Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Agnosticism vs. the Ubiquitous, Invisible Presupposition

A dear friend of mine who has abandoned Christian belief to become an agnostic naturalist has challenged me to set forth an absolute Biblical ethic to counter his relative, culture-based ethic. He maintains that the Scriptures present a contradictory account of what is right and wrong, and that there are no truly absolute ethics - even if we look to the Bible as the standard. After I began to present an absolute Biblical ethic based on the Law/Gospel distinction and the twin concepts of love for God as the ultimate good and sin against God as the ultimate evil, and as I was building upon these ideas, my friend replied that if there is no God then this ethic is meaningless and useless. My reply to that:

Sure, but aren't you stating the obvious here? Either position is a matter of faith, or belief in something which can't be proven. You will say there is no proof for the God of the Bible. I will agree. But I will add that without Him there cannot even be the idea of proof or of proving things. Without Him there can be nothing to prove, no reality, no anything. He is the ubiquitous, invisible Presupposition you unwittingly presuppose even in your arguments against Him.

You have a competing presupposition that prevents you from acknowledging the logical necessity of God. It is the idea that you are a capable judge of what is real, or that all significant reality is perceptible to you via your senses (i.e., your perception of the natural world) and thoughts (or at least perceptible to another human who will relay his perceptions to you). You do not accept that there may be a sovereign Determiner and Creator of reality who alone is the true Perceiver of all that is actually "real" and "significant."

I don't know if my answers are any good for my friend, although I believe they reflect Truth. What would you say to a friend who has turned from the faith but still wants to talk to you about it?


  1. I skip it and preach the gospel again. You can trap your friend easy enough by pointing out exactly what you did, how does he trust his conclusions, or know his thoughts are valid? But only the gospel will transform.
    Or if you like you can answer him on every point, but it's really just a cloud he is using to hide behind, so he will bring something else to the table soon enough.

  2. Why does your friend need to be 'trapped'? We are all here to learn our Life lessons. Sometimes we need to turn away or look down a different path to find our own truth. That doesn't make him wrong and you right, although the righteous Christians in this world have huge egos as far as I can tell. Why do you have to be right all the time? This is coming from me, a Gnostic believer. By the way who created God?

  3. Phil,

    Very wise. Thanks for the encouragement.


  4. Lorraine,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Why does your friend need to be 'trapped'?

    No one is trying to trap him. That word came in when Phil cautioned against it, which I think was wise counsel. The goal is not to trap him, but to share God's truth in a way that will be most beneficial to him.

    We are all here to learn our Life lessons.

    It's good to learn, but God's stated purpose for creating us is that we may glorify Him. Learning is an important part of that, but lessons that do not lead to us glorify Him are ultimately wasted.

    Sometimes we need to turn away or look down a different path to find our own truth.

    Questioning can be beneficial. But doubting or rejecting the Truth and goodness of our Creator is unwise and self-destructive. Truth belongs to God, He determines it and He owns it. It's never "our own," though when we agree with Him we can hold to the Truth with great conviction.

    That doesn't make him wrong and you right, although the righteous Christians in this world have huge egos as far as I can tell.

    Yes, the saints are sinners. But you might take the post as an admission of inadequacy and a somewhat humble request for help from brothers and sisters in the Lord. Sadly, there is pride in it, too. I will freely admit that.

    Why do you have to be right all the time?

    There is only One who is right all the time. The best the rest of us can do is attempt to conform to His right-ness and submit to His Word. That willingness to surrender to Him comes by grace, and not because we are superior. Actually, it is the confession of our utter spiritual destitution that opens the way.

    This is coming from me, a Gnostic believer.

    I do hope you will reconsider that and turn to an orthodox expression of Christian faith.

    By the way who created God?

    Interesting question. I think I wrote an article about it awhile back. Can't remember what I said, but the Biblical answer is that He is the eternal, self-existent, uncreated Creator. The more important question is: who created us? I pray you may trust in the One who created you, me, and everything else that exists.


  5. You're really nuts.

  6. Anonymous (not sure if that is your real name?),

    Thank you for commenting. You may be right; however, I am looking to the all-wise Creator in the hope of ever-increasing sanity. I encourage you to do the same.



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