The Basics of Presuppositional Apologetics

Christopher LePelley

timothy-eberly-691343-unsplash

Introduction

Faith is not antagonistic to reason. On the contrary, they are wedded to one another. In 2 Thessalonians 3:2, the apostle Paul declares, “that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.” Notice how the Scriptures compare being unreasonable to not having faith. This is because biblical faith is actually required for reasoning. In order to understand, one must believe. “Through faith we understand” (Hebrews 11:3).

Everyone must possess certain presuppositions in order to even begin to reason. 1 Peter 3:15 declares, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts [faith]: and be ready always to give an answer [reason] to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” The idea that all knowledge begins with the biblical God is found throughout the Bible.

In Romans 1:18-23, we see a perfect illustration of what happens when faith and reason are divorced from one another. These verses tell us that everyone has innate knowledge of God (verses 19-20). This is why everyone knows about laws of morality, logic, and science. But people suppress that truth (verse 18). They do not acknowledge God as the foundation of these things, and as a result, their thoughts are reduced to foolishness (verses 21-23).

Evidence Solves Nothing

Presuppositional apologetics is not a method that will persuade every Bible opposer, but it is a conclusive method–one for which no rational refutation is possible. If it is used properly, it can turn any argument that is allegedly against the biblical worldview into an argument for it. In order to properly apply presuppositional apologetics we must first understand this. We must also understand why evidence will never solve the origins debate. Creationist and evolutionists will only conclude the same evidence differently.

Many debates on origins are not very effective because the opposing parties do not understand the nature of worldviews. Worldviews control our interpretation of evidence. The debate over origins therefore must ultimately boil down to a debate over competing worldviews–the standard by which we draw all conclusions. Without this understanding, the persons debating will merely be talking past one another and will never get to the real issue.

Many people (evolutionist and creationist alike) believe that evidence should be approached in a neutral and unbiased fashion without any previous presuppositions/worldviews. This, however, is impossible, because this belief itself is a biased, one-sided belief about how to approach evidence. “Neutral ground” is a secular concept. It is therefore not neutral. Christians who try to debate on “neutral ground” have already lost since they have given up what they are trying to defend. Since the Bible indicates that there is no neutral ground, anyone who says that there is neutral ground is necessarily saying that the Bible is wrong, and anyone who says that is not being neutral since he has taken the position that the Bible is wrong. It is therefore impossible to be neutral with regard to ultimate authority because opposing worldviews will not allow neutrality.

It’s All About Opposing Worldviews

In the same way that a person wearing red glasses sees red everywhere, a person wearing “evolution” glasses sees evolution everywhere. In the same way that a person wearing red glasses might erroneously conclude that everything in the world is red, so a person with a faulty worldview will draw incorrect conclusions about the universe. Literally all worldviews have consequences. All beliefs are dependent through a chain of reasoning upon a person’s ultimate standard. Therefore, it is imperative that your worldview is consistent–that your belief is chained to a reasoning that stands on an ultimate standard worth standing on (Psalm 11:3).

A debate over biblical creation is like a debate over the existence of air. What would the critic of air say? Whatever his arguments, he would have to use air in order to make them. Likewise, the evolutionist must use biblical creationist principles in order to argue against biblical creation.

Ironically, the fact that evolutionists are able to argue against creation proves that creation is true! To make an argument, one must presuppose that laws of logic do exist, and laws of logic would only make sense if biblical creation were true. However, if logic doesn’t come from an all-wise Creator, but is nothing more than chemical reactions in the brain (as many evolutionists believe), how do we know which chemical reaction to go by? It is said that there are over 7 billion people on earth, which would mean (in an evolutionary worldview) there are 7 billion different chemical reactions called “logic,” and with so many different “logics,” the laws of logic are reduced to mere opinions of logic. Evolution clearly strips the laws of logic from its entire God-given authority.

Sometimes an evolutionist will object to this and say, “Creation doesn’t have to be true in order for us to use logic. After all, I don’t even believe in creation, and I’m able to reason and use logic!” Another similar objection would be, “God doesn’t have to exist in order for me to possess morals. After all, I don’t even believe in God, and I possess plenty of morals!”

However, this type of reasoning is fallacious. It would be like the critic of air saying, “We don’t need air to breathe. After all, I don’t believe in air, and I can breathe just fine!” The argument is not that breathing requires a profession of belief in air, but it does require air. Likewise, morality and laws of logic do not require a profession of belief in the existence of God and biblical creation, but they do require that God exists and that biblical creation is true.

Morality, Logic, and Science: Who do they Belong To?

If the concepts of right and wrong are to be meaningful, evolution cannot be true. Therefore, by attempting to be moral, the evolutionist is being irrational, for he must borrow biblical concepts that are contrary to his worldview. In an evolutionary universe, the statement “murder is wrong” is nothing more than a personal opinion on the same level as “blue is my favorite color.” Not only is morality meaningless in an evolutionary worldview, but it is also inconsistent. Consider those evolutionists who are very concerned about children being taught creation. “This is wrong,” they say, “because you’re lying to children!” The absurd thing is that such an evolutionary argument is contrary to evolution! That is, in an evolutionary worldview, why shouldn’t we lie–particularly if it benefits our survival value? Even for an evolutionist to use words like “should” and “shouldn’t” is inconsistent, for such words only make sense if there is an absolute standard given by one who has authority over everyone.

We wouldn’t become angry at baking soda for reacting with vinegar; that’s just what chemicals do. So why would an evolutionist be angry at anything one human being does to another, if we are all nothing more than complex chemical reactions? Therefore, when evolutionists attempt to be moral, they are “borrowing” from the Christian worldview. Unless they are unfaithful to their own worldview, they are not even able to support it. The fact that unbelievers consistently fail to embrace their own presuppositions shows that, in their heart of hearts, they really do know the biblical God (Rom. 1:21-23). An evolutionist is a walking bundle of contradictions. He makes moral decisions, uses logic, and does science, yet he denies the very God who makes morality, logic and science possible.

Evolution actually makes morality, logic, and science impossible because it cannot account for any of these things. It cannot harmonize with what these things presuppose–A Law-Giver (morality), an Ultimate Standard (logic), and senses that are trustworthy (without which no man could do science). Since there is no room for God in the evolutionary equation (no matter how desperately “theistic evolution” tries to fit Him in it), there would be no such thing as a law-giver with an ultimate standard, and we certainly would have no reason to trust our senses to do science since we are not created in the image of God but are merely rearranged pond scum.

In the evolutionary worldview, there is no justification at all for the reliability of our senses. Evolutionists do trust their senses, of course, but such a belief makes no sense if our sensory organs are merely the result of accidental mutations that conveyed some sort of survival value in the past. If the universe and our minds are simply the results of time and chance as the evolutionist contends, why would we expect that the mind could make rational sense of the universe?

In fact, if evolution were true, there wouldn’t be any rational reason to believe it! If life is the result of evolution, then it means that an evolutionist’s brain is simply the outworking of millions of years of random-chance process. The brain would simply be a collection of chemical reactions that have been preserved because they had some sort of survival value in the past. If evolution were true, then all the evolutionist’s thoughts are merely the necessary result of chemistry acting over time. Therefore, an evolutionist must think and say, “Evolution is true,” not for rational reasons, but as a necessary consequence of blind chemistry.

Evolutionists have said that “laws of logic are descriptions of how the brain thinks.” But, if this were true, then why would we need laws of logic to correct the way the brain thinks? If laws of logic simply describe how people think, then no one could ever violate a law of logic, since people necessarily “think logically.”

This, however, removes the foundation (an ultimate standard) of logic altogether, for, if people necessarily just “think logically,” whose thinking do we go by? The critic might say, “I don’t believe in laws of logic, therefore, I don’t need to have a reason for logic within my worldview.” But this response is self-refuting. The critic is attempting to use logic (when he says “therefore”) in order to argue that philosophy is the atheist’s stance on the law of non-contradiction, which would be meaningless if truth varied from person to person. This teaching is called relativism, which says that truth is subjective to each individual because there are no absolutes–“my truth is not your truth.” However, if relativism were true, why would relativists have any good reason to debate with someone who does not believe in relativism? How could they say our position is wrong if truth is relative to the individual? The funny thing is, for the relativist to say phrases like “truth is subjective,” “there are no absolutes,” and “my truth is not your truth,” the relativist would actually have to deny what he believes since he holds these things to be absolute truth! For him to say, “I do not follow any set of rules,” he is inevitably following his rule of “no rules.”

He may profess a fairy tale land where truth is subjective and contradictions are acceptable, but he must live in God’s universe and must abide by God’s absolute objective truth if he is to function. Even the most ardent relativist looks both ways before he crosses the street. Moreover, he  expects the motorist to abide by the same laws he does–to stop at the stop sign. He also demands the cashier give him back the exact change that is due him. Just like all of us, the relativist knows in his heart of hearts the biblical God.

Consider also what the idea of empiricism does to the laws of logic and consistency. Empiricism teaches that all things are only known through observation. But if we take this standard to its logical conclusion, we would eventually have to apply it to the idea of empiricism itself. Empiricism leads to the absurd conclusion that if it were true, we could never know that it was true since it has not been observed. Empiricism will take you to the illogical climax that we cannot actually know anything, since knowledge is not observable.

These kinds of inconsistencies abound in individuals who hold evolutionary worldviews. Take, for example, the university professor who teaches that life is just a meaningless sequence of accidents, and that humans are just evolved animals–rearranged pond scum. But then he goes home and kisses his wife and children, as if they were not just rearranged pond scum. Or consider the determinist who teaches that human beings have no choice in what they do; their actions are totally predetermined by the “laws of chemistry” in their brain. Yet he is outraged when someone steals his car or commits adultery with his wife. But why should a thief or an adulterer be blamed for their actions, if indeed their actions are predetermined by the so-called “laws of chemistry,” leaving them no choice in the matter?

If human beings are just the accidental result of chemistry working over time, why would they be deserving of respect? Would we hold a funeral service if a few pounds of baking soda were destroyed by reacting with vinegar? Clearly, human beings are not just complex chemical reactions.

logo-sans-tagline

Share this post

Leave a Comment