suggests that married Christian couples enjoy making love more than any other gr oup of people. In the 1970 s Redbook magazine published a Sexual Pleasure Survey that showed the preferences of 100, 000 women. Redbook found that sexual satisfaction is related significantly to religious belief. With notable consistency, the greater the intensity of a woman s religious convictions, the likelier she is to be highly sat isfied with the sexual pleasures of marriage. Indeed, strongly religious [Christian] women. . . seem to be more responsive. . . she is more likely than the nonreligious woman t o be orgasmic almost every time she engages in sex. 468 A survey of 1, 705 women conducted by Christian counselors Tim and Beverly LaHaye, confirmed these startling results: The [Christian] women in our survey reported a 10 percent higher degree of sexual satisfaction, greater frequency of lovemaking experiences per month, and a more active part in coitus than their strongly religious counterparts, likewise scoring much higher in these same areas than the average nonreligious woman in the Redbook survey. 469 The LeHay s conclude that Christians do enjoy the sublimities of the act of marriag e more than others in our culture. 470 Consider for a moment how odd this fact is, u nless there is something more to sex than the fulfillment of reproductive instincts, s omething that is appropriately and not just shyly called making love , something that Christ ians are better in-tune with than anyone else. What could it be that Christians are i n tune with that non-Christians are not? Might one suggest that it is God? A number of factors make us confident that believers do enjoy better sexual relations. , write the LeHay s: A Christian s relationship with God produces a greater capacity for expressing and receiving love than is possible for a non-Christian. The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. . Gal. 5:22-23) removes the specter of resentment and bitterness that devastates an exciting bedroom life. In addition,

people who genuinely love each other will strive harder to please one another, 466 C.S.Lewis, First and Second Things , Compelling Reason, (Fount, 1996), p26. It follows, as Lewis argued, that the question, What things are first? , is of concern not only to philos ophers but to everyone. , ibid. 467 Peter Kreeft, op cit, p127. 468 Quoted by Tim & Beverly LaHaye, op cit, p13-14. Those counted by Redbook as s trongly religious were 20 percent Catholic and 80 percent Protestant Christians. 469 Tim & Beverly LaHaye, The Act of Marriage, second edition, (Zondervan, 1998) , p287. 98 % of people in the LaHaye survey professed to be born again Christians. 470 ibid, p287. 119

become better informed, and treat each other more unselfishly. This will natural ly enrich their love life. 471 Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck relates how, after many months working with a rigid, frigid woman in her mid-thirties 472 he witnessed her undergo a sudden and quite profound Christian conversion. 473 He relates that within three weeks of that conve rsion, she became orgasmic for the first time in her life. Could the timing have been a n accident? I doubt it. 474 Indeed, Peck is friends with a priest who actually uses t his phenomenon as a yardstick of conversion. He tells me that if a conversion occurs in a previously sexually repressed individual and is not accompanied by some kind of sexual awakening or blossoming, then he has reason to doubt the depth of the conversion . 475 5) Arguments from the Human Mind 5a) The Argument from Colours and Flavours This argument (which has been defended by John Locke and, more recently, by Robe rt Adams and Richard Swinburne) begins with a puzzle about the relationship between the properties of physical events and the properties of our mental experience of the physical world that, while apparently caused by physical events, appear to have radically different properties. For example,: Why do red things look the way they do (and not the way yellow things do)? And no less important, why do red things look today the way t hey looked yesterday? 476 The technical term for such experiential qualities as the lo ok of a colour is phenemenological qualia , or qualia for short. To put our question in more general terms: Why are phenomenal qualia correlated as they are with physical qualities? 477 Physical reality, science tells us, is composed of interacting forces which are not in themselves to be thought of as coloured, or noisy, or smelly, or tasty. Consi der a tree falling in a wood when there is no one around to hear it. Does the tree make a s ound? The obvious answer to this question is to make a distinction between the falling tree causing compression-waves in the air and the subjective experience of sound thos e compression waves would cause in a person. The falling tree causes compression w aves, but it doesn t cause sound (in the subjective sense) unless those waves are experi enced. Material forces (electromagnetic forces, etc.) act upon our senses which in turn set up electrical patterns in our brains, and these brain events cause us to have se

nsations of colour, sound, smell, and so on. Mental events such as sensations of colour and flavour are not doubt caused (at least in part) by brain events, but mental events are n evertheless different in nature than physical events. In fact, mental events are so differen t to physical events being private, coloured etc., and subjectively felt - that it seems very unlikely that natural science could ever explain how brain events give rise to mental eve nts. It 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 120 ibid, p276. M. Scott Peck, op cit, p225. ibid. ibid. ibid. Robert M. Adams, Flavors, Colors, and God . ibid.

seems clear that certain types of brain events cause certain types of mental exp erience, but science is by its nature unable to say why there are particular correlations between physical and mental events, or indeed, and correlations of this type at all: suppose that the experience of seeing red is caused by brain state R, and the experience of seeing yellow by brain state Y (both R and Y being patterns of electrical activity). This correlation of the appearance of red with R, and of t he appearance of yellow with Y, is an example of precisely the sort of thing I am trying to expalin. . . Why does R cause me to see red? Why doesn t it cause me to see yellow or to smell a foul odor? We do not imagine that R is itself red, o r Y yellow. It is hard to conceive of any reason why a particular pattern of electrical activity would be naturally connected with that which I call the experience of yellow. . . I am not denying that R and Y are in fact constantly correlated with the experience of red and yellow respectively. I am also not denying that R and Y cause me to experience red and yellow, respectively. What I want to know is why these relationships between brain states and phenomenal qualia obtain rather tha n others and indeed why any such regular and constant relationships between things of these two types obtain at all. 478 As Richard Swinburne argues: why did not evolution just throw up unfeeling robots? . . . Darwinism can only explain why some animals are eliminated in the struggle for survival, not why there are animals and men at all with mental lives of sens ation and belief, and in so far as it can explain anything, the question inevitably arises why the laws of evolution are as they are. All this theism can explain. 479 On the theistic hypothesis, God brings it about, in virtue of His omnipotence, t hat brain events of a certain kind reliably give rise to mental events of a certain kind. For example, why does one frequency of light-wave cause a brain state that is experi enced as red and another frequency a brain state we experience as yellow? The providence of God can here explain, as Locke argued, what science is in principle incapable of exp laining: the production of Sensation in us of Colours and Sounds, etc. By impulse and motion. . . being such, wherein we can discover no natural connection with any Ideas we have, we cannot but ascribe them to the. . . will and good pleasure of the Wise Architect. . . These mechanical Affections of Bodies, having no affinity at all with those Ideas, they produce in us. . . we can reason no otherwise about them, than as effects produced by the appointment of an infinitely Wise Agent .480 Resources: Richard Swinburne, The Justification of Theism. @

478 Robert M. Adams, Flavors, Colors, and God . 479 Richard Swinburne, The Justification of Theism . 480 John Locke, quoted by Robert M. Adams, Flavors, Colors, and God . 121 (2) Robert M. Adams, Colors, Flavors & God in Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology, ed. R. Douglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman, (Oxford, 1992). (3) Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, (Oxford). (3) 5b) The Argument from Free Will Free will here means: the capacity of the human self to transcend deterministic c ause and effect, such that our moral and rational decisions are not the predetermined eff ect of impersonal natural causes. The question is whether free will is best accounted fo r by a naturalistic or a theistic world-view? The argument from free will is thus simil ar to Richard Taylor s Welcome to Wales argument and to Alvin Plantinga s evolutionary anti-naturalism argument . Metaphysical Naturalism implies determinism, in that the mind is necessarily see n as being identical with the brain, and the brain is a natural, physical system r unning according to the laws of nature. As C.S.Lewis wrote: If Naturalism is true, every finite thing or event must be (in principle) explica ble in terms of the Total System. . . If any one thing should be such that we see in advance the impossibility of ever giving it that kind of explanation, then Naturalism would be in ruins. . . For by Naturalism we mean the doctrine that only Nature the whole interlocking system exists. And if that were true, every thing and event would, if we knew enough, be explicable without remainder. . . a s a necessary product of the system. 481 Reasons to doubt the truth of determinism are therefore also reasons to doubt th e truth of naturalism. One reason to doubt determinism is that it causes severe problems for our concepts of morality. It is not up to the stone whether or not it falls to earth if I throw it into the air. Given certain conditions (being thrown into the air, gravity, etc. ) the stone will fall back to earth. The stone has no freedom to do anything other than what it is caused to do; its activity is determined by causes over which it has no control. If humans lack free will, then our actions fall into exactly the same category as the acti on of a falling stone. We would have no freedom to do otherwise than we are caused to do by causes outside of our control (indeed, we would have no control at all). If we are thus determined, does it make any sense to retain belief in moral obligation? A moral obligation is something you ought to do, something you should do; but what use i

s there for concepts like human action is a mp moral obligation, If we dump determinism, determinism.

he ought to do this and she should do that in a world where every has to do ? We face a choice: either to accept determinism and du or to retain belief in moral obligation and dump determinism. then we must also dump naturalism, because naturalism entails

481 C.S.Lewis, Miracles, (Fount), p16, my italics. 122

Determinism destroys the possibility of rationality. If this is so and this fact is recognised, then it is impossible to rationally believe in determinism. Moreover , if determinism were true, it would be impossible for anyone to rationally believe a nything: Given certain evidences, I ought to believe certain things. I am intellectually responsible for drawing certain conclusions, given certain pieces of evidence. . . If I ought to believe something, then I must have the ability to choose to belie ve it or not believe it. If one is to be rational, one must be free to choose her beli efs in order to be reasonable. . . But such deliberations make sense only if I assume t hat what I am going to do or believe is up to me that I am free to choose and, thus, I am responsible for irrationality if I choose inappropriately. 482 However, it is a necessary presupposition of rationality and rational pursuits ( such as Philosophy) that rationality is possible. Therefore, determinism, which rules ou t libertarian freedom, is necessarily false. If determinism is necessarily false, any worldview that requires determinism to be true must also be necessarily false. Natura lism and physicalism both imply determinism. Therefore naturalism is necessarily false: It is self-refuting to argue that one ought to choose [naturalism]. . . on the basis o f the fact that one should see that the evidence is good. . . 483 If determinism is true, what do we mean by saying we face a choice ? We would be determined either to accept or to reject determinism! If we are determi ned to believe whatever we believe, what could possibly make it the case that we are no t determined to believe false or contradictory beliefs? If we have been determined to believe what we believe by impersonal physical forces, what reason is there to t rust the truth of our beliefs? As H.P.Owen writes: Determinism is self-stultifying. If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism. But if the some reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it, I have no ground for holding that my judgement is true or false. 484 This line of thought has proved a rich source of anti-naturalistic arguments. C. S.Lewis argued thus: the cause and effect relation between events and the ground and consequent relation between propositions are distinct. Since English uses because for both, let us here use Because CE for the cause and effect relation ( This doll always

falls on its feet because CE its feet are weighted ), and Because GC for the groun d and consequent relation ( A equals C because GC they both equal B ). . . If an argument is to be verific the conclusion must be related to the premises as 482 ibid, p65: If physical determinism is true, then that is the end of all discu ssion or argument; everything is finished. There is no philosophy. All human persons are caught up in this inexorable web of circumstances and cannot break out of it. Everything we think we are doing is an illusion. (Sir John Eccles, in Eccles & Popper, The Self and Its Brain, p546.) 483 ibid. 484 H.P.Owen, Christian Theism, (T&T Clark, 1984), p118. 123

consequent to ground, i.e. the conclusion is there because GC certain other propositions are true. 485 In other words, if the train of my reasoning is merely the result of a series of physical case and effect, there is no room for my conclusions to be related to p remises in the logical relation of ground and consequent. If naturalism is true I arrive at the conclusions I do because CE they are the natural effects of previous natural cau ses, however: a train of reasoning has no value as a means to finding truth unless eac h step is connected with what went before in the Ground-Consequent relation. 486 The outcome of a merely physical series of cause and effect might be true by luc k, but never by judgement. Thus naturalism, and the physicalism to which it leads, cannot profess to give us any reasons to accept its truth: unless our conclusion is the logical consequent from a ground it. . . could be true only by a fluke. . . Wishful thin kings, prejudices, and the delusions of madness, are all caused, but they are ungrounde d. 487 Atheist philosopher Anthony O Hear agrees with Lewis that decisions. . . demand a justification logically independent from anything we might discover in scientific accounts. 488 But once this is admitted, naturalism is out the window: Naturalism. . . offers what professes to be a full account of our mental behaviou r; but this account, on inspection, leaves no room for the acts of knowing. . . on which the whole value of our thinking, as a means to truth, depends. 489 Thus, concludes Lewis: acts of reasoning are not interlocked with the total interlocking system of Natur e as all other items are interlocked with one another. They are connected with it in a different way; as the understanding of a machine is certainly connected with t he machine but not in the way the parts of the machine are connected with each other. The knowledge of a thing is not one of the thing s parts. In this sense something beyond Nature operates whenever we reason. 490 Free will hardly seems to be at home in the naturalistic world view, but it does seem at home in the theistic world view wherein ultimate reality possesses free will and creates humans in his image. Resources: C.S.Lewis, Miracles, chapter three, (Fount). (2) Ronald H. Nash, Miracles & Conceptual Systems in R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R.

Habermas ed s., In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos). (1) 485 08. 486 487 488 489 490 C.S.Lewis, Religion without Dogma? , Compelling Reason, appendix B, (Fount), p1

C.S.Lewis, Miracles, chapter three, (Fount). ibid. Anthony O Hear, Beyond Evolution, (Oxford, 1997), p13. C.S.Lewis, op cit. ibid.


6) Experiential Arguments Many, perhaps most, people from different eras and widely different cultures cla im to have experience of the divine; and that includes atheists! Jean-Paul Satre s exper ience, paradoxically, actually caused him to abandon belief: I had been playing with mat ches and burned a small rug. I was in the process of covering up my crime when sudden ly God saw me. I felt His gaze inside my head and on my hands. . . I flew into a ra ge against so crude an indiscretion, I blasphemed. . . He never looked at me again. 4 91 Of course, for many, the experience of God is one to be cherished. If it is unlikel y that so many people could be wrong about this profound experience then it is likely that the divine truly exists. Moreover, the principle of credulity encourages us to take religious experience at face value, unless there is sufficient reason to doubt it: It is a basic principle of knowledge. . . that we ought to believe that things ar e as they seem to be, until we have evidence that we are mistaken. . . If you say the contrary never trust appearances until it is proved that they were reliable will never have any beliefs at all. For what would show that appearances were reliable, except more appearances? 492 If you lack religious experience yourself, then it is reasonable to trust the re ports of those with such experience. Religious experience takes many different forms, each of which provides part of the overall evidence from experience for the existence of God. To appreciate the import of religious experience one must consider the texture of its many facets. As Rav i Zacharias writes: The Christian. . . sees himself, endowed with the image of God and an integration of different capacities. This means that his individuality, when liv ed out within the moral boundaries of a loving relationship with God, brings total fulfillment through a diversity of expressions, converging in the purpose of creation. . . His conscience responds to the holiness of God; his mind is nurtur ed and nourished by the truth of God; his imagination is enlarged and purified by t he beauty of God; his heart, or impulses, respond to the love of God; his will surrenders to the purpose of God. 493 All these different existential dimensions of Christian religious experience (an d more) need to be appreciated both in their individuality and in their mutuality if the argument from religious experience is to be understood in its full vigor. you

Richard Swinburne, The Justification of Theism. (2)

491 Jean-Paul Satre, Words, (New York, 1964), p102. 492 Richard Swinburne, Evidence for God . 493 Ravi Zacharias, A Shattered Visage, (Baker, 1995), p149. 125

6a) The Argument from Desire The argument from desire is a special case of the argument from religious experi ence, only instead of working with perceived experience of God, it works from the basi s of a perceived desire for an experience of God which is lacking. If God exists and has designed us for relationship with Himself, as Christianity claims, one would expect people to find contentment only within such a relations hip and to show signs of deprivation if such a relationship is lacking. That there is a deep need for God within the human heart was recognised by the biblical songwriter who wro te that As a deer longs for streams of cool water, so I long for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1, GNB.) Christian writers through the ages have echoed this theme of longing. Augu stine wrote in his Confessions that: You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts a re restless till they rest in you. Pascal wrote of how There is a god-shaped vacuum i n the heart of every man, and only God can fill it. Atheists also recognise the existence of a restless, unfulfilled desire for some thing more. Jean-Paul Satre admitted: my whole being cries out for God . Katharine Tait said this about her father, the famous atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell: Some where at the back of my father s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depth of his s oul, there was an empty space that had once been filled by God and he never found anything else to put in it. 494 Russell himself acknowledged that: The centre of me is always and eternally a terrible pain a curious wild pain a searching for something beyond w hat the world contains. 495 That this restless desire apart from God predicted by the theistic hypothesis ex ists, and that people who believe they have discovered relationship with God seem to h ave discovered the object that satiates this desire, is evidence in favour of the th eistic hypothesis; empirical confirmation of Jesus claim that: this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3) As Pascal argued: Man tries unsuccessfully to fill this void with everything that surrounds him, seeking in absent things the help he cannot find in those that are present, but all are incapable of it. This infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite. . . object. . . God himself. 496 Pascal here perfectly describes secular culture in its futile search for fulfill

ment apart from God. As atheist Roger Scruton observes: The desolation of the god-forsaken c ity is proof of that higher world from which the soul descends. 497 This desire for God (which pulls against our sinful desire to be our own god) wa s discussed by Aquinas and (though unpublished) by Pascal; but it was left to C.S. Lewis to present it as an argument for the Heaven of eternal life with God: 494 Katherine Tait, quoted by Luis Palau, Is God Relevant?, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1998), p93. 495 Bertrand Russell, quoted by Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God, p253. 496 Pascal, Penesse 181. 497 Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person s Guide To Modern Culture, (Duckworth, 19 98), p74. 126

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. . . If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. 498 Is there truly any reason to suppose that reality offers satisfaction to this de sire? Being hungry doesn t prove that we will get fed. True; but such a criticism misses the point. A man s hunger does not prove that he will get any food; he might die of starvation. But surely hunger proves that a man comes from a race which needs to eat and inhabits a world where edible substances exist: In the same way, says Lewis, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. 499 Lewis concluded that: if a man diligently followed this desire, pursuing the false objects until their falsity appeared and then resolutely abandoning them, he must come at last to th e clear knowledge that the human soul was made to enjoy some object that is never fully given. . . in our present mode of. . . experience. This desire was. . . as the seige Perilous in Arthur s castle the chair in which only one could sit. And if nature makes nothing in vain, the One who can sit in this chair must exist. 500 Aesthetic Experience and the Argument from Desire What has aesthetic experience got to do with the argument from desire? Augustine provides our first clue: my sin was this, that I looked for pleasure, beauty, and truth not in him but in myself and his other creatures, and the search led me instead to p ain, confusion, and error. 501 Augustine s search eventually led to the discovery that Go d was the true object of his need, the true fountain of beauty (of all that is goo d, including truth and knowledge), and to the exclamation: Oh Beauty so old and so new! Too la te have I loved thee! 502 This same search for that transcendent something sensed within or through aesthetic experience was a golden-thread running through the life of C.S.Lewis. As a literary scholar, Lewis picked up on the Romantic term Sehnucht to describe a fa mily of emotional responses to the world (melancholy, wonder, yearning, etc.) which are linked by a sense of displacement or alienation from the object of desire. Sehnucht , writ es Corbin Scott Carnell, may be said to represent just as much a basic theme in lite rature as love. 503 The closest English translation for Sehnucht is probably nostalgic longin g ,

498 C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, (Fount). This is the greatest conclusion of an y argument I know, since it argues not only for the existence of God, but for the existence of Heaven as wel l, including thereby the possibility of personal immortality. 499 ibid. 500 C.S.Lewis, The Pilgrim s Regress, (Fount). 501 Augustine, Confessions. 502 ibid. 503 Corbin Scott Carnell, Bright Shadow of Reality Spiritual Longing in C.S.Lewi s, (Eerdmans, 1999), p23. 127

and it arises when experience of something within the world awakens a desire for something beyond what the natural world can offer as a corresponding object of d esire. Sehnucht therefore directs our attention towards the transcendent, that which goe s beyond our present experience. The power of fairy-tales lie in their ability to transport us into a world transparently imbued with Sehnucht.504 Peter Kreeft points to music, so powerful, the ancients spontaneously ascribed it to the gods 505, as perhaps the most powerful producer of Sehnucht. However: The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what cam e through them was longing. . . Do what we will, then, we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy. 506 The rhetoric is a little overplayed here: there is objective beauty in books and music, but these things also stir within hemselves which we seem to apprehend through their is a derived quality that draws our aesthetic and absolute beauty. On the theistic view of Sehnucht points, then, towards the existence of a us a desire for a beauty greater than t beauty. It is as if their finite beauty attention into the heaven of underived things, this as if finds its fulfillment.

supernatural happiness.

As we have already noted, being hungry doesn t prove that we will get fed, but a man s hunger does prove that a man comes from a race which needs to eat and inhabi ts a world where edible substances exist: In the same way, says Lewis, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. 507 Lewis was impressed by Rudolph Otto s book The Idea of the Holy, in which the Numinous is described as that which causes in those who perceive it a sense of aw e. This sense of awe is not the fear that would be caused by believing a fierce ani mal was in the room with you, nor the supernatural dread of believing a ghost to be near-by , but the feeling of awe one might have if one simply believed that a great spirit were pres ent. The Numinous is not the subjective experience, but the transcendent object about which one feels this sense of awe. The principle of credulity (that we should trust fi rst impressions until given reason for doubt) encourages us to take the straightforw ard interpretation of such experience that the Numinous is an objective reality trul y perceived.

The point of discussing the Numinous is the present context is that awe of the Numinous is one of that family of emotional states grouped together under the ca tegory of Sehnucht. Moreover, a sense of the Numinous often accompanies aesthetic experiences of the sublime variety (i.e. the beauty of the great and majestic), su ch as a mountain or thunderstorm. This explains why mountains and climatic events featur e so 504 Consider Usula LeGuin s EarthSea books, C.S.Lewis Narnina books, Mervin Peake s G hormanghast trilogy or Tolkein s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. 505 Peter Kreeft, op cit, p110-111. Different people may find Sehnucht produced by the objective beauty of different music, but listen to the music of (especially 1970 s) Genesis, Iona, Marillion, Pink Floyd, Shostakovich, and Yes. 506 C.S.Lewis, The Weight of Glory . 507 ibid. 128

widely in the religious experience of the Jewish nation. Neither the aesthetic e xperience nor the immediate objects of that experience can be termed the Numinous . The mind of a university educated prince turned shepherd is quite capable, for example, of distinguishing between a burning bush and the numinous presence of God mediated through that burning bush. Perception of the Numinous constitutes a whole new le vel or depth of experience and it is recognisable as such: When we are awed by the intolerable majesty of the Himalaya, when we look . . . at the lonely hostile beauty of the Eismeer only water at a low temperature afte r all - . . .we are merely receiving through symbols adapted to our size, intimati ons of the Absolute Beauty. . . .Looking at an object which is beautiful or sacred . . . we are if we receive a genuine aesthetic or religious impression passing through and beyond this object, to the experience of an Absolute revealed in things. 508 Peter Kreeft writes of the human face as the most numinous, most magical matter in the world. 509 Why? Because the surface of the face, like the appearance of the world, points. . . beyond the surface to. . . depths not of matter but of me aning. 510 Kreeft explains that, like a poem, the face must both be and mean: A smile both is and means happiness; the word happiness only means it. There is no happiness in the word, as there is in the smile. . . A human face is more than a part of the body, an object; it is a part of the soul, a subject. . . It is the place where soul . . . transfigures body. . . 511 Like the face, suggests Kreeft, the cosmos not only exists, but means: the whole world is a face. 512 Kreeft distinguishes between the conventional sign, like lett ers in an alphabet that could have been different, and the natural sign that is a living ex ample of what it signifies. 513 For example, There is happiness in a smile, as there is not a curve ball in the catcher s two fingers signalling it. 514 Just as the smile is a natural s ign of the happiness it signifies, so nature can be seen as a natural sign of the trans cendent object of desire that makes itself immanent therein (nature does not appear to b e a conventional sign). Is this seeing a true insight into ultimate reality, or a delusion? Again, in th e absence of sufficient reason to doubt the existence of God, the principle of cre dulity would suggest that what seems to be the case is the case. One can easily explain how some people fail to read the sign , for we know that we can look at a sign instead o f looking along it 515 to that which it signifies:

508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515

Evelyn Underhill, Man and the Supernatural, (Methuen, 1934), p170. Peter Kreeft, Heaven, the Heart s Deepest Longing, (Ignatius), p99. ibid. ibid. ibid, p101. ibid, p115. ibid. ibid, p112.


only . . . reasoning beings smile, since only they have the peculiar intentionali ty which is expressed in smiling. . . Yet smiles would not appear in the scientist s book of the world . . . We classify facial movements as smiles, because that is how we perceive and respond to them. . . There is an attitude that we direct [or are naturally led to direct] towards the human person, and which leads us to see in the human form a perspective on the world that reaches from a point outside it. That is what we see in a smile. And the experience of the holy, the sacred and t he miraculous arises in a similar way, when we direct [or are led to direct] this attitude not to other human beings, but to places, times, and objects. . . A sac red place is one in which personality shines from mere objects. . . Such things have no subjectivity of their own. . . The experience of the sacred is therefore a revelation, a direct encounter with the divine, which eludes all explanation in natural terms. . . 516 Maybe it is due to a misplaced generalization of the scientific method, looking at the natural world rather than along it, that more people do not experience the w orld as a natural sign. (Of course, if the world is a sign, one must take into account its fallen nature; this is why we only see through a glass, darkly .) Some people set up scien tific delectability as a metaphysical criterion of objective existence that thereby ex cludes God from their world-view as a window excludes wind from a room. However, such a criterion cannot pass its own test. How could it be proven scientifically that o nly scientifically knowable entities are objectively real? Science consciously restricts itself to the impersonal (although scientific data can ground rational conclusions about agents, as in forensic science and archaeology ); but the person who declares that science disproves the existence of God is like a person who declares that windows disproves the existence of wind! Such a person would find no scientific category within which to place their own beliefs or personhood (Can m atter be true or false about other matter?). Perhaps we need to open the window a bit: Have you leaves or looks the , the world ever seen one of those picture puzzles that masks a face as jungle bushes? Find the man in the picture. Once you do, the picture never same again: it is not a jungle but a man. Once you see the face of God is forever transformed into his features. 517

How does sensitivity to the Numinous function as a variety of Sehnucht? I believe that part of the explanation lies with beauty functioning as a link to t he divine source and standard of all goodness and beauty. That is, the link between object ive beauty and objective goodness is the key to understanding the link between aesth

etic and religious experience. It is therefore unsurprising to read Roger Scruton affirmi ng that When art and religion are healthy, they are also inseparable. . . for the aesthet ic is rooted in the religious 518 Nor does it come as a surprise to find him admitting that: 516 Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person s Guide To Philosophy, (Duckworth, 1997), p95-96. This revelation, which Scruton values for its role in overcoming human estrangement a nd re-enchanting a world demoralized by scientism, must nevertheless be considered by Scruton to be a gro undless illusion, since he remains, as far as I can tell, an atheist. I am of course suggesting that this r evelation is not an illusion. 517 Peter Kreeft, op cit, p119. 518 Roger Scruton, op cit, p17 & 75. 130

In the sentiment of beauty we feel the purposiveness and intelligibility of everything that surrounds us, while in the sentiment of the sublime we seem to s ee beyond the world, to something overwhelming and inexpressible in which it is somehow grounded. . . it is in our feeling for beauty that the content, and even the truth, of religious doctrine is strangely and untranslatably intimated to us. 519 Despite these observations, Scruton remains an atheist, recommending a let s pretend philosophy of as if to paper over the cracks of meaninglessness left in his secular world-view by the absence of God. High culture, says Scruton, teaches us to live as if our lives mattered eternally. 520 This speaks for itself. I am inclined to agree with Peter Kreeft that Plato in the Symposium let the cat out of the bag. . . Onl y Beauty Itself, absolute, pure, unmixed, perfect and eternal, will satisfy the soul. 521 In aesthetic experience we find something which corresponds to an innate need for beauty, and yet the more beauty we experience, the more we notice the discre pancy between the beauty (and thus goodness) we perceive and our own ugliness of soul. From hence, as Aquinas wrote, reason tells us that because of the inadequacies we perc eive in ourselves we need to subject ourselves to some superior source of help and direc tion; and whatever that source might be, everybody calls it God. 522 Aesthetic experience gives us something we want, but only in part, satisfying ou r desire only to reveal within us a deeper need that no natural object seems to sa tisfy: we want so much more something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words to be united with the beauty we see. . . to receive it into ourselves. . . to become part of it. . . At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us feel fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall g et in. When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory , or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. 523 Resources: Corbin Scott Carnell, Bright Shadow of Reality (Eerdmans, 1999). (2) Spiritual Longing in C.S.Lewis,

Anthony O Hear, Beyond Evolution, (Oxford, 1997). (3) 519 ibid, p29. 520 ibid, p14. 521 Peter Kreeft, op cit, p214. 522 Thomas Aquinas, quoted by Timothy McDermott in Aquinas, Selected Philosophic al Passages, Introduction. 523 C.S.Lewis, The Weight of Glory . 131

Anthony O Hear, After Progress, (Bloomsbury, 1999). (2) Peter Kreeft, Heaven, The Heart s Deepest Longing, (Ignatius, 1989). (1) Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995 ). (1) C.S.Lewis, The Weight of Glory in Screwtape Proposes a Toast and other essays, (Fount). (1) 6c) The Argument from Aesthetic Experience The aesthetic dimension to religious experience is not exhausted by the experien ce of Sehnucht. In their Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli provide summaries of Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God , including argument number 17: The Argument from Aesthetic Experience. Their brief argument goes as follows: There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Therefore there must be a God. You either see this one or you don t. 524 In an end note they ask, Can you formulate argument 17 logically? 525 Clearly we ca n, by adding the missing second premise. This could be something to the effect that unless God exists, the music of Bach could not exist . This addition produces a logically valid argument, but is of doubtful apologetic value. Any sound cosmological argument would validate the truth of our additional second premise, and hence of argument 17, by showing that if God did not exist, nothing - including the music of J.S.Bach - would exist. However, this makes Kreeft & Ta celli s argument dependent upon the production of a convincing cosmological argument, an d so strips it of any independent force. Perhaps there is more going on in Kreeft & Tacelli s argument than first meets the eye. After all, they can hardly be unaware of the fact that they have failed to present an argument at all. When Kreeft & Tacelli say that You either see this one or you don t 526, they are gesturing towards an argument from aesthetic experience felt as an encounter with an aspect of the divine. This also seems to be suggested by their label of Argument from Aesthetic Experience. 527 Kreeft relates elsewhere of this experienti al argument that: I personally know three ex-atheists who were swayed by this argument ; two are philosophy professors and one is a monk. 528 Indeed, these three intelligen t, sensitive souls. . . were saved from atheism and despair only by the music of Ba ch. 529 (It is said that it was decided not to include a recording of music by Bach on t he voyager

space probe - along with the whale-song, etc. - because any alien civilization t hat discovered it might conclude that we were boasting!) 524 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995), p81. 525 ibid, p88. 526 ibid, p81. 527 ibid, my italics. 528 Peter Kreeft, Does God Exist? The Debate between Theists & Atheists, (Promet heus, 1993), p27. 529 Peter Kreeft, Heaven The Heart s Deepest Longing, (Ignatius, 1989), p111. 132

Philosopher Anthony O Hear admits, in Beyond Evolution (Oxford, 1997), that in experiencing beauty we feel ourselves to be in contact with a deeper reality t han the everyday. 530, and passes the following observations upon this experience: Art can seem revelatory, just as it does seem to answer to objective standards. I t can seem to take us to the essence of reality, as if certain sensitivities in us . . . beat in tune with reality. It is as if our. . . appreciation of things external to us . . . are reflecting a deep and pre-conscious harmony between us and the world from which we spring. If this feeling is not simply an illusion. . . it may say somet hing about the nature of reality itself, as responsive to human desires. . . But how could we think of an aesthetic justification of experience. . . unless our aesthetic experience was sustained by a divine will revealed in the universe, and particularly in our experience of it as beautiful? It is precisely at this point that many or even most will draw back. Aesthetic experience seems to produce the harmony between us and the world that would have to point to a religious resolution were it not to be an illusion. 531 So far so good, but then O Hear himself draws back: But such a resolution is intellectually unsustainable [!], so aesthetic experience, however powerful, rem ains subjective and, in its full articulation, illusory. This is a dilemma I cannot s olve or tackle head on. 532To summarily dismiss the religious resolution as intellectually unsustainable seems like an uncharitably off-handed failure to follow the evidenc e where it leads. What a strange, even absurd universe, in which the aesthetic exp eriences that seem to give life so much of its meaning are in fact meaningless illusions! Perhaps the universe is sane after all, in which case O Hear s dismissive attitude towards t he divine is, literally speaking, insane. O Hear s chapter on beauty in Beyond Evolution ends with the thought that, despite the problems of alienation thrown up by science and morality 533 we nevertheless have a sense that we are (to some extent) at home in the world, and that nowhere do we meet this intuition quite so strongly as in aesthetic experience: F rom my point of view it is above all in aesthetic experience that we gain the fullest a nd most vividly lived sense that though we are creatures of Darwinian origin, our nature transcends our origin in tantalizing ways. 534 (This is only to say that naturalis tic evolution is incapable of adequately accounting for our aesthetic faculties.) Aesthetic experience, says O Hear, promises to reconcile our particular aesthetic experiences to what might be thought of as our striving for some transcendent gua rantee and consolation. 535 For O Hear, this tantalization is literal. The aesthetic experi ence

that calls us home is an illusion, a whistling in the dark 536 as he puts it (unles s God is accepted after all), and this realization must leave us alone with our alienatio n. 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 133 Anthony O Hear, Beyond Evolution, p195. ibid, p199-201. ibid. ibid. ibid, p202. ibid, p214. ibid, p195.

O Hear finds himself in exactly the same position as the author of Ecclesiastes who saw that everything was meaningless . . . under the sun [i.e. without referen ce to a transcendent God]. This is an experiential, existential aesthetic argument that w orks by proposing an integrated and intellectually satisfying world-view: Another satisfy ing insight of Theology , notes John Polkinghorne, is the way in which it can tie toget her the diverse layers of our multivalued experience. . . We can see neither God nor electrons, but both make sense of the richness of reality. 537 More recently, in After Progress (Bloomsbury, 1999), O Hear seems to have drawn closer to the acknowledgement of what the religions have referred to variou sly as God or Brahman or the One 538, concluding that: Through art, particularly the great masterpieces of the past, we do have intimations of beauty, of order, of divinity, even, way beyond the biological. . . in appreciating the beauty of the world. . . we are seeing the world as endowed wit h value and meaning. . . In responding to our experience of the world in moral and aesthetic ways, we are implying that there is something to be responded to. . . We are seeing the world and our own existence as created. . . seeing the world as animated by some higher quasi-personal purpose, operating through and behind the material process revealed and studied by natural science. 539 As F.R.Tennant wrote: God reveals Himself. . . in many ways; and some men enter H is Temple by Gate Beautiful. 540 6c) Arguments from Love As Scott R. Burson and Jerry L. Walls describe it: This argument is similar in sp irit to the argument from desire in that it begins from a pervasive and profound human l onging and then proceeds to show it can only be satisfied through a right relationship with God. 541 In this instance, the longing is our fundamental experience of, and longi ng for, love. The longing to be loved with a perfect love can of course provide a starting pla ce for an argument from desire. We know that such love is unavailable in earthly te rms, especially if the evolutionary naturalists are right in positing the selection o f altruistic behaviour purely on the basis of its pragmatic advantages to the survival of fam ilies or populations of selfish genes . If we are born with a desire for a perfect love that the world cannot offer, the fact that every other natural desire corresponds to an o bject of

fulfillment suggests that this desire to be love corresponds to a corresponding object of fulfilment beyond what the world has to offer. If not, reality is absurd in the sense of systematically frustrating one of our deepest natural desires. Therefore, if rea lity is not absurd, there must be a source of perfect love beyond the natural universe, name ly God. This conclusion finds experiential support in religious experience: 537 John Polkinghorne, Serious Talk, p56 & 111. 538 Anthony O Hear, After Progress, (Bloomsbury, 1999), p249-250. 539 ibid, p239 & p249-250. 540 F.R.Tennant, Philosophical Theology, volume two, p93. 541 Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls, C.S.Lewis & Francis Schaeffer, (IVP, 1998) , p181. 134

Only in God s love and acceptance of us, not in our puny human accomplishments, can we find our self worth. . . We were designed to love and enjoy each other, the creation, and God. We are created to desire happiness, and we will find our true happiness only in fellowship, not competition, with one another and with God 542 Here we see how the Christian pattern for interpersonal relationships - which is grounded in the belief that God loves us and that we should therefore love ourse lves and love others as we love ourselves - constitutes a practical test of Christian the ology. Confirmation that practice works in so far as it is based on belief is indirect verification of the truth of those beliefs: God honours us, satisfying our need for self-estee m. Knowing this liberates us from the tyranny of self-will and allows us the freedo m to be creatures instead of creators. 543 As John Polkinghorne writes, I have to say that in my experience most of the people I know who impress me most as being. . . firm in l ove, are also Christian believers. Of course, not all. . . But there does seem to be a sp ecial quality in people who live close to God. 544 Again, one could argue that a universe in whi ch a successful path to genuine love was predicated on a delusion would be morally ab surd, and that if one cannot stomach such absurdity, one should swallow belief in God. John Young suspects that this argument may seem suffocatingly cosy to those outside the Faith. 545 Nevertheless, he advances it because over the years the forc e of this experience has struck me time and again. And I am aware that this [argument ] will ring bells for many Christians who have never had a remarkable religious experience. 546 At a slight but related tangent to this argument from love one can also mention other beneficial aspects of Christian (or at least religious) forms of life and take these as a similar verification of the theology in which this form of life is grounded: Actual demographic surveys do show at least that religious people fare better with resp ect to divorce, suicide, and other indicators of troubled personal lives. 547 One can tre at the truth of the relevant theological propositions as an inference to the best expla nation of the data: A survey of 5,286 Californians found that church members have lower death rates than non-members regardless of risk factors such as smoking, drinking, obesity and inactivity. Those with a religious commitment had fewer symptoms or had better health outcomes in seven out of eight cancer studies, four out of five blood-pressure studies, four out of six heart-disease studies and four our of fi

ve general health studies. People with a strong religious commitment seem to be les s prone to depression, suicide, alcoholism and other addictions, according to one 542 Kelly James Clark, When Faith is not Enough, (Eerdmans, 1997), p156. 543 ibid, p178. 544 John Polkinghorne, The Way The World Is. 545 John Young, The Case Against Christ, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1994), p180. 546 ibid. 547 William G. Lycan & George N. Schlasinger, You bet your life Pascal s Wager Defe nded , in R. Gouglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman ed s., Contemporary Perspectives on Religious E pistemology, (Oxford, 1992), p281. 135

research analysis. . . In a 1996 survey of 269 American family doctors, 99 percent said they thought religious beliefs could contribute to healing. 548 I would hypothesis that much of the above benefit comes from the experience of unconditional love in the church community. As Psychiatrist Dr. M. Scott Peck wr ites: Human beings have within them a natural yearning and thrust towards health and wholeness and holiness. (All three words are derived from the same root.) Most of the time, however, this thrust, this energy, is enchained by fear, neutralize d by defences and resistences. But put a human being in a truly safe place, where the se defences and resistences are no longer necessary, and the thrust toward health i s liberated. When we are safe, there is a natural tendency for us to heal and conv ert ourselves. 549 However, to say this is not to explain away the data, for that sense of uncondit ional love which generates personal safety includes the experience of being loved by God, a nd by other people who s loving-natures have been moulded by their religious beliefs and experiences. William Lane Craig calls this communal embodiment of Christ in the church The Ultimate Apologetic. . . the most effective and practical apologetic for the Chr istian faith that I know of :550 This ultimate apologetic involves two relationships: your relationship with God and your relationship with others. . . What will be the result when these two relationships are strong and close? There will be a unity and warmth among Christians. There will be a love that pervades the body of Christ. . . According to Jesus, our love is a sign to all people that we are his disciples (John 13:35); but even more than that, our love and unity are living proof to the world that God t he Father has sent his Son Jesus Christ and that the Father loves people even as he loves Jesus. When people see this our love for one another and our unity through love then they will in turn be drawn by this to Christ. . . 551 Philosopher William P. Alston explains that he found God as a reality in my life through finding a community of faith and being drawn into it. That s where the mes sage was being proclaimed, and if I had not been able to see, eventually, that He Who was being proclaimed was Himself at work in those proclamations and in those proclai mers, I would, no doubt, have continued to turn a deaf ear. 552 The only thing to be said to someone who has doubts about this argument is to advise them to attend a church that puts its theological beliefs into action in order to verify or falsify the reality of these suggestions in their own experience that

would be the scientific thing to do. Ask yourself whether Christians display greater and deeper 548 549 550 551 552 27. Faith is Powerful Medicine , Reader s Digest, May 2000. M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum, (Arrow, 1990), p68. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith. ibid, p301, my italics. William P. Alston, A Philosopher s Way Back , God and the Philosophers, op cit, p


love than you would expect them to display aside from their beliefs. If so, ask yourself whether such love is reasonably interpreted as the result of a delusion, or whet her the love of Christians points to a transcendent source of love: That the Christian church has members who bring dishonor on it is no surprise, since degrees of commitment (and of hypocracy) are a common enough phenomenon even in secular matters, and it would be more surprising still if God were to sanctify people against their will. But those whose commitment to God and to others leads them beyond what merely human compassion would explain stand as a sign, and one far more compelling to most people than any academic arguments for theism or for Christianity. 553 Indeed, on the naturalistic account of things, it would appear that love is itse lf a delusion, a contingent late arrival foisted upon humanity by our ever pragmatic genes. Does such an account really do justice to the nature of love? On the other hand, the Christian worldview places love at the very eternal heart of things: Our desire for love and our belief in its importance is supported by the doctrine of the Trinity, which maintains that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always existed in a relationship of perfect love, even before the world was created. So love and relationships are not relative newcomers in the history of the world, which emerged accidentally from the blind forces of matter. Rather, love and relationship go all the way down in the structure of reality. 554 Calling romantic love Eros and overtly sexual physical activity Venus, C.S.Lewis points out that To the evolutionist, Eros. . . will be something that grows out o f Venus, a late complication and development of the immemorial biological impulse. But such a debunking view of love is surely not only derogatory but back-to-front: There may be those who have first felt mere sexual appetite for a woman and then gone on at a later stage to fall in love with her . But I doubt if this is at all common. Very often what comes first is simply a delighted preoccupation with the Beloved a general, unspecified preoccupation with her in her totality. A man in this state really hasn t the leisure to think of sex. He is too busy thinki ng of a person. The fact that she is a woman is far less important than the fact th at she is herself. He is full of desire, but the desire may not be sexually toned. . . And when at a later stage the explicitly sexual element [of Eros] awakes, he wil l not feel (unless scientific theories are influencing him) that this had all alon g been the root of the whole matter. He is more likely to feel that the incoming tide o f Eros, having demolished many sandcastles and made islands of many rocks, has now at last with a triumphant seventh wave flooded this part of his nature also

553 Laura L. Garcia, Philosophy and Faith , ibid, p174. 554 Jerry L. Walls, On Keeping the Faith , God and the Philosophers, ed. Thomas V. Morris, (Oxford, 1994), p110. 137

the little pool of ordinary sexuality which was there on his beach before the ti de came in. 555 Moreover, Christian theism provides a rich account of the appropriateness of lov e that gains it credibility by outstripping the opposition in giving an adequate e xplanation of the phenomena in question. As Thomas Traherne poetically notes: Suppose a. . . fair woman. Some have seen the beauties of heaven in such a person. It is vain to say they loved too much. I dare say there are ten thousand beauties in that creature which they have not seen. They loved [her] not too muc h but upon false causes. Nor so much upon false ones as upon some little ones. They love a creature for sparkling eyes and curled hair, lily breasts and ruddy cheeks; which they should moreover love for being God s image. . . beloved by Angels, redeemed by Jesus Christ, an heiress of Heaven, and Temple of the Holy Ghost. . . and a child of God. But these excellences are unknown. They love her perhaps, but do not love God more: nor men as much [as is appropriate]. True love forms an ordinate appreciate of a person as an end in themselves, loving what they intrinsically are and can be, not just what they do for you in your subjective experience. On the Christian view of things, there is so much more to what a person intrinsically is and has the potential to be than on a naturalistic view of things. If one concludes that the love one actually feels appropriate to lavish upon anothe r outstrips the intrinsic worth of that about them which naturalism permits one to acknowled ge, then the capacity of Christian theism to render your love appropriate should make bel ief an enticing alternative to loving less or accepting the pure subjectivity of love. In his book The Four Loves, Lewis argues that higher forms of love build upon lower forms of love. For example, friendship exceeds but does not exclude affect ion; romantic love exceeds but does not exclude friendship, and so on. Indeed, the hi gher love could not be what it is without including the lower love. However, this fact tha t the higher does not stand without the lower also needs to be stated in the inverted form, that the lower cannot stand without the higher. As M. Denis de Rougement put it: love ceases to be a demon only when it ceases to be a god . Lewis argues that none of the four loves (storge - liking, philos - friendship, eros romantic love and agape - self-giving gift-love) can be sustained by their own r esources, but need to be properly related to the higher forms of love. However, this point applies no less to the highest form of love, agape, than it does to the lowest, storge. Thus, suggests Lewis, it is true to say of all the loves that They can remain themselve s only if

they are rightly related to Love himself. 556 For example, at the end of his chapt er on eros (romantic and erotic love) Lewis writes: He cannot of himself be what, nevertheless, he must be if he is to remain Eros. He needs help; therefore he ne eds to be ruled. The god dies or becomes a demon unless he obeys God. As Burson and Walls admit: The claim that natural love self-destructs in this manner cannot, of course, be demonstrated in rigorous, philosophical fashion. Th e best 555 C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves, (Fount), chapter five. 556 Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls, op cit, p182. 138

that can be done is to depict the psychological and emotional dynamics of corrup ted love, which most persons have observed in their own lives or the lives of others. 557 Lewis can be seen as advancing a hypothesis, that every finite from of love, fro m the highest to the lowest, is best enabled to be itself when it is self-consciou sly related to the God who is love . If this hypothesis is found to be true within human experienc e, this would be evidence in support of the theistic hypothesis. Of course, this is a hypothesis that only theists can check. The question is then whether non-believe rs will accept the word of theists that the above hypothesis is indeed verified in their experience. More fundamentally, we can note with Basil Mitchell that in the Christian tradition to treat another man as having unconditional worth is to show him love in the sense of agape 558, and go on to ask what men would have to be like to be appropria te objects of such love. 559 For, as Mitchell says, it is evident that there are ways of thinking of men which would render it entirely inappropriate. 560 One might then plausibly argue that a naturalistic account of human nature as th e unintended product of an unintended and impersonal natural order was a way of th inking about men entirely incapable of rendering agape an appropriate attitude to adopt towards them: the question remains whether we have good reason to hold the beliefs about human nature which entitle men to be treated with respect or whether we can cont inue indefinitely to treat men with respect in the total absence of such beliefs. 561 C ertainly, it is hard to see how one is to draw a morally significant distinction between huma ns and other animals on a naturalistic scheme of things that provides for the intuition that humans possess a fundamental and distinctive intrinsic worth that sets them apar t from chimps, or apes, or dolphins. If humans are just another animal , why should we conclude in favour of vegitarianism rather than in favour of canibalism? On the other hands, if humans are made in the image of God and are appointed by God as stewards of the earth (cf. Genesis 1:26-31), then one could at least reasonably recognize the existence of a duty to God to treat animals with due respect. If one agrees that such a distinction is hard to draw, and one does not want to ditch the agape intuition of special essential worth, then one ought to be motiv ated to drop naturalism in favour of any worldview that can better support agape. Theism is the obvious candidate.

Religious experience of many kinds, including experiences of longing, beauty, awe and love, combine to indicate the existence of God. Resources: Kelly James Clark, When Faith is Not Enough, (Eerdmans, 1997). (2) Lawrence J. Crabb, Effective Biblical Counselling, (Marshall Pickering, 1990). ( 1) William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Crossway, 1994). (1) 557 558 559 560 561 139 ibid, p183. Basil Mitchell, Morality: Religious & Secular, (Oxford, 1980), p124. ibid. ibid. ibid, p129.

Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls, C.S.Lewis & Francis Schaeffer, (IVP, 1998). (2 ) C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves, (Fount). (1) Basil Mitchell, Morality: Religious & Secular, (Oxford, 1980). (3) M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum, (Arrow, 1990). (1) David A. Seamands, Healing for damaged emotions, (Alpha, 1999). (1) John Young, The Case Against Christ, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1994). (1) 7) The Argument from Meaning Meaningfulness is the coincidence of purpose and value (what s the point of purpos e if it is value neutral?). Thus, for life to be objectively meaningful is for life to h ave an objective purpose that is objectively valuable. For the Christian theist, life i s meaningful in that it is the purposeful, good creation of God. The telos (or goal) of human existence is to know and worship God for eternity. In the Christian worldview then, life h as an objective purpose, and this purpose is objectively valuable, in that God (being necessarily and objectively good) is the objective standard of value. The crucial point is this: If God exists, then we have a purpose, a reason why w e exist, a goal and a meaning. If no God exists, then the universe has no creator, and no Final cause, and we have no creator, and no Final cause, no purpose. Even if God exists and human beings (and the universe) have a purpose, life might seem meaningless if we did not know that God exists and what God s purpose i s. This is the position that the author of Ecclesiastes describes: Meaningless! Meaningless! says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 1:2) Ecclesiastes can be seen as an examination of a single argument. This argument is summarized at the beginning and end of the book (Ecclesiastes 1v1-14 & 12v8.) Here is the argument: Ist Premise) Everything (1v2) is under the sun (1v3). 2nd Premise ) Everything (1v2) that is under the sun (1v3) is meaningless without a purpose. Conclusion) Therefore, a chasing after wind (1v1),

Everything is meaningless (1v14).

(12v1), without a purpose,

Everything refers to all cosmic and human existence. Under the sun refers to cosmic and human existence without either 1) the existence of God or 2) the existence o

f a God whose purposes are known. For something to be meaningless

is 1) for it to lack any

objective purpose, or 2) for it to seem meaningless because you don t know about t hat purpose. For everything to be a chasing after the wind is for it to lack a goal or purpose. 140

This argument is valid: if the premises are both true, then the conclusion must also be true. If everything is under the sun, and if everything under the sun is mean ingless, then everything is meaningless. If no one had a purpose in creating human beings , then human beings don t have an objective purpose. Isn t this exactly the experience of society, that God is either nonexistent or unknown, and life is without purpose and meaning? Ecclesiastes leads us to question the first premise, that God either do es not exist, or that if He does exist His purposes are unknowable. Solomon gives five reasons or examples in support of his major (second) premise, five features of life under the sun that drain it of meaning: Any one of these five

cancers would be enough to kill meaning; life is infected with all five of them. 5 62 They are: 1) The indifference of the universe, 2) Death as the ultimate end of life, 3) The aimlessness of time, 4) The problem of evil , & 5) The remoteness of God. Let s consider these five cancers of meaninglessness in turn: 1) The indifference of the universe. I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift Or the battle to the strong, Nor does food come to the wise Or wealth to the brilliant Or favour to the learned; But time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) The Godless universe has no preferences, no intentions or purposes. Everything i t does is done without a reason and without any attention being paid to anyone; in stead, unthinking brute force assails a helpless humanity without hope: No man has power over the wind to contain it; no one has power over the day of his death. (Ecclesiastes 8:8) Human survival itself is a matter of luck. As Bertrand Russell wrote: we are part of nature, we are subordinated to nature, the outcome of natural laws, and their vi ctims in the long run. 563 If we get in the way of the impersonal laws of nature we will be crushed; do not pass Go, do not collect 200 . Certainly, do not collect any sort of afterlife. Since a king s word is supreme, who can say to him, what are you doing? (Ecclesiastes 8:4) In other words, if God is non-existent or uninterested in hum an affairs, might makes right; no-one can question those in power without reference to a law that

transcends both ruler and ruled. Since the universe is not in a position to issu e moral laws, there is no law higher than the subjective and relative law of humans. On the other hand, if the Christian God exists then, although the universe has n o preferences, intentions or reasons, the one who made it does, and so the univers e has a purpose and things in it (such as ourselves) have the purpose of contributing to that purpose. God is goodness personified and His nature provides an objective standa rd of values that transcends those of the individual or the state. God can exercise pr ovidence in 562 Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, (Ignatius), p45. 563 Bertrand Russell, What I Believe , in Why I Am Not A Christian, p47. 141

His creation and guarantee the fulfillment of His purpose and the triumph of goo d over evil. If God exists, the heart of reality is not mindless and indifferent, but m indful and full of love. 2) Death as the ultimate end of life. Man s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies , so the other dies. All have the same breath; man has no advantages over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from the dust, and to the dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit o f the animal goes down into the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3:19-21.) As we will see in a little while, materialism implies the denial of everything a bout humans that sets them apart from animals and machines. If humans are not made in God s spiritual image, then man has no advantages over the animal. Thus we have some animal right s campaigners arguing that since humans are nothing but another species of animal (the simplistic reductionism of nothing buttery ) we should treat animals and humans as equals. Why this argument leads to the suggestion that ani mals have a right not to be mistreated or eaten by humans rather than to the conclusi on that humans have no right not to be mistreated or eaten by other humans is a mystery. Perhaps the Christian belief in a God who made humanity in His image and charged them to act as stewards over nature provides a more reasonable foundatio n for opposing the mistreatment of animals. Maybe animals don t have equal rights with humans, but humans might have a duty towards God to respect His creation. Thus Christians can exercise a duty of care for nature without disrespecting either G od or themselves by obscuring their own uniqueness. Most materialists agree that, on a naturalistic worldview, there is little if an y hope of life after death. Every one of us will die, and the universe itself will die. As Philosopher Stephen T. Davies writes, If God exists, then it is possible for me confidently to affirm that my existence does not end with my death. 564 There are philosophical arguments for this conclusion565, but Christians also have a histo rically verifiable example that is the ultimate ground of our hope of life beyond death the resurrection of Jesus. 566 Without death, we would never get heaven! 3) The aimlessness of time. Possibly the most famous passage from Ecclesiastes is this passage, which was ma de into

a popular song some years ago: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, 564 Stephen T. Davies, God, Reason & Theistic Proofs, p177. 565 See Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli s, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monar ch, 1995). 566 See Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli s Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarc h, 1995). 142

a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What does a worker gain from his toil? (Ecclesiastes 3:1-9) This passage is often quoted as something warm and cosy, a place for everything a nd everything in its place . Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a cold, harsh passage about the meaninglessness of human choice in a universe devoid of object ive values. The phrase under heaven operates in the same way as under the sun . Solomon is pointing out that all these choices and life-situations face humans e very day birth and death, the decision to love or hate, build or destroy, and so on but t hat without God these choices become arbitrary. Why heal unless it is really better to heal than to kill? Without God, time is going nowhere, it s just passing; there is no long-term goal towards which history is progressing. The idea of progress is the idea of moveme nt towards a goal; but a Godless universe is a universe without a goal, and hence a universe without progress. As Bertrand Russell put it, the whole temple of man s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins. 567 Peter Kreeft writes that: Time is vanity because time is just another word for death . Time is a river that takes from us everything it gives us. Nothing remains ; time ravages even the very stars. 568 Shelly s poem Ozymandias depicts Two vast and trunkless legs of stone [and] a shattered visage lying alone in the desert: And on the pedestal these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! Nothing besides remains, round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. The sands of time will erase every human achievement; nothing we do has anything but a temporary effect. On the other hand, if the Christian God exists, then history i

s truly HisStory with a plot that is progressing towards the creation of the new heavens and a new earth (Revelation 21:1), and the things we do can have an eternal significance. 567 Bertrand Russell, A Free Man s Worship . 568 Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, p48. 143

4) The problem of evil . I saw the tears of the oppressed and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, Who had already died, Are happier than the living, Who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3) What a strange declaration Solomon makes when he says that the dead, Who had alre ady died, Are happier than the living, Who are still alive. But for the materialist, who thinks that they are their physical bodies, the difference between life and death is no t really all that great. For the materialist, death is the difference between a working machi ne and a broken machine; but working or not, a machine can t compete in terms of value with a true person with self-consciousness, free will, rationality and beliefs about li fe, the universe and everything. The materialist s problem is this: in ruling out anything supernatural they are left trying to explain humanity in terms of the merely natur al. This project faces severe problems. How can matter have subjective experience of itself? How can matter do anything but obey the laws of nature, and how can humans have freewill or the ability to follow the laws of rational thought if the human mind just is the material human brain? How can matter have beliefs about things?569 Thus the cons istent materialist end up denying their own true humanity, reducing themselves to the l evel of machines. But how can machines suffer pain and injustice? If the universe is indifferent to moral values, if there is no life after death and no progress or goal to history, then why be what we call good rather than what we cal l evil ? An indifferent universe is an a-moral universe; good and evil loose their meaning. Morality becomes an arbitrary personal choice, (subjective) values are m ade and not discovered. In a Godless universe there is no answer to the problem of e vil, no hope of outside assistance, no salvation, Good is hostage to evil .570 Who has the bigger problem of evil to deal with, the Christian or the atheist? The Christian has to reconcile evil with the existence of God, but God provides

an objective standard of goodness, guarantees the eventual defeat of evil and provi des comfort , support and motivation in the struggle against evil here and now. If God exists, then ultimate power is ultimately on the side of the oppressed. How does the atheist define good and evil? What hope can atheism offer in the fight against e vil? 569 For more on these and similar problems see: Peter Kreeft, The Journey; C.S.L ewis, Miracles, (Fount); J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987); & Alvin Plantinga, Warran t & Proper Function, (Oxford, 1993). 570 Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, p50. 144

Christians and atheists have done some terrible things in human history, but at least the Christians were being inconsistent with their beliefs when they committed acts o f evil can the atheist really say the same, or were the gas-ovens of the holocaust the logical adjunct to a philosophy that denies the existence of objective meaning, value an d purpose? 5) The remoteness of God. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to sear ch it out, man cannot discover its meaning. (Ecclesiastes 8:17) Without a God who is th ere and who is not silent in our experience, we are left alone in an indifferent uni verse gripped by a hopeless process of death and decay that inevitably increases as ti me passes on its way to nowhere in particular except a death that might at best be seen as a welcome release from a life of pointless suffering and injustice. There is no hope, no s ignificance, no real goodness or beauty, no warmth that is not a cruel illusion, no purpose, no meaning. Peter Kreeft says this better than I can: Is it possible to believe in God and st ill despair, still not know why you are living? Certainly. Solomon does. For his God is like the moon: there, but not here, controlling the tides of his life but not enterin g into any personal relationship with him. . . Solomon s God has no face; he is only Being, o nly AM, not I AM. For Solomon s epistemology is purely naturalistic, and nature is onl y God s back. But scripture is God s mouth, and Jesus is God s face. Ecclesiastes is a perfect silhouette of Jesus, the stark outline of the darkness that the face of Jesus fills. 571 We have seen how Solomon gave five examples in support of the premise that everything under the sun is meaningless, and how belief in God provides a rational basis for rejecting the meaninglessness of existence. Solomon also examines five commonly proposed alternative cures for the cancer of meaninglessness under the s un . They are: 1) worldly wisdom, 2) worldly pleasure, 3) worldly wealth and power, 4 ) worldly duty, & 5) worldly religion. In other words, in the face of meaninglessn ess you might try to live a life of philosophy to fill the mind, hedonism to fill your b ody, materialism to fill your pocket, ethics to fill your conscience, or religion to fill your spirit.

Some of these drugs can be combined. The first three correspond to what Christian philosopher Soren Kierkeggard called the aesthetic stage of life: selfsatisfaction. The fourth is the ethical stage : living by principles. The fifth and final suggestion he calls religiousness A , religiousness in general rather than Christia nity. I call these proposed cures ironic , because they actually contribute to the hopelessness they are meant to eradicate. They contribute to hopelessness becaus e when they are tried they are found to be ineffective: Solomon has tried each of these five and found them wanting both in meaningfulness and happiness, both in objective and subjective fullness. 572 These worldly drugs are not powerful enough to cure our lack of meaning. Let s examine them in turn: 571 Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, p51. 572 Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, p37. 145

1) worldly wisdom. I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has pla ced on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:12-14) Worldly philosophy that doesn t know God, or worse, that thinks there is no God, concludes that life is meaningless because all life is under the sun . This worldly wisdom may fill your mind, but it will bring heartache to your spirit: For with m uch wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. (Ecclesiastes 1:18) On the other hand, a philosophy that is not worldly can fill your mind without bringing heartache to your spirit, because it will rejoice in God and his plans. 2) worldly pleasure. I thought in my heart, come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is

good. But that also proved to be meaningless. . . I undertook great projects: I b uilt houses for myself and planted vineyards. . . I ammassed silver and gold for myse lf. . . I aquired men and women singers, and a harem as well the delights of the heart of man. . I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, And this was the reward for all my labour. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done And what I had toiled to achieve, Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; Nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11) As Kreeft says, Every serious hedonist knows the result of this experiment: pleas ure inevitably becomes boring. . . the pursuit of pleasure often turns into an addic tion: stronger and stronger doses must be found to fend of the familiarity and boredom . 573 On the other hand, when pleasure is placed into the context of knowing God and following his guidelines we can take an ordinate delight in the good things that God has made without misusing them. 3) worldly wealth and power.

Solomon s experiment with power is part of his experiment with pleasure, for If we have power, we can push the pleasure buttons at will. 574 On the other hand, if we know God, we will store up for ourselves true treasure in heaven and use all our power to serve God s kingdom. 573 ibid, p41. 574 ibid. 146

4) worldly duty. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? (Ecclesiastes 2:18) Solomon moves on from the boring aesthetic stage of self-seeking pleasure and fixes his sights on posterity, living a life of social service and altruism. How ever: It is all very well to prefer altruism to egoism, to work for the good of others, but what is the good of others? 575 The good of others can t simply be to work for the good of others , because nothing I do can give others that good; it s something they have to do themselves. Then again, what is meant by good here? Remember the problem of finding a home for objective goodness in a Godless universe. What good does it d o to work for posterity if posterity might be a fool who squanders your work? And rem ember, a Godless universe is one that will end in death. On the other hand, loving God means loving our neighbour as God loves us and we have a future in Heaven worth working for. 5) worldly religion. In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: a righteous man peris hing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness. Don t be overrighteous, neither be overwise why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and d o not be a fool why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes. (Ecclesiastes 7:15-18) Knowing that some sort of God exists doesn t get you very far. For example, it s doubtful that without revelation from God anyone would have thought of the resurrection of the body and the recreation of the cosmos into a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21). But that is precisely God s plan for us and the universe, th e point of life here and now is that it leads to the hereafter. If there is no life after death, then it doesn t make much sense to be singleminde dly dedicated to doing good when this cuts against your own self interest. Why go all out for a God who asks you to sacrifice yourself in a universe where such de dication meets with the same reward as evil namely death? When the apostle Paul visited Athens he found a city with a whole pantheon of gods and goddesses, and an altar dedicated To an unknown god . The Athenians were covering all the bases as it were and in a way they were right to do so. But the attempt to worship an unknown god couldn t have proved as satisfying as the reality of worshipping the God that Paul knew in person. As Peter Kreeft writes: The Great Unknown, however great, cannot fill the hole in our heart or the hole in our hea d. He

must become known. 576 On the other hand, knowing God is the only thing that brings ultimate meaning and purpose to life. Once we know God, everything else falls into its proper con text and is infused with meaning and purpose. 575 ibid, p43. 576 ibid, p45. 147

None of the five suggested cures for meaninglessness work. Why not? Because they all try to find meaning under the sun : in living for self, living for others, or living for a mysterious God who is little more than an unknown X behind the cosmos. At every point of comparison, Christian theism was found to provide a rational foun dation for a meaningful existence, and naturalism was found wanting. Resources: Ecclesiastes. (2) William Lane Craig, The Son Rises, (Moody). (1) William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Crossway Books). (2) Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, (Ignatius, 1989). (1) Peter Kreeft, The Journey, (IVP, 1996). (1) J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). (3) J.P.Moreland & Kai Nielson et al, Does God Exist?, (Promethius, 1993), Part II. (2) Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy, (IVP). (1) James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door, third edition, (IVP). (1) Leo Tolstoy, Confession, trans. David Patterson, (W.W.Norton & Company, 1983). ( 1) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God?, (Word). (1) 8) Arguments from Belief 8a) Common Consent Around 60% of the world population believe in the existence of God, while only 2 5% believe that God does not exist (the rest are agnostic). As Antony Flew admits, professing positive atheists constitute a minute minority. 577 Either this majority are right, or they are wrong. Is it likely that the majority is wrong? After all, si xty people can be wrong about something, but it is less likely than 25 people being wrong a bout it. Furthermore, a vote from what G.K.Chesterton called the democracy of the dead wo uld clearly be in favour of the existence of God. Belief in God is one of the oldest beliefs around, and has stood the test of time. This being so, it is more likely than no t that the majority are correct, and so more likely than not that God exists. Resources: Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995 ). (1) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) 8b) Argument from Authority As David Ford says, we trust in numerous other people s experiencing, understanding , and judging. Therefore a crucial element in what we know is whom we trust. A gre

at 577 Does God Exist?, (Harper Collins, 1991), p14. 148

deal of what goes on in knowing is really an attempt to judge on whom it is righ t to rely. 578 Authority is right, not might it is the right to have one s opinion weighe d with greater seriousness than that of the average person. Most of the greatest thinkers throughout history have believed in the existence of a divine being. One can mention the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Anselm, Berkley, Descartes, Kant, Leibniz, Locke, Pascal, Plantinga and Swinburne. Is it likely that the majority of the greatest minds are wrong about the existen ce of God? To the degree that they are unlikely to be mistaken, so it is likely that G od exists. Resources: Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995 ). (1) Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999). (2) 9) Arguments from The Supernatural 9a) The Argument from Angels & Demons579 The reasonable supposition at work here is that evidence of the existence of ang els is indirect evidence for the existence of God. I will first examine the existence o f angels before presenting arguments to back up this intuition. The term Angel in Christian theology refers to finite, bodiless, personal beings created by God (Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:14). Their name, from the Greek angel os, denotes a messenger, the function most frequently performed by angels in the Bib le. Apparently organised into different ranks or groups (angels, archangels, cherubi m and seraphim), angels exceed humans in power and intelligence (1 Peter 1:12, 2 Peter 2:11, Genesis 19:1-13, 2 Kings 19:35). According to Christianity, not all angels are good. Some have turned against God. These fallen angels are called demons. Under the leadership of Satan, a power ful fallen angel also called the Devil (Matthew 12:22-24, John 12:31), the demons wa r against the will of God (Revelation 16:12-16) and use their intelligence to dece ive and discourage humans (2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 2:18, Ephesians 6:11-12, 2 1 Timothy 4:1). They also use their power to inflict suffering (Matthew 9:32-33), thus the free will defence against the problem of evil applies to some suffering with apparen tly natural causes.

Christians believe that the demons are an enemy already defeated by Jesus, now capable only of succeeding in minor skirmishes against the kingdom of God (1 Joh n 5:45, Matthew 25:31-46). Satan and his demons are fallen, finite beings, evil but limi ted; they are no match for God, who has promised their eventual destruction (Matthew 25:41 & Revelation 20:10). The theological and philosophical study of angels is called angelology: Angelology. . . is speculation about minds, either totally without bodies or with bodies 578 David Ford, Theology A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford, 1999), p162. 579 As far as I know, the existence of angels has not been formally advanced as an argument for the existence of God before. This comparatively weak argument is, however, the only one for which I can claim any originality! 149

that they take on as guises but do not inhabit. 580 The oft-ridiculed medieval que stion about the number of angels capable of fitting onto the head of a pin is actually a profound question about the relationship between mind and matter. There is no reason to deny the possibility of angels and demons that would not also rule out the existence of God (e.g. the assumption of metaphysical naturali sm). Once naturalism is abandoned (and naturalism needn t be abandoned for theism one might become a pantheist for example) the existence of angels and demons becomes an open possibility, and one that is by nature harder to disprove than to prove. Th ere are several arguments for the existence of angels, which can be grouped under the ca tegories of consent, authority, extrapolation and experience: Although they have divergent understandings of such spiritual beings, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Taoist, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Pagan and New Age believers all recognise the existence of finite supernatural agents. Over 65% of the current w orld population believe in the existence of finite spirit beings. A poll conducted by Time Magazine discovered that 69% of Americans believe in the existence of Angels. By way of comparison, only 25% of Americans believe in ghosts.581 Historically, belief in angels and demons has been a constant factor across many different cultures: Ange ls appear in almost every culture and religion in the world, from ancient Sumeria, Egypt and Assyria to contemporary civilizations. 582 A straw poll of what G.K.Chesterton cal led the democracy of the dead would find overwhelming support for the existence of angels and demons. As Carl Sagan admitted: Despite successive waves of rationalis t, Persian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim world views, despite revolutionary social, political and philosophical ferment, the existence, much of the character, and even the na me of demons remained unchanged from Hesiod to the Crusades .583 Either this majority of past and present humanity is right, or deluded. If it is less plausible to believe that they are deluded than that they are correct, then it i s more plausible to believe that they are correct, and that angels exist. One can also argue from authority, whether en mass or by individual authority, for as Wesley C. Salmon writes: It would be a. . . mistake to suppose that every appeal to authority is illegitimate, for a proper use of authority plays an indispensab le role in the accumulation and application of knowledge. . . The appeal to reliable authority is legitimate, for the testimony of a reliable authority is evidence for the conclu sion. 584

Authority is right, not might; it means

having the right to say .

580 Mortimer J. Adler, The Angels and Us, p4. 581 Nancy Gibbs, Angels Among Us , Time, December 27, 1993, p56. 582 B.J.Oropeza, 99 Answers to Questions about Angels, Demons & Spiritual Warfar e, (Kingsway, 1998), p13. 583 Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, p110. Aside from tarring belief in Demo ns by association with the stranger forms such belief has taken, Sagan provides a naturalistic exp lanation of Demonic phenomena in psychological and physiological terms which he suggests, plausibly enough, may also account for purported alien abduction experiences. However, Sagan s anti-supernatu ral explanation fails to match the accounts of Demon possession in the Bible and in certain contemporary reports, and therefore only serves to strengthen belief in literal Demons. A Christian could quite happ ily accept Sagan s naturalistic explanation for some reports of demonic activity, while retaining a belief in literal demons to explain those reports that his naturalistic explanation seems unable to explain away. Sagan devotes no attention to purported encounters with angels. 584 Wesley C. Salmon, Logic, (Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1963). 150

If anyone has the right to say whether or not immaterial beings exist, it is sur ely philosophers (and not scientists!). The majority of the acknowledged great philo sophers have believed in the existence of immaterial agents. The list of Philosophers (p ast and present) who believe in angels includes the following impressive names: Anselm, Aquinas, Augustine, William Lane Craig, William A. Dembski, Norman L. Geisler, G ary R. Habermas, Peter Kreeft, C.S.Lewis, John Locke, J.P.Moreland, Occam, Richard Swinburne, Ronald K. Tacelli and Dallas Willard. Belief in the existence of fini te, supernatural, personal beings is certainly not restricted to uneducated, unsophi sticated medieval peasants! The existence of angels is also taught by Jesus (this argument is stronger if on e considers Jesus to have been divine, or at least to have been a prophet or a wis e man), the Bible (one can marshal evidence, such as the evidence of fulfilled prophecy, for the authority of the Bible to support this argument), and the church (this argument will only appeal to someone who attributes at least some measure of authority to church tr adition). The power and deceitful nature of demons may provide a single, unifying explanation for psychic and occult phenomena which is therefore to be preferred by Occam s Razor over less simple or adequate supernatural explanations. The theist can argue by extrapolation (as Mendelejeff argued for the periodic ta ble of elements) that since nature seems to contain life at every possible level, an d since there is an obvious gap between the infinite, immaterial God and finite, human beings, one would expect the existence of finite but wholly immaterial beings. John Locke ar gued just so in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Book III, Chapter VI, Secti on 12, & Book IV, Chapter XVI, Section 12). As F.C.Copleston summarizes the argument: We can discern the ascending order or ranks of forms from the forms of inorganic substances, through vegetative forms, the irrational sensitive forms o f animals; the rational soul of man, to the infinite. . . God: but there is a gap in the hierarchy. The rational soul of man is created, finite and embodied, while God i s uncreated, infinite and pure spirit; it is only reasonable, then, to suppose tha t between the human soul and God there are finite and created spiritual forms which are without body [i.e. Angels]. 585 The context of using the existence of angels and demons as grounds for believing in the existence of God requires that we avoid begging-the-question by using an

argument for the existence of Angels that relies upon the existence of God. Howe ver, as we shall see, the extrapolation argument can be incorporated into a non-question -begging inductive argument for God from angels. Finally, one can argue that since people have encountered angels and demons, such beings must exist. This is perhaps the most persuasive argument. From my ow n reading of purported angelic and demonic encounters I would say that while many strike me as being open to question, there is nevertheless a hard core of reports by ot herwise sober-minded, sane and intelligent people that seem to be best explained by the f inite spiritual person hypothesis. (Of course, the fact that an experience is open to qu estion does not mean that an alternative, naturalistic explanation must be true.) As Pe ter Kreeft argues, there are only two groups of people who would disagree with the conclusi on that 585 F.C.Copleston, History of Philosophy: Medieval Philosophy, (Search Press, 19 79), p329. 151

some reported experiences of angels and demons are true: (1) the materialists, wh o claim to know that there are no spirits and thus believe no angel stories, and ( 2) people who even believe the National Enquirer and thus believe all angel stories. 586 Some testimony to the existence of finite spiritual beings is more impressive th an others. Particularly impressive is the testimony of a reasonable man convinced a gainst his prior beliefs on a matter falling within his field of professional expertise . The following description of demon possession comes from Christian psychologist and pastor David Instone Brewer (all quotes are from Brewer s paper Jesus and the Psychiatrist s , in Anthony N.S.Lane ed., The Unseen World): I once went to interview a patient but found that he was asleep. He was lying on his bed, facing the wall, and he did not turn around or respond when I walked in . I sat in his room for a while thinking that he might wake up, and after a while I thought I might pray for him. I started to pray silently for him but I was immediately interrupted because he sat bolt upright, looked at me fiercely and said in a voice which was not characteristic of him: leave him alone - he belongs to us. Startled, I wasn t sure how to respond, so we just sat and stared at each other for a while. Then I remembered my fundamentalist past and decided to pray silently against what appeared to be an evil spirit. . . because I was aware tha n an hysterical disorder could mimic demon possession. If the person felt that I was treating them as if they were possessed, this would exacerbate the condition and confirm in his mind that he really was possessed. I also prayed silently in case I was making a fool of myself. I can t remember exactly what I prayed but probably rebuked the spirit in the name of Jesus. Immediately I did so, I got another very hostile outburst along the same lines. . . I realised then that I w as in very deep water and continued to pray, though still silently. An onlooker would have seen a kind of one-sided conversation. I prayed silently and the person retorted very loudly and emphatically. Eventually (I can t remember what was said or what I prayed) the person cried out with a scream and collapsed on his bed. He woke up a little later, unaware of what had happened. I was still trying to act the role of a medic, so I did not tell him anything abou t what had happened. His behaviour after waking was quite striking in its normality. He no longer heard any of the oppressive voices which had been making him feel cut off and depressed, and his suicidal urges had gone. Brewer (a research Librarian at Tyndale House, Cambridge) is a trained psychologist who, until this event took place, felt fairly satisfied that the Gos

pel accounts of demonization can be dealt with in terms of modern psychiatry or medi cine. His account is presented, with much hesitation. . . because I realise that they s ound very unreasonable in this modern age. He is careful to distinguish between what he can and can t remember, and his report bears all the marks of a trained observer giving a careful account of something surprising. He wasn t expecting these events. Nor does he lea p to conclusions: 586 Peter Kreeft, Angels & Demons, op cit, p102. 152

I have personally been persuaded away from [a sceptical viewpoint] by a series of events which occurred while I was studying psychiatry, and during my time in pastoral work. . . When I was dealing with the strange personalities which spoke out of [a] person I was always careful to speak silently, even if the person appeared to be asleep. If these personalities were part of a multiple personalit y syndrome or an hysterical reaction, it would have been counter-productive to speak out loud anything which might make him believe that these personalities were distinct from himself. These voices answered specific questions such as What is your name?, When did you come? This gradually convinced me that I was not dealing with a purely psychiatric disorder. After such conversations , which often involved much shouting, rage and abuse. . . the person usually had no memory of any of these disturbing events. I think we may quickly dismiss the suggestion that Mr Brewer is lying; it is obvious that he is telling us things pretty much as he believes they happened. B esides, his experience finds corroboration in the experience of other educated and ratio nal people: Reading back to myself what in have written above, it seems like the rambling of a rabid fundamentalist or the paranoia of someone who needs urgent psychiatric help. I can only invite you to assess this in the way in which I present it - as a report of experiences which I have been reluctant to air in public in case they provoke ridicule or condemnation. I have heard similar stories (though not in such detail) from other ministers who are also reluctant to mention such things in public. Personally, I am prepared to take Mr Brewer at his word. Given that Mr Brewer s experiences cannot easily be given a naturalistic explanation (and if one were p ossible it seems that Mr Brewer would have known it and have preferred it) then a supernatu ral interpretation becomes a plausible response to his testimony. None of the above arguments seem to me to be so strong that everyone who rejects the existence of angels, even with a full knowledge of these arguments, could necessarily be accused of irrationality. Nevertheless, in my estimation these ar guments make belief in angels and demons at least rationally permissable, especially if approached without the assumption that the only possible mode of existence is ph ysical. If these arguments are, when taken together, judged to count in favour of the existence of angels, then this also lends some credence to the existence of God. If these arguments make belief in angels rationally permissible, then by extension they a lso make belief in God rationally permissible. Why is this? First of all, the existence of finite supernatural personal beings makes the supposition that there exists an infinite supernatural personal being more accep

table. Once you have opened the door to the supernatural even a crack, it is hard to de ny the plausability of going the whole hog , especially given the other evidence available . Second, it seems reasonable to suppose that angels are contingent supernatural beings the existence of whom implies the existence of a necessary supernatural b eing. 153

There is nothing in our definition or experience of angels to suggest they exist necessarily, but the very definition of God implies His necessary existence, giv en only that His existence is possible. Third, the existence of angels surely gives a measure of credence to those religions in which their existence is taught, and hence lends credence to the ot her truth claims of those religions. We are rationally disposed to place a greater degree of trust in someone s word for something when they have been proved correct on previous occasions. If theistic religions teach that there exist finite spiritual beings created by God, and we verify the existence of finite spiritual beings, this surely lends s ome support to the claim, made by the same source, that God exists. This is analogous to the support given to an entire scientific hypothesis if even one of its predictions is verif ied. While it is true that this argument would also confer some support to non-theist ic religions that teach the existence of spiritual beings (e.g. the New Age movemen t), if one takes into account the fine detail of the evidence for angels, one will find tha t it gives greatest support to Christian theism. Consider, for example, the verified power of the name of Jesus over cases of demon possession, as shown in the experience of Mr B rewer and others. Finally, if the hypothesis of angels is shown to have a natural fit within a theis tic world-view via the argument from extrapolation, then reason to believe in angels is indirect reason to believe in the theistic world-view into which such beings nat urally fit. This can be simply illustrated: The hypothesis there are burglars gives one a prio ri reason to expect otherwise inexplicable fingerprints in some houses. Thus, a pos teriori experience of unexplained fingerprints in some houses supports the hypothesis the re are burglars . Likewise with God and angels. The hypothesis God exists gives one a prior i reason to expect the existence of angels (via the extrapolation argument). Thus a posteriori experience of angels supports the hypothesis that God exists. Resources: Do You Believe in Angels? @ One of the better web-sites dealing with the topic of angels, this includes pers onal testimonies about angelic encounters, and links to other sites of interest. (1) Sue Bohlin, Angels, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

@ (1) Patty Tunnicliffe, What in Heaven s Name? An Analysis of the Messages and World Views Coming from Aliens and Modern Day Angels in Christian Apologetics Journal @ (1) Mortimer J. Adler, The Angels and Us, (Collier Books, 1982). (2) Hope Price, Angels True stories of how they touch our lives, (Pan, 1995). (1) Anthony N. S. Lane ed., The Unseen World Christian Reflections on Angels, Demons and the Heavenly Realm, (Paternoster Press, 1996). (3) Peter Kreeft, Angels (and Demons), (Ignatius). (2) Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995 ). (1) Josh McDowell & Don Stewart, The Occult The Authority of Believers over the Powe rs of Darkness, (Scripture Press, 1992). (1) 154

John Widdas & Peter Mockford, Lightening from Heaven - Resisting the demonic attac k on the church today, (Kingsway, 1993). (1) 9b) The Argument from Miracles. We can define a miracle as any event which, if true, is best explained by the cau sal activity of a good supernatural being with sufficient power, intelligence and su fficient reason (a motivating purpose) to bring it about . The argument from miracles does not argue that such-and-such an event is an act of God and that God therefore must exist; rather, it argues that such-and-such a n event has (probably) occured and that the best explanation for the occurance of this e vent is (probably) that it was caused by some supernatural agent with sufficient capacit ies to cause the event in question. To paraphrase Stephen C. Meyer, [A miracle] can be offered, therefore, as a necessary or best causal explanation. . . when naturali stic processes seem incapable [or unlikely] of producing the explanandum effect, and when intelligence is known to be capable of producing it and thought to be more likel y to have produced it. 587 Reason to believe in the occurance of just one miracle is therefo re reason to believe in the existence of a supernatural being able to cause it: The argument begins with some particular event or set of events occuring on the level of human experience and ascends to the existence of God as the best explanation of that event or set of events. The strength of this argument will depend on the possibility of identifying an actual event that cannot plausibly b e explained naturalistically. 588 There are many historical and contemporary reports of miraculous events. In a 1996 survey of 269 American family doctors, 63% claimed that God interveined to improve their own medical conditions.589 In the British Medical Journal (Dec. 19 83), Dr. Rex Gardner described four healings that parallel miracles recorded by the Vener able Bede thirteen centuries ago. He tells of the full recovery of a young doctor who was so ill that she was expected to die, but for whom several prayer groups were formed : Physicians were unable to explain how her chest X-ray film, which had showed extensive left-side pneumonia with collapse of the middle lobe, could, 48 hours later, show a normal clear chest. 590 Prayer for healing is becoming the subject of serio us scientific study: One of the most intriguing experiments, involving some 60 patients, is underway at the Arthritis/Pain Treatment Centre in Clearwater, Florida. . . Some patients have already experienced extraordinary short-term results. . . At the start of t he

experiment [one patient] has 49 tender joints. After four sessions with a handson 587 588 589 590 155 Stephen C. Meyer, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p97. R. Douglas Geivett, In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 1997), p187. ibid. Quoted by John Young, The Case Against Christ, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1994).

praying minister, he had only eight. Six months later he no longer needed pain medication. 591 In another study Dr [Randolf] Byrd divided 393 heart patients into two groups. One was prayed for by Christians; the other did not receive prayers from study participants. Patients didn t know which group they belonged to. The members of th e group that was prayed for experienced fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumo nia, fewer cardiac arrests, less congestive heart failure and needed fewer antibiotic s. 592 Two historical examples of miracle are particularly noteworthy: Fulfilled Biblic al Prophecy, and the Resurrection of Jesus. We will examine these in turn. It is im portant to note as we do so that the New Testament is a well-attested, reliable source o f information. We know that the New Testament documents were written within the lifetime of eyewitnesses (between about AD 40 and AD 100), often by eyewitnesses themselves; eyewitnesses who, moreover, were often martyred for refusing to reno unce the truth of their accounts. We know that the texts as we have them are better attested than any other piece of ancient literature. The gap between the events and their being recorded, and bet ween their being recorded and the earliest surviving manuscripts, is extremely favour able compared with other historical documents. In other words, if you want to deny th e historicity of the New Testament you must deny the whole of ancient history. Consider the number of New Testament manuscripts compared to other ancient works: The writings of Plato survive in 7 manuscripts; the work of the Roman his torian Livy comes to us through 10 manuscripts. Homer s Illiad is the closest comparison with 643 surviving manuscripts. The New Testament comes to us through over 24,000 manuscripts! Consider the time between the original writing and the earliest surviving manuscript: Between Aristotle writing his philosophy and our earliest copy there lies 1,450 years. Between Homer and our earliest copy lies 500 years. Between the New Testament and the earliest surviving manuscript lies about 100 years at most. (S ome of the New Testament material takes us back to within a few years of the events des cribed.) The documents and the information in them is reliable. Indeed, the New Testament is far from our only historical evidence about Jesus. For example, the Jewish historian Josephus (AD 37-100) wrote: At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. . . Pilate condemned him to be condemned and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not

abandon his discipleship. They reported that He had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. . . 593 591 Kenneth Woodward, Does Prayer Work? , Reader s Digest, April 1998. 592 Phyllis McIntosh, Faith is Powerful Medicine , Reader s Digest, May, 2000. 593 Antiquities. 156

Examples of Old Testament Scriptures written hundreds of years before Jesus was born which we may reasonably take as applying to the Messiah, and which were ful filled in Jesus, include the following sixteen passages (in Biblical order)594: Genesis 12v1-3 & 22v18 @ Matthew 1v1. Genesis 49v10 @ Matthew 1v2 & Luke 3v23 & 33. 2 Samuel 7v12 f. @Luke 3v23-33. Psalm 2v7 & 16v10 @ Mark 16v6. Psalm 22v7-8 @ Matthew 27v31. Psalm 22v14-18 @ Matthew 27v34-43/Mark 15v22-32/Luke 23v33-37 & John19v17-37. Psalm 34v20 @ John 19v33. Isaiah 7v14 @ Matthew 1v18 & 24 f. Isaiah 11v1 @ Matthew 1v6 & Luke 3v23-31 & 32. Isaiah 11v2 @ Matthew 3v16-17. Isaiah 35v5-6 @ Matthew 9v35. Isaiah 40v3 @ Matthew 3v1-2 & Luke 1v17. Jeremiah 23v5-6 @ Matthew 1v1, 9v27, & 15v22/Mark 9v10/Luke 3v23/ & Acts 13v22 23. Micah 5v2 @ Matthew 2v1 & Luke 2v4-7. Zechariah 9v9 @ Luke 19v35-37. Zechariah 12v10 @ John 19v34. An interesting prophecy, which merits separate consideration, concerns the time of the Messiah s arrival. That the Jews had such a prophecy, which was thought to have expired in the first century AD, is confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote: But what more than all else incited them [the Jews] to war [revolt against Rome, AD 66-73] was an ambiguous oracle, likewise found in their sacred scriptures, to the effect that at that time one from their country would become ruler of the world. This they understood to mean someone of their own race, and many of their own wise men went astray in their interpretation of it. The oracle, howeve r, in reality signified the sovereignty of Vesputian, who was proclaimed [Roman] Emperor on Jewish soil. 595 The existence of such a prophecy is also referred to by the Roman historians Tacitus (Histories 5.13) and Suetonius (The Lives of the Caesars, The deified Ves putin, 4.5). The only candidate for this oracle which is found in [the Jewish] sacred scriptures , occurs in the Old Testament book of Daniel, chapter 9v s 24-26: 594 Some Christian apologists seem to me to overplay the amount of evidence here , so I have been careful to list only prophecies that can reasonably be taken as such and which are prett y clearly fulfilled in the life of Jesus. However, readers are encouraged to look up these verses and form their own conclusions. 595 Jewish War 6.5.4. 157

Seven Sevens are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens . It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two sevens , the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: war will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. There has been some argument over the interpretation of this passage, but a very reasonable interpretation notes the significance of the decree issued by the Per sian king Artaxerxes I in 445 BC, officially approving Nehemiah s return to Jerusalem t o rebuild its walls (See: Nehemiah 2v1-9). The sevens of Daniel 9 most likely refer to the recurring seven-year sabbatical cycle for land use: Using these cycles as uni ts of measurement, the sixty-ninth such cycle (7 + 62), measured from the starting poi nt of 445 BC [ From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem ], spans th e years AD 28-35. One cannot help but note with interest that on this analysis the Anointed One is cut off precisely when Jesus is crucified [AD 30/33]. 596

The cutting off the Messiah happens before the people of the ruler. . . destroy the city and the sanctuary ; for the Jews rebelled against Rome in AD 66, some thi rty years after Jesus was crucified, and Jerusalem fell to the Roman army: The end wi ll come like a flood: war will continue until the end, and desolation has been decr eed. The Roman propaganda machine decided to use this prophecy for the glorification of Vesputin after the fall of Jerusalem. Even the ancient world ha d its Spin-doctors . After all, Vesputin was not cut off with nothing - he became Emperor. Perhaps the greatest single example of fulfilled Prophecy in the person of Jesus is Isaiah 53 where the parallels with Jesus passion are striking: It was the will of the Lord that his servant should grow like a plant taking root in dry ground. He had no dignity or beauty to make us take notice of him. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing that would draw us to him. We despised and rejected him; he endured suffering and pain. No one would even look at him - we ignored him as if he were nothing. But he endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we

should have borne. All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God. But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received. All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way . But the Lord made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved. 596 Robert C. Newman, Fulfilled Prophecy as Miracle , In Defence of Miracles, p 224 . 158

He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly; he never said a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered, like a sheep about to be sheared, he never said a word. He was arrested and sentenced and led off to die, and no one cared about h is fate. He was put to death for the sins of our people. He was placed in the grave with evil men, he was buried with the rich, even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie. The Lord says, It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness. And so he will see his descendants; he will live a long life, and through him my purpose will succeed. After a life of suffering, h e will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain. My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them. And so I will give him a place of honour, a place amon g great and powerful men. He willingly gave his life and shared the fate of evil m en. He took the place of many sinners and prayed that they might be forgiven. (G.N.B.) It is nothing short of amazing how this passage from Isaiah speaks into the situation of Jesus passion. Turning to the New Testament accounts we find that Je sus (and later his disciples and the church) viewed his death as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2v38), a sacrifice he made willingly for people whom he prayed. . . might be forgiven (Luke 23v34), and that while the Jews thought of his death as a punishment for blasphemy (Matthew 26v62-66), he was in fact God s Son with whom God was pleased (Matthew 17v5). Jesus received blows (Luke 22v63), made no answer before his accusers (Luke 23v9), was arrested and sentenced and led off to die (John 18v12, 39, & 16), although he had committed no crime (Luke 23v4), and that while he died ( was placed in the grave ) among criminals (Luke 23v32), he was buried with the rich (Luke 23v50-53), and that after a life of suffering , he again had joy (John 19v30/Acts 1v1-9). It might be objected that some events may have been humanly manipulated so as to fulfil Prophecy and give the appearance of Jesus being the Messiah. However, there are many fulfilled prophecies over which Jesus could, humanly, have no had no co ntrol: such as the time of his birth (Daniel 9), the place of his birth (Micah 5v2), th e manner of His birth (Isaiah 7v14), and the circumstances of his death (Psalm 22v16). Nor c an these fulfilled prophecies be plausibly explained away as flukes of history . The odds on one man fulfilling the conditions of all these prophecies are phenomenal: It has been computed by mathematicians that the chances for only 16 prophecies about Christ to come true in Jesus life are 1 in 1045. 597

Fulfilled Biblical Prophecy appears to be a case where the miraculous activity o f God can be offered as a best causal explanation. . . when naturalistic processes seem incapable [or unlikely] of producing the explanandum effect, and when intelligen ce is known to be capable of producing it and thought to be more likely to have produc ed it. 598 The fact that this combined miracle centres on the person of Christ indica tes that 597 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p343. Not being a mathematician, I have no idea how this figure is worked out but the intuitive point is obvious enough with or without m athematics. 598 Stephen C. Meyer, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p97. 159

we should not be so surprised to find other miracles clustering round his person , even the miracle of resurrection. The Historical Resurrection of Jesus Any conclusion about the historicity of the resurrection must accommodate the fo llowing historical facts which are agreed upon by the majority of critical scholars: 1. Jesus died on the cross. 2. Jesus was buried in a tomb. 3. His disciples doubted and despaired because Jesus death challenged their hopes that he was the awaited Messiah. 4. The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered to be empty just a few days later. 5. The disciples had experiences that they believed were appearances of the rise n Jesus. 6. The disciples were transformed and were willing to die for the truth of the resurrection. 7. The resurrection was at the heart of preaching in the early church. 8. This message was first proclaimed in Jerusalem, the city where Jesus had died . 9. The Christian church was firmly established by these disciples. 10. The primary day of worship for the early church was Sunday the day Jesus tomb was discovered to be empty. 11. James, Jesus previously skeptical brother was converted when he believed he s aw the risen Jesus. 12. Paul, a leading persecutor of the early church was also converted to Christi anity by an experience that he believed to be of the risen Jesus.599 Since the disciples first claimed that Jesus was alive after his death and buria l skeptics have attempted to provide naturalistic explanations for the above data. None have been successful and few if any contemporary scholars continue the attempt they are more likely to simply confess ignorance of what really happened while denyin g the possibility of resurrection on philosophical rather than historical grounds. Jesus either died on the cross or not. The naturalistic theory that says Jesus d idn t die is called the swoon theory. If Jesus did die, then he either rose from the dea d, or not. If Jesus didn t rise from the dead, then his disciples, who claimed to have m et Jesus after his resurrection, were either deceived (the hallucination theory) or deceive rs (the conspiracy theory). It follows that if Jesus didn t swoon (i.e. if he did die on the cross), and if the disciples were neither deceived not deceivers, that Jesus was indeed resurrected. Let s examine the alternatives: The swoon theory.

Jesus did not survive crucifixion.600 The Romans were very careful to eliminate this possibility. Roman law placed a death penalty on any soldier who let a capital pr isoner 599 cf. Gary R. Habermas & J.P.Moreland, Beyond Death, p115. 600 cf. Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encylopedia of Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1 999); & Josh McDowell, The Resurrection Factor, (Alpha, 1993). 160

escape in any way, including bungling a crucifixion. 601 That the soldiers did not break Jesus legs as they did with their other victims means that they were sure that Je sus was already dead, because legs were broken to hasten death by asphyxiation. Just to make certain, however, Jesus was speared in the side. John, an eyewitness, testified to seeing blood and water come from the wound. As Dr. Truman Davies points out, although John would not have known the significance of his observation, this is conclusive postmortem evidence that [Christ] died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericar dium. 602 As an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (21 March 1986) concluded: Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional vie w that the spear, thrust between his right rib, probably perforated not only the r ight lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on t he cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge. As Gary R. Hamermas and J.P.Moreland summarize the evidence: The death of Jesus due to the rigors of crucifixion is corroborated by the nature of crucifixion. . . medical research on the location of the spear wound, the ear ly creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. . . Numerous other sources of information on Jesus death are provided in the Gospels, other early New Testament creeds (such as 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Phil. 2:8), and non-Christian sources from a few decades lat er (see Tacitus Annals 15:44). 603 Even if Jesus had survived crucifixion, his body was wrapped in winding sheets and entombed. How could he survive three days in a tomb, and how could he get ou t? The extent of Jesus tortures was such that he could never have survied the crucifi xion and entombment. 604 Remember, the authorities posted an armed guard on the tomb.60 5 How could a swooning, half-dead man roll away the tomb stone and fight off an ar med guard?! Even if Jesus had survived crucifixion, and three days wrapped up in a tomb, and somehow managed to get out, how did he convince his disciples that he was the resurrected Lord of life? As the nineteenth century liberal theologian David Str auss wrote:

It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, stregthening and indulgence, and who was still at last yielding to his suffering s, 601 602 603 604 605 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p183. C. Truman Davies, The Crucifixion of Jesus , Arizona Medicine, p186. Gary R. Habermas & J.P.Moreland, op cit, p134. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, p279. cf. William Lane Craig, The Guard at the Tomb @ 161

could have given the disciples the impression that he was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of life, an impression which lay at the bottom of thei r future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which he had made upon them in life and death, at the most could only have given it an elegiac voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship. 606 In the end, the swoon theory requires a conspiracy theory or a hallucination theory, For the disciples testified that Jesus did not swoon, but really died and really rose. 607 Conspiracy theory. If the disciples made up the whole story or pulled off some kind of incredible c on-trick on the world, not only were they the best fantasists in history, but there were the most stupid as well; for no one, weak or strong, saint or sinner, Christian or heretic , ever confessed, freely or under pressure, bribe or even torture, that the whole story of the resurrection was a fake, a lie, a deliberate deception. 608 The threat of death concentrates the mind somewhat, but the disciples were willing to die for their belief that Jesus had risen from the dead. They stood t o gain nothing and to lose everything by this belief, unless it was true. As William Pa ley asked: Would men in such circumstances pretend to have seen what they never saw; assert facts which they had not knowledge of, go about lying to teach virtue; an d, though not only convinced of Christ s being an imposter, but having seen the success of his imposture in his crucifixion, yet persist in carrying on; and so persist, as to bring upon themselves, for nothing, and with full knowledge of th e consequences, enmity and hatred, danger and death? 609 The consipiracy theory is morally and psychologically implausible in the extreme . The change in the disciple s lives, from fear to faith, despair to confidence, confusion to certainty not only argues for their sincerity, but for an adequate cause for their change of heart. What cause is more adequate than a real resurrection? Moreover, the disciples could not have gotten away with proclaiming the resurrection in Jerusalem unless the tomb had indeed been empty. Again, the cons piricy theory cannot account for all of the facts, for how could any conspiricy include James, or the anti-Christian Saul before he experienced Jesus on the road to Damascus and became Paul?

Hallucination? 606 David Strauss, A New Life of Jesus, (Edinburugh, 1879), volume 1, p412. 607 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p184. 608 ibid, p184-185. 609 William Paley, A View of the Evidences of Christianity, 2 volumes, 5th editi on, (Westmead, 1970), 1:327-8. 162

The reported resurrection appearances of Jesus simply do not conform to the know n nature of hallucinations or other subjective psychological experiences. Hallucin ations usually last seconds or minutes. Jesus hung around for long stretches of time. Hallucinations usually happen only once, except to the insane. Jesus returned to the disciples many times, but they were not insane (John 20:19, Acts 1:3). Hallucina tions come from within and draw upon what we already know, they don t do surprising and unexpected things. Jesus did. Hallucinations don t eat. Jesus did, on at least two separate occasions (Luke 24:42-43, John 21:1-14). You can t touch hallucinations. The disciples touched Jesus (Matthew 28:9, Luke 24:39, John 20:27). Hallucinations d on t hold extended, profound conversations with people. Jesus did (Acts 1:3). The disciples could not have believed in this supposed hallucination if the tomb was not empty, so the halucination theory can t even pretend to account for all th e data. If the risen Jesus was an hallucination, where was the corpse? A hallucination wo uld explain [at most] only the postresurrection appearances; it would not explain th e empty tomb, the rolled-away stone, or the inability [of the antagonistic authorities] to produce the corpse. 610 C.S.Lewis makes a telling point about the hallucination theory: Any theory of hallucination breaks down on the fact. . . that on three separate occasions this hallucination was not immediately recognized as Jesus (Lk 24:1331 ; Jn 20:15; 21:4). Even granting that God sent a holy hallucination to teach truths already widely believed without it, and far more easily taught by other methods, and certain to be completely obscured by this, might we not at least hope that he would get the face of the hallucination right? Is he who made all faces such a bungler that he cannot even work up a recognizable likeness of the Man who was himself? 611 Rather, the best explanation for the radical nature of the resurrection appearan ces, which cut against all the expectations of the disciples, is that Jesus rose again with what St. Paul would come to call a spiritual body . This concludes our survey of the rival naturalistic explanations for the availab le data. While undoubtedly simpler than explanation by recorse to miracle, none of the naturalistic explanations seem to be adequate. They just don t explain the facts. Occam s razor enjoins us to pick the simplest adequate hypothesis to explain the k nown data, and adequacy is more important than simplicity. Therefore, by Occam s razor, we should accept the resurrection hypothesis as the simplest adequate explanation o f the

facts (indeed, as the only adequate explanation!). Judged against what we know, explanation by swoon, conspiracy or hallucination seems to be highly implausible. Moreover, none of these theories is able to acco unt for all of the historically established data. Jesus died on the cross, and the disci ples were neither deceivers nor deceived. Therefore, Jesus is risen. 610 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p188. 611 C.S.Lewis, Miracles, chapter 16. 163

The elimination of alternatives is not the only way to proceed: the case for the resurrection of Jesus does not simply rest on the failure of any naturalistic th eory to account for the known data. There are also many positive evidences that confirm the actual historical nature of this event. 612 This evidence provides the grounds for inferring that the best explanation of the data is the resurrection: The burial and the empty tomb. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 Paul passes on an early Christian creed, which he probab ly received no later than A.D.36 (i.e. within three years of the crucifixion), that refers to Jesus death, burial and resurrection appearances. Clearly, if the tomb was not empty, then Jesus did not rise from the dead as the disciples claimed. But the tomb was empty. According to the gospels, Jesus was l aid in the personal tomb of one Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin: I t seems very unlikely that Christian tradition would invent a story of Jesus honora ble burial by his enemies, or even that it could invent Joseph of Arimathea, give hi m a name, place him on the Sanhedrin, and say he was responsible for Jesus burial if this w ere not true. 613 Then again, women had such a low status in Jewish culture that they could not give testimony in a court of law. Yet the Gospels record women as the first peop le to discover the empty tomb. If the gospel writers were liars, they would surely hav e had reliable men discover the empty tomb! Therefore, the likelihood is that women are recorded as witnesses to the empty tomb because, however inconvienient for early Christian apologists, that was the way it happened. The disciple s experience. The disciple s experiences resist naturalistic explanation in terms of hallucinati on: Certain features are true of people who have hallucinations which do not fit the accounts of Jesus appearances. First, hallucinations happen to persons who are highly strung, highly imaginative, and nervous. Second, they are linked in an individual s subconscious to his past beliefs and experiences. Third, it is extremely unlikely that two or more people would have the same hallucination at the same time. Fourth, they usually occur at particular places (places of nostal gia which create a reminiscing mood) and they recur over a long period of time. None of these features adequately describes the New Testament experiences. 614 As Aquinas put it: To show that his resurrection was genuine it was enough that C

hrist should appear more than once to his disciples, talking with them on friendly ter ms, eating and drinking, and letting them touch him. 615 612 Gary R. Habermas & J.P.Moreland, Beyond Death, p126. 613 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, p273. 614 J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, p177. 615 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae a concise translation, ed. Timothy McDermot t, (Methuen, 164

The disciple s transformation. One must posit an adequate cause for the transformation that came over the dejec ted disciples. Neither deception nor delusion have offered us adequate cause, but a real resurrection would. If one denies that the resurrection was the cause of the dis ciple s transformation, one might attempt to explain their evident belief in the resurre ction as the result of either Jewish or Pagan influences. However, the resurrection of Jesus is unlike anything in Jewish or Pagan thought.616 As Michael J. Murray concludes, it is sim ply impossible to believe that the early disciples, who clearly were not anticipatin g the resurrection, could have been so resolutely emboldened by their belief in the re surrection that they would remain firm in their conviction in the face of death, unless the y had been actual witnesses of the resurrected Christ. 617 The existence of the Christian church. Why did these Jewish followers of Jesus make such radical revisions to their Jew ish faith that they became a separate religion? Why did they move their holy day from the Sabbeth to the Sunday, the day Jesus tomb was said to have need found empty, unle ss the tomb was found empty on that day and Jesus resurrection had vindicated his Messiahship? How did the church begin and grow in Jerusalem, the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified unless the tomb was empty?618 The response of the authorities. Why didn t the authorities squash the upstart Christian religion by simply produci ng the dead body of Jesus? After all, Jesus had been buried in a tomb belonging to a me mber of the Jewish council that condemned him. Might one suggest that they didn t produce the body because the body had gone?! Indeed, the earliest Jewish polemic against Christianity alleged that the disciples had stolen the body a story contradicted by the presence of a guard on the tomb and by the failure of the conspiracy hypothesis. The conversion of sceptics. Thomas refused to believe the resurrection on the eye-witness testimony of his f riends, but Jesus turned up to allay his doubts, and we know Thomas continued to be a di sciple. Likewise, James the brother of Jesus was not a disciple until he experienced the risen Christ. Most impressive of all, Saul was in the process of persecuting the early church when he had an encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road that turned his life ar

ound. In summary: Jesus was dead and burried. Dispite an armed guard, the tomb was found empty a few days later. Disciples and sceptics, men and women alike, 1989), p536. 616 cf. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, p289-293. 617 Michael J. Murray, op cit, p74. 618 cf. J.P.Moreland, op cit, p178-181. 165

unexpectedly experienced the risen Jesus in a transformed but nonetheless bodily way on many different occasions, in different locations, and in groups of up to five hu ndred people (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5). Those involved were not decievers, nor were t hey insane. What better explanation than the resurrection? As William Lane Craig wri tes: One might ask, Well, then, how do skeptical scholars explain the facts of the resurrection appearances, the empty tomb, and the origin of the Christian faith? The fact of the matter is, they don t. Modern scholarship recognizes no plausible explanatory alternative to the resurrection of Jesus. Those who refuse to accept the resurrection as a fact of history are simply self-confessedly left without a n explanation. 619 We can gain a good appreciation for the strength of the evidence if we apply a series of standard criteria for testing historical hypothesis: 1. The hypothesis must have greater explanatory scope than its rivals. The hypothes is with the best explanatory scope implies a greater variety of observable data tha n its rivals: The resurrection hypothesis exceeds counterexplanations like hallucinatio ns or the women visiting the wrong tomb precisely by explaining. . . the empty tomb , the resurrection appearances, and the origin of the disciple s belief in Jesus resurrec tion. . . whereas these rival hypotheses explain only one or two. 620 2. The hypothesis must have greater explanatory power than its rivals. The more lik ely a hypothesis makes the existence of the data it explains, the greater its explanat ory power: The conspiracy theory or the apparent death theory just do not convincingl y account for the. . . facts at issue. On these theories, established facts such a s the transformation in the disciples, the conversion of James, and the physicality of the resurrection appearances become improbable. By contrast, on the hypothesis of th e resurrection the established facts are probable. 621 3. The hypothesis must be more plausible than its rivals. A hypothesis is more plau sible than its rivals if it is confirmed by a greater variety of accepted truths and disconfirmed by fewer accepted truths. Resurrection is of course totally implaus ible given the question-begging assumption of metaphysical naturalism; but given the success of other theistic arguments, miracles cannot be thought of as impossible , only unusual. Christians agree that it is reasonable to seek natural explanations bef ore seeking supernatural explanations; but if naturalistic explanations are sufficie

ntly implausible, then a supernatural explanation may be the best available explanati on per se. In other words, it is more reasonable to accept an adequate supernatural explanation than it is to accept an inadequate natural explanation. 4. The hypothesis must be less ad hoc than rivals. A hypothesis is more ad hoc the more new facts it requires us to postulate and the more changes is requires us to mak e to our background beliefs. The resurrection hypothesis only requires us to postulat e the existence of God, a postulate that is far from ad hoc given the preceding theist ic 619 William Lane Craig, Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Resurrection of Jesus Christ @ 620 William Lane Craig, 621 ibid. 166 Did Jesus Rise form the Dead? , in Jesus Under Fire.

evidences: for the person who is already a theist, the resurrection hypothesis do es not even introduce the new supposition of God s existence. 622 The resurrection hypothesis contradicts none of our background knowledge, unless one counts the assumption of naturalism. Rival hypothesis, such as the conspiracy theory, requi re us to make postulates that are contradicted by our background knowledge such as our knowledge of the king that liars would lates for which we have no mb or that (despite moral character of the disciples and the implausibility of thin willingly die for their lie. They also require us to make postu direct evidence, such as that Jesus was not buried in Joseph s to the guard) the disciples stole Jesus body.

5. The hypothesis must be disconfirmed by fewer accepted beliefs than rivals. Ch ristians accept the disconfirming belief that dead men normally stay dead; but as theists they do not accept the question-begging assumption that dead men must stay dead. The resurrection is thus not contradicted by any facts that the theist need accept. As for the naturalistic alternatives: rival theories are disconfirmed by accepted belief s about, for example, the instability of conspiracies, the likelihood of death as a result of crucifixion, the psychological characteristics of hallucinatory experiences, etc. 623 In fact, no one has any experiential verification whatsoever of the disconfirmin g hypothesis that dead people always stay dead . Verification of such a universal negative is in principle impossible. For example, I have experience that my Grandfather died and has not, to the best of my knowledge, been resurrected; but to argue from this that he never will be resurrected would place me in exactly the same boat as the Turkey who reasons that since the farmer has fed it every day for th e last 364 days, today the farmer will feed it. In fact, today the farmer will wring th at Turkey s neck for Christmas dinner! Likewise, I believe that my grandfather, toget her with all humanity, will be resurrected in time for the last judgement; and absol utely nothing in anyone s experience could possibly disconfirm this hypothesis. Even if one concluded that the resurrection hypothesis is after all disconfirmed , and disconfirmed to a greater degree than the rival explanations, one must still take into consideration the fact that the resurrection hypothesis out-performs its ri vals in other respects. 6. The hypothesis must exceed its rivals in fulfilling conditions 1-5 that there is little chance of a rival hypothesis exceeding it in meeting these conditions. As Willia

m Lane Craig concludes: The stupification of contemporary scholarship when confronted with the facts of the empty tomb, the resurrection appearances, and t he origin of the disciple s belief in Jesus resurrection suggests that no better rival is anywhere on the horizon. It is hard to deny that the resurrection is the best explanation for the facts. 624 Judged against its rivals, the resurrection hypothesis implies a greater variety of observable data, makes the existence of that data more probable than would other wise be the case without being contradicted by any accepted facts save the question-begg ing assumption of naturalism, is implied by a greater number of accepted truths, req uires us to make no additional ad hoc suppositions (certainly no more than the rival hypo theses 622 ibid, p164. 623 ibid, p165. 624 ibid, p165. 167

ask us to make), and is disconfirmed (if at all) by no more accepted beliefs tha n are its rivals. C. Stephen Evans affirms that: A reasonable interpretation is one which accounts for all the facts, suggests new insights, illuminates meaningful patterns and do es so better than its rivals. He suggests that in critically testing our beliefs we should con sider (1) Logical consistency, (2) Coherence, i.e. positive harmony a fitting-together of b eliefs into an organic whole. , (3) Factual adequacy, and (4) intellectual fertility.625 As with the criteria for historical hypotheses examined above, applying these standards to t he accepted facts with which we began clearly favours belief in the resurrection. Although there are some apparent discrepencies between the various gospel accounts, these are well within the range of logical consistency one can reasona bly expect of eye-witness reports, and give us confidence that the gospel writers did not c ollude with one-another to get their stories straight . The resurrection coheres with the other relevant evidence, such a Jesus fulfillment of prophecy and his personal claims t o deity in a way that no naturalistic account can hope to do. The resurrection hypothesi s is factually adequate, whereas the rival explanations are not. Finally, the resurre ction hypothesis is intellectually fertile in suggesting new insights into God s purpose s both for humanity and for matter. The resurrection hypothesis is admittedly implausible a priori, even by the standards of explanation acceptable to theists, because it postulates a miraculo us, and therefore unusual, supernatural explanation. However, this supernatural explanat ion is justified a posteriori in the light of its ability to outperform its naturalisti c rivals (especially with respect to explanatory scope and power the two most important criteria). In the resurrection of Jesus we have a best causal explanation. . . when naturalistic processes seem incapable of producing the explanandum [empty tomb, resurrection appearances, transformation of the disciples, sudden conversion of sceptics, etc.], and when intelligence is known to be capable of producing it and thought to be more likely to have produced it. 626 Resources: The Virtual Office of William Lane Craig @ (2-3) Josh McDowell, Evidence for the Resurrection @ (1) Paul Copan ed., Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Debate between William La

ne Craig and John Dominic Crossan, (Baker, 1998). (2) Paul Copan & Ronald Tacelli ed., Jesus Resurrection: Fact or Figment a debate between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann, (). (2) William Lane Craig, Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of t he Resurrection of Jesus, (). (3) William Lane Craig, The Son Rises, (Moody, 1981). (2) 625 C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy of Religion, (IVP), p169. 626 Stephen C. Meyer, The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p97. 168

William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Crossway Books, 1994). (3) Stephen T. Davies, Risen Indeed, (SPCK). (2/3) Stephen T. Davies, Daniel Kendall SJ & Gerald O Collins SJ ed. s, The Resurrection, (Oxford, 1998), esp. papers 6, 7, 8, & 10. (2) R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas ed s., In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 199 7). (2) Gary R. Habermas: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus: Historical Records of His Death and Resurrection, (Thomas Nelson, 1984). (2) Gary R. Habermas & Anthony Flew, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? The Resurrection Debate, ed. Terry Miethe, (Harper & Rowe, 1987). (3) Gary R. Habermas & J.P.Moreland, Beyond Death, (Crossway Books, 1998). (2) Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Volume 1, (Alpha). (1) Josh McDowell, The Resurrection Factor, (Alpha). (1) J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987). (2) J.P.Moreland ed., Jesus Under Fire, (Paternoster). (2) John Wenham, Easter Enigma Are the Resurrection accounts in conflict?, second edition, (Paternoster, 1992). (2) 9c) The Argument from Jesus Was Jesus just a man, as natural as you or I, or was he more? The arguments from fulfilled prophecy and his resurrection from the dead are powerful indicators th at there is something very special about Jesus but in the context of the claims Jesus made a bout himself, these two facts of history take on a whole new importance. The fact of the matter is that Jesus claimed divinity. As William Lane Craig reports, the majorit y of New Testament critics today agree that the historical Jesus deliberately stood a nd spoke in the place of God himself. 627 It seems impossible for God to arrange for the li fe of Jesus to be marked by the fulfilment of prophecy and resurrection from the dead if Jesus were not who he claimed to be. Moreover, Jesus claim to divinity forces us to ask, Was he sincere or was he lying ? If he wasn t lying, then he must have been sincere. If he was sincere, was h e right or wrong. If he was wrong, then he was sincerely deluded about his very se lfhood in such a fundamental way that it could only be described as madness. Therefore, if Jesus was neither lying nor a mad, he was both sincere and correct. If Jesus was corre ct about his divinity, then the divine must exist! That Jesus was both human and divine is an amazing concept, but it is not incoherent. Christians believe that Jesus is one person with two natures, a full y human nature and a fully divine nature. Perhaps an analogy will help: A sofa-bed has t wo natures - the nature of a sofa, and the nature of a bed - but both natures are n atures of

items of furniture, and so a sofa-bed is also an item of furniture. Similarly Je sus has two natures - the nature of a male human person, and the nature of a divine person but both natures are natures of personal beings, and so Jesus is a personal being. Just a s a sofabed is a different kind of furnishing than either a sofa or a bed, whilst combin ing both 627 William Lane Craig, Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up?, p25. 169

natures in one, Jesus is a different kind of personal being than either a simply divine person or a merely human person, but combines both natures in one. Christianity affirms that God made humans in His own image; and that we were made for relationship with God. This indicates that God and humans are not such different sorts of being that you cannot put them together . To go back to our sofabed example, both are items of furniture, and both God and humans are personal, rati onal beings. One aspect of humanity which clearly would prevent an identity between t he divine and human natures is negated by Jesus being without sin. In this sense Je sus is more truly human than are we, because even in His earthly manifestation He is clos er to that state of being for the sake of which God created humanity [adam]. The human attributes of Jesus are in line with the divine nature the doctrine of creation says they mirror, and are contained within the greater essence of His d ivinity, like those Russian dolls that fit one inside the other. Just as a little doll fi ts inside a big doll, so a sinless finite personal being made in God s image fits within that imag e: Manhood is not alien to Godhead. On the contrary the former is a created copy of the latter. Here we must remember the biblical doctrine of the imago Dei [image of God]. All creatures possess some degree of likeness to their Creator; but only man bears the Creator s image . 628 Given that the concept of incarnation is coherent, then aside from accepting tha t Jesus was either mad or a liar, the only escape from our trilemma ( mad, bad, or d ivine ) would be to deny that Jesus claimed divinity. I will therefore take time to stud y some of the things Jesus said and did before we return to our main argument. Jesus appropriated God s name and titles: According to Norman L. Geisler, The most forthright claims of Christ to be God are revealed in his identification wi th the Jehovah of the Old Testament. 629 The word Jehovah , also translated Yawey , or LORD , is God s unique name in the Old Testament - a name which always and only applies to God alone, and which means I AM (Exodus 3v14). This I AM is called the Tetragrammaton , the holy four letter word, because the whole word was never written down, only the four consonants. So sacred was this divine name that devo ut Jews would not even pronounce it. This was more than a matter of respect for God: This is a linguistic necessity inherent in that word and no other. If God had sai d his name was anything else - Oscar, for instance. . . we would utter his name without claiming to be God. I can say Hello, Oscar without claiming to be Oscar. . . But to say I AM is to claim to be that I . . . it s the purely first person name. . . Only I AM can say I am . 630 Jehovah was a jealous God who would not share his name or his glory with

another. Isaiah wrote, Thus says Jehovah. . . I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. (44v6) Again, God says, I am Jehovah, that is my name; 628 H.P.Owen, Christian Theism, p31. 629 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1976), p330. 630 Peter Kreeft, Between Heaven and Hell. 170

and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images aiah 42v8):


In view of the fact that the Jehovah of the Jewish Old Testament would not give his name, honour, or glory to another, it is little wonder that the words and de eds of Jesus of Nazareth drew stones and cries of blasphemy from first-century Jews. The very things that the Jehovah of the Old Testament claimed for himself Jesus of Nazareth also claimed. . . 631 For example, the Old Testament declared that Jehovah is my shepherd (Psalm 23v1); but Jesus said, I am the good shepherd (John 10v11). In the book of Joel Go d says, for there I will sit to judge all the nations round about. (3v12); while Jes us claims to be the judge of all nations in Matthew 25v31 f. and John 5v27 f. Jesus says, I am the light of the world (John 8v12); whereas Isaiah says, Jehovah will be unto thee an everlasting light. (60v19), and the Psalms say, Jehovah is our light. (27v1). In pr ayer Jesus claimed the eternal glory: Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made , which the Old Testament reserves for Jehovah alone, my glory I will not give another . (Isaiah 42v8.) Jesus spoke of himself as the coming bridegroom (Matthew 25v1); which is just how Jehovah is described in the Old Testament (Isaiah 62v5/Hosea 2v16): Perhaps the strongest and most direct claim of Jesus to be Jehovah occurs in John 8:58 where he said to the Jews, Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM. The Jews reaction left no doubt as to how they understood his claim. They knew he had claimed not only pre-existence before Abraham [although, obviously, this cannot apply to Jesus human form or kind-nature, but only to his divinity which has now assumed that nature] but also equality with God. They promptly picked up stones to stone him. . . Jesus had clearly claimed to be the I AM of Exodus 3:14 that refers to Jehovah alone. The claim was either blasphemy or else an indication of deity. Jesus left no doubt as to which interpretation he wished them to take. This claim to be Mark 14:62 and in John 18:5, 6. 632 I am is repeated in

On numerous occasions Jesus claimed to be equal with God in other ways than assuming the titles of deity. 633 For example, Jesus claimed the power to raise th e dead: For as the Father raised the dead and gives life, so also the Son gives life whom he will. . . Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, en the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. . and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection life, and those o have done evil, to the resurrection of judgement. (John 5v21, 25, 29). 631 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p331. 632 Norman L. Geisler, op cit, p331. 633 ibid, p331. to wh . wh


According to the Old Testament however, God alone is the giver of life (1 Samuel 2v6/Deuteronomy 32v39). Jesus also claimed authority to forgive sins. To the paralytic man in Mark 2 he says, My son, your sins are forgiven (v5), to which the scribes respond, Why does t his man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone? (v7 - see Jeremiah 31v43). Jesus backs up his authority by healing the paralytic (Mark 2v1 0-11): That you may know that the son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . I say to you [the paralytic], rise, take up your pallet and go home. (This incident is als o recorded in Luke 5v17-25.) As Peter Kreeft writes, Whoever forgives assumes he ha s the right to forgive. . . and who has the right to forgive an offender? The one offended. . . Jesus claim to forgive all sins assumed that he was the one offended in all sins. And who is that? . . .God. 634 Jesus also utters what the Jews consider blasphemy at his trial. The high Priest questioned Jesus about who he claimed to be, Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God? (Mark 14v61). As an answer, he gets more than he bargained for. Jesu s not only confirms his claim to be the Messiah (who the Jews, under the pressure of Roman occupation, thought of as a political, military saviour), the Son of the Bl essed God (which the Jews probably understood in a non-metaphysical sense), but went beyond these claims to assert his equality with God-the-Father: I am, answered Jes us, and you will all see the Son of Man seated on the right of the Almighty and comin g with the clouds of heaven! : The expression right hand alludes to Psalm 110:1; the expression Son of Man and coming on the clouds of heaven allude to Daniel 7. Jesus said that he was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, and that he was the human being of Daniel 7 ( son of man = human being), who receives kingdom and power. Sitting at the right hand and coming on the clouds are not contradictory, even thought the former implies being stationary while the latter implies motion, for these words allude to Jesus enthronement on God s chariot throne (see Dan. 9:9, where God s throne has burning wheels). Jesus had asserted that he would sit on God s throne and come in judgement on his accusers. Ciaphas recoiled in horror at Jesus stunning assertion. He had uttered blasphemy and was worthy of death [in Jewish Law]. Jesus had not only affirmed his messianic actions and innuendoes; he had shocked the religious sensibilities of his judges. Thus Jesus provided the grounds for a sentence of death. . . 635 Whereas the Old Testament used Son of Man in a general sense, Jesus used it as a figurative title, saying that He was the Son of Man : Christ s use of. . . Son of Man reveals a divine figure. Christ used the phrase to

demonstrate His authority to forgive sin (Matthew 9:6, Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24) and His being the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5). The emphasis is on Christ s authority. (The clear indication is that Christ claims 634 Peter Kreeft, Between Heaven and Hell, (IVP), p44. 635 Craig A. Evans, Jesus Under Fire, p110-111. 172

authority possessed only by God. This emphasis on the divine can also be seen in Christ s use of the term with regard to His future glorification.) 636 Hearing Jesus claim, the High Priest tore his robes (in a traditional expression) a nd says, we don t need any more witnesses! You heard his blasphemy. What is your decision? and they all vote against Jesus (Mark 14v63-64). Jesus demanded that people follow him: At a bare minimum this is a bit cheeky

- to ask others to follow you is to invite criticism and to set yourself up as a model of behaviour. Jesus did just that. 637 Jesus called two sets of brothers to abandon t heir jobs and families to follow him (Matthew 4v18-22). He called upon others to forget th eir obligations to parents, and to deny their need for physical or social protection , in order to follow him (Matthew 8v18-22). He maintained that those who loved others, even fa mily, more than him, were not fit for God s kingdom (Matthew 10v24-36): Clearly, then, Jesus thought he was more than ordinary, for it was more important to follow him than to obey parents, love family, to protect life, and preserve one s religious and socia l status. This takes some real chutzpah. 638 Furthermore, Jesus said that if people did not confess him before others, they w ould not be accepted before God, Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I wil l disown him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10v32-33) Jesus would have no closet followers, Either one followed him wholeheartedly, openly, and confessedly , or one did not follow him at all. 639 In calling Twelve disciples Jesus was symbolising the re-constitution of the twe lve tribes of Israel, under his leadership: Closely related to Jesus proclamation of the kingdom of God was his appointment of the twelve apostles. That there were twelve and that he called th ese disciples apostles are two important facts. Twelve is best understood as a deliberate correspondence to the twelve tribes of Israel. . it implied the resto ration of Israel [see Matthew 19v28]. . . By dubbing the Twelve as apostles, Jesus underscored his own regal authority. . . By sending out ambassadors, he was acti ng as a king. His apostles (from the word meaning one sent ) were to act as heralds proclaiming both the dawning of the kingdom of God and the one who was to sit on a throne of glory in the new kingdom. 640 Jesus says, honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, and adds, he who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father. (John 5v23). He says, believe in God, believe also in me. (John 5v18).

C.S.Lewis wrote about some of Jesus words in a letter to his friend Arthur Greeves: I think the great difficulty is this: If He was not God, who or what was He? . . . When He weeps over Jerusalem (Matthew 23) why does He suddenly say (v34) I send 636 Josh McDowell & Bart Larson, Jesus, A Biblical Defence Of His Deity, p71. 637 Scot McKnight, Who Is Jesus? An Introduction to Jesus Studies , Jesus Under Fir e, p66-67. 638 ibid, p67. 639 ibid. 640 Craig A. Evans, What did Jesus Do? , Jesus Under Fire, p104. 173

unto you prophets and wise men ? Who could say this except either God or a lunatic ? Who is this man who goes about forgiving sins? Or what about Mark 2:18-19. What man can announce that simply because he is present, acts of penitence, such as f asting, are off ? Who can give the school a half holiday except the Headmaster? Jesus accepts Worship. The Old Testament forbids worship to anyone but God (Exodus 20v1-4, Deuteronomy 5v6-9); men, and even angels, are not to accept wors hip (Acts 14v15, Revelation 22v8-9). And yet, on at least nine occasions, Jesus acce pts worship without rebuking the worshippers (cf. Matthew 8v2, 9v18, 14v33, 15v25, 2 0v20, 28v9, 28v17, Mark 5v6, John 9v38, & John 20v28). Jesus requests that men pray in his name: Jesus not only asked men to believe in him (John 14:1) and to obey his commands (John 14:15), but he asked men to pray in his name. 641 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, he says (John 14v13). Again, If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14v14). If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. (John 17v7). Indeed, Jesus said, no man comes to the Father, but by me. (John 14v6). This is ju st what we find in the New Testament letters - letters probably written before John s gospel in which these requests are found - the disciples of Christ pray in his name (1 Corinthians 5v4), and they even pray to Christ (Acts 7v59): There is no doubt that both Jesus and his disciples understood it was Jesus name that was to be invoked both before God and as God s in prayer. 642 The assumed authority of Jesus words: Jesus not only accepted the titles and worship due to Deity alone but he often placed his words on a par with God s. 643 You have heard that it was said to men of old. . . But I say unto you. . . is an oft repeated formula in Jesus teaching (eg, Matthew 5v21-22). All authority in heaven and on ea rth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . . (Matthe w 28v18-19). God gave the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament through Moses, but Jesus adds, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another (John 13v34). Jesus taught that, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law (Matthew 5v18); but he put his own words even higher: Heaven and earth wil l pass away, but my words will not pass away (Matthew 24v35)! The typical rabbinical style of teaching was to quote extensively from learned teachers, who provided the basis of authority for one s own teaching. But Jesus di d exactly the opposite. He began, You have heard that it was said to men of old. .

. and quoted the Mosaic law; then he continued, But I say to you. . . and gave his own teaching. Jesus thus equated his own authority with that of the divinely giv en Torah. It s no wonder that Matthew comments, When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one wh o had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matt 7:28-29). 644 641 642 643 644 174 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p334. ibid. ibid, p333. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, p246.


sense of unique relation to God:

there is a consistent strain in the records

about Jesus that he, in some way, claimed to be uniquely the Son of God. 645 Jesus called God Abba , the word a Jewish child used of his or her father: Abba, being the mode in which a son addressed his human father, was thought by the Jews to be to o intimate a mode for addressing God. 646 For a Jew the very name of God was sacred, and no one would dare to pray to God in so familiar a manner. 647 Jesus never incl uded himself in the our Father kind of prayers, making a distinction between, my Father and your Father (John 20v17). In sum, there is absolutely convincing evidence 648 that Jesus intended to stand in the very place of God: Throughout Jesus claims several important points emerge. First, there is no question that Jesus often accepted and sometimes even encouraged the appellation s and attitudes appropriate only for God. Second, Jesus himself unquestionably affirmed by words and actions these characteristics and prerogatives appropriate only to deity. Third, the reaction of those around him manifests that they too understood him to be claiming deity. . . Whatever one may think about the truth or falsity of Christ s claims, it should be clear to the unbiased observer of the New Testament record that Jesus claimed to be equal to and identical with the Jehova h of the Old Testament. 649 Having examined the record of Jesus we deeds and actions which claimed deity650,

645 Scot McKnight, Jesus Under Fire, p67. 646 H.P.Owen, Christian Theism, p37. 647 William Lane Craig, op cit, p244. 648 Gruenler, New Approaches to Jesus and the Gospels, p74. 649 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p334. 650 It is sometimes alleged that Jesus denied his equality with God on the basis of the following data: (1) Jesus said, My father is greater than in (John 14:28); (2) Jesus claimed ignorance of the time of his second coming (Mark 13:32); (3) Jesus said that neither he nor anyone else is goo d except God (Mark 10:18); (4) Jesus prayed on the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34). On closer examination none of these passages is contradictory with Jesus evident cla ims to deity. (1) The Father was greater than Jesus in office but not in nature. Jesus claimed equalit y with God in essence (John 5:18; 10:30); it was only in his function as Son that he was less than the Fathe r. (2) Jesus was ignorant of the time of his coming again as man, just as he was ignorant of whether the fig tree had fruit (Matt. 21:19). As man Jesus tired, hungered, and thirsted; but as God he never slumbered nor sl ept (Ps. 121:4). Jesus the person possessed two distinct natures: one divine nature by which he knew all th

ings and one human nature which was finite in knowledge and grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52). (3) Upon careful e xamination Jesus did not deny that he was good or that he was God to the rich young ruler. Rather, Je sus said to him in essence, Do you realize what you are saying? Are you calling me God? Jesus reply left only t wo alternatives: either he was good and God or else he was a bad man and merely human. (4) Jesus p rayer on the cross does not imply he is not God. There are other examples of God talking to God (or , better, one person of the Godhead speaking to another person of the God head). [See Psalm 110v1.] (Norman L . Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p334-335.) Some people get confused over the word first-born, thinki ng it must mean firstcreated. That would imply that Jesus was only a created being, not pre-existent, or etern al, or God. First-born, however, does not mean first-created. When Paul states that Christ was th e first-born over all creation (Colossians 1:15), he used the Greek word protokos which meant heir, first in rank. Had he intended to say first-created, he would have used the Greek word for first-creat ed, protoktitos. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that God created Jesus. (Josh McDowell & Bart Larson, Jesus, A Biblical Defence Of His Deity, 175

can now move on to the following arguments. . . There is hardly a belief less likely to have been adopted by first century Jews than the belief that a man was divine: No Jew could sincerely think he was God. No gro up in history was less likely to confuse the Creator with a creature than the Jews, th e only people who had an absolute, and absolutely clear, distinction between the divine and the human. 651 That a man was a prophet, a priest, a king, or even all three at one an d the same time, yes. That a man was God s promised Messiah (whom they expected to lead Israel in throwing off the yoke of the Roman Empire), yes. That a man, even such a man, was divine? Unlikely in the extreme. Unlikely that is, unless there were compell ing evidence to the contrary. New Testament scholar Michael Green puts the point powerfully in its historical context: The Jews had really learnt one lesson by the first century AD. That there is only one God, and no runners up. They believed this so strongly that they would allow no images of the divine to decorate their synagogue. . . Tacitus in his Historie s preserves the utter amazement of the Romans when Pompey burst his way into the Holy of Holies in the Temple at Jerusalem - and found no statuet here! So jealously did they stick to the Second Commandment that the Jews fought to the death rather than allow the Roman military standards, with their imperial medallions, to enter the Holy City. So seriously did Jews take their monotheism that they would not take the sacred name of God (Yahweh) upon their lips. At Qumran handbasins have been found in the scriptorium where the scrolls were written which were manifestly used for a ceremonial washing of the hands when the divine name was penned. In other words, if you had looked the whole world over for more stony and improbable soil in which to plan the idea of an incarnat ion you could not have done better than light upon Israel! Indeed, the Jews were unique. The Romans never could understand them, though they gave them a grudging kind of admiration. These people were different from all other races on earth; since they made no image of the deity they must be atheists , and such they called them. It was in this background, no other, that the conviction arose that God had incarnated himself in human flesh. 652 Before his conversion Paul was a Jew s Jew . After his conversion Paul was of course still a Jew, although he certainly would not have been considered a Jew s Je w by any non-Christian Jews! And yet in the writings of this Jew, and one-time Jew of Jews, we find the continuation of strict Jewish monotheism side by side with the procl amation of Jesus divinity and humanity as God-The-Son Incarnate: One of the most striking things about Pauline Christology. . . is this: at the ve ry moment when he is giving Jesus the highest titles and honours, he is also emphasizing that he, Paul, is a good Jewish-style monotheist. Faced with this

p93.) Moreover, if Paul had meant first-created , he would not have written over all creation , but something such as, over the rest of creation . 651 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p161. 652 Jesus in the New Testament , in The Truth of God Incarnate, p40. 176

evidence, we either have to conclude that Paul was really a very muddled theologian indeed, or that he intended to say, as clearly as was open to him, th at when he put Jesus and God in the same bracket he was not intending to add a second god to the pantheon, as in paganism. Nor was he intending that Jesus be seen as somehow absorbed into the being of the one God, without remainder. He was inviting his readers to see Jesus as retaining his full identity as the man Jesus of Nazareth, but within the inner being of the one God, the God of Jewish monotheism. 653 How can we account for such a concept in the writings of such a man? Widening the question, how can we account for such a belief in the majority of New Testament books and letters which are composed by Jews? Eight of the nine New Testament writers, like Jesus original disciples [some, like Matthew, are in both categories], were Jews, drilled in the Jewish axiom that there is only one God. 65 4 Surely it would take massive and overwhelming evidence to put such a thought into such minds in such a culture at such a time. Evidence of what? Evidence that Jesus was who these writers claimed him to be: the Son of God Incarnate. Widening the question even further, how are we to account for Jesus own belief in His divinity, unless we label Him a mad-man or a liar? As a Jew, Jesus surely mu st have had good reason to think Himself divine to utter what he would otherwise recogni se as blasphemy. What form would such evidence take? I suggest it included His own fee ling of special relationship with God as his Father , knowledge of events in his life (including the circumstances and manner of his birth), which fulfilled messianic prophecy (and which therefore showed his divinity), and his ability to work miracles (suc h as turning water into wine, and healing the sick). However, whatever prompted Jesus belief in His deity, it must have been personally compelling enough to make His conscience easy with His knowledge of the Old Testament. Then again: It is one th ing for a first century Jew to claim to be God, but it is quite another to get other monotheistic Jews to believe it. . . Both polytheism and idolitary were abhorrent to Jew, and yet these first century Jewish disciples of Jesus found it necessary to attribute deity to Jesus of Nazareth in many ways. 655 Was Jesus a good, wise, and therefore trustworthy teacher? Most people would say so: Most nonreligious people, and even many people of other religions, like G andhi, see him as history s greatest moral teacher. He is, in short, eminently trustworth y. 656 But what a trustworthy teacher teaches can be trusted; and if we do not trust th e teachings of a teacher, we show that we do not trust them. But Jesus taught that he was di

vine. He said, I and the Father are one. (John 10v30.) If we think that Jesus was a trustwo rthy teacher, should we not trust him on this matter? Indeed, if we don t trust him to know who he is, then why should we trust him on anything else? We could only trust hi m where his words coincided with the words of some other authority whom we trusted , in which case we are really admitting that we do not trust him. 653 654 655 656 177 Tom Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, P65. J.I.Packer, Concise Theology, p105. Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p335. Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p155.

C.S.Lewis provides a good illustration of this argument in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy has discovered that through the wardrobe lies the magical land of Narnia. Returning, she tries to tell her siblings about Narnia. Understandabl y, they are a little sceptical. They consider that she is lying; or, worse, that she has gone mad. The children take up their problem with the Professor in whose house they are st aying. . . How do you know, he asked, that your sister s story is not true?

Oh, but - began Susan, and then stopped. Anyone could see from the old man s face that he was perfectly serious. Then Susan pulled herself together and said, But Edmund said they had only been pretending. That is a point, said the Professor, which certainly deserves consideration; very careful consideration. For instance - if you will excuse me for asking the question - does your experience lead you to regard your brother or yo ur sister as the more reliable? I mean, which is the more truthful? That s just the funny thing about it, Sir, said Peter. Up till now, I d

have said Lucy every time. And what do you think, my dear? said the professor, turning to Susan. Well, said Susan, in general, I d say the same as Peter, but this couldn t be true. . . That s more than I know, said the Professor, and a charge of lying against someone whom you have always found truthful is a very serious thing; a very serious thing indeed. We were afraid it mightn t even be lying, said Susan, might be something wrong with Lucy. we thought there

Madness, you mean? said the Professor quite cooly. Oh, you can make your minds easy about that. One has only to look at her to see that she is not m ad. . . Logic! . . .Why don t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is tell ing the truth. You know she doesn t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For t he moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth. Given that the claim being made is not obviously impossible, and in the absence of such mitigating circumstances as obvious mental disorder, our knowledge of a person s general trustworthiness should incline us to believe their claims. The mo re trustworthy we have found them to be on other matters, the more we should believ e them about any given claim: If Peter knows Lucy better than he knows the universe, it is more reasonable for him to believe Lucy and change his beliefs about the universe tha

n vice versa. 657 So with Jesus: If we know the humanity and trustworthiness of Jesus bett er than we know what it is possible for God to do, it is reasonable for us to belie ve Jesus and change our theological expectations, rather than vice versa. 658 Given that his cl aim of deity is not self-contradictory, and given the lack of mitigating circumstances, then his trustworthiness in other matters (such as his ethical teachings) should incline us to 657 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p156. 658 ibid, p156. 178

believe him on the subject of his own identity. This argument flows into the arg ument from the unacceptability of alternatives which we began. Jesus (who was obviously human) claimed divinity (see above). What are the logical alternatives given such a claim? The oldest Christian argument for Jesus divinity ran Aut deus aut homo malus , which is Latin for, Either God or a bad man : Let s go through the logic of it. The first premise is that Christ must either be God, as he claims to be, or a bad man, if he isn t who he claims to be. The second premise is that he i sn t a bad man. The conclusion is that he is God. 659 The argument is certainly logically valid. By a bad man we need not necessarily mean a morally bad man. It would be wrong to claim that the only alternative to Jesus claim of deity being sincere an d true is his claims being insincere and untrue. We might mean by bad man that he was an intellectually bad man, in that perhaps he sincerely but mistakenly believed his claims. Jesus either believes his own claims to divinity, or not. If he doesn t believe th em he is morally bad. If he does believe them he is intellectually bad , because, as P eter Kreeft says, That s a pretty large confusion! 660 Unless, that is, his claims are bot h sincere and true. So, we can expand the original dilemma, Aut deus aut homo malus , into the following argument: Jesus claimed divinity. He either believed his claim s or not. If he didn t believe them, then he was a morally bad man, that is, a liar and a hypocrite. If he did believe them, he was either an intellectually bad man, or h e was who he claimed to be. Jesus wasn t a morally bad man (liar), or an intellectually bad man (mad). Therefore, Jesus was who he claimed to be. Which of the two alternatives to Jesus actual divinity is the most attractive to someone who wants to deny the argument s conclusion? Jesus doesn t strike one as the hypocritical, lying sort. He has the wrong psychological profile to be a liar especially on such a grand scale: He was unselfish, loving, caring, compassionate, and passionate about teaching truth and helping others to truth. Liars lie for selfish reasons, like money, fa me, pleasure or power. Jesus gave up all worldly goods, and life itself. . . there i s no conceivable motive for his lie. It brought him hatred, rejection, misunderstanding, persecution, torture and death. 661 My guess, then, is the charge of intellectually bad is the more attractive alternative; although when we alter our terms and say mad , perhaps this will give pause for thought - for, if Jesus mistakenly thought he was divine, then he was delude

d about his own identity in a non-trivial


Suppose I claimed to be the greatest Christian Apologist to have ever lived (!). What would you think of me? You d think I was arrogant in the extreme, but perhaps not quite insane. Suppose I furthermore claimed to be the greatest human being to ha ve ever walked the earth, to be wiser than Socrates or Solomon, and holier than any sain t before me. What would you think then? That I was an egotistical fool perhaps? A bit clo ser to insanity, yes? But suppose I claimed to be your sinless saviour who could save y our soul from Hell and bring you into Heaven if only you believed in me and worshipped me . 659 Peter Kreeft, Between Heaven and Hell, p38. 660 Between Heaven and Hell, p39. 661 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p160. 179

Suppose I told you to pray in my name. Suppose I told you that following me and obeying my commands was more important than your love for your family. Suppose I considered my own assertions to be equal in authority to those of the Bible, the written Word of God. Suppose I acted as if I had no sense of sin, or guilt, or shame. Su ppose I said that the authorities were going to kill me, but that I would come back from the grave. What would you think then, if I really believed what I said? Wouldn t you think, w ith every good reason, that I was quite insane? I think you would. You see, The diffe rence between what you are really and what you claim to be is a measure of your insani ty. 662 But the gap between the Creator and the created is the biggest gap going, bigger than the gap between being the greatest apologist and being the apologist I am, or being the greatest man and being the man I am. And so believing yourself to be divine is t he greatest possible insanity. Perhaps it might be argued that Jesus circumstances constituted a very special state of affairs in which he perhaps had every reason to form the belief that he was divine, and that although he believed his claims, he was not therefore necessarily mad, just mistaken. Perhaps he knew his Torah and reasoned that, due to his family lineage , birthplace, etc., he was the Messiah, and that as the Messiah, he must be divine, with the authority to forgive sins and so on. Surely, every reason advanced which could c ause Jesus to reasonably form the belief that he was divine, is in fact a reason to t hink that he was! If the arguments proposed would not make it reasonable for Jesus to think t hat he was divine, then his belief was unreasonable, and we have not escaped the conclu sion that he was mad. It would surely take more than a few clues to cause a monotheistic Jew to believ e that he was God s one and only Son. For a start, no Jew (let alone anyone else) co uld believe they were equal with Jehovah unless they were sure that they were withou t sin. Jesus loved the Psalms, quoting from them often, and the Psalms say, There is no one who is righteous, no one who is wise or who worships God. All have turned away f rom God; they have gone wrong; no one does right, not even one. And yet Jesus asks, Which one of you can prove that I am guilty of sin? (John 8v46), and says, I always do what pleases him [God-the-Father] (John 8v29). But who honestly thinks they ar e totally without sin? And if Jesus did not honestly think he was without sin, the n he was dishonest, and a morally bad man - which hypothesis we have already discounted.

Have we exhausted the options? Is there perhaps some third way ? I only have one logical possibility to add, that Jesus was both insincere and correct, that he thought his claims to divinity were lies, but that he was in-fact divine. This possibili ty is introduced only in the name of completeness, to be ruled out-of-court as soon as it has been raised. Not only does it suffer from the same criticism as can be advanced against the theory that Jesus was insincere and not divine (who would die for a lie as J esus did, uttering one of his strongest blasphemies at his trial? Neither does Jesus seem like the hypocritical sort, etc.), but it suffers from the near impossibility of thinking that an allgood God would go about things in such a round-about, morally questionable way. Given Jesus claims, the options before us are four-fold. Either Jesus claims were sincere, or they were not. If they were sincere, either he was who he claim ed to be, or he was not, in which case he was mad. If Jesus claims were not sincere, then e ither he 662 Peter Kreeft, Between Heaven and Hell, p42. 180

was divine anyway, although he believed himself a liar, or he was a mere, lying, hypocritical man. In other words: 1) Jesus claim was both sincere and correct, he is divine as well as human. 2) Jesus claim was sincere, but wrong, in which case he was deluded about his own identity, and was therefore a lunatic. 3) Jesus claim was insincere; in which case he was either: 3i) God-Incarnate without knowing it (and when he insincerely claimed divinity h e spoke the truth without knowing it); or 3ii) when he thought he was lying he was lying, and he is not who he claimed to be, but a mere lying, hypocritical con-man. In order to deny that Jesus was who he said he was (1/3i), we must affirm one of the available alternatives: either Jesus was mad, in that he was deluded about h is own identity (2), or he was merely a lying man (3ii); for if Jesus was not who he cla imed to be, then he was either a charlatan or a madman, neither of which is plausible. 663 These positions exhaust the possibilities. If we are not prepared to believe that Jesu s was mad, or that he was a liar, then we must be prepared to believe that he was who he cl aimed to be (1): There was a man born among these Jews who claimed to be, or to be the son of, or to be one with , the Something which is at once the awful hunter of nature and the giver of the moral law. The claim is so shocking - a paradox, and even a horror, which we may easily be lulled into taking too lightly - that only two views of t his man are possible. Either he was a raving lunatic of an unusually abominable type , or else he was, and is, precisely what He said. There is no middle way. If the records make the first hypothesis unacceptable, you must submit to the second. And if you do that, all else that is claimed by Christians becomes credible - th at this Man, having been killed, was yet alive, and that His death, in some manner. . . has effected a real change in our relations to the awful and righteous Lord, and a change in our favour. . . 664 It seems impossible, or at least highly unlikely, that God would become Incarnat e as a person whose human range of consciousness did not know this to be the case, and which would then proceed to insincerely claim divinity, thinking that they were lying when in actual fact they were unwittingly speaking the truth (3i). Such a state of affairs would involve God in lying, and a seemingly indefensible case of lying at that ( what mitigating circumstance could there possibly be for such a lie? Why would God go

about things in this roundabout manner?). Believing God to be all-good would seem to c ount decisively against this possibility. Even if it does not, we are still left with the conclusion that Jesus was God Incarnate. So, what about the other two alternatives to the sincere and correct claim to divinity? Was Jesus a liar? If he was, why did he lie, perhaps most spectacularl y of all, when he was under the threat of death? At his trial Jesus answered a direct ques tion from 663 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p252. 664 C.S.Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p19. 181

his examiner by uttering what they perceived to be a blasphemy (Mark 14v60-64). Jesus surely knew the effect his blasphemy would have upon his captors. Was Jesus a lunatic? So extraordinary was the person who Jesus thought himself to be that Dunn at the end of his study of the self-consciousness of Jesus feels compelled to remark, One last question cannot be ignored: Was Jesus mad? Dunn rejects the hypothesis that Jesus was insane because it cannot account for the full portrait of Jesus that we have in the gospels. The balance and soundness of Jesus whole life and teachings make it evident that he was no lunatic. 665 If Jesus was mad, we d need to create a whole new category of lunacy just for him: There are lunatics in asylums who sincerely believe they are God. The divinity complex is a recognised form of psychopathology. Its character traits are well known: egotism, narcissism, inflexibility, dullness, predictability, inability t o understand and love others as they really are and creatively relate to others. I n other words, this is the polar opposite of the personality of Jesus! More than a ny other man in history, Jesus had the three essential virtues every human being ne eds and wants: wisdom, love, and creativity. He wisely and cannily saw into people s hearts, behind their words. He solved insolvable problems. He also gave totally to others, including his very life. Finally, he was the most creative, interesting, unpredictable man who ever lived. No one - believer, unbeliever, agnostic - was ever bored by him. The common verb predicated of those who met Jesus was Thames, to wonder. Lunatics are not wonderful, but Jesus was the most wonderful person in history. If that were lunacy, lunacy would be more desirable than sanity. 666 Peter Kreeft, in his imaginative dialogue Between Heaven and Hell, provides us with a way to highlight the uniqueness of Jesus character, to illuminate the natu re of the paradox before us: a man who is neither a liar nor a lunatic who claims equality with Jehovah. Let us first divide humanity into two classes. In the first class we place the v ery few enormously great and wise people like Jesus, Socrates, Solomon, Buddha, Conf ucius, and Zoroaster. In the other category we place the vast majority of ordinary human beings, people like me and (probably) you. Call the small group Sages, and the l arge group non-sages. This dividing line is soft , it is a matter of degree rather than of blackandwhite quality, but this does not stop there being some people who are clear exam ples of either group. I clearly fit into the group of non-sages, while Socrates and J esus clearly fit into the group of Sages. If you doubt this, consider what we mean by a sage . S ages

seem to have three prominent psychological characteristics .667 First is unusual in sight or wisdom about the human heart. Sages are philosophers of a practical kind whos e insight includes both insight into universal truths about human nature. . . and i nsight into the peculiar truths and falsehoods of the individual. . . 668 This is a combinatio n Buddhists call prajna. It makes the teaching of a Sage something out of the ordi nary, 665 666 667 668 182 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, p252. Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p159. Kreeft, p56. ibid, p57.

challenging, surprising, often upsetting. 669 Sages make enemies through the expres sion of their wisdom. The second characteristic of all Sages is Love, altruism, compassion, selflessness. 670 Buddhists call this karuna, the kind of love which comes natural ly to the big of heart, the sort of love that makes you humble. Sages are earthy. They feel at home with you, and they make you feel at home with them. They are with you. . . they always have plenty of room in themselves for you and your needs. 671 The third quality of the Sage is creativity. They can t be programmed, pinned down, predicted and controlled. They can t be classified into familiar categories [apart from Sage I suppose!] 672 For instance, Socrates was executed by a conspiracy betwee n the political Left and Right. Jesus enemies included the dogmatic Pharisees and t he sceptical Sadducees. Now we proceed to divide these two groups (Sages and non-sages) into four, along another dividing line: on one side of this new line are all the people who have ever claimed to be God, and on the other side is everyone else (and by God we mean the God of Theism). So now we have four classes: 1) non-sages who have not claimed t o be God. 2) non-sages who have claimed to be God. 3) Sages who have not claimed to b e the God. And 4), Sages who have claimed to be the God of the Bible. Now, most people are in the first group. There are some people in the second group, people with the divinity complex . People with this recognised mental condit ion are the opposite of everything which defines the Sage: the supposed wisdom of this God turns out to be mere platitudes that everyone agrees with already. Nothing surprising, nothing original. . . he is a parrot. . . his ego is so small that it has no room in itself for you. He is har d, brittle and narrow. He clings to his illusion of divinity as something to be grasped [contrast this with what Paul says in Philippians 2v6] . . .The person suffering from a divinity complex cannot empty himself because there is not much of a self ther e to empty. He is incapable of caring about you for the same reason he is incapabl e of insight into you: he is only into himself. No prajna and no karuna. . . He s predictable as a machine. . . 673 There are a few people in class three, Sages who did not claim divinity, such as Socrates, Buddha, and Confucius. When they asked Jesus who he was, however, he affirmed his equality with Jehovah. There is only one person in the fourth class of person, Sages who claim divinity, Jesus. As C.S.Lewis pointed out, if you had as ked Socrates if he were Zeus, he would have laughed at you . If you had asked Buddha if

he were the son of Bramah, he would have said, My son, you are still in the vale of illusion . If you had asked Confucius if he were Heaven, he would have replied that , Remarks which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste. If you had asked 669 670 671 672 673 183 p57. p58. p58-59. p59. Peter Kreeft, p63.

Mohammed if he was Allah, he would have rent his clothes like Ciaphas, ut your head off. 674

and then c

Jesus is the only Sage to have claimed divinity in the theistic sense. But Sages are not lying hypocrites. Nor are they insane. Sages are the last people to lie, or to be insane. Therefore, if you want to escape the conclusion that Jesus is God Incarn ate, you will have to move Jesus from category number four, either by denying he claimed divinity, or by denying that he was a Sage, or by denying both. The Biblical and extraBiblical evidence rules out the first option, and so the third. And do we really want to deny that Jesus was a Sage, placing him in the category of ordinary people who c laim divinity and are therefore mad? Jesus was neither a liar, nor a lunatic: Why could he not be either a liar or a lunatic? Because of his character. There are two things everyone admits about Je sus character: he was wise and he was good. A lunatic is the opposite of wise, and a liar is the opposite of good. 675 Therefore, he must be who he claimed to be, the Son of G od. Let us conclude this argument with what must surely be the most quoted paragraph from the writings of C.S.Lewis, a paragraph which has deservedly acqui red classic status among Christian apologists for its lucidity and logic in summaris ing the dilemma presented by the person of Jesus: I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I , ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don t accept His claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says h e is a poached egg - or else he would be the devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. 676 Jesus. A deluded or hypocritical man? A madman or a liar? A man who was put to death for something he may he knew to be a lie? A trustworthy teacher who doesn t know his own nature? A man whom God allowed to fulfill detailed prophecy by chan ce? A man who convinced even his enemies that he could work miracles although he cou ld not? A mere man who convinced monotheistic Jews, not only his friends, but his enemies as well, of his divinity? A man who was mistakenly thought to have been seen alive, resurrected, after his death, by the very people who had seen him die; a delusion

which took in not only over five hundred of his disciples, but also the sceptica l, antagonistic Saul and James; a delusion that, although it would have been scuppe red if only the authorities (who would have dearly liked to scupper it) had displayed J esus crucified body, was never scuppered? A lie for which the disciples paid with the ir lives? A man who became the subject of a delusion which grew into the world s largest rel igion, 674 C.S.Lewis, What are we to make of Jesus Christ? 675 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit, p159. 676 C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, p55-56. 184

hoodwinking some of the greatest thinkers, philosophers and scientists of both p ast and present? A mere man whose very name casts out demons centuries after he is dead an d buried? I think not. Now, if Jesus was who he claimed to be (as is verified by prophecy, miracle and the unacceptability of the alternatives) then we can say not only that God exists, but that God as Christianity presents Him exists. The divinity of Jesus implies the autho rity of His teaching and inescapably leads us to the formulation of a Christian theistic world view including the view that God is Trinitarian in nature. Resources: William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Crossway Books). (3) Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker). (2) R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas ed s., In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 199 7). (2) Peter Kreeft, Between Heaven & Hell, (IVP, 1982). (1) C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, (Fount). (1) J.P.Moreland ed., Jesus Under Fire, (Paternoster). (2) Thomas V. Morris, Our Idea of God, (Notre Dame, 1991). (3) Ronald H. Nash, World-Views In Conflict, (Zondervan, 1992). (2) Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, (Harper Collins, 1998). (1) Richard Swinburne, The Christian God, (Oxford, 1994). (3) Conclusion. The naturalistic denial of God has led to the nihilism of postmodernity, a world view which collapses in on itself with respect to being logically inconsistent, morall y inadequate, and unable to identify and meet the deepest human needs. . . 677 This is especially tragic in view of the paucity of atheological apologetics. Alvin Plan tinga has shown that all de jure challenges to theism are irrelevant because they basicall y beg-thequestion; besides which every de jure objection suffers from its own particular weakenesses. The only other avenue of attack for the atheologian is to mount a d e facto challenge to theism. Recent years have seen philosophers on both sides of the argument accepting, as Michael L. Peterson reports, that: The outcome [of the relevant debates has] been so favourable to theists that it is reasonable to say that the logical problem has been laid to rest. 678 In other words, it is now generally accepted by the philosophical commun ity that the existence of God is not logically incompatible with the existence of ev il, and that it is therefore impossible to deductively disprove the existence of God by any a rgument from evil. That leaves the atheist to argue that the existence of the evil that

actually pertains in the universe makes the existence of God unlikley. However, theists h ave repeatedly pointed out that any argument from evil depends upon the existence of objective moral values, and that since this grants the truth of the most controv ersial 677 Douglas Groothuis, op cit, p180. 678 Michael L. Peterson, The Problem of Evil , in A Companion To The Philosophy of Religion, (Blackwell, 1999), p395. 185

premise in the moral argument for the existence of God, all arguments from evil boomerang on the atheist. Moreover, several sophisticated theodicies are availab le to the theist, and even if the evidential problem of evil were granted some force, this result would still have to be weighed against the positive evidence for God. Other de f acto objections to theism, such as the coherency challenge, have likewise been found wanting. In short, there are very few relevant (de facto) arguments available to the athe ologian, and none that can carry the weight traditionally placed on them by positive athe ism. All of this means that theism is rationally acceptable. However, in addition to the failure of atheological apologetics, one must also t ake into consideration the cumulative force of the theistic evidences. Contemporary philosophers have defended and refined all of the traditional arguments for God. Particularly worthy of note is the massive growth of sophisticated, scientifical ly informed and philosophically rigorous design arguments. Here, as elsewhere, several new t heistic arguments have been advanced to produce a wider, more subtle case for God. The m ore we discover about the cosmos - from the fine-tuned nature of the Big Bang or the specified complexity of DNA, to the irreducibly complex nature of mirco-biologic al structures or the implications of naturalistic evolution for the cognitive relia bility of the the more the evidence points to an intelligent, aesthetically aware, human brain powerful, supernatural designer with an interest in sentient life: The universe a s a contingent and designed system is best explained by a noncontingent Creator, who depends on nothing outside himself (Acts 17:25) and who created the universe to operate in various goal-related ways. 679 In addition to such philosophically established theism, Christianity makes a host of historical claims, culminating in the report that Je sus Christ rose from the dead. These claims include various miracles, such as fulfilled prop hecy, and the deity of Jesus. The truth of such claims will be hard to accept given th e assumption of naturalism, but in the context given above: A careful study of hist ory shows that these claims are credible and cogent. 680 For example, Given his incomparable claims and credentials [including fulfilled prophecy and the resurr ection], Jesus identity is best explained by the historic Christian claim that he was God incarnate. 681 The result of this cumulative case is therefore not only that God e xists, but that the fullest available understanding of God is to be found within Christian theism.

Resources: Richard Forster, Money, Sex & Power, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1985). (1) Alan Hayward, Does God Exist?, (Lakeland, 1983). (1) Tim & Beverly LeHay, The Act of Marriage, second edition, (Zondervan, 1998). (1) Peter Kreeft, The Best Things In Life, (IVP, 1984). (1) Peter Kreeft, Every Thing You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven, (Ignatius, 1990) , I:8. (1) C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves, (Fount). (1) C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, Bk. III:5&6, (Fount). (1) Basil Mitchell, Morality: Religious & Secular, (Oxford, 1980). (3) 679 Douglas Groothuis, op cit, p181. 680 ibid, p181. 681 Douglas Groothuis, op cit, p180. 186